Those who are on the verge of filing for a divorce will face many difficult decisions. The entire process can leave one hurting, not just emotionally but financially as well. Florida residents who are beginning the divorce process may wish to consider whether a collaborative law approach would be a viable option.
There are common mistakes that can complicate the divorce process. While many people share events on social media sites, it may be better if those who are going through a divorce refrain from posting any personal news during the proceedings. If one is claiming financial difficulties, it may be counterproductive to boast about bonuses or costly expenditures. Another potentially costly error is neglecting to compile all relevant financial information. Though one may not see a need to keep paperwork relating to a home improvement project or some other expense, not doing so could affect a settlement agreement.
Retaining records that contain information about a spouse’s future Social Security benefits is beneficial if the marriage lasted for 10 or more years because one could be eligible to receive benefits based on a former spouse’s earnings. In addition, opting for certain assets in a settlement could prove to be costly if there will be tax consequences related to those assets. One other mistake is overlooking joint credit accounts. If these are not closed and the balances transferred to the responsible spouse, then the other spouse could face unexpected debt.
Lastly, another costly mistake could be assuming that one must pursue a conventional divorce. A collaborative law approach could potentially reduce the cost if the spouses can work together to reach an agreement outside of the courtroom. Florida residents who are seeking a divorce but are able to work with their former spouse could choose the services of an attorney who offers a collaborative approach for a less contentious and less costly dissolution.
The majority of high-net-worth couples sign a marital agreement before they wed or at some point during the marriage. However, shortly after Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, announced their intention to divorce, it was learned that the couple reportedly do not have a prenup. Florida residents who are considering filing for their own high asset divorce may be interested in learning how this dissolution will be handled.
The state in which the Bezoses reside is one of a handful of community property states. In these states, assets that were acquired during the marriage will be divided equally between the spouses — in the absence of any marital agreements. Since Jeff Bezos started Amazon after his marriage, the company’s value could possibly be split between the spouses. Another option, which may appeal to investors more, would be to pool the stock and share joint ownership. At this time, there is an estimated $137 billion worth of assets to be split between the former spouses.
In general, a high-net-worth dissolution is more complex than the average divorce. A divorce involving stocks, bonds and a business will take much more time and finesse. In general, wealthier couples tend not to battle as much over alimony and child support since a settlement is usually more than adequate to meet each former spouse’s needs.
Due to the heightened public scrutiny surrounding the Bezos divorce, the former couple will likely seek a private settlement agreement. In the end, it is anticipated that MacKenzie Bezos will become the wealthiest woman while her former husband may lose his standing as wealthiest man. Regardless of the notoriety of couple involved, every high asset divorce requires careful consideration to ensure that each party receives a settlement that equates with the effort that a spouse invested into the marriage. Florida residents may wish to seek the skilled assistance of an attorney who focuses on these types of divorces.
No matter the individual circumstances, a divorce is seldom a process that anyone joyfully anticipates. However, those who will be enduring a high asset divorce often face complexities that the majority of divorcing couples will not have to unravel. Florida residents who are preparing for a high net worth divorce may benefit from having clear priorities.
Recently, the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, and his wife, MacKenzie, issued a joint statement concerning their intention to divorce. The former couple announced their hopes for an amicable parting that would permit them to remain parents and partners while allowing them to pursue a new life as individuals. Though their intentions are sound and admirable, the realities involved in a high asset divorce often make for a contentious split, unless the parties are able to focus on their priorities and are willing to compromise.
One of the most important aspects of enduring a high net worth divorce is to assemble a team of professionals who can ensure that one is protected financially while also providing for the well-being of the family, especially children. Once the team is assembled, allowing them to work for the best outcome involves communicating one’s vision and goals effectively and maintaining a business-like approach to the end of the marital contract. Though many wealthier couples have signed pre- or post-nuptial contracts, these do not always withstand challenges during litigation.
Couples such as the Bezos’ may seek to safeguard their privacy by working out which points are most important to each party and then striving to arrive at the best compromise possible. Though this particular dissolution will be unique based on the value of Amazon alone, there are many points that may apply to other couples preparing for their own high asset divorce. Those who are residing in Florida may be best served by enlisting the assistance of an attorney who is well-versed in successfully handling these types of high net worth divorces.
If you and your spouse are like most Florida couples contemplating divorce, neither of you likely looks forward to a protracted court battle.
If you seek a more amicable divorce approach, you may consider either mediation or collaboration. Both give you and your spouse the opportunity to resolve your own differences and issues yourselves rather than leaving important post-divorce decisions up to a judge. While similar, mediation and collaboration are two distinct processes. Here’s how they differ:
Collaboration vs. mediation
The major difference between mediation and collaboration is the attorneys’ roles. If you and your spouse choose mediation, you might not need attorneys at all.
Instead, you hire a neutral mediator. This individual legally represents neither of you and instead acts as your guide and facilitator during a series of three-way joint meetings. In these meetings, you and your spouse negotiate to resolve your issues and arrive at an agreement.
Both you and your spouse have every right to hire your own attorney and have him or her accompany you to these meetings, but it’s not mandatory.
Conversely, if you and your spouse choose collaboration, each of you hires your own attorney, just as you would do in a traditional litigated divorce. Your attorneys, however, do not view each other as adversaries. Nor do they view you and your spouse as adversaries.
Instead, all four of you hold a series of joint meetings wherein you and your spouse negotiate, just like in mediation. Each attorney’s role is to represent his or her client’s best interests without resorting to threats or confrontations in order to do so.
The approach to information
The other difference between mediation and collaboration has to do with how much information you and your spouse must reveal. In mediation, all information is voluntary. Your mediator cannot compel either of you to disclose information or documents.
In collaboration, your respective attorneys retain the same powers of discovery that they have in traditional litigated divorces. This means that, if necessary, the attorneys can serve interrogatories, requests for documents, requests for admissions, and any other necessary legal documents.
The prospect of getting married and then divorced later in life may seem daunting. However, with age comes the experience to find creative solutions to problems that a younger person may not consider. In many situations, when it comes to property division, Florida residents may be able to work out a solution that will enable them to still achieve their dreams.
No matter how old one is when he or she chooses to marry, he or she hopes that it will last. Unfortunately, a marriage may become unsustainable, and then a divorce becomes the best option. When a couple sits down to work out a settlement agreement, they may discover that they are no longer able to afford the upkeep on the marital home. Under these circumstances, many will choose to either sell the house and split the proceeds, or one spouse will attempt to refinance.
One woman explained that, when she married in her 40s, she and her husband purchased a dream home. After they decided to divorce a few years later, they realized that, on their own, neither would be able to afford the house, which was located in an upscale neighborhood. Once the wife was able to secure a mortgage in her name, she decided to rent out a portion of it. In this way, she was able to retain her dream home and achieve her goal of wanting to operate a scaled-back version of a bed and breakfast.
Though no one ever sets out to divorce, this woman found an opportunity to make a better life for herself after her divorce. Going through a divorce can be a difficult process for many Florida residents, especially when it comes to the property division aspect. A family law attorney can provide the experience and guidance necessary in order to arrive at an agreement that will ensure a secure financial future.
No one is dreaming about a divorce on their wedding day. Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever, and whether a marriage ends in divorce or death, it will eventually end. Florida residents who are concerned about their financial security when that happens may need the protections offered by prenuptial agreements.
The idea of bringing up the topic of a prenup may feel like the perfect way to damage a fledgling relationship. However, family law professionals suggest that this is a conversation that should happen early in the relationship. If one is worried how a partner will react, it may help to bring it up in a casual manner, such as avoiding a nightmare dissolution that a friend or relative may have endured. In addition, it may be helpful to stress how much conflict these contracts can alleviate, since the major issues concerning finances will be addressed ahead of time.
Gently reminding a future spouse about the unavoidable end of a marriage, either through death or a divorce, may allow the other person to consider what would happen at that time. It is suggested that the one initiating the conversation discuss the importance of ensuring that each partner is treated fairly and with respect, as this may allow for a greater understanding. Professionals recommend that the partners play an equal role in drafting these agreements so that each one is represented as fairly as possible.
Though it may feel as if the wealthier partner is attempting to safeguard his or her assets, thoughtfully drafted prenuptial agreements can provide the lesser earning spouse with a measure of financial security. It may help both parties to keep in mind that the creation of these contracts is to ensure the welfare of the other party, which will result in a document that should protect both interests. Florida residents who desire assistance in drafting a prenup tailored to their needs may elect to consult with an experienced attorney.