Couples with significant and unique assets that want to get divorced often believe it will cost them a fortune to dissolve their marriage. This is certainly the impression most legal professionals would like you to have. After all, a high net worth divorce usually means you are dealing with complex assets; such as stocks, bonds, real estate, family-owned or closely-held businesses, retirement accounts, and even foreign investments.
When spouses with a high net worth go to hire a divorce attorney, the attorney usually wants several thousand dollars down to hire them on retainer. The presumption is that it may turn into a long, drawn-out court battle and/or countless hours of negotiations to settle the property division. It does not have to be this way.
The Divorce Mediation Alternative
Traditional divorce litigation can get expensive for any couple, no matter their financial situation. However, if the spouses are willing to work together using a collaborative rather than combative approach, they can settle the marriage dissolution amicably and for a fraction of what they would pay to litigate the case in family court.
Divorce mediation is an increasing popular alternative to litigation, and many couples have been able to use this process successfully. Here are some of the advantages of mediating your divorce:
- Cost-Effective: Divorce mediation sessions are typically far less costly than hiring an attorney and going through a trial.
- Faster Completion: With mediation, your divorce can usually be completed with just a few sessions. This allows you to finish up the process and move on with your life.
- Confidentiality: Unlike litigation, the mediation process is private and confidential, and nothing that is said during the sessions will ever become part of any public record. This is especially important in today’s age of information leaks and mass social media distribution.
- Flexibility: With mediation, participants control the outcome, and they are given the freedom to get creative and develop solutions that are tailored to their specific situation. This is difficult to accomplish in a courtroom environment.
- Respectful Process: As mentioned earlier, mediation is a collaborative approach in which participants work together to resolve their differences. This type of process is much more likely to result in a peaceful and workable settlement.
Can you Really Mediate a High Net Worth Divorce?
One of the most common myths out there regarding mediation is that it cannot work for couples with significant assets because the issues are just too complicated. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mediation can work just as well for high net worth couples; in fact, sometimes it is easier to settle high asset divorces because the wealth and income sources the spouses possess are more clearly defined.
When things do get complicated during divorce mediation, outside experts can be brought in to handle various aspects of the divorce. These may include CPAs, appraisers, business valuators, actuaries, and other financial specialists. Working together with the mediator, these experts are able to help resolve more complex issues that high asset couples often face, and still complete the process far more quickly and cost-effectively than with traditional litigation.