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The Situation

Mike and Christine were married for over 10 years when Christine filed for divorce. Both were successful engineers, and they had three young children, a house, and substantial retirement assets. Both Mike and Christine were concerned primarily about the children’s well being but at the same time about the financial consequences of the agreement. They wanted to quantify the financial ramifications of the divorce, ensure an amicable and equitable split, and ensure that they were still on track to reach their respective long-term financial goals.

The Solution

After a thorough review of the separation agreement drafted by Christine’s attorneys, it was noted by Mike’s CJM advisor that the agreement outlined that Christine would have custody of their three children for over ˝ of the year, but that both Mike and Christine would be equally responsible for the financial support of the three children. However, the separation agreement made no specific mention of which spouse would be entitled to claim the children as dependents. Mike’s advisor noted that, as currently written, only Christine, as the custodial parent for more than ˝ of the calendar year, would be entitled to claim the dependency exemption on her income tax return. CJM’s team of planners pointed out that it is possible for the noncustodial parent to claim the exemption if the custodial parent agrees to waiving their right to the exemption(s). Working with Mike’s accountant, CJM calculated the projected value of this exemption over time and suggested that Mike request a cash distribution or the right to claim the exemption in certain years.

In addition, through collaboration with Mike’s attorney and accountant, CJM also suggested the inclusion of mandatory funding of each child’s 529 college savings plan, as well as additional life insurance on each party to protect not only the children’s financial support but also the surviving parent’s financial support.

Once the divorce was finalized, CJM connected Mike to an estate attorney who was able to update his estate plan, ensuring that any funds would be used for the benefit of his children.

Value To The Client

Leveraging CJM’s financial expertise, Mike and Christine had the piece of mind knowing that they could negotiate a financially equitable split. Working with their attorneys and accountants, CJM was able to provide clarity, objective financial advice resulting in an equitable division of assets during an incredibly stressful and emotional time.

More Solutions

At CJM we understand that no two clients are alike and real world problems require practical and timely solutions. The CJM team brings together the best and the brightest in the areas of investment, tax, insurance, financial planning & wealth management to resolve each client’s particular issue(s).