• Philip Reich

The Challenges of High-Asset Divorce Mediation



Dealing with divorce clients can be challenging, especially when there are significant assets at stake. While every divorce is wrought with emotion and filled with difficult decisions, those which involve more complex facts and circumstances created by greater assets seem to get exponentially more complicated. A mediator skilled and experienced in dealing with such cases is invaluable.


Different Types of Assets & Property

The complexities arising from high-asset divorces are associated with the many different types of assets and property which are usually involved.When substantial assets exist, they tend to be in multiple forms such as:

  • Investments and retirement funds

  • Multiple bank accounts

  • Houses, condos, and other real estate

  • Business ventures

  • Family heirlooms

  • Cars, boats, and jewelry

  • Natural resources

  • Other personal property and investment vehicles

Their financial value must be assessed, measured and accounted for but rarely do the parties agree how. Understanding the different types of assets, their valuation methods, and their interrelationship is an important skill for a mediator in such cases.


Family Business or Assets

If there is a family business or family assets involved, the difficulties increase. Usually, there are more people at the negotiating table (or they are seated at additional tables not present at the mediation). Emotions can run high and deep when family property is involved, especially with multiple family members extending over multiple generations.A failure to appreciate the emotional value of these assets can impede settlement. These cases require a mediator knowledgeable and experienced in such matters.


Other Advisors & Experts

With these assets also come other advisors and experts. Accountants, investment advisers, tax advisors, estate planning consultants, and others often become unwilling participants in a complicated and intensely adversarial process, whether in court or at the negotiation table. A mediator who is able to grasp these complicated issues and converse effectively with these experts can save time, energy and money.


Experience with High-Asset Divorces

With so many moving parts and variables, the opportunity for settlement can appear overwhelming, to the parties, their counsel, the court, and an inexperienced mediator. But for an experienced mediator, the uncertainties of trial and the risk of not settling, coupled with the increased puzzle pieces in the form of multiple assets, provide fertile ground for resolution. That experience must include not just similar assets but actively mediating such disputes and helping the lawyers in the negotiations and their clients in the process.


A mediator with unquestionable credibility and real-world experience with high-asset divorces can be invaluable to resolving the numerous issues involved by agreement. And settlement provides a greater opportunity for client satisfaction. A mediator who is not intimidated by the large numbers and who is accustomed to the creativity necessary to resolve complicated financial dealings can be much more than a messenger and can be an asset for resolution opportunities.

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©2020 by Philip Reich.

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