Additional ADFP News
Help Yourself, Help the ADFP
Our seventh annual conference was a wonderful first full two-day conference, which drew close to 90 attendees from 14 states. The geographical diversity of representation is a key force in ADFP's growth and push to develop local chapters in every state. California is our newest chapter with a potential for 20 more within this next year. We were very pleased to welcome our international peers from the Netherlands*, whom we will help promote and support the concept and delivery of divorce financial planning services in their country.
Geertje Tuinema*, Barbara Stark, Amy Whitlatch, Ingrid Leene*, and Lili Vasileff
Media was present at our event and we will alert you to any published articles that follow up on our conference.
We are especially grateful to our recurring and new sponsors/exhibitors, who enable us to produce a successful conference each year.
And, adding a little entertainment to our agenda, we welcomed Al Frankel and The Blues Dogs Trio at cocktail hour on Friday and the Play with Your Food theater group who performed three thought-provoking short plays on money and divorce on Saturday.
Some key highlights from our conference are summarized below:
"Divorce in Tough Economic Times" - Lili A. Vasileff, CFP, CDFA and President of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners
In today's world, two of the biggest negatives in life are unemployment and divorce. Lili Vasileff discussed the current economic situation and the financial challenges facing divorcing couples. Financial stresses not only break up marriages but threaten to negate the clean break most divorcing spouses envision. Consequently, divorcing spouses face new times: staying married until they achieve financial stability; or, divorce and stay together until they are financially better off, putting at risk their ability to move on independently post-divorce. Unemployment for persons over 45 years old is the highest in 60 years. Compounding unemployment is a host of additional factors: home foreclosures, credit crunch, lapse in health care benefits, homelessness, and the struggle against total poverty. For those already divorced, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reports 42% of its members report an increase in modifications to support. Are there times when we should advise against divorce? How do we advise for outcomes that may prove unworkable at best and deceptive at worst? How do we recession-proof our business to serve those most in need, instill trust, and inspire confidence in the benefits we offer?
"Development of Financial Information: The Lawyer's Perspective" - Barbara Stark, JD
Barbara Stark, author of "The Friendly Divorce Guidebook for Connecticut, 2nd Edition," discussed the process of divorce from the lawyer's perspective and of the attorney/divorce financial professional relationship and integration of our interdisciplinary skills. Attorney Stark spoke of the invaluable information that divorce financial professionals contribute to the divorce process and further insight as to what other information would be helpful to lawyers from divorce financial planners.
"13 Common Financial Mistakes Made During the Divorce Process" - Carl Palatnik, PhD, CFP, CDFA, and AAMS and executive vice president of the Association for Divorce Financial Planners
Carl Palatnik discussed actual situations he had come across in his divorce financial planning practice, situations involving such issues as distribution of property, support and taxation. Financial issues associated with these are complex and mistakes can be avoided through the involvement of outside financial experts. He also discussed the use of divorce financial planners in reviewing agreements.
"Interdisciplinary Collaborative Divorce: Harnessing the Power of the Team" - Pauline Tesler and Peggy Thompson
Pauline Tesler, J.D. and Peggy Thompson, PhD were this year's distinguished Pioneering Award recipients. With a rapt audience, they gave a keynote address providing an overview of their revolutionary and evolving ideas of interdisciplinary collaborative divorce and how it not only improves the process of divorce, but also the family system. Attorney Tesler and Dr. Thompson together spoke of the importance of a Divorce Financial Planner in collaborative divorce and how it not only improves the process of divorce, but also improves the family life and specifically, the children. They are co-authors of the book "Collaborative Divorce: The Revolutionary New Way to Restructure Your Family, Resolve Legal Issues, and Move on with Your Life" and stayed to sign many books purchased by attendees. Dr. Thompson proceeded to present an advanced collaborative workshop on communication skills and later joined us for cocktail hour and dinner.
"Financial Considerations in Settling the Marital Residence" - Susan Moussi, CPA, CFP, CDFAand co-director of the Ohio chapter
Susan Moussi discussed the many options surrounding financial decisions and the marital residence. These include: selling the house, buying out spouse's share, selling to one spouse, owning the home jointly and other relevant information critical to know while advising a couple divorcing. She also shared pertinent implications regarding income taxes related to sale of residence, strategies for buying out the spouse's interest, and other important issues regarding settling the marital home.
Susan Moussi, Linda Ursin, Maria McKeon
"How to Turn Straw into Gold - Overcoming Divorce-Related Financial Issues in the Current Economic Climate" - Lee Slater, CFP, CDFA, Stacy Francis, CFP, CDFA and Bill Donaldson, CFP, EA, CDFA
This panel of experienced divorce financial planners described financial strategies that are effective in the current economic environment for divorcing spouses. They engaged interactively with the attendees and discussed in depth how to capitalize a divorce (provide for or free up funds); how to approach the necessity for a former stay at home spouse to get a job "even" when unemployment rates are at historical highs; how it is nearly impossible to guaranty in this economy sufficient cash flow post divorce for spouses to maintain prior lifestyle and spending. It is evident that access to certain financial tools simply is no longer to be taken for granted: credit has tightened, refinancing a mortgage is more difficult, and bankruptcy is tougher to negotiate. With job security tenuous, even children's budgets should come under close scrutiny and retirement expectations may have to be modified.
Bill Donaldson, Stacy Francis & Lee Slater, Panelists
Practitioner Sessions: Standards, Protocols, Ethics and Integrity in Divorce Financial Planning Elizabeth Cox, CFP, CDFA, Lisa Gresham, CDFA, Barbara Stark, JD, Dan Caine, Founder of Family Law Software, Lili Vasileff, CFP, CDFA
The ADFP is taking a leadership role in the critical area of enhancing practitioner skills, establishing proper conduct and practice standards, and advancing the integrity of practice. We are working on developing continuing education programs for financial and legal professionals and promoting communication, networking and peer review. For the first time, we are striving to provide members with specific tools and to establish consistency in our engagement letters, disclaimers, disclosures and reports. We hope to create uniformity in the broad scope of tasks as well as in areas of knowledge and competence. We ask for involvement of our members in this very exciting opportunity to shape the evolution and direction of our profession.
Testimonials from Those Who Attended Our Conference This Year:
"This is the best conference I have ever been to."
"The speakers this year were very diverse and presented a deep breadth of knowledge and interesting insight."
"Considering our tough economic times, topics were timely and important".
"This conference came at the right time, considering the tough economy and has given me hope and energy to motivate my clients."
"I feel better knowing the direction in which the ADFP is choosing to lead us - it is powerful to know we have an organization to unify our standards, protocols and help promote all of us".
"I feel like this year we have a lot to chew on regarding our profession and thank you for supporting us by giving us tools with which we can do our work confidently as divorce financial planners".
Additional Conference Pictures
Ken Newman & Wayne Greenwald
Ken Neumann, Leonard Florescue & Lili Vasileff
Maura Carley (Center)
David Nigrelli and Frank Dippold
We have been working hard putting together materials to help standardize the divorce financial planning process and also to elevate the level of professionalism in the field. We plan on rolling out a beta version of an "ADFP Report" at these sessions. Our goal is to create a recognizable, professional and standardized reporting vehicle that will be sought after by lawyers, mediators and judges. We will also be introducing documents such as sample letters of engagement.
Developing and improving upon Practice and Professional Standards is very important to our profession, so we're also hoping to benefit from your input during these sessions. Some topics/issues we're considering discussing include confidentiality, defining the scope of an engagement, confidentiality, a Client Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, disclaimers and disclosures, the structure of the divorce financial planning process, closing letters, intake and other forms and educational, experience and professional requirements/standards for divorce financial planners.
Please let us know now as soon as possible if there are topics/issues that are of particular importance to you. We would like to incorporate some of your ideas into this program.
June 11, 2009
As most of you know, our website www.DivorceAndFinance.org is highly ranked with the search engines for important keyword phrases such as "divorce financial planner" and "divorce financial planning."
To further increase our reach and to give individual member web pages greater exposure, we have decided to give members the opportunity to publish articles on the site discussing various financial divorce topics. Once edited and approved, these articles will be posted on the site and linked to the author's/member's web page.*
Please submit for consideration articles, outlines or submission ideas to ADFP@DivorceAndFinance.org. As of this time, there is no limit to the number of articles a member can submit and no cost to members over-and-above the $225 annual membership cost.
* Should a membership terminate for any reason, the ADFP reserves the right to continue to publish the previously published articles at its discretion and in a format of its own choosing, but with an acknowledgement of authorship.
May 12, 2009
The ADFP is proud to announce this year's recipients of its prestigious Pioneering Award: Pauline Tesler and Peggy Thompson, co-founders of the interdisciplinary collaborative divorce method.
Presentation of the award will take place at the 7th Annual Conference of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners, to be held Friday, September 11th and Saturday, September 12th 2009 (two full days) at the Microsoft offices, 1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York City. Tesler and Thompson will also be giving the keynote address and conducting a workshop at the conference.
September 2, 2008
You Can Still Register for This Year's ADFP Conference, but Hurry!
Spreading Our Wings
Aside from the opportunity to become intimately involved with a professional association whose primary mission is to promote the divorce financial planning profession, there are many ancillary benefits to ADFP membership. Some of these are outlined below:
The ADFP is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit professional association. All Board of Directors members, Chapter Directors and Committee members, including members of the 2008 ADFP Conference Committee, who worked tirelessly to put together our best program ever, operate on a completely voluntary basis. Below is where the major portion of your money goes:
What the ADFP is and What It is Not (An excerpt from a working draft of the ADFP Chapter Organizational Manual)
August 3, 2008
According to this month's Newsweek magazine, the answer is the ADFP website, www.DivorceAndFinance.org, which also features Stacy Francis, Co-Director of Greater New York Metropolitan (GNYM) area chapter.
Speaking of the GNYM chapter, the recent article in Investment News covering the launch of this chapter led to chapter-building inquiries from across the country. And speaking of chapters, we are excited that our new Ohio chapter will be represented at this year's conference.
An article in the August issue of FA Magazine , which is widely distributed to the financial community in the northeast, further highlights divorce financial planning, the ADFP and the annual conference.
Finally, speaking of publicity, we have preliminary indications that some members of the financial media community may be covering this event.
Any questions? Comments? Please feel free to contact our Editor-In-Chief Andrew Samalin, CFP® Andrew.Samalin@SICounsel.com.