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Helpful tips for getting through a high-asset divorce

Common divorce issues include child support, spousal support, community property division and child custody. The issues can become more difficult and complex when high value assets are at stake. Dividing complex property such as joint businesses, savings accounts, executive bonuses, pensions, investments and stocks can be challenging.

If you are getting a divorce and have high-end marital assets, it is crucial to understand your options besides litigation. The nuances involved with complex divorces are sometimes better dealt with through alternate processes.


Mediation allows you and your spouse to work out your issues privately, unlike litigation. During a court case, you would be required to disclose details of your financials and personal life, and these may then become a matter of public record. If privacy is important to you, this alternative to divorce court may be viable. However, mediation requires a willingness to negotiate from both spouses.

The goal is to arrive at an agreement that is mutually accepted. A third party mediator who is trained to be neutral will facilitate discussion and assist you and your spouse in reaching an agreement. Mediators cannot make an agreement arbitrarily, so for this method to work, you and your spouse must be committed to putting aside your disputes and cooperating.

Collaborative divorce

Another option to consider is collaborative law. This process is similar to mediation in that it occurs out of court with neutral voices, but it is administered by collaborative law attorneys rather than a mediator. Other specialists may be involved, such as a financial planner to help you and your spouse divide assets and determine potential tax liabilities. Each of you has an attorney to represent your desires and interests. Like mediation, negotiations take place with the goal of reaching a mutual settlement.

Business valuation and division

Divorcing couples with family businesses need to determine whether the business is community property or separate property. A business you formed during your marriage is likely community property, meaning it is subject to division. This means the business must be valued, which can be complex. Business valuation often requires the assistance of a business appraiser or accountant. All physical property, intellectual property, assets, interests, liabilities and debts must be considered when valuing your business.

Getting divorced can be even more stressful and worrisome when complex assets are involved. If you are concerned about the impact of divorce on your high-value assets, consider the above options. Pursuing alternate methods of dissolution can protect your information and result in a more amicable outcome. If you are dealing with a complex divorce, consult a family law attorney for counsel.

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

She will take the time to understand your individual needs and develop a comprehensive solution to protect your rights and interests.

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