What is a financial neutral in family or divorce mediation?

When you have contemplated divorce, there are many people who provide consulting and financial services to assist you and your attorney – some people will ask, what is a financial neutral in family mediation?

Some financial consultants will specialize in valuation services when the divorcing parties own any marital or separate businesses. They can also analyze the various assets owned by the parties, such as houses, retirement plans, pensions, stock options and show different settlement scenarios. Sometimes this person is called a financial neutral if the parties are involved in family mediation or collaborative divorce.

When a valuation expert is hired by BOTH the wife and husband, there needs to be strict communication protocols in place. This means that nobody is allowed to talk to the financial neutral without all people knowing about the conversation. So emails will go to all parties and telephone conversations will need to be scheduled in advance, so everyone can be present. The telephone conversations can be recorded and posted on a secure online portal and reviewed by anyone who was unable to attend the meeting. This will allow everyone to be aware of the communication between the financial neutral and the clients or attorneys.

This is the only way to make sure each party can speak their opinions on the matter and be assured there are no private conversations between one person and the expert or neutral. Sometimes the business owner will have many of the answers to the valuation questions, but the other spouse may have something to say as well. All people should be able to speak their points clearly and be heard, not just the business owner. The valuation information is presented to the group all together, at the same time. Usually in these situations the financial neutral can provide the cash flow analysis and valuation in spreadsheets or financial exhibits. This may eliminate the need to produce a report and is more cost-effective for the divorcing couple.

If you would like more information on the family mediation process or collaborative divorce, give us a call at 314-541-8163. We provide valuation services to attorneys involved in collaborative divorce and family mediation services in St. Louis, Missouri.