Guidance ∙ Strategy ∙ Unbiased Second Opinion ∙ Actionable Plan
Sometimes mediation is not possible when both parties are unwilling to participate, be fair and reasonable or one party is not yet willing to meet and start discussion toward resolution, yet the other party is seeking support and guidance on how to move forward. Often what they are seeking is:
- an understanding of the financial and parenting issues that will need to be addressed,
- what the steps and legal aspects of divorce entails
- a plan that addresses interim transition needs and a flexible plan for future financial needs
- and parenting options to help them make long term decisions which have a huge impact on both themselves and their children
Divorce coaching is also provided to parties who are engaged in the legal system but are seeking an unbiased second opinion. In certain cases, one party is looking for advice on how to have that conversation to end the marriage.
PRM Mediation will provide knowledge and information and create a comprehensive plan with an individual who can then use that in discussions with their spouse or with their legal counsel. If a couple engages PRM Mediation to mediate their entire settlement, this planning is included in the second step of our process. The plan will include strategies, options, considerations for issues like dealing with the matrimonial home, support, custody and access, valuation and division of assets, tax implications etc. We are unique in our coaching in that as a mediation firm it is still our primary desire to see our clients settle their disputes and conflict in the least amount of time and cost. As such we provide in our coaching the perspective of the other spouse so that our client will better understand what it will take to reach consensus and settlement with their ex- spouse. Please note that divorce coaching is not marriage counselling and can be combined with conflict coaching.
Conflict Coaching for Separating Couples
Self-Awareness ∙ Self-Assessment ∙ Building Skills ∙ Hands-on Practice ∙ Healthy Outcomes
A conflict coach takes parties through a structured process consisting of a series of private and confidential sessions which educates participants about the skills needed to manage conflict not dissimilar to the coaching provided to corporate employees and management. A conflict coach can help people:
- discover and understand the root cause of the conflict
- provide an opportunity to face the challenges and work through them
- examine and discover personal barriers or triggers related to the issue
- explore different points of view in handling the conflict
- create a better understanding of how to effectively deal with conflict and strengthen negotiating and resolution skills so that participants are better prepared to handle difficult conversations or circumstances in the future
- reduce anxiety and feel in control of the situation
- build healthier, more positive relationships
At PRM Mediation we create a personalized plan to develop these skills and overcome specific conflicts. Couples engage in these services when they are currently in the legal system and there is a high degree of conflict between their spouse and spouse’s counsel and wish to reduce conflict to reach settlement, or subsequent to settlement conflict arises particularly with co-parenting. This coaching is primarily provided on an individual basis but can be for a couple together. This is not marriage counselling or counselling offered by professional psychologists or therapists. For couples who engage in our divorce mediation this conflict coaching is integrated throughout our process.
Divorce 50 Plus
Moving from Discontent to the Best Years to Come
“Freedom 55” could mean more than just financial freedom or retirement! Often baby boomers entering this new stage of life are likely retired or reaching retirement, perhaps spurred on by being empty nesters; feelings of unrest, unhappiness, lack of fulfillment and intimacy and realize they want more out of life than what they have in their current situation. This discontent could lead to separation or divorce. Divorce 50 Plus is a plan PRM Mediation has developed to help middle aged couples facing this uncertain future by finding problem-solving mediation approaches that will ensure the needs of both parties are looked after. This could include mediating issues relating to:
- Acute and chronic health issues and the ability to fund needed health care services, insurance and long term care.
- Pre and post retirement financial needs and support obligations. Going from double-income to a one income household is tough at any age. But for seniors living off fixed income will be even greater. They are not in their asset gathering years; they are in their asset-depleting years.
- Managing and consolidating debt. CIBC and Harris Decima in a poll found that 59% of retired Canadians are in debt. How will debts be paid?
- Analysis of social security benefits and how to maximize the dollars they receive.
- Dividing income bearing assets equitably giving consideration in terms of whether or not to jointly hold property moving forward.
- Seeking other sources of income. Women over 50 who need to supplement income will have to deal with age discrimination when it comes to jobs, especially if they have been home taking care of the kids and do not have a career.
- Making provisions for children or grandchildren and themselves in each other’s will.
Financial Disclosure and Analysis
Accuracy ∙ Completeness ∙ Balancing Financial Knowledge and Understanding
In most cases, couples do not have accounting designations or deep financial knowledge nor understand the tax implications that affect couples facing separation and divorce. Neither do lawyers who are trained in law, not accounting. Often in relationships (married or common-law) responsibilities in the household are divided where one party takes care of the finances and the other the children. This leaves a huge gap in understanding the state of finances of the family upon separation and which coupled with lack of accounting knowledge leads to significant fear, mistrust and wariness regarding financial disclosure. A primary requirement in both mediation and in the legal system in settling the division of assets and in determining support is the need for full financial disclosure, the preparation of financial statements and the determination of income. Parties may be concerned about the movement of money between accounts, parties, entities or jurisdictions and in worse cases a willful intent to hide assets.
Mary Krauel is a Chartered Professional Accountant governed by a strict code of conduct for her profession and a Professional Negotiator/Mediator who blends her unique talent to ensure her clients are given expert financial guidance on how to maximize wealth through the divorce or separation process. As a CA of over 30 years, she has conducted numerous audits and has the expertise to conduct a forensic review of financial documentation and to trace funds. She provides “one-stop service” through PRM Divorce Mediation, saving her clients the time, cost and aggravation of hiring separate individuals to offer financial expertise, mediate, prepare parenting plans and provide legal information.
Mary is able to educate and guide parties on matters such as the division of property, child/spousal support issues as well as financial and tax implications as they affect certain decisions raising the financial knowledge of both parties to a balanced and equitable level. She is also able to analyze and guide on issues relating to divorce such as:
- preparation of financial statements at date of marriage and separation
- developing detailed family budgets to avoid post-divorce financial conflict
- forecast the long term effects of divorce in terms of income, tax liabilities and benefits
- negotiate a fair and just settlement to ensure both short and long term financial stability while maximizing wealth for both parties by helping them make informed decisions
- offering help to gather financial information and disclosure including calculating tax liabilities, creating budgets, anticipating the needs for a child’s education as well as each other’s retirement needs
- the division of assets
- tracing funds for income, investments, inheritances, trust accounts, off shore investments, etc.
- real estate investments
- analyze pension and retirement plans
- critically analyze budgets to determine whether or not each party can maintain their current lifestyle or maintain the family home
- evaluate a client’s insurance needs
- project future income requirements
- educate and guide clients on current tax issues that apply to divorce
- help develop future-based budgets and financial plans which include the needs of both parties with a focus on the needs of the children
A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA), through the Institute of Divorce Financial Analysts, usually has an extensive background in financial planning, accounting or law. They have also undertaken extensive training programs to become a skilled analyst who can provide expertise related to the financial issues of divorce and can be called upon to provide these services. Mary who also holds this designation is considered a subject matter expert for the Institute and has spoken as a key note speaker and conducted case study workshops for fellow CDFAs at their conventions in Toronto and Las Vegas.
Support to Divorce Lawyers
Providing Financial Expertise to Legal Profession
As a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and professional mediator, Mary is often called on to offer support to lawyers when needed. Mediation does not work in every situation and if parties decided to seek legal counsel, a CPA or a CDFA can assist a legal team. Just as accountants are not lawyers, lawyers are not accountants. PRM Mediation sees itself as a strategic alliance partner to legal counsel and a key member of the legal team providing financial expertise so that counsel may best represent and advocate for their respective clients. Our recommendations are made with the view of recognizing the needs of both parties and as such increase the likelihood they would reach a mutually acceptable and fair settlement. Primary areas of assistance offered by PRM Mediation includes: gathering financial disclosure; offer advice as to financial planning and tax implications; trace funds for income, investments and divestitures or inheritances; and offer financial guidance in providing creative options for asset division, debt consolidation, and payment of net equalization amounts which maximizes wealth and cash flow for both parties.
Where counsel is unable to reach consensus on issues for their clients PRM Mediation is engaged to mediate those specific issues.