About Tracy Stewart

How NOT to handle money conversations in a divorce

Over the years of working as a financial planner, I have seen enough to confirm one simple truth. Most couples are uncomfortable talking about money. We can chalk that up to societal norms that make money a taboo subject or to personality differences. There are also differences in knowledge and experience. It is not uncommon to see one spouse act as a financial guru in charge of money, while the … [Read more...]

The Awful Truth About Living Expenses

It is human to make mistakes. Unfortunately, if those mistakes are made on the living expense calculations that are considered in the terms of the divorce agreement, you can forget about financial stability. If you don’t want to compromise your money situation for years to come, here are 5 common mistakes to avoid. Mistake # 1: Using rough estimates. I will say this directly and plainly: using … [Read more...]

“Thou shalt not play tug of war” and other tips for getting the most out of your collaborative team

Some of the trickiest aspects of supporting couples through a collaborative divorce result from the nature of my involvement. As a neutral financial planner, my role is to support both Husband and Wife so that they can make the best decisions regarding their assets and debt. That may sound straight-forward, and it would be – if it were not for clandestine requests I get from time to time. “I … [Read more...]

Litigated vs. Collaborative Divorce: Differences in Cost and More

One of the biggest stress points of a potential divorce is its financial impact on the family. This concern does not stop with the split of financial and non-financial assets. The cost of the divorce itself can be a considerable burden. While I do not recommend opting into a DIY divorce (see 4 Reasons Why DIY Divorce Is Most Likely A Bad Idea), I do encourage clients to research their options and … [Read more...]

When Math Isn’t Easy: Tricky Aspects of Property Division In a Divorce

As a member of collaborative divorce teams on nearly 100 cases, I can confirm that divorce math isn’t easy. Splitting a checking account balance 50/50 is simple enough – but many other assets and obligations present a complex puzzle. Here are some tricky aspects of property division that may come up in a divorce. Real estate property Cutting the house into 2 sections based on square footage is … [Read more...]

Divorce and Money: Using a Financial Planner to Get to Clarity

FAQ: I am lost when it comes to financial questions. Can you help? Yes, I can! One of the key benefits of a collaborative divorce process is that it can help everyone understand family finances - before any decisions are made. As a neutral financial professional, my goal is to create a level playing field – which means taking the mystery and complexity out of money. I am here to inform, … [Read more...]

What Should I Do About Health Insurance?

FAQ: What should I do about my health insurance? One of the great benefits that a family unit can offer is the ability to rely on each spouse’s area of expertise. It is not unusual for one spouse to be in charge of the financial decisions, like budgeting and investing, while the other one takes on planning trips and managing the family calendar. When it works well, it’s segregation of duties at … [Read more...]

3 Tips for Keeping the Divorce Cost Down

FAQ: What can I do to keep the divorce cost down? Divorce is expensive under the best of circumstances. The good news is that there are specific steps you can take to manage the divorce cost, especially in a collaborative process. Here are three simple steps that will put you back in the driver’s seat and help eliminate bill-time surprises. Hire professionals who are trained in the … [Read more...]

A Recipe for Lower Divorce Cost

FAQ: How much will this divorce cost me? Ah, the key money question. From having been a part of over 100 collaborative divorce cases, I can share that the collaborative path can be more cost-effective than the traditional divorce litigation. The reasons for that are simple: the collaborative divorce process can allow the couple to avoid the expense of subpoenas and hearings. It can also eliminate … [Read more...]

Financial Projections: What You Need to Know

FAQ: Will I make it financially? “Will I be OK money-wise?” is a question that I hear a lot. It is usually voiced by the spouse who did not have a lucrative career and just got an informal proposal of property division from the other spouse. If I take his offer to keep the house but he takes all of his retirement accounts, will I be able to maintain a comfortable lifestyle? As a CPA who makes … [Read more...]