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Black Tie  Wealth Management 1

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Black Tie International: Wealth Management- Bedrockdivorce.com


Jeff Landers, Bedrockdivorce.com

Jeffrey A. Landers
Founder and President


Financial Expertise During Divorce

Bedrock Divorce Advisors, LLC, is a divorce financial strategy firm that provides divorcing women and their attorneys expert financial guidance on all the important aspects of divorce, including:

  • Preparation of Financial Affidavits

  • Review and analysis of all assets/liabilities and income/expenses

  • Divorce financial planning

  • Detailed financial analyses and projections of various divorce settlement options (e.g., division of assets, alimony/maintenance and child support payments)

  • Divorce settlement insurance

We also offer our clients post-divorce retirement planning, asset protection and wealth management through our sister firm,
Bedrock Wealth Management, LLC.

Unfortunately, you often have only one chance to get things right in a divorce settlement. Once your divorce decree is signed, it may be difficult, or even impossible, to make changes. That’s why you need the skilled guidance of the Certified Divorce Financial Analysts™ at Bedrock Divorce Advisors.

Please contact us today for a free consultation



Jeffrey A. Landers is president and founder of Bedrock Divorce Advisors and Bedrock Wealth Management. A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™, Jeff is also a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor™ and Financial Advisor.

Jeff was previously a financial advisor with Wells Fargo Advisors, where he started his divorce practice helping those who were going through financially complicated divorces. He assisted business owners and professional practices with succession and exit planning strategies. He also provided retirement planning and investment advice to attorneys, senior executives and other professionals.

With more than three decades of business experience, Jeff applies expertise in divorce financial analysis, asset protection, real estate, small business ownership, and retirement and investment planning to each engagement. He also serves on the advisory board of Enterprising Women, the only national magazine devoted to women business owners, and is a sought-after expert on divorce and other financial issues faced by women entrepreneurs.

His diverse background has given Jeff the expertise to help women business owners divorce-proof their companies by implementing preventive measures that will protect their business from a future divorce. In addition, Jeff understands the often-complex financial needs of women going through a divorce and supports the professionals who represent them.

Jeff received his bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and studied law at Pace University School of Law. He is a published book author and has written many business articles for online and print publications, including the New York Post, Microsoft and a monthly column for Inc.com. Please click here for recently published articles, including “How to Protect Your Business in a Divorce” on Inc.com


For Better or For Worse
By Jeffrey Landers

When you took those vows 10, 20, 30 years ago you never dreamed it would come to this.  You are now getting divorced and you feel like the rug has been pulled out from under you. All the plans you made for your future must now be rewritten.  Your life is about to change and you have no idea how to even begin this process of divorce.

 First, take heart. You are not alone, although it may feel that way. Fifty-two percent of all first marriages end in divorce…so you are in the majority!

 Second, take a deep breath and gather your thoughts. Try to put your emotions aside and think financially.  Someone once said, “marriage is all about love and divorce is all about money” and I couldn’t agree more. Therefore your focus should now be about securing your (and your children’s) financial future.

 So don’t throw up your arms and surrender just to get this over with.  Instead, arm yourself. Understanding the following information could significantly increase your chances for a financially secure life, both now and in the future.


The Top 6 Important issues
 for Women  During Their Divorce

 1 - Believing that an equitable division of property means a 50/50 split.

 Equitable Does Not Mean Equal!
When going through a divorce, most people assume an equal 50/50 split of all assets is the typical and accepted rule of thumb.  But look a bit closer and you’ll see that this absolutely does not have to be the case.

 A 30 year-old women with a degree will probably rebound financially much faster than a 55 year-old homemaker that’s been out of the workforce for many years.  The harsh reality is that it would be very difficult for the homemaker to find a job that will allow her to maintain her current lifestyle. The job prospects for someone over 50 with rusty business skills are not too great. Nevertheless, her financial future should not be jeopardized because she put her career aside and spent the last 30 years raising a family while helping her spouse advance his career.

Under this scenario, with such a disparity in income potential, it would certainly be fair and equitable for her to receive significantly more than 50% of their assets. Conversely, the 30 year old would, most probably, receive less than 50%, especially if her marriage was of short duration.

The following are some of the factors that are taken into consideration when deciding how to divide marital property (see # 2 below for an explanation of marital and separate property):

·        Length of the marriage

·        The age and health of the parties

·        The standard of living during the marriage

·        Any prenuptial or postnuptial agreement made between the parties

·        The income and future earning capacity of each party. Their educational background, training, employment skills and work experience will be taken into account, along with the amount of time they have been out of the job market to help the other spouse’s career and/or raise a family

·        The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the less-advantaged spouse to become self-supporting at a standard of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage

·        The contribution by each spouse to the education, training or earning power of the other

·        The extent to which one spouse deferred or delayed her education and/or career goals

·        The tax consequences of the proposed distribution to each party

·        The need of the spouse that has custody of the children to own or occupy the marital residence and to use or own the household effects.

·        The debts and liabilities of the parties

Depending on the state and the individual circumstances, the property split in most long-term marriages will probably be in the range of 50/50 to 60/40.

A larger split of 65/35 might even be possible in very long-term marriages where the less-advantaged spouse is older, in poor health, with few job skills and little chance of gainful employment.

The amount and duration of alimony (also called maintenance) is usually determined after the property division has been decided. 

If the less-advantaged spouse receives a substantial portion of the marital assets, that could possibly reduce (and in some cases eliminate) her need for alimony. Nevertheless, in many jurisdictions, the purpose of alimony is to enable the less-advantaged spouse of a long-term marriage to enjoy a standard of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage.

In marriages of short duration, it is often common for the less-advantaged spouse to receive what is known as rehabilitative maintenance.  This is often a modest monthly payment for a relatively short amount of time that will enable that spouse to go back to school or receive additional training that would allow her to become self-supportive.

2  - Not knowing the difference between Separate and Marital Property.

 Although there are differences from state to state, in general, separate property includes:

·        property that was owned prior to the marriage; 

·        an inheritance received by one spouse solely;

·        a gift received by one spouse solely from a third party (not from the other spouse);

·        the pain and suffering portion of a personal injury judgment

Warning:  Separate property can lose its separate property status if it is mixed or commingled with marital property or vice versa. For example, if you re-title your separately owned condo by adding your spouse as a co-owner or if you deposit the inheritance from your parents into a joint bank account with your spouse, then that property will most likely now be considered marital property.


All other property that is acquired during the marriage is considered marital property regardless of which spouse owns the property or how the property is titled.


Marital property consists of all income and assets acquired by either spouse during the marriage including, but not limited to: Pension Plans; 401Ks, IRAs and other Retirement Plans; Deferred Compensation; Stock Options; Restricted Stocks and other equity; Bonuses; Commissions; Country Club memberships; Annuities; Life Insurance (especially those with cash values); Brokerage accounts – mutual funds, stocks, bonds, etc; Bank Accounts – Checking, Savings, Christmas Club, CDs, etc; Closely-held businesses; Professional Practices and licenses; Real Estate; Limited Partnerships; Cars, boats, etc; Art, antiques; Tax refunds.


In many jurisdictions, if your separately owned property increases in value during the marriage, that increase is also considered marital property.  However some jurisdictions will differentiate between active and passive appreciation when deciding if an increase in the value of separate property should be considered marital property. Active appreciation is appreciation that is due, in part, to the direct or indirect contributions or efforts of the other spouse (e.g. you helped your husband grow his business by giving him ideas and advice; you entertained clients with him; you raised the kids and managed the household, which allowed him to stay out late entertaining clients; etc.). Passive appreciation is appreciation that is due to outside forces such as supply and demand and inflation (a parcel of land increases in value even though you and your husband made no improvements to it or did anything else to help increase its value).  However, if your husband used marital income and/or assets to pay the mortgage and/or taxes on this parcel of land, you might have a very good argument that this property, or at least the increase in value during your marriage, should now be considered marital property.  As you can see, this can get quite complicated and convoluted.

 It is also very important for you to know if you reside in a Community Property State or an Equitable Division State. 

 There are nine Community Property States - Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.

 Community Property states consider both spouses as equal owners of all marital property (a 50-50 split is the rule).

 The remaining 41 states are Equitable-Distribution States, which consider factors such as the length of marriage, the age and health of the parties, the income and future earning capacity and many other factors (see # 1 above) when determining a settlement. And remember, settlements in Equitable Distribution States do not need to be equal, but they should be fair (equitable).


You should completely understand this very important distinction between separate and marital property so that you do not inadvertently do anything that might cause your separate property to be construed as marital property.

3 - Forgetting assets – The following are some commonly forgotten assets:

Pensions, 401Ks, IRAs, stock options, restricted stock, deferred compensation, life insurance, annuities, value of professional licenses, tax refunds, time shares, country club memberships and other executive perks, accrued vacation time, etc.

 4 - Not analyzing how your various divorce settlement options will impact your future financial security

 You need to have a competent financial professional that can analyze both the short- and long-term financial and tax implications of your various divorce settlement options so that the best divorce settlement can be structured to secure your financial future. A Certified Divorce Financial Analystä (CDFAä) is a financial professional that is specially trained and experienced in this highly complex area.

For example, how do you divide the various assets - the house(s), rental property, retirement and pension plans, stock options, brokerage accounts? What happens if there are closely held businesses involved? How much alimony should be paid, by whom and for how long?

This type of financial analysis (projecting 5, 10, 20 or even 30 years into the future to make sure that you will be financially OK) is not something that most attorneys are capable of doing (they just don’t teach that in law school). Attorneys focus on the legal aspects of the case (including all negotiations), while the divorce financial expert would focus on the financial aspects and projections that would provide the attorney with all the supporting information they need to justify their negotiating positions.

 Unfortunately, you often have only one chance to get things right in a divorce settlement. Once your divorce decree is signed, it may be difficult, or even impossible, to make changes, so you want to do everything in your power to get this right.

5 – Not understanding why some assets that are valued the same are not worth the same. What is cost basis & why you need to know?

It’s important to understand that not all assets that are valued the same are actually worth the same. 

 For example, let’s say you’re trying to decide whether to keep the $500,000 bank account or the $500,000 house that’s completely paid off.  You really love that house and you’re leaning in that direction. Great idea? Maybe yes, maybe no. You need to remember a few things that will impact your bottom line - Like real estate taxes that need to be paid every year, upkeep and maintenance, fuel costs, etc.  And if you eventually sell your home you may be hit with a big capital gains tax bill. (e.g. you bought the home for $200,000 [your cost basis] and it’s now worth $600,000. Your capital gain is $400,000. Subtract your $250,000 capital gains exclusion as a single person and you’ll have to pay capital gains tax on $150,000. At next year’s capital gains rate of 20%, that’s a $30,000 tax bill!).

 So which asset would you prefer now – the house or the cash?

6 - Not securing alimony, property settlement and child support payments with life insurance

 In order to secure your divorce settlement payments (alimony, child support, etc.), it is highly recommended that you purchase a life insurance policy on the life of your paying spouse BEFORE your divorce has been finalized. You want to be both the owner of the policy and the beneficiary. That way you can be sure that the premiums will be paid on time and the beneficiary(s) won't be changed without your knowledge and consent.

Why Life Insurance? Alimony payments will end upon the death of your ex-spouse! (In many jurisdictions, child support and property settlement payments will not end on the death of your paying spouse and will become the obligation of his estate, assuming the estate has sufficient assets/income to continue making those payments.) The proceeds from the life insurance policy will make sure that you receive a tax free, lump-sum payment of what you would have received over time from your divorce settlement payments. 

 Why BEFORE the divorce has been finalized? If your paying spouse refuses to cooperate in getting the required medical exam or if your paying spouse is uninsurable due to health or other reasons, you need to know this before the divorce is finalized so that you can find an alternate way of securing your divorce settlement payments.

 Remember, divorce is a process. Be prepared for a bit of a roller-coaster ride. Getting the right professionals on your side is one of the most crucial things you can do.  It is important for you to understand the facts, but it is your Certified Divorce Financial Analyst and attorney that must present them is a cohesive way. While you may be walking around in an emotional haze, it is the job of your professionals to advocate for you and secure your financial future.

 You are not in this alone!


Jeffrey A. Landers is a Certified Divorce Financial Analystä and the founder of Bedrock Divorce Advisors, LLC www.bedrockdivorce.com   , a divorce financial strategy firm that specializes in helping women who are going through a financially complicated divorce. The firm also advises women business owners nationwide in divorce-proofing their companies – both before and after they say “I do.” 
 He can be reached at




To list in Wealth Management   please contact gerard@blacktiemagazine.com



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