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Why mediation may not be the best option for high-asset divorces

Mediation is often encouraged for spouses that want to divorce as quickly and painlessly as possible. It does work for numerous individuals as they end up coming to an agreement with their ex-spouses and the mediators on what the settlement should be before they begin the newest chapter in their lives without as much drama or money loss as a court case would be.

Unfortunately, the process doesn’t work for everyone. Couples that can’t stand to be in the same room as each other would just be wasting their time and money if they know they cannot come to an agreement so easily. However, if you and your spouse have a significant amount of property to divide, mediation might not be the best divorce process to take even if you two get along with each other. As you are determining how you want to go about the separation process, you should know what disadvantages high-asset couples have in divorce mediation.

There is too much to go through

California is a community property state. This means any property you or your spouse received during the marriage will count as “community property” and the state will divide it equally as a result. This also applies to any debts during the marriage no matter if it was individual or together. Separate property that a spouse had prior to the marriage or anything they received as a gift or inheritance will not count as community property.

If you have a lot of property and you were with your spouse for a long time, it can be difficult to determine what is truly yours and what will split between you two. With mediation, it can be difficult to accomplish that with just you, your ex and the mediator. Since litigation has more people involved, it leaves less room for errors.

Disputes will go quicker

Even if you still have a decent relationship with your ex after you decide to call it quits, that doesn’t mean there won’t be any nasty disagreements during the proceedings. California offers more opportunities for property owners than most of the other states, so wealthy couples may have a higher chance of disagreeing over who the fancy mountain house should belong to, or who should keep the jet skis.

There are bound to be more disputes like this during mediation. Then it could come to be so many that you both decide to handle it in court and realize you just wasted money and are dragging this longer than it needs to be just because you thought you could solve everything with the mediator.

A potentially fairer trial

Mediators are not flawless. Even though some of them have plenty of experience on the subject, they can still ultimately benefit one side more than the other. Equal division is not the same as fair division. Any underhanded tactic your ex might try to pull off like hiding assets may be easier when there is less people keeping track of their moves.

With how complicated and unpredictable high-asset divorces can be, you need to ensure that you get the best legal help possible. Having an experienced family law attorney can give you a little less to worry about during this difficult process.

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O'Brien Family Law, PC 

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Phone: 916-468-0707
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