Divorces can be traumatic enough alone without the added stress of thoroughly understanding of the financial implications.
Sam Hubbard, a certified divorce financial analyst, and founder of Coastal Divorce Advisors, is the first locally to “provide the data and analysis to clients and their attorneys so that they can better negotiate a favorable settlement.”
Coastal Divorce Advisors, an affiliate of Coastal Capital Management, a wealth management firm he started, are part of what he said is a “relatively new niche industry” that has caught on nationally over the past decade.
Hubbard brings 16 years’ experience as a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch’s International Wealth Management division in New York City in addition to the special training for the certificated to open the first such service in the Savannah area.
“Since 85 percent of divorce is about the division of assets,” having a financial expert to work with the divorce team to determine an equitable division of assets “just makes sense,” he said.
In some 70 percent of marriages one spouse handles all of the financial affairs of the relationship, Hubbard said.
“I realized there is a need to provide financial advice,” he said. “I’m leveling the playing field for those clients less involved in the family’s financial affairs.”
Where lawyers are experts in the legal aspects of a divorce, he brings a financial perspective that targets getting a clear picture of the finances.
And his perspective may be long range of about 20 years down the road rather than short term.
For example, he said, while lawyers will fight over a child tax credit, in some instances where one spouse makes a large income, it may not be worth it to one party to claim the credit.
“Regardless of your assets, the service still can play an important role in the divorce process,” Hubbard said.
On a personal note, Hubbard, 40, returned to his native Savannah and opened the dual program in January.
He said the new ventures have allowed him to reach his goals of starting his own wealth management firm and getting into the divorce financial planning business.
And it allowed him to return with his wife, Monica, and two sons.
“We felt this was the best place to raise our kids,” he said.