When it comes to more affluent clients’ divorces, there are several important concerns. First, you want to be sure your divorce attorney understands how to divide complex assets, such as family businesses and professional practices.
Next, can the process be handled at a reasonable cost?
Finally, can the divorce be taken off the record? Wealthy or prominent people are often concerned that the details of their property or disagreements over parenting could be made public.
These concerns can often be addressed by reaching a negotiated divorce settlement. When you negotiate a settlement, you spend your efforts working things out, and your money on the process of coming to agreement. Your experienced divorce attorney can assess, value and recommend a division of your assets, which could include:
- Business assets
- Executive compensation and severance packages
- Bonuses and stock options
- Investments in stocks, bonds or hedge funds
- Retirement accounts and pensions
- Vacation residences and investment properties
- Rental income
- Trust income
- Offshore accounts or property in other states
- Valuable collectibles
- Royalties and intellectual property
Your attorney needs to have experience dividing complex and unusual assets. The basic process is to obtain a valuation of the property in question. Your divorcing spouse may obtain a separate valuation. Where they differ, you negotiate a resolution.
Keeping costs reasonable
When it comes to cost, a protracted court battle over assets or parenting issues would drive up the cost of your divorce. Anything that helps build agreement can keep your net worth from being eaten up by divorce costs.
One method for reducing the potential costs is to engage in mediation. In this cooperative, confidential process, you can bring in outside specialists with expertise in dividing certain types of assets. You can also bring in experts to help you develop a parenting plan. With all the same issues to resolve, mediation offers the chance to resolve your disagreements much more quickly and at a lower cost than traditional courtroom litigation.
Mediation can also be used to keep your private business private. Mediation sessions are confidential and don’t become part of the public record like litigation does. The result of a successful mediation is a divorce settlement agreement, which allows you to file as an uncontested divorce. Only the settlement itself is filed with the court, not the process through which it was achieved.
If you are concerned that complex property or parenting concerns could lead to a protracted court battle, discuss your situation with an experienced divorce attorney. A thorough, private and relatively inexpensive resolution may be possible.