Laurence Kotlikoff, an economics professor at Boston University, started a sideline business to sell financial-planning software more than 20 years ago.
When he recently went through a divorce from Dayle Ballentine, an actor and director, he says he was reminded of how useful the ESPlanner software can be in weighing proposed financial settlements and their impact on both individuals.
Now, with his own divorce to be final soon, Mr. Kotlikoff and his firm, Economic Security Planning, are offering this type of analysis to others via website FairDivorceDecisions.com.
The service is geared to individuals and couples undergoing a divorce as well as to professionals such as lawyers, mediators and financial planners. For $500, users get a detailed analysis of four possible divorce settlements, focusing on the living standards that the two individuals can expect for the rest of their lives. Analyses of additional proposals cost $125 each.
Users supply information including: the spouses’ current ages and expected retirement dates; taxable and retirement-account assets; salaries; post-divorce housing arrangements and costs; and entitlement to Social Security and pensions. The analysis includes the tax implications of different financial arrangements and also strategies to maximize Social Security benefits (the subject of a separate service Mr. Kotlikoff’s firm sells).
“This can stop a lot of the arguments” by quantifying the long-term impact of various alternatives, Mr. Kotlikoff says.
Ms. Ballentine, who describes the couple’s divorce as “pretty amicable,” agrees.