The stock market’s been a wild ride over the past year and unlike rides in amusement parks the ride is NOT amusing! The situation increases anxiety for divorcing couples who are already stressed out and feeling the pressure of financial shortage….and it creates havoc for asset valuations.
The stock market roller coaster can really cause a mess when valuation dates are imposed by the court. For example, stocks could be worth $500,000 on the valuation date but when they are actually distributed to the spouse receiving them the value could be $250,000 or less in this market! What can you do?
First, don’t panic. And don’t let the court decide. You and your spouse are the two people who care the most about your assets and how they are distributed……talk over how to account for stock market turbulence in mediation.
Second, remember you and your spouse have common interests. It is important to each of you to preserve your assets.
Third, understand your assets. Review your assets and make sure you know what assets you own, the risk factors, and how best to preserve them. A visit to a financial advisor can help you with this.
Fourth, brainstorm. Take volatility, personal needs and objectives, asset mix, and tax consequences into account. Work together to create options that both spouses understand.
Finally, create the best plan you can. Do not allow a court to decide your future. Remember, courts generally do not consider your needs and interests or take stock market volatility into account.
Mediators are not financial experts, but through the mediation process clients can work with experts to discover tools and common interests and create a plan that works best under the circumstances!
Debra Synovec, a Seattle-based mediator and lawyer, has mediated divorces for 20 years. She believes in empowering the parties to reach their own resolution.
Additional articles by Debra Synovec