INFocus: Lower Confrontation and Lower Cost: An Alternative to Traditional Court-Based Divorce

Date: April, 2016 wife handing wedding ring back to husband over divorce papers

Collaborative Family Law is based on a commitment by the participants to a principled, negotiated settlement that focuses on client empowerment without the threat or use of court action. However, it is important to recognize that divorce is multi-dimensional and, therefore, requires resources for couples and families to assist with the various financial and non-financial issues that often arise.

In a typical litigious family law matter, each spouse is often compelled to hire their own team of professionals (lawyers, accountants, pension experts, therapists, etc.), which often duplicates work and creates additional conflict, stress, and financial burden. A typical “collaborative team,” on the other hand, might comprise two lawyers, a neutral financial professional, and a neutral family counsellor—in other words, reduced strain on the individuals and their finances.

The role of the neutral financial specialist on a collaborative team is to help both parties collect and understand their financial information, prepare budgets and net worth statements, and contribute to the development of creative, tax-efficient options for various support and property division arrangements.

A Chartered Business Valuator (“CBV”) can be of great assistance on any collaborative resolution, and is especially helpful when a business is involved. A CBV trained in the collaborative process allows for one, unbiased party to communicate all aspects of the financial structure and workings of the business to both spouses. Preparing a business valuation, preparing calculations of the spouses’ income (for spousal and/or child support), and being involved to explain the work and answer questions with a transparent and impartial approach can be very productive towards resolving financial matters.

When both parties establish trust in a single neutral financial representative, costs are typically much lower. This is because they have one representative rather than having two or more opposing representatives as seen in most traditional litigated divorces. A litigated divorce may require a business valuator to value one spouse’s business, another to also value that business and/or to critique the initial valuation report. Moreover, a further response to these reports may be required. Each party may also need their financial expert to prepare a similar series of reports on income.

A specially-trained financial advisor who is experienced in dealing with collaborative resolution can help attain a fiscally responsible settlement. The collaborative process is an innovative approach that offers creative, efficient resolutions while maintaining the dignity of each party. Crowe Soberman’s financial professionals, who are specially trained in the collaborative process, have practical expertise acting as trusted advisors in family law matters to provide well-informed and cost-effective resolutions.

If you are interested in learning more about the collaborative process for divorce, and discovering what a collaboratively trained financial professional and/or CBV can do to assist with your family law matter, please contact the authors of this article.

This article has been prepared for the general information of our clients. Specific professional advice should be obtained prior to the implementation of any suggestion contained in this article.

Connect with the Authors

Heidi Surkis-EisenHeidi Surkis-Eisen, BSc, GDPA, CPA, CA, CBV, CFF, Director – Valuations | Forensics | Litigation

 Heidi is a director in Crowe Soberman’s V | F | L Group. She’s active in all areas of the business valuation practice and handles a variety of assignments including corporate reorganizations, matrimonial matters, mergers & acquisitions and shareholder disputes.

Connect with Heidi at 416.964.7146 or


Jim MuccilliJim Muccilli, MBA, CPA, CA•IFA, CBV, CFE, ASA, CFF, Jim Muccilli Professional Corporation, Partner – Valuations | Forensics | Litigation

As a partner in the V | F | L Group, Jim consults on matters involving economic loss assessment, business valuation and forensic accounting. He has practical experience assisting in resolving financial disputes, preparing expert reports for trials and preparing business valuations for a variety of purposes.

Connect with Jim at 416.963.7132 or


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