Friday, 29 August 2008

Surviving financially after separating

I came across an excellent article by financial advisor Donal Griffin in The Australian about traps to look out for on property settlement. It covers the basics of tax and stamp duty issues, as well as potential capital gains implications, and the options of taking a super split instead of cash.

Going through a property settlement requires in my view a consideration of what options may be available in splitting up the property and super. Sometimes the most obvious answer is the best. Sometimes it is not. Sometimes the wrong option may cost a client thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.

The article underlines two things:

1.the need to get timely advice from an independent, qualified financial planner. Family lawyers should not give advice on investment options. That's what financial planners and tax advisors do. As a general rule, family lawyers do not have the expertise. They should have the expertise to advise on the family law implications of a deal.

2. the self-evident benefits of negotiating and cutting a deal, whether through mediation or otherwise- and avoiding like the plague having a judge decide. A judge, being a third party who does not know either of the people involved, and generally not being aware of the investment options for either of the parties, will impose a decision, whether the parties like it or not. Negotiations allow substantial more control to a party to come up with a mix of options that is better than have one imposed by a judge.

No comments: