Tracy Stewart, CPA/PFS
Owner, Tracy Stewart CPA, PLLC
My personal experience is that it is, it is hugely rewarding, emotionally and professionally rewarding to work with people in divorce. I imagine some people who will hear that would say, “Are you crazy?” And no, I don’t think I am crazy, but my clients are grateful, they are very grateful for the help. They are scared down to their toes, and they don’t know what their life is going to be like.
And it’s wonderful to be able to help someone who is going through such a difficult time. And they are able to come out of it with a bit more confidence or understanding of what their financial life is going to look like.
CPAs are well positioned to help clients in divorce because their objective — because they can be creative in helping the clients understand which assets to offset. “I would like the house; you would like the lakefront house.” Well the CPA can probe with some questions of, “Does that work with your lifestyle? Let’s see if you can afford the mortgage. Do you need to, like, refinance it, and can you qualify?,” things like that. And CPAs can come up with ideas that the clients hadn’t come up with.
So CPAs can help clients come to property division settlements without having to go to court. They can also talk to the client about tax aspects. They can compare an asset that isn't going to be taxed with one that will and do calculations to put them on an even playing field between the two assets. And that’s very helpful as well.
For more information on personal financial planning, visit aicpa.org/pfp