We all know that money complicates things. Fighting over money and property complicates things a lot. Stuff and money can become a ruthless battleground that engages couples in ridiculously expensive litigation for years. The longer the litigation, the more contentious the situation becomes. The stakes become increasingly high and the parties begin to define themselves in terms of money. Dignity, capabilities, true needs, and the future are no longer part of the equation.
Some of the major issues in high asset divorce include:
1. Separating marital from non-marital property.
2. Addressing a business, particularly a family business
3. Appropriate planning
5. Finding and cataloguing assets
6. When applicable, timesharing and support arrangements
In some cases it may be impossible to avoid a court battle over business interests and investment accounts. In other cases, where one party is hiding assets or income or is unwilling to consider the needs of the other, an out of court process like collaborative law may be inappropriate, at least initially.
WHEN IS MEDIATION POSSIBLE?
When your assets are moderate or you both have a good understanding of the assets and you two are agreeable or nearly agreeable on most issues such as timesharing, property settlement, alimony, for example, mediation could save you thousands of dollars. You can mediate with or without attorneys or simply use an attorney for consultation purposes. IF you choose me as your mediator I would require that both parties have any final agreement reviewed by an attorney of their choice. Read more about my mediation process in the link above entitled Mediation.
CAN I USE A COLLABORATIVE PROCESS?
Another very good option is a collaborative high asset divorce. Each of you will have an attorney through the process, experts will be agreed upon and the process will be negotiated through a series of meetings. No litigation is involved. For many spouses, a collaborative high asset divorce is a wonderful choice. The collaborative high asset divorce enables the parties to plan for financial security, preserve assets, keep private information private, and efficiently use expert resources.
A. Keeping Private Information Private – For many people keeping their personal information private is key especially where their public reputation is important. In messy litigation, private information is made public and can have serious ramifications in people’s lives. A collaborative effort will keep things confidential.
B. Plan for Financial Security - Collaborative professionals have developed relationships with financial professionals who are well known and reputable in the community. This is of enormous benefit in a collaborative process. The use of agreed upon experts tasked with facilitating a reasonable agreement is the norm in a collaborative process. The cost savings of not hiring separate experts to advocate diametrically opposed positions is huge.
C. Cost Savings – In determining whether to pursue a collaborative effort, consider cost and cost control of the case. Litigation expenses easily run out of control beyond expectations or planning. This runs contrary to the preservation of assets as well as efficient planning especially for financial security.
To discuss whether a collaborative approach may be appropriate for your situation, contact me today. I encourage you to review my Consultation section to determine the kind of consultation that may be right for your situation. Saving the marriage can be a very real and appropriate alternative where both parties are on board. Additionally take a look at these Fifteen Critical Financial Mistakes in Divorce as a primer to understanding the very serious ramifications of divorce.