Most couples don’t ask for divorce advice before they say, “I do.” Sadly, it can happen, and individuals need to prepare for the financial and emotional ramifications of a separation and divorce.
That’s why Loretta Hutchinson, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, National Certified Counselor, and financial advisor at Harvest Group Financial Services, along with Rosemary G. Caligiuri, president of Harvest Group, founded Financial Divorce Plan. Financial Divorce Plan helps clients navigate the often complex financial aspects of divorce. Through her website, www.financialdivorceplan.com, and her monthly divorce e-newsletters, Hutchinson strives to educate and advise her clients before, during and after their divorce settlement. This makes intelligent divorce possible. Financial Divorce Plan works with clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Florida, where the firm has offices.
Hutchinson works closely with a client’s family law attorney or divorce mediator in divorce financial planning. She is also trained in collaborative divorce. Collaborative divorce brings divorcing couples together to review marital assets and resolve their financial issues and, in working with collaborative divorce attorneys, the divorce settlement can be completed without going to court.
Considering herself first and foremost a financial advisor and educator through expertise gained as an advisor at Harvest Group Financial Services, Hutchinson acts as a financial advocate for clients who are going through a separation and divorce, making sure the decisions made in the divorce settlement are equitable and will protect a client’s future financial life. She outlines not only the details of the distribution of marital assets but also how that will affect each individual’s long-term financial planning. Hutchinson also brainstorms with her clients on managing their future financial planning concerns.
“People tend to make poor and often misinformed decisions under such stressful circumstances,” she says. “Since these decisions have a lifelong financial impact for the individuals and their families, it’s important for divorcing clients to understand the short- and long-term consequences of the divorce settlement.”
Education, says Hutchinson, is the key. “Today I am seeing a lot of couples with big age differences, nontraditional roles, blended families and prenuptial contracts in place. But the common thread is the need for education about the divorce settlement process and its ramifications. There is very little accurate divorce financial planning information for this critical personal and financial transition.
“There is no such thing as ‘one size fits all,’” she continues. “Well-meaning friends and relatives may offer divorce advice that is not accurate. Clients who come to me late in the divorce process often find they have made important decisions based on misinformation.”
Hutchinson’s goal is to provide her clients with financial clarity and knowledge that will empower and move them through each step. She teaches clients to understand their financial situation in detail, and what they may need to include or be faced with when negotiating property division, child support, spousal support and their divorce settlement.
An Individual Approach
Financial Divorce Plan offers post-divorce assistance as well with developing new and adjusted financial strategies to provide stability to clients. The firm steers clients through post-judgment changes, recalculating child support or spousal support, filing tax returns as a single person and personal financial and retirement planning. The firm provides an initial in-person consultation to have divorce financial planning concerns addressed. Many resources are available on the firm’s website, including a monthly divorce newsletter, divorce planning guides and informative articles on divorce financial planning.
Mary Jane Martin, a client of Hutchinson’s, says, “While going through a divorce, I found the complexity of managing all the financial planning aspects of life overwhelming. I had choices and decisions that needed to be made, yet lacked the financial expertise to make them alone.” She sought out a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst who specialized in helping client’s take charge of their financial lives in a supportive, consultative, low-pressure environment. “Thankfully, I found Loretta Hutchinson at Harvest Group Financial Services. She was not only competent, knowledgeable and experienced, but she was everything I needed at the time—patient, understanding, empathetic and trustworthy.
“With Loretta’s guidance, I have realized my dream of operating my own business,” Martin continues. “At The Cognitive Enhancement Center of Bucks County, I use brain-based interventions to help struggling students find the pathway to independent learning. I couldn’t be happier or feel more secure.”
Hutchinson, a Bucks County resident, has been married for 29 years, with three children. Her career began in the financial services industry, working for a time as a tax-planning accountant and ultimately landing at Harvest Group Financial Services. Hutchinson is a host on Harvest Group’s “Financial Issues and Answers” radio show. She is also the financial contributor for The Advance of Bucks County and BucksLocalNews.com as well as Divorce Magazine. As a writer for Family Lawyer Magazine, Hutchinson also informs and supports family law attorneys with the financial divorce planning aspects of the divorce settlement.
“I strongly recommend that individuals or couples talk to us as soon as they can before making too many irreversible commitments in the absence of financial divorce information,” says Hutchinson. “A huge part of making the decision to discuss marital assets and move forward is being able to have a financial plan in place.” Hutchinson says the best-case scenario for clients is when they are proactive and visit with her before filing for divorce. “This may ensure all aspects of your financial future are thoroughly considered,” she says.
If clients visit during the divorce, Hutchinson’s team educates them and acts as a financial sounding board in regard to the division of marital assets and their financial plan as they move into becoming single adults. “This includes educating you on the nuances of different types of marital assets, as well as how these will affect you from a tax-planning and financial-planning perspective,” she says. “Some of the areas we will guide you through at this stage include assessing divorce-settlement options, child support and spousal support, property division and working with the respective family law attorneys and mediators with your best financial interests in mind.”
Financial Divorce Plan LLC
Harvest Group Financial Services Corp.
1707 Langhorne-Newtown Road, #1
Langhorne, PA 19046