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Can mediation work in high-asset divorces?

Many people believe that high-asset couples who divorce will inevitably "battle it out" in court. However, this is not necessarily the case. Although the financial stakes are clearly higher in a divorce where there are significant assets, this fact does not absolutely determine whether a couple will contend with a litigious divorce.

Couples in high-asset situations can explore the positive benefits of mediation and collaborative divorce. These options can help decrease strife and conflict while allowing both spouses to retain more control over the decision-making about their future than they would otherwise have in a protracted, drawn-out court battle.

Cost savings and control

Just because a couple has a high net worth does not mean they are not concerned with keeping costs as reasonable as possible. Divorce has meant financial ruin for many couples, including those with extensive wealth. Considering mediation is an excellent first step for divorcing couples who want to manage the overall costs of divorce proceedings. Estimates on the average cost of a divorce in the United States range from $15,000 to $30,000. Mediation reduces costs because it reduces the hours that an attorney bills for services. Collaborative law is another option, in which both spouses retain a lawyer but they work together to find shared solutions. 

Another benefit of mediation and collaborative law divorces is that the couple maintains control over the decision-making. When a couple takes their divorce to court, ultimately they put their fate in the hands of the judge. With mediation and collaborative law, the couple and their mediator or attorneys work to find solutions that make the most sense for the family in terms of their future.

Other options for high-asset divorces

Sometimes, the circumstances in a high-asset divorce are such that it is not possible to mediate or use a collaborative law approach. This can be the case when one spouse is hiding assets to avoid sharing their wealth post-divorce. In these cases, mediation is not a viable option because there is underlying distrust and bad faith. 

In cases where a couple is willing to find common ground, mediation can be a positive solution. Contacting an attorney who is also trained to work as a mediator can be a positive first step in beginning a post-divorce future.

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