Can Divorce Mediation Work for High Net Worth and High Conflict Couples?

Many people feel that only very simple divorce cases without significant assets involving low conflict couples can be successfully mediated. For example, they think a mediation won’t work if one spouse owns a business or has substantial financial holdings. The truth is that mediation can work effectively from the simplest case to the most complicated divorce.

Assuming that the couples will disclose their assets in more complicated financial arrangements, there’s no reason that the most complicated cases can’t be mediated.  When we compare the processes of litigation versus mediation, lawyers and judges don’t quantify the values of most business or pension assets during the litigation process. Similarly, the same third-party professionals like forensic accountants are utilized to help quantify these assets in a divorce mediation.  What is lost in mediation is the significant expense of paying two lawyers to attend several court conferences, and the very expensive motion practice, with its inherent time delays that litigating attorneys often engage in.

There’s a misconception that if you can’t really work well together that you can’t mediate, and that’s not necessarily true. As an attorney, I’ve seen very experienced judges that I’ve worked with, taking individual litigants and meeting with them together before a trial, and then actually meeting with them independently in their chambers after determining which issues were going to be presented at trial.  The judges were essentially mediating a settlement.

I’ve conducted mediations where after the initial meeting, I meet with the two spouses individually for part of the subsequent mediation sessions to assist them in getting past an impasse.  I work with them to the point where they’ve reached agreements on as many issues as possible using me as the neutral third party to help refine and transmit their respective positions to one another. This allows me to ultimately get the couple to the point where they are able to settle their case and sign a Stipulation of Settlement, working out custody, visitation, and equitable distribution of marital and separate property.

Assuming the couple is committed to the mediation process, they can overcome communication and other issues to successfully mediate their divorce.  Should you have any questions regarding the divorce mediation process please visit my website at li-divorcemediation.com for more information and/or contact me at dwagner@li-divorcemediation.com.

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