Written by Tamsin Caine

Director, Chartered Financial Planner at Smart Divorce

Tamsin has a strong background of over 15 years in the financial services profession. She began Smart Divorce following her own experience with divorce; she now advises people in the same situation as she once was, enabling them to take back control of their life and finances.

A financial planner is someone qualified to advise on pensions, investments and financial protection, just like a financial adviser, IFA or wealth planner. However, they tend to look at your whole financial picture to advise you in the context of your lifestyle. They are likely to hold Chartered or Certified qualifications, although these are not a requirement, I would suggest that they are preferable. As divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership is a complex area financially, it is a good idea to work with someone who specialises in this area.

Where can I find one?

Divorce specialists are listed on the Resolution website. You can search by location and “financial professionals”. Often your lawyer or mediator will work with financial planners and may be able to provide a recommendation. You could also try a directory such as Unbiased, which has a section for specialisms. You may also have friends or business colleagues who can provide a recommendation.

Once you have names of financial planners who may be able to help, I would suggest that you check out their website and social media to ensure that their posts and blogs speak to you and display similar values and ethics. You should also arrange an initial conversation, which will most likely be available free of charge, to ensure that you are a good fit for one another and that they can advise on the areas that you need help with.

How can a Financial Planner Help During and After Divorce?

While you are working with a family lawyer or mediator, you may find that you need some additional support from a financial planner, particularly if you were not the money person in your relationship or the finances are complicated, including pensions, investments, perhaps spousal maintenance, or significant assets.

Financial planners can help in many ways throughout your divorce journey:

  • Helping you to gather your financial information – you will need to provide information about the financial products you hold, such as pensions, investments, mortgages, property, financial protection, etc, as well as your income and your ongoing expenditure.
  • Working out what you need from the marital pot – finances are often divided on a “needs” basis, which means that you will need to understand your needs if you are going to negotiate, particularly directly or through a mediator.
  • Working as part of a team – your financial planner can often work with your mediator and lawyers to ensure that you achieve the best, fairest outcome for everyone. This approach can be done as part of the collaborative process, if that is what you are using, or not.
  • Understanding what the proposed settlement means for your lifestyle – you may have received an offer from your ex via their solicitor, in mediation or directly, or be proposing one yourself. You need to understand what this means to you in the context of your life. Could it be structured differently to ensure that you will be financially ok for the rest of your life? Perhaps it would be better for you to receive more of the pot up front or to receive more of the pensions.
  • Implementing pension sharing orders – You may receive a Pension Sharing Order, which you will need to implement. This is a complicated area and one in which you need to take advice to ensure it goes through as straightforwardly as possible.
  • Giving you peace of mind and clarity about your future and planning your new chapter – you may be coming towards or have reached the end of your divorce. You can now begin to plan for your future and understand how your finances can best be used to provide you with the lifestyle you desire.

How much will it cost?

As with most professionals, it depends on what you need from them. Financial Planners may be able to work on a fixed fee for a particular project, if they can clearly see the work involved. They may also be able to work on an hourly rate, which may work out cheaper, if you are prepared to gather all the information yourself and provide it to the planner in a way that makes it easiest for them. Clients sometimes need ongoing help after divorce and this is usually agreed as either a fixed fee or a percentage of the pensions or investments they might advise on.


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