The Role of a Financial Neutral in the Divorce Process with Steve Kaplan CPA/ABV, MBA

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Steve Kaplan

The Role of a Financial Neutral in the Divorce Process


Money is so much more than a way to pay the bills. It’s how we judge ourselves and others. It represents power and control. For a divorcing couple, uncertainty around finances and a sense of mistrust complicate the process. Enter the financial neutral, a professional who serves to uncover the economic reality of a given situation and establish trust, thereby changing the tenor of the conversation in a conflict-resolution proceeding.

Steve Kaplan is a CPA/ABV based in White Plains who practices largely in the area of dispute resolution, providing valuation, financial analysis, and settlement support services. Steve is trained in Collaborative Divorce Practice and Collaborative Civil Practice as well as mediation. He also serves as an executive board member for the Hudson Valley Collaborative Divorce and Dispute Resolution Association.

Today, Steve sits down with Katherine to explain his role as a CPA in the divorce setting. He discusses how financial neutrals navigate mistrust between parties, make difficult decisions around what to disclose, and provide an understanding of the couple’s economic reality. Steve shares how his role is different in a litigated case versus the collaborative divorce or mediation setting. Listen in for insight about how financial professionals help establish trust in a conflict-resolution proceeding and learn Steve’s approach to working with former partners in the divorce process.

Topics Covered

Steve’s role as a CPA in the divorce setting

  • Numbers tell story
  • Verify information

Steve’s aim to provide both parties with economic independence

Why financial neutrals don’t work with divorce clients after the process

How financial neutrals navigate the mistrust between parties in divorce

The difficult decisions financial neutrals make around what is material

The financial neutral’s forensic work to uncover facts

The financial neutral’s role in a litigated case vs. collaborative setting

  • Gather, present facts in courtroom setting
  • Part of resolution-finding team in collaboration

How trust changes the tone of a conflict-resolution proceeding

The complexity of money as an instrument of power, control

Steve’s first steps for serving as financial neutral in a divorce

  • Initial conversation with BOTH parties
  • Outline expectations, discuss time and cost

Connect with Steve Kaplan

Steve’s Website

Call (914) 733-7340

Connect with Katherine Miller

The Center for Understanding Conflict

Miller Law Group

Katherine on LinkedIn

The New Yorker’s Guide to Collaborative Divorce by Katherine Miller

Email katherine@westchesterfamilylaw.com

Call (914) 738-7765