Navigating Life after Divorce
How Family Office Services Offer Support in a New Reality
By Jennifer Quent, Director, Marcum Family Office
The end of a marriage is nearly always emotional. When significant wealth is involved, what used to seem routine and easy to manage can be thrown into upheaval — especially when a former spouse managed many of the marital relationships. For divorcees, a level of uncertainty around managing not just finances, but also all of the complexities associated with affluence, is common and often daunting.
For those who might lack the experience to navigate their newly separated existence, a family office can help by determining inefficiencies and outlining an operating plan for their lives, properties, and finances — among other benefits.
Rather than waiting until the dissolution of a marriage is complete, talking to external family office professionals is one of the many conversations that should take place throughout the process.
Whether you’re potentially venturing into a scenario like this yourself, or you’re guiding someone else through the process, consider the role a family office could play in alleviating stress immediately — for an indefinite or an as-needed timeframe. Consider these questions:
- Who was primarily involved in the financial decision-making and personal investing?
- Are personal and estate details scattered, or worse, unknown?
- Who is and will be responsible for hiring and maintaining domestic staff?
- Does the divorce necessitate a comprehensive review of insurance policies related to assets?
- Will current advisors — financial, legal, accounting, insurance, etc. — follow one spouse or the other?
- Are you aware of any and all possible tax consequences resulting from equitable asset distribution (e.g., retirement or brokerage accounts that could result in capital gains if dissolved)?
- How firm is the understanding of current and future net worth?
- Is there a roadmap in place to serve as a guide once the divorce is finalized?
Whether a divorcee will live independently or with members of the family, family office professionals can customize services to address specific, unique needs.
From handling expenses and payroll for multiple properties and organizing banking and investment accounts efficiently to overseeing philanthropic activity and providing lifestyle management services, a multi-family office can serve as the quarterback for a highly complex life.
Family offices were once associated exclusively with the world’s wealthiest families with generations of affluence. Today, CEOs, entrepreneurs, individuals (including those who have lost a spouse through death or divorce), and people thrust into a high net worth reality by a sudden financial event can benefit from the organization and peace of mind a family office provides.
Marcum’s team of family office professionals is available for questions to help determine if a customized solution could be beneficial after a divorce.
Among the many ways we assist clients is by maintaining a life book. This highly customized personal catalog of life contains the names and information of advisors as well as financial accounts and an investment summary; current balance sheet and income statement; insurance and benefits summary; analysis of charitable activity; and current copies of all estate planning documents.
Some of the other common ways we assist clients include:
- Household staff employment activities, including payroll services.
- Lifestyle management services, including concierge services, assisting with fine art and other collectible assets, luxury travel, and property management.
- Bill paying, with an emphasis on multiple property administration.
- Family partnership and business administration.
- Cash account management, reconciliation, and transfers.
- Customized financial statements: cash flow analysis, income statements, balance sheets, and budgets.
- Investment performance (i.e., oversight and reporting).
- Private foundation management services.
- Art, aviation, equine, marine, and property facilitation and financing.
- Annual insurance reviews and independent appraisals.
Please consult a Marcum Family Office professional for more information about our family office services.