Divorce mediation is an affordable and flexible alternative to traditional litigation, which is why a growing number of couples are choosing this option. Mediation is not just for people who “cannot afford an attorney” however. In my practice, I work with many high net worth couples who want to maintain more control over the outcome of their divorce, and do not want to spend their hard-earned cash on exorbitant attorney fees.
Mediation Helps Resolve Complex Financial Issues
Couples with significant financial assets, family-owned businesses, complicated investments and other complexities often spend tens of thousands of dollars on legal fees. Just the initial retainer fee alone can be as high as $25,000 or more.
With divorce mediation, couples can resolve their complex financial matters within a shorter period of time and for far less money than through litigation. When necessary, we bring in other professionals to assist with various aspects of the settlement. These may include:
- Financial Advisors
- Business Evaluators
- Real Estate Appraisers
- Pension/Retirement Appraisers
- Investment Appraisers
Working with outside professionals, we are most often able to draft an agreement that makes sense for both parties. In fact, many times, professionals recommend me to their clients because they understand the multitude of benefits mediations offers.
More than Just the Money
I recently wrote about Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner and their decision to use mediation to handle their divorce. In their case and the case of so many others, opting for mediation was more than just a financial decision. There are several other reasons for high net worth couples to consider divorce mediation. Some of the most important include:
Non-Adversarial Setting: When couples hire divorce attorneys, they typically negotiate back and forth with the goal of reaching a settlement that reflects the interests of their client. This puts the spouses on opposing sides, with each lawyer trying to gain the most for their side.
Mediation is an entirely different approach. It is a comfortable, non threatening environment where the couple works together (with the skilled guidance of the mediator) toward a mutually beneficial settlement. The very nature of the procedure helps maintain amicable relationships, which is very important, particularly if there are children involved.
Assurance of Privacy: Divorce litigation is part of the public records. This means the details of your divorce – what was said by both sides, financial arrangements, etc. – can be obtained publicly in the future. Mediation, on the other hand, is a closed proceeding that is kept confidential. This allows the spouses to be more open and honest during the proceeding with the assurance that no one will use their words against them at a later date.
Greater Flexibility: Attorneys and family courts typically adopt a “one size fits all” approach when litigating a divorce. This allows very little room to address unique circumstances that may require a more creative solution. With mediation, a much wider range of options are on the table, allowing couples to customize the settlement to fit their specific needs.