Using San Diego’s Best Certified Divorce Financial Analyst
Chief PeaceKeeper Scott Levin 0:03
Hi, everybody. My name is Scott Levin. I am the chief peacekeeper at San Diego Divorce Mediation and family law. And I am joined today by Tanya Ra. Hi, Tanya. Hi, Scott. How’s it going? Good. How are you? Ma’am? Good. It’s Friday. Yes, it’s Friday and COVID. Yes, anymore are there days of the week. So today, I really want to take just a few minutes to introduce Tanya, and have a have a recorded conversation that we’re going to post to our social media. Tanya is someone that I often times will recommend to my clients in mediation, that they should hire her as a certified divorce financial analyst. And I and I, a lot of people don’t know what a certified divorce financial analyst does. It’s also called a cdfa. We’ll probably use that terminology during this talk. But Tanya, can you kind of talk to us briefly about the work that you do in divorce in the divorce world and how you may have started?
Tanya Aure 1:08
Oh, boy, so a certified divorce financial analyst. So what that means is I gather people’s financial information during the divorce process, everyone going through the divorce process is required to disclose their finances. And once they do disclose their finances, I take all of those numbers and all of their assets and their debts. And I figure out what it looks like today, what it’s going to look like, the day after divorce, and what it’s going to look like down the line. And when I say what it’s gonna look like I mean, your financial future, right? At the end of the day, when you split a household in two, especially in Southern California, it’s something that has to be understood on all levels. So I started doing this work because I myself went through divorce almost seven years ago, seven ish years ago. And I luckily knew a lot of the finances however, there were many things I didn’t know. And, you know, knowing what I know, now, I would have really done a few things differently, especially when it came to, you know, what our assets look like, what our debts look like. And really what the future looked like for my children, I and my ex husband. So that’s why I do this work, I think providing that financial clarity for people is key moving forward.
Chief PeaceKeeper Scott Levin 2:30
Yeah. And, you know, I really want to talk today about your work in the world of mediation, because that’s what I do. I’m a mediator. So, you know, I am an attorney, but I practiced exclusively in mediation. So I call myself the chief peacekeeper gave myself that fancy title. But you know, really, in mediation, you are saving yourself, oftentimes so much money on the legal fees, that you can surround yourself with a team of experts that can help guide you throughout the divorce process. And that’s really where Tanya can come in and help somebody. So I guess briefly, let me just talk to our listeners about the differences between litigation and mediation. So litigation, the first thing that your attorney would do when you engage an attorney, and I’m not speaking poorly about attorneys or Family Law Attorneys, I love many of them, you can, I like to say you can certainly take them out to lunch, just don’t want to hire them. Sorry, is, you know, the first thing that your attorney does when you engage someone for a family law matter. And I was guilty of this, too, when I was practicing and litigation is you need all the junk, you asked for all the stuff that went down, you know, what are all the bad things that happened? What did that person do to you. And the reason that they need that information is that they need to position their client versus the other spouse, because there’s going to be a winner and a loser in litigation. And the only way to win or lose is to defeat the person, the only way to win is to defeat the other person. And and to do that you really need all the stories and all the all the all the bad stuff that went down if there is such a thing. And that’s the first step in a litigation process and mediation, it’s quite different. We are future focused. So when I get a client that calls me, for the first thing that I do is say, I appreciate the call and I would love to talk with you but I can’t talk with you outside this outside of the room with your spouse. So in order for me to be an effective and ethical mediator, I have to be neutral. And so the first thing that we do is really schedule a call for all of us to speak. And and from there. That’s that’s really the last time that I’m ever speaking with that one person without the other there. And the reason is that we work as a team to address their issues of divorce, and the issues of divorce are always, you know, really a lot of times the same as you know, Tommy, it’s the asset and debt division, there’s the child and spousal support, the, you know, the support issue, and then if they have children, and obviously a parenting plan, and so we work as a team to figure out their solutions to those problems. And and we don’t work in the past were focused on what your what you kind of mentioned, Tanya, which is, you know, how do we what are the assets gonna look like, not just today, but in the future? And that’s a really big difference in mediation versus litigation is how, how do you want to spend that time? Do you want to spend two years looking backwards in a litigated divorce? Or do you want to spend a much shorter time and spend a lot less money looking forwards and figuring out how you guys can both move forward? I’m, Tanya, let me ask you a question. How do you work? Well, oftentimes, my clients, there’s, there’s a more knowledgeable spouse, and a less knowledgeable spouse in terms of the assets and debts? Do you find that as well?
Tanya Aure 6:10
I do, I usually find exactly that one of them has more access has more accounts. And the other one is just kind of on autopilot, assuming everything’s okay. Oh, obviously, when we go through divorce, everything is no longer okay. And it really has to be clear what assets the family has. So as you were saying, in mediation, you’re going to dig up all the bad, you’re going to dig up all the good. One of the first things I tell people to do is put a timeline together of when you got married when you had your kids, and if you know your date of separation, and sometimes people don’t know that, and that’s why there’s kind of working it out in mediation. But that timeline, helps me understand what is actually community property when it comes to your finances. Where am I calculating from beginning to end. And again, sometimes one spouse just knows more than the other and, and the ideal world, people come to me together also. And they’re both forthcoming with all of their financial information. That doesn’t necessarily happen all the time. Usually, I get one party coming in prior to mediation, saying I want to know what this is going to look like before I even go to the mediator that only works if we actually have all of the information. And you know, at the end of the day, most couples do want to know that before they go to mediation, it’s a step that they can do. But then there are some times where they’re just like, I’m not going to give all this information. Now, we don’t even know where we’re going, are we really getting divorced, there’s a lot of back and forth. So in those situations, I need people to go to Scott, sit there, figure out what they want to do, how they want to move forward, do the paperwork, and then be in the process, which requires the disclosure for both parties, right. And then when that happens, I can get all the information again, Scott and I work talk about what it’s going to look like with the permission of the client, of course, because Scott needs to be the one to figure out spousal and child, I figured out everything else. But those two components need to work together to plan for post divorce life.
Chief PeaceKeeper Scott Levin 8:28
Yeah, like so basically, once you file for divorce with the help of a mediator, or however you do it, you’re required to fill out two sets of financial forms an income and expense declaration and your asset and debt declaration. So basically, you’re, you’re required to under penalty of perjury to complete those statements in full and without anything missing. And so in mediation, the first session of mediation, I usually go over those forms with my clients, and make sure that there aren’t any questions, if there are questions, we need to dig deeper into what’s missing, or, you know, what if there’s an account that, you know, one person thinks was larger, and now it’s not, etc, we really dig into that. But at that point, in my opinion, Tanya, that’s the perfect time for those two clients to then engage Tanya, because they have their asset and debt, and their income statements completed. And they completed them in a way that I have someone that’s been in this field for a very long time and comfortable with Now certainly things could still be missing. But we’re at least, you know, pretty comfortable with what’s there. And then Tanya can work with the parties to, you know, plug in their information into the special software that she has, and basically show them you know, this is what the these are the options what, these are some options that you can play with in terms of dividing those assets and if one person takes the house and And then by the other person out, then how do you even out? You know, the 401k, etc. So she has a really great software program, what’s it called Tony, I’m sorry,
Tanya Aure 10:10
Family Law software. And it’s got, you know, one of the other benefits of you know, you looking at all the numbers and me looking at all the numbers is that we can always cross check each other, right? And because I take a deeper dive into the numbers, so when I say numbers, I mean, I asked for statements, I asked for tax returns. So I asked for a, you know, an intake form, but I match everything up. So if something is a mess, like if somebody got a deposit of $10,000, and I can’t find exactly where it came from, those are the type of things that we want to make sure it gets completely disclosed. Because down the path, my understanding is, and Scott, you can correct me if I’m wrong, but if one party hides an asset, and it is found later, the other party could get the entire asset. Is that correct? Yeah, I
Chief PeaceKeeper Scott Levin 11:00
mean, it’s definitely possible. I mean, courts don’t like people misleading them under penalty of perjury. So, you know, not a good not a good thing to to fill out those forms, knowing knowingly in an incorrect manner. But like Tonya said, you know, as a mediator, people sometimes come to me and they think that they can send me you know, 16 different emails with all their statements. And I can somehow coordinate that and figure it all out and match it up. What I’m doing as a mediator, in that first meeting, is really trying to understand if there’s disagreement, before I dig in to the background information, what Tommy is doing is a financial expert, essentially, is digging into the financial information and back in the backup data from the very getgo. And those are two different roles. So you’re getting two very smart people that are trying to accomplish the same thing, but are essentially, you know, reviewing each other’s work. And the combined fee are two combined fees would still be, you know, maybe seven to 8%, of what a litigated divorce would be so you’re still saving a tremendous amount of money, but you have to people with many years of divorce, cross checking each other’s work on the financial side, which is only a good thing.
Tanya Aure 12:19
And Scott, I don’t know this, and maybe you do, but on average, how much as a litigated divorce. I mean, I’ve seen litigated divorces go up to $200,000. Over the years, I frankly don’t know anybody that’s gotten out of it, for under 30,000. And a litigated divorce, maybe there’s a lower way to do it, or a less expensive way and litigation. But I find as soon as the parties can work together, even though they may have started not working together, that seems to be the least expensive way out of this particular process.
Chief PeaceKeeper Scott Levin 13:00
Yeah, and you can’t, and you can’t really even measure, there’s no doubt that it’s the least expensive in terms of mediation, the least expensive option, but you can’t measure the emotional savings that we are able to convey to our clients. Because, you know, the average divorce in Southern California is now just a two years, the litigated divorce. And it and again, a lot of it is past focus. So it’s it’s what did he or she do to me? And why should that matter to the to the judge, and to the court, in awarding me more than the other person. So two years stuck in the past is, it can be a very challenging thing for anybody. I, you know, the average mediated divorce divorce that I’m working on, is between five and seven weeks. So once we start, we keep the momentum going by having weekly meetings, and we really attack these issues. And, and I spend, I spend 90 minutes per session and I have five sessions that are included in my divorce package. And and you would be surprised at how much room that we can cover when two people are sitting down and talking through the about the issue of spousal support, for example, or child support or a parenting plan. I mean, 90 minutes is a very long time to to try to figure out that issue. It doesn’t sound like it but it is and and, you know, you’re essentially getting, you know, 10 hours of a lawyers time just with both parties to try to figure out solutions. And I’m not sure in a litigated situation if you ever see your lawyer for a total of 10 hours during that two year period. You know, maybe when you’re going to court for that 25 minute hearing but I mean it’s you know, you’re really you really got a lot of value. But I I want to just The reason I asked Tommy on for this call for this recording was that I want to make more people aware of the cdfa designation, the certified divorce financial analyst and Tanya ra services in particular. Any mediator that’s worth their weight, loves to hear that their clients are working with a cdfa. Those clients are educated. Those clients believe in the in the accuracy of the figures that are being discussed. And if you can’t believe in the accuracy of the figures that are being discussed, then you’ll never trust the end goal, which is a mediated agreement. And you’ll be just you won’t have that trust, and it will be very difficult for both people to find the document. Because they don’t have that trust.
Tanya Aure 15:49
And one thing I should mention, Scott, too, is, first of all, thank you, you’re so nice. And to one of the things I want to mention is, you know, I get a lot of people also saying, Well, you know, we can do this without a mediator, we don’t need a lawyer, we’ll just fill out the forms and file them. And I can absolutely 100% tell people that that is not the best idea. I can’t tell you how many cases I’ve seen where people have decided to forego the mediator forego the lawyer fill out all their paperwork for go me totally fine. File all their paperwork, only for there to be a big hole in the middle of the process. It gets stalled. They don’t know where to go. But they’ve already filed paperwork, and then eventually a lawyer or mediator gets involved. Anyway, when it comes to the numbers, I end up getting involved in doing a little bit more cleanup because stuff was filed, but it wasn’t filed accurately because one spouse was unnecessary being forthcoming. And I know everybody wants to save money on this process. It’s already so painful, emotionally, financially. But I definitely recommend using a mediator, a lawyer or someone to help you through this process, because there are lots of nuances that I mean, why would you know, you’ve never been through divorce, we do it all day. But it happens and you don’t want to be going back for that kind of information.
Chief PeaceKeeper Scott Levin 17:10
Yeah, and there is an option like, you know, so the most expensive options are to go to court and hire lawyers, then there’s a mediator now you could find a paralegal, too, that can help you fill out the paperwork. But absolutely, those a lot of people will come to me and say Do I need a lawyer to review what what that what that paralegal is completing, I would say, you’re better off spending your money on Tonya and the paralegal combined, then then getting it reviewed by an attorney, because that really the worst becomes about the number, the numbers, and it’s about the asset and debt division, and it’s about the support. And Tanya and cdfa is someone that can get that number, right and, and you have to trust that number. Because the last thing that we want you to do, any lawyer or mediator will maybe not lawyer, what we really want you to do is be okay with the agreement that you sign so that you can move forward. But about 50% of people that get divorced end up back in court to fight about something else after the divorce. And that is a very costly process. It sucks to be dragged, you know, quote, unquote, dragged back into court by your ex, it if you have children, you know, it’s can be, you know, not good for the CO parenting relationship. Obviously, there are the fact that that many people are going back to court, there’s a need for it at times. But if you are confident in the financials being accurate, then a lot more people will be confident in the agreement that they signed, and live and live by it. And so I just can’t recommend Tania Ra. More, any more than I already do to all my clients. She’s fantastic. And I encourage you to reach out to me and how can people find you?
Tanya Aure 19:08
Um, so I, my email address is TAUR e at financial guide.com. My cell is 858-206-9411 text all I’m here. And, Scott, I really appreciate your accolades. You’re so sweet. And I will say that I recommend you everywhere I go for mediation, just because I think it’s the first stop I just think if you can defuse the process and get these two people to work with each other, and I just frankly find your personality is totally right up that alley, right you just kind of understand how to talk to people get them to understand any other way is going to be significantly more painful emotionally and financially. I can’t recommend you high enough.
Chief PeaceKeeper Scott Levin 19:59
Yeah, they are you Actually, right before we started recording this, I got off a call with a client, and they have four young kids. Um, I’m really thankful that they trusted me enough to help them. But I mean for young kids under eight, and in this case, you know, one of the parties it once the divorce and the other doesn’t, that’s not always the case, but it is in this one. And there’s a lot of emotions, and it could be a trigger, you know, for an expensive, you know, fight. And I’m really, you know, I’m all about just trying to help families move forward. You know, once you’ve decided to divorce, it’s happening. Oops, sorry. Sorry about that. And my goal is to just help people, you know, move forward and focus on the future. So, I appreciate that, too. Thanks for having me on today, Scott. I really appreciate it. My pleasure. We’ll see you soon. Thank you. No, thank you.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai