You should know:
In 2000, the top 3 divorce attorneys in the US earned $6.5M* That was 12 years ago – they earn more today directly from your choices in how you proceed with your divorce. The only winners in a court divorce are the attorneys.
In a litigated divorce, people often fantasize about their day in court – the reality is that family law courts do not enjoy the time or money to consider your case the way you’ve imagined it. They are not going to meet your children and they have heard it all when it comes to how badly you’ve been treated by your spouse. You are giving power you have to decide your financial and parenting future over to a 3rd party stranger and you will be forced to abide by those decisions.
Look, you’re good people. You were good people when you married and you’re good people now. Unfortunately, divorce can have even the best people acting and feeling their worst. Our job is to guide you through the process holistically.
When surveyed and asked the following questions:
1. If you have been through a divorce or know someone who has had a bad experience, and you had the power to change anything, what is the one change you would make in the divorce process as it stands today?
2. If you were faced with getting a divorce today, would you pay for a service that gave you an easy to use software solution to figure out your working capital and net worth today and in the future, access to caselaw, and access to a trained professional (not an attorney) reviewing your draft settlement for problematic issues before you finalize it with your attorney?
The answers for the first question were overwhelmingly “make it less expensive, less argumentative, and make it take less time”. The answers for the second question were “yes, does that exist?”
We can answer that yes, it does exist at www.wedlock-divorce.com
*Contingencies, January/February 2002, page 23
For Divorcing Couples:
You have choices in how you proceed with your divorce:
- Avoid a legal mess. Put the financial analysis first. Then incorporate any decisions about parenting. Using our A.G.R.E.E. process which is compassionate, complete, can save you money and help you reach a positive outcome both financially and emotionally
- Kitchen table (private) divorce: you and your spouse make a determination of agreement, sign it, file it and you move on to your new life. Upside: quick, least adversarial and lower fees. Downside: maybe so quick you missed important details and there are no do-overs once the paperwork is signed and may not include proper examination of assets, income and equitable strategies.
- Collaborative: Each of you hire a specially trained attorney who works to satisfy your interests. The goal is a win for both sides. Collaborative divorces are prohibited from going to court. Upside: potentially lower fees, more respectful process than either mediation or litigation. Downside: if either party threatens to go to court, the collaborative process ends and neither attorney can continue working on the case.
- Mediation: The mediator is the only impartial party in this process. The mediator works with both sides towards a solution. Upside: less adversarial than litigation, potentially lower fees than litigation. Downside: Often still very expensive, long process.
- Litigation: The most adversarial process. Upside: you will be divorced at the end of the court process. Downside: too many to count and they include paying the highest fees for the longest time with the most emotional cost. No winners except the attorneys.
We respect the good work of attorneys who work with divorcing clients in an efficient compassionate process that helps them reach a positive outcome with lower fees. And we offer you the following services for your clients:
- Net worth now and 20 years out
- Working capital now and 20 years out
- Tax impact on PSA scenarios
- Lifestyle analysis
- Income/spending sheets
- Clear, concise explanations for clients on what matters and what matters less financially
- Clear, concise considerations of real life impact of parenting clauses in a PSA
- Expert witness testimony
About Our Founder:
Bonnie Ashby Sewell, CFP®, CDFA™, AIF®
As a child of divorce and someone who divorced after 25 years of marriage and who is happily remarried today, Bonnie has been down the path you’re traveling today. Bonnie has been working in financial services since 1981, and has been a Certified Financial Planner for families since 1992. She also earned the Accredited Investment Fiduciary, AIF®, designation and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst designation, CDFA™. She served 3 years on the National Board for the Financial Planning Association, served on the Foundation for Financial Planning board, and currently serves as President on the Board of Directors for the non-profit Loudoun Therapeutic Riding (www.ltrf.org).
- Interviewed by CNBC’s Sharon Epperson, October 2010
- Spoke at College of Charletston “Discipline Determines Destiny”, November 2010
- Spoke at Investment News Retirement Income Summit “The Golden Fears”, NYC, March 2009
- Served as Georgia’s Secretary of State Cathy Cox’s Retirement Planning Speaker in her Investment Education Series, “Money Counts” with letters of commendation, 2004-2006
- Lead author 2004 white paper, “It Takes a Wired Village” accepted by the National Association for Financial Education (NEFE)
- Writes a column for the industry’s Journal of Financial Planning
- Spoke in Leesburg, VA, October 12, 2011, “Monte Carlo in the Morning”
- Spoke in San Diego, February 29, 2012, “Succession Planning”
Bonnie earned a Masters degree in Financial Planning and keeps current through at least 30 hours of professional continuing education each year. In gratitude to her community, Bonnie donates up to 10% of her annual hours to pro bono work reflecting her commitment in helping to create a world where everyone thrives and prospers.
As the 3rd generation of women business owners in her family, Bonnie has expertise in helping men and women who are married, plan their financial lives smartly and divorcing couples get through the process less expensively so they can keep and grow their equitable settlements.