All Divorces Are Basically the Same

What High Net Worth Splits Have in Common With all Divorces

While high net worth divorces have their own special challenges, a divorce is a divorce. The emotions of every divorce are the same. Both you and your spouse are facing a very different future. You may need to learn to co-parent and more effectively communicate. You will still need to figure out your financial needs and budget for the future. Most importantly, you will both still need to find a way forward, despite your income level.

For this series, I sat down with Michelle Smith of Smith FSG in New York City. Ms. Smith is one of the most sough-after divorce financial specialists in the country and often works with high net worth couples and individuals on investments, philanthropic giving, and transfer strategies. Smith is also a Certified Divorce Financial Planner focusing on the long-term financial consequences of divorce. She evaluates property and assets, the future value of retirement and pension funds, and calculates divorce payments.

When you’re involved in a divorce that involves a significant amount of money, it can be easy to get caught up solely in the finances of divorces. So, in this article I’m sharing Ms. Smith’s wisdom about how high net worth divorces are similar to all other divorces.

  • Find a way forward:

According to Smith, “You’ve got to figure out what moving forward looks like.” For every divorcing couple, this is a radical lifestyle change.

  • The emotions are the same:

Regardless of how much money is involved, you’re in the process of dismantling a life, a family, a couple. This is one of the most emotional, difficult things you can face.

  • Your children are a priority:

Smith reminds us that in all divorces, children should still be the first priority. As difficult as divorce is for the adults in the marriage, it’s even more difficult for children. Ms. Smith tells us:

“The destruction of a marriage is rarely just one-sided even though on this surface there could have been an event that’s clearly skewed to one person leaving or doing something. But marriages end because of two people, not one. Your children likely did not get a vote in this divorce. They are the priority.”

  • You have to co-parent:

In any divorce, the adults need to learn how to co-parent when they’re no longer a couple. This can be frustrating, humbling, and the biggest challenge of your divorce. You may have to learn how to communicate all over again.

  • Children aren’t messengers:

In any divorce, the children should never be caught in the middle or used as messengers. Smith cautions us:

“Especially, don’t let these children be the financial messenger whether you have no money or a lot money.  Don’t put the children in the middle of being the messenger of ‘dad didn’t give me enough, mom has too much, she’s getting this from me, she should be able to buy the shoes,’ [and] things like that.”

This is wise advice, for couples of any income level.

  • Take care of your mental health:

Again, divorce is such an emotional, stressful event. To find a way forward, Smith reminds us that you have to take care of your own mental health as well.

  • Finances are always an issue:

For any divorces, regardless of the income level, Smith reminds us that figuring out finances and ongoing financial needs is always difficult, but it is also necessary.

If you’re considering a divorce, but you’d like to find a more peaceful way through the process of divorce, contact my office for a free and confidential consultation.