What Are the Advantages of Divorce Mediation for High-Net-Worth Couples?
If you and your spouse have a high-net-worth marital estate, and you are planning to divorce, you might be tempted to litigate your divorce aggressively to ensure you walk away with the lion’s share of your assets. However, that strategy has several disadvantages, such as:
- Publicity — There is nothing the tabloids love better than a wealthy couple going through a hotly contested divorce with lots of salacious details. Fighting your divorce publicly can damage your reputation, which can negatively impact your business interests and place inordinate strain on your children, who are drawn into the public eye.
- Expense — Contested divorces are much more expensive and take much longer than mediated divorces. The expense is even more burdensome when you realize it might have been possible to achieve similar results at a fraction of the cost.
- Hard feelings — You might feel the hardship of a highly contested divorce is exactly what your spouse deserves. But you have to ask, “What comes next?” If you have children with your spouse, you can’t cease all interactions, but you almost certainly will have made co-parenting more difficult.
- Strained relationship with your children — No matter how hard you try to keep your divorce from affecting your children, they will feel the impact. And that impact will be far greater if you and your spouse fight tooth and nail for an extended period before your divorce is finalized.
In contrast, divorce mediation has these benefits for the high-net-worth couple:
- Privacy — Mediation sessions are conducted in the privacy of a conference room, and there is no public record of discussions.
- Controlled costs — Going to trial is expensive, as each side makes demands for discovery, hires experts to testify, and deposes numerous witnesses. In mediation, parties disclose information voluntarily. If experts are necessary to evaluate and assess financial assets, the parties can hire a single professional and share the cost. Plus, mediation moves more quickly than a trial, reducing legal fees even further.
- Constructive relationship building — Mediation is a cooperative exercise, so couples can overcome hard feelings and distrust. That makes them better able to manage co-parenting after the divorce.
- Greater control over the outcome — To reach a mediated settlement, the parties must voluntarily accept the terms. This gives each party leverage to reach terms they can live with. In court, it’s all too possible to be blindsided by an adverse judgment.
- Reduced stress for all involved — The mediation process is not nearly as stressful as going to trial. There’s less pressure for you and much less of an impact on your children.
Now, there are times when an aggressively litigated divorce is appropriate and necessary. But deciding that’s the route you’ll take simply because you can afford to is not a sound strategy.