Divorce Lawyers May Be Inherently Bad as Financial Advisors
Divorce Lawyers are Good at Divorce Law but What about the Money Issues? Do Clients Need a Financial Advisor too?
Are divorce lawyers bad financial advisers who need help with financial matters in a divorce? They could be.
This question about Divorce Lawyers and Financial competence is one I get all the time. Admittedly, I get a lot of other questions too, like How Many Divorce Lawyers Should I Interview Before I Hire One? I am constantly trying to answer all these different questions for people to help them make an informed decision.
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For sure, unless a divorce attorney has a background in accounting and finance and tax, it behooves a client to get additional assistance from a certified divorce financial adviser. Because they don’t teach divorce lawyers how to count in law school and many, frankly, can’t count.
Actually, that is why a lot of lawyers went to law school in the first place. They can’t add. They can’t do long division. But they can write their way out of the biggest jams.
The thing with divorce, however, is that you are still dealing with a lot of numbers. And the more zeros you have in someone’s networth affidavit, the bigger malpractice you expose yourself to as an attorney if you don’t get help with this stuff. And the clients, too, need to know that they MUST get additional assistance (they have to pay for it) to make sure the numbers are crunched correctly.
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Clients Demand a lot from their Divorce Lawyer
Clients ask their divorce lawyers for a lot whether implicitly or explicitly. When clients walk in the door they expect their divorce lawyers to have at least basic competence with numbers – and most divorce lawyers do have basic knowledge.
However, I if I were a divorcing client, I would not leave all the financial issues to the divorce lawyer alone. This is not smart on the part of a person who is getting divorced – especially when you are talking about a high asset situation.
Thankfully, the good news is that in these situations, the client is able to and does often secure representation not only with legal counsel but with financial advisors as well. At least, divorce lawyers with clients who are rich and famous would more than likely highly recommend that their client hire a financial advisor.
Notably, not every divorce lawyer makes this recommendation and not every client can afford the extra fees that will be entailed with hiring a financial advisor. And it’s too bad.
Originally published December 22 2010