“Divorce does not have to be adversarial,” says Oscar Alvarez, owner of Pathway Divorce Solutions, Inc. With more than 25 years of experience, he has seen countless cases. Most of his clients are women. “Unfortunately, they often get the worst end of the deal. My heart goes out to them,” he says. His job is to make the divorce less stressful, with an equitable and positive outcome for both parties.
“Divorce is not just a legal event; it is a significant financial event,” says Alvarez. Before the formal divorce he gathers information, works with the attorney, establishes goals and priorities and conducts a budget analysis. He also provides post-divorce follow-up. “Divorce involves more than law. Families, feelings and finances must be considered,” says Alvarez.
“I am not a substitute for the lawyer, but I can be an asset to him,” says Alvarez. “I have learned a lot of law over the years,” he adds. About 5 percent of divorce cases actually go to court. About 20 percent have a lawyer as a mediator. By doing the financial side of the legal work, Alvarez can save the client money. “Children always complicate the settlement. And people will try to hide assets. I have a case now that has been continuing for 18 months.”
Military divorces are complicated in a different way. Alvarez understands the dynamics of the military life. He served 10 years in the U.S. Army after graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He saw divorce as a company commander. “The National Guard is also different,” he adds.
Alvarez provides an objective viewpoint during an emotional situation. As a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst he can assist with valuing and dividing personal and marital property, “splitting” the house and resolving tax problems. Other issues include retirement plans, pensions and spousal and child support.
“Actually, most divorces are amicable,” says Alvarez. “When a couple can agree on the terms, it is just a matter of specifying the details. The tax implications of dividing property and the financial impact of the various settlement options must be understood, with the interests of both parties considered. As a trained mediator, Alvarez can be sure both parties are satisfied. “This works best when both parties are cooperative,” he says.
Alvarez is currently marketing himself to lawyers. “I can provide a ‘rock-solid’ personal financial analysis for the client. I can make sure the client understands the short- and long-term financial impacts of different settlement proposals, provide reports and graphical representations and make sure all the ‘bases’ are covered.”
When Alvarez learns of divorce settlements that he would have handled differently — or could have negotiated more successfully for both sides — he feels frustrated. “But it is too late then,” he adds. “Unfortunately there are many ‘bad deal’ divorces,” he says. The financial world gets more and more complicated. “It’s challenging to attach monetary value to assets. And a 50-50 split is not always best,” adds Alvarez.
Alvarez has seen a new trend recently of “gray divorce” — couples over 55, many retired, who no longer want to be married.
Alvarez was born and grew up in San Antonio, Texas. After graduating from West Point in 1982, he served as a paratrooper in the Army. He was stationed in Alaska and completed many jumps in the snow and ice. “It’s not soft!” he says. In 1993 he received a master’s degree in education from Old Dominion University.
Married for 37 years, Alvarez is active in his church. In 2001– 2002, he took his wife and two sons to Uganda on a mission, building an orphanage for children. He enjoys reading, especially military history. In 2018, he went to Europe with his sons and followed the “Band of Brothers” tour. “Next, I hope to go to Italy,” he adds with a smile.
Pathway Divorce Solutions, Inc.
Address: 780 Pilot House Dr., Ste. 100C, Newport News VA 23606
Contact: Oscar Alvarez, owner, certified divorce financial analyst