5 Reasons to Talk to a Financial Advisor before Filing for Divorce

By Heather Needham, Financial Advisor CDFA®

Preparing for a divorce means bracing for a major life change, and our team at Northwestern Mutual knows it takes special care. As a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, I can answer questions and ease a stressful situation. Here are some insights on how turning to an expert can help.

It Helps You Prepare

Before your first meeting with an attorney, our team prepares your budget, cash flow analysis and financial affidavit. We also advise you on what to expect during the entire divorce process.

The process can be lengthy and complex, depending on custody issues, marital settlement agreements and asset division. Learning about timelines and guidelines for dividing assets and taxation of different accounts can help you make informed decisions about things like when to withdraw retirement funds.

Being Educated is Key

My job is to provide education before, during and after the final settlement. Many clients have never had a part in the family finances, so knowing what types of accounts you have is important. Which accounts are allocated for retirement? Which accounts am I able to access now? What are the tax implications of withdrawals? What is a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) and how does it affect me? Knowing the answers to these questions and others will help you make empowered decisions for the future.

You Can Explore All of Your Options

The No. 1 question that clients ask is, “Am I going to be all right?”

When dividing assets, you could be awarded many different types. Maybe one scenario would prepare you well for retirement, but doesn’t allow cash flow until then. Another option might provide a home, but that means that you have no savings for retirement.

I can help you sort through options and determine what best meets your goals.

It Brings Objectivity to an Emotional Process

No matter how amicable the divorce, dividing one life back into two can take an emotional toll. It is common that one spouse oversees the finances. This can leave the one not involved in the finances feeling undeserving of their portion of the assets. One spouse may feel as though they are asking for too much, especially if they were the lower-income earner or a stay-at-home parent. Our process removes emotion and focuses on the numbers.

You Have a Team in Your Corner

Whether you need to refinance a loan, update your will or find a new accountant, our team has a wealth of connections.

Throughout this process, we take the time to get to know you. We build a plan for you moving forward so that you can take control of your future. We have a unique opportunity to build a new plan with a blank slate that works toward your short-, mid- and long-term goals.


Contact Heather Needham directly at 608-662-3931 or [email protected]

northwesternmutual.com/financial/advisor/heather-needham  | linkedin.com/in/heatherneedhamcdfa

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