By Ron Anfuso, CPA, ABV, CFF, CDFA, FABFA
Ron Anfuso has a multi-faceted background with extensive experience serving as an expert witness, collaborative divorce financial specialist, and mediator for nearly 28 years. As a financial neutral, he trained and was a founding member of A Better Divorce, a South Bay collaborative group that was founded back in 2001 in Southern CA. In the last 18 years, he has assisted in the completion of more than 50 collaborative cases.
Now as a member of the Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association (LACFLA), Ron continues using his financial skills to help couples. “Mediation works best when both parties are educated about the financial issues and are willing to work amicably together with a neutral mediator and other members of the team.” He notes, “When attorneys and/or coaches serving on the team have good negotiation skills and know all the material facts of the case, the mediator can typically help a couple come to a resolution.”
In the collaborative process, Ron has learned that educating both parties and their attorneys on the couples’ financial situation is essential to an acceptable resolution of the financial issues in the dissolution of the marriage. He assists them with all of the financial, valuations and tax issues of dividing their property and setting appropriate levels of support. “It’s important to help adjust for any power imbalances,” Ron explains. “Also, modeling respectful communication, integrity and objectivity goes a long way to achieving a reasonable outcome.”
Case In Point
In one collaborative case, discussions were going smoothly with both parties agreeing on all terms. During an amiable closing meeting with the clients, coaches, attorneys, and Ron as the financial neutral, an issue arose with a wine collection listed on the asset division spreadsheet which he thought would be divided in kind. Suddenly a heated outburst ensued with the husband who didn’t want to give up his wine collection, stating that his wife “didn’t appreciate good wine and would only use for cooking.” After separate conversations with each of their coaches, the parties reached an agreement, dividing the wine so that the husband would keep a little more than the wife. Both parties left the meeting satisfied that they had been heard.
You just never know what issue will be a hot topic for either party, even if everything is going smoothly. However, by working together in a collaborative divorce, a resolution is almost always reached that allows the family unit to remain peaceful and intact, with everyone feeling that they were respected and heard at the close of the divorce.
If you are looking for a cooperative, affordable way of parting from your spouse, contact LACFLA to discuss your case to see if a collaborative divorce will work for you.