Every marriage is unique. As a result, so too is every divorce. Although there are common issues that crop up in every divorce, the importance of those issues will vary from couple to couple, as will the details. For couples with a high net worth, property division in particular can be quite distinct from most other divorces.
The potential problem of equitable distribution
One of the first steps a court will take, in any divorce, is to classify all of a couple’s assets and liabilities as either marital property or separate property. With respect to marital property, the court will begin with the presumption that it should be divided equally, but this presumption can be overcome. If the court deems it justified, it will instead divide property equitably – or, in the manner it considers fair.
The point is that the court is in complete control of how the couple’s property is divided. What may seem fair in the eyes of the court will not necessarily be considered fair to one or both of the spouses. They lose agency over what happens to their own assets.
How does mediation resolve the problem?
Couples with a high net worth tend to have more assets, and a greater variety of assets, than other couples. Things like stocks, inheritances and business interests complicate the issue of property division and increase the chances that the couple will be dissatisfied with how they will be distributed by the court.
But for spouses who can still communicate effectively and work together, mediating their divorce returns agency to them. They know their property better than anyone else will and also know how best it should be divided. Through mediation, they have complete control over what happens to both their assets and their liabilities, greatly increasing their long-term satisfaction with the result.