The goal of Lifetime Planning, LLC is to facilitate peaceful divorce settlements through the mediation of financial issues and the facilitation of a parenting plan. This is accomplished through customized financial tables enabling clients to see logical and equitable ways to divide assets before or after hiring an attorney. Services utilized before “lawyering up” will significantly lower cost. If we are hired after attorneys are retained, we can streamline the process and illustrate an equitable division of assets, adjusting for taxes and valuing pensions. Included in the financial road map is a 20-year cash flow spreadsheet which illustrates long-term effects of a settlement. Lifetime Planning has no product to sell; we do not manage money and are therefore completely objective with recommendations.
For Children’s issues, she provides a fill-in-the blank parenting plan based on the Texas Family Code to allow the couple to establish their wishes and zero in on items needing mediation.
Patricia Barrett, with over twenty years experience in the financial services industry, began Lifetime Planning in 2004 in order to assist people facing divorce. Previously, she held series 7 (general securities), a series 63 license and was the manager of the Financial Planning Department for a prominent Houston Trust company.
Patricia is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA), and has completed Advanced Family Mediation Training through the University of Houston Law School. Patricia currently serves as the treasurer for the Association of Family Conciliation Courts and was a past treasurer of the Financial Planning Association of Houston.
Patricia attends continuing legal education symposiums several times each year in order to remain up-to-date on divorce rules in Texas. She teaches a recurring class to the public entitled “Divorce in Texas – Money and More” through Leisure Learning Unlimited.
Since completing the A. A. White Mediation training at the University of Houston Law School, Patricia has facilitated more than 200 mediations, helping couples reach peaceable divorce settlements. Many of Patricia’s mediation cases are referrals from attorneys that recognize her financial/mediation skills to help bring the couple to settlement. Satisfied clients refer friends and other budget minded clients choose Lifetime Planning services after researching available options.
Patricia’s approach to mediation involves separate meetings with each spouse to establish individual goals and interests. A questionnaire is provided to guide them in gathering financial documents and coming up with a budget. A spreadsheet is then created with percentages for each spouse, based on goals and the rules of equitable settlement. We often devise “what-if” scenarios to graphically illustrate a client’s position post-divorce. We review each asset valuation and determine the proportion of separate and community property. Tax adjustments are calculated for assets such as capital gains, IRAs, 401ks, pensions, stock options, etc. so that each asset class is weighted on a more equal footing with the other assets. If alimony is possible and appropriate it can be offset with assets to give the paying spouse more of their pension (or other asset) and show the tax savings.
When emotions run high as they often do during a divorce, she encourages clients to consider this as a business transaction and to look toward their future, not the past. Patricia provides professional, personalized advice at all times.
Abilene Christian University
New York Institute of Finance
College for Financial Planning, Denver
University of Houston Law School (mediation training)
Patricia charges $175.00 per hour for mediation and personalized financial analysis. This includes the on-site modification of computerized asset division and the illustration of long-term effects (20-year spreadsheet). Should the couple wish to forgo the long-term cash flow planning, the required hours are reduced substantially. Basic data entry and clerical duties are provided at $75 per hour for work not requiring Patricia’s expertise. Lifetime Planning provides a check-list for the clients to choose their services, with the goal of providing the most cost effective, advantageous plan for the client.