Divorce Financial Expert 
Damon J. Wykrent,
Services for individuals going through or contemplating a divorce in Texas
As a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®), Damon is routinely involved in assisting clients with issues related to cash flow, risk evaluation, investments, taxes, retirement planning, and estate planning. Damon can specifically help individuals understand and evaluate the short and long term consequences of different property settlement options during divorce. The ability to work with Damon will help prevent common financial mistakes made by many divorcing couples. Damon can also serve as an expert witness in court and helps to provide valuable financial information during mediation as necessary.  Damon also has the expertise and training to help you with the financial issues of your divorce as a neutral expert as part of your Collaborative Law Team.  The financial issues inherent to every divorce case are often times the ones that are the most overlooked. However, once a divorce settlement has been signed, it's too late to change it. Damon has the experience and expertise to help you during the divorce process, and to help you avoid those costly financial mistakes.

How can a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) help me?
They provide valuable information on financial issues that are related to the divorce, such as tax consequences, dividing pension plans, dividing retirement plans, continued health care coverage, stock option elections and much more. When a CDFA is used during the Inventory and Appraisement stage of your divorce, you have an expert looking at your finances that can spot problems and advantages from the start of your case. This will save you time and money down the road. A CDFA will help you understand your proposed divorce settlement, and will communicate with you in terms that you can understand. Since a qualified specialist is working on the financial issues in your divorce, this will leave more time for you and your attorney to focus on the legal issues you may have. 

Should a person hire a CDFA™ instead of an attorney?
Definitely not! It is highly recommend that any person getting a divorce seek legal counsel. The CDFA™’s role is to assist the attorney and the client with the financial issues, not replace the attorney.

Do CDFA™’s help only men or only women?
CDFA™’s are trained to advocate for men and women.The CDFA™ simply interprets the numbers and helps the attorney and client.

Can CDFA™’s act as a neutral party to help a couple reach a financial settlement?
Yes, it is common to have a CDFA™ take a role in facilitative mediation and collaborative law. However, CDFA™’s are not attorneys and cannot give out legal advice. It is always recommend that any person going through a divorce receive independent legal advice.

SAMPLE CASE (Keep in mind that this is not a real Texas case, it is just an example of how CDFA™’s can help you in this difficult process.)
John and Jane are 40 years old and have two children. They own a home worth $165,000 with net equity of $77,500. Their IRAs and 401(k) retirement plan total $165,500 in value. John earns $90,000 a year and has take-home pay of $68,760 a year. Jane has been out of the work force for several years due to the fact of raising the children, but she hopes to get a job for $8 an hour with take-home pay of $8,900 a year.

The following settlement has been suggested. After the divorce, Jane and the children will live in the house, which will be deeded to her. She will also receive $44,000 of the retirement monies and John $121,500, thus dividing the assets equally. John will pay Jane alimony of $600 per month for 5 years and child support of $225 per month per child. He will also pay college costs which start in 4 years.

John's expenses include his normal living expenses, child support, alimony and college costs. Jane's expenses include support of the children and are reduced when each child leaves home.

This appears to be a reasonably fair settlement. However, an analysis creates the financial future illustrated in the following graph. Jane's assets will be completely depleted within seven years while John's investments will grow dramatically.

To improve Jane's financial future, the settlement could provide her with increased alimony of $1,500 per month for 10 years. This would actually cost John $1,005 per month in after-tax dollars. The correct child support according to the Attorney General of Texas Child Support Guidelines is $1,430 per month for two children for a couple with their income. Jane also could be awarded an additional $24,300 from the retirement plans. She also may need to cut her expenses by 10%. These changes in the original settlement will produce the results illustrated in graph #2. John will still have a surplus which he can add to his investments. If John stays within his budget and invests all of his extra income, his investments have the capacity to grow to $2.5 million by the time he is age 60.

This sample case illustrates the value of financial planning as a means of reaching more equitable divorce settlements.  It is essential to analyze your financial settlement to help insure that you are getting what is best for you and your family.    
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