Divorce advice without the lawyers

Divorce can be traumatic – both emotionally and financially. It’s the closing of a chapter of your life with another person.

It can be stressful, confusing, and extremely expensive. But it doesn’t have to be.

At Divorce Planning, we take a different approach.

For separated individuals, or couples going through separation who are trying to resolve their financial assets, Divorce Planning is a mediation and advisory service that won’t cost you a fortune.

Unlike divorce lawyers, Divorce Planning looks at separation from a financial services perspective, guiding you through the steps required to make a clean financial break from your partner.

We are not lawyers. We’re a team of financial consultants, advisers, stockbrokers, counsellors and mortgage brokers, here to guide you through the complex process of dividing up your life.

Divorce planning: dividing up your world

If any of these points describes your situation, Divorce Planning may be able to help:

  • Are you separated – or about to be – and don’t know what to do, or where to turn?
  • You don’t have a pre-nup or binding financial agreement and you’re concerned about where you stand financially
  • You don’t want to stump up exorbitant lawyers’ fees, but want advice that’s cost-effective and judgement-free
  • Perhaps lawyers are already involved but you feel like you’re getting nowhere and wasting money

The divorce process

Divorce presents many challenges, including spreading the income you previously used to run one household, across two. Not only do you have to worry about making sure you understand your household’s current financial position, you also must be prepared for the budgeting challenges your divorce or financial separation will present.

Establishing a divorce ‘pool’

The most critical document you’ll prepare during your divorce or financial separation is to establish a pool of assets. This forms the legal foundation for your settlement and lays out each party’s entitlements. Before you start the divorce or financial separation process it is critical to make sure you have an in-depth picture of your financial situation. Making sure you understand what assets, liabilities and financial accounts you have created with your partner will help. Remember, as your advisers in this process, we can only be as good as the information you supply us with.

Getting a divorce: key information

Most people will begin with their bank accounts and major assets (house, car, etc.), but will overlook some essential pieces of the financial picture.  It’s important to consider not only assets but also liabilities, such as car payments, home loans, credit cards and the superannuation accounts of both parties. Remember, it’s not just about making sure you get what you are entitled to. Seeking expert advice from Divorce Planning will ensure you consider the big picture, including how to manage your finances during each phase, and how to set yourself up for a secure financial future.

Sound like you or a friend?

Divorce in Australia: questions to keep in mind

The divorce process can be traumatic. It can be intimidating. It can be adversarial.

As a result, it’s important to arm yourself with as much information as you can, in order to help the divorce process go as smoothly as possible.

Divorce Planning can help you to answer these questions:

  • What can I do now to protect my financial security after the separation/divorce?
  • How do I know my partner is fully disclosing all assets so I’m getting my fair share?
  • Who should be part of my divorce team, and why are they essential for my protection?
  • We can no longer live together but I am not in the marital house and the other party is. What does that mean?
  • How do I determine whether I can still afford to stay in the house and meet my mortgage payments? And what if I can’t?
  • I do not know if the house is in my name. Should I pay the mortgage?  I can’t afford it but my ex-partner is no longer living in the house.
  • We were gifted money from my family but there is no paperwork, what does that mean?  Will my family get their money back?
  • What should I be doing to protect my assets now so I don’t pay the price in the years to come?
  • Am I responsible for my former partner’s debts if they should default on payments?  Is there a way to safeguard myself against this?
  • How can I make the settlement process as painless and effective as possible in the shortest amount of time?
  • I have received an offer and now I need financial advice for my future - can you help?

Whilst many of these questions can be addressed by lawyers, engaging Divorce Planning’s experienced financial advisers could create less conflict, be less intimidating, and help to finalise the separation more amicably.

Is Divorce Planning the Right Service for You?

The following FAQ’s have been prepared to help you decide if Divorce Planning is the right service for you. Divorce Planning’s financial advisers and family separation consultants can mean less conflict, be less intimidating and can help finalise your financial separation and divorce more amicably and objectively.

Before you call us, go through the FAQ’s to learn about the process and how we can help. Then call us for a free 15 minute no obligation consultation.

Divorce Planning takes a different approach to separation and divorce. It is a mediation and advisory service that guides you through the process of financial separation and arriving at, not only a clean financial break, but financial solutions and agreement. We are not lawyers, we are a team of financial advisers, counsellors and mediators who can guide you through everything.

If any of the following describes your situation, Divorce Planning may be able to help:

  • Are you separated, or about to be, and don’t know what to do or where to turn?
  • You are concerned about where you stand financially?
  • You want advice that’s cost-effective and judgement-free?
  • You want a financial solution that will give you a clean break and allow you to move forward?

There are three ways Divorce Planning works with clients and the process depends on your personal circumstances:

  • If you are only seeking financial separation services then our financial advisers will work with you to establish a divorce ‘pool’ – this is the legal foundation for agreement and settlement, it lays out each party’s financial entitlements with the goal of reaching financial agreement.
  • If your separation is about more than money and assets, or if your finances have already been agreed to, we encourage you to begin with mediation. This offers a mutual and inclusive way to work out a whole family solution in a workable and sustainable way and to ensure each party feels empowered about the decisions. Mediation can also attend to binding agreements or consent orders.
  • If you need both mediation and financial separation services, we encourage you to begin with mediation to determine a workable and healthy process and to determine the steps needed. The goal here is to guide you through the complex process of separation and divorce and find solutions that work for all involved.

First up, know this will be a detailed process and journey. You will have homework to do! But the unique thing about Divorce Planning is that each step helps you feel more in control and empowered about your situation.

  • Start with a 15-minute free consultation. In this call we will ask you to give us an overview of your financial situation including information about assets, property, debt, etc. This call is designed to determine the best process for you, if you need mediation services as well or just financial services. It is also for you to decide if Divorce Planning is the right service for you.
  • Complete a Detailed Questionnaire This part of the process sets the path and process for achieving a fair and reasonable financial split, so provide as much information as you can. There is a second questionnaire for the mediation process if both services are needed. If you want a fair and objective outcome, be honest and disclose your full financial position.
  • Provide Documentation Our financial advisers may ask you for documentation such as bank statements, valuations for property and other assets, superannuation details, etc. All of this contributes to arriving at the financial separation agreement, plus it provides an objective outcome should it ever go to court.

Yes, they can. If you are on good communication terms with your ex-partner and you are broadly already in agreement about financial and family matters, then working together to achieve a fair financial separation makes sense.

Yes, we can ensure child support and shared children expenses are factored into the financial settlement, as well as future financial needs for children.

Legal documents can be prepared to fulfill what has been agreed to and to ensure all is signed off.

Documents related to a parenting plan, child support and other expenses related to children are prepared according to family law legal requirements.

We need you to be honest and clear about your divorce priorities. We know it is an emotional and stressful time. Our job is to keep the hostilities out, to be sensible and transparent with people about their finances and other needs.

This depends on you and your situation, how long it takes to putall the financial information together and any other needs you may have. Our aim is to work closely with you to achieve agreements efficiently and within a reasonable timeframe.

  • Your first consultation is free - a 15-minute initial conversation
  • We may also suggest a free 30-minute consultation with a mediator depending on your needs
  • Once you have decided to use Divorce Planning, the cost is:
    • $440 per hour for the financial separation services
    • $330 per hour for the mediation services
  • There is no cost until the questionnaire is completed

The purpose of our FAQ’s is to help you decide if Divorce Planning is the right service for you. We believe Divorce Planning is affordable, particularly when compared with the cost of a Lawyer, and it takes a holistic approach to helping you reach settlement for your finances and your future. If you are confident Divorce Planning is the right service for you, call us today or send an enquiry through our website.

Divorce help: where to from here?

What are your rights?

It’s very common to find that one member of the household pays all the bills, does the taxes, and generally manages the finances. But once you’re in the midst of a divorce or financial separation you may find it harder to get financial information from your partner. No matter how far your divorce or financial separation has progressed, Divorce Planning can help you to solidify your financial foundation and avoid the expense of engaging a forensic accountant to unearth accounts. We can also help you avoid the trap of letting your partner control the information once your divorce or financial separation is finalized.

Your post-divorce future

Do you know how you’ll fill the financial gaps of your post-divorce life? If you haven’t taken the time to think about it, now is the time. You’ll need to figure out what extra expenses you may incur to help provide for your new household. Will you be going back to university, or will you require any career training? What about saving for your children’s education? Divorce Planning can help you to answer these questions, making sure nothing gets missed, and ensuring the process is as stress-free as possible.

Divorce is more than just a legal split

While they are important, there are a range of critical considerations beyond child support and spousal maintenance. It’s imperative to review the tax implications of retirement and investment plan distributions, and you’ll need to consider your long-term financial future. Plus, Divorce Planning can help you analyze your divorce settlement and identify any weaknesses so that you can offer a counter-proposal and make a better, more informed decision.

Need help deciding your next step?

Divorce advice from a financial services perspective

Helping you with your financial separation

Divorce Planning is set up to disrupt the divorce industry and streamline the divorce process. We analyse a couple’s financial affairs and background and mediate the terms of an agreed settlement. Then, and only then is a lawyer appointed to complete the legal contracts. This is completed for a fixed fee (hourly or package) to give our clients peace of mind.

Scott Haywood

Scott Haywood

Dip FP, CFP®

Our goal for you is simple:  save you time, save you stress and save you money!

We are not lawyers. At HFM & Partners we have over 45 years combined experience in financial planning, and as our business has evolved we have observed a gap in the financial services market, providing advice for couples who separate. We understand that every divorce or financial separation is different, and we approach each situation in a completely non–judgemental way. That’s why our first 15 minutes of service is absolutely free of charge and obligation.

In that first meeting we endeavour to collect as much information about your situation as we can. After that our rates are $440 (inc. GST) per hour. Before proceeding, we will provide you with a written quote as to what we think your divorce or financial separation will cost in total - both with and without lawyers.

Remember the first 15 minutes is at no charge and in that time we will try and give you a guide as to a likely outcome, explain the importance of establishing the pool of assets, and save you the heartache and grief of doing it alone.

At Divorce Planning we look at divorce through a different lens.

We aim to help you through one of the most difficult times in your life quickly, with minimal anxiety and stress.

We work hard to provide you with long-term financial security, peace of mind, and the confidence to tackle the next phase of your life.

Christina Salvo

Christina Salvo

Founder and Family Mediator, Simple Separation

The Divorce Planning family is growing and partnering with like-minded service providers.

After personally experiencing years of protracted and expensive family court litigation, Christina Salvo founder of Simple Separation was on a mission to investigate how people could separate more amicably, stay out of court and move forward with their lives and preserve a positive co-parenting relationship for the benefit of their children.

After graduating in Family Dispute Resolution (Family Mediation) Christina became a nationally accredited mediator and Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner registered with the Attorney General.

She now helps individuals navigate separation during an emotionally turbulent time. As a mother who has been through the process herself, she was motivated to find a better and more peaceful and respectful way forward.

Christina helps families to;

  1. Make decisions about children’s arrangements & child support
  2. Resolve parenting disputes
  3. Formalise Parenting arrangements into legally binding agreements
  4. Resolve financial disputes
  5. Make the financial settlement legally binding.
Melinda Nutting

Melinda Nutting

Family Separation Consultant, Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, Child-Inclusive Practitioner.

Melinda established Step by Step Support for Separated Families nearly 10 years ago and since then has helped hundreds of families Australia-wide through the Separation Process ‘step by step’ – generating Financial and / or Parenting Agreements, streamlining legal sign offs without the stress of lawyers, all with sensitivity and supportive guidance for the tough, sometimes overwhelming bits.

As a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner registered with the Attorney General’s Department, Melinda provides the ‘check in’ with Divorce Planning clients to ensure their Financial Settlement and Child Support Agreements tick all the boxes required to be signed off as legally binding. She also specialises in mediation for child-inclusive Parenting Agreements and Separated Parenting Communication protocols.

Your first 15 minutes is on us!

Case Studies

Honesty is the best policy

A lot of horrible things can happen when a relationship comes to an end. It can be emotionally traumatic, and financially disastrous. But we find that when each member of a couple is open and honest with us about their financial situation, we can achieve amazing results. This comes from our 20 years of experience…
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Getting your divorce priorities straight

If you’re going through a divorce or separation, it’s important to get your priorities straight. Do you wish to destroy your former partner? Or are you looking for an amicable financial separation? If you fit into the former category, we suggest you give all your money to lawyers. But if you’re in the latter category,…
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Keeping you in control of your financial separation

Divorce Planning is a coaching and mentoring service that guides couples through the process of separation, through a financial lens. Our experience tells us that when one or both members of a couple engage divorce lawyers, their relationship can turn sour very quickly. It can become acrimonious, hostile and spiral out of control. That’s not…
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Email address:
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Phone:
1300-1234-36

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Ashburton

Phone:
1300-1234-36

Postal Address:
P.O. Box 222
Richmond, VIC 3121

Ocean Grove

Phone:
1300-1234-36

Postal Address:
P.O. Box 814
Ocean Grove, VIC 3226