Understanding the Issues Unique to High Net Worth Divorce Can Empower You

Empowering Yourself Through a High Net Worth Divorce

A divorce is a divorce to some extent. But when a divorce involves wealth, with multiples commas in your net worth, there are some special conflicts and considerations that can arise. That’s why I spoke with divorce financial expert, Michelle Smith, founder of Smith FSG in New York City. Ms. Smith works with clients to provide expertise in financial planning including investments and philanthropic giving and transfer strategy. She often works with high net worth couples.

Ms. Smith is also a certified divorce financial analyst. She helps people focus on the long-term financial effects of divorce, including alimony, dividing property, calculating divorce payments, and determining the future value of retirement and pension funds. She is one of the most sought-after divorce financial specialists in the country.

I sat down with Ms. Smith to discuss high net worth divorces, how they’re different from other divorces, how they’re the same, and the challenges they create. In this series with Ms. Smith, we’ll be covering what you should know about high worth divorces to empower yourself during the process and prepare for life after your divorce. In this series we’ll discuss several issues in high net worth divorces that may raise special challenges for couples, including:

  • The source of the couple’s money, whether it be a family trust or inheritance, wealth built together, or wealth created by one spouse’s successful business.
  • Divorcing out of a high net worth family and adjusting your standard of living. This can be a big adjustment for many couples and lead to stress during the negotiation process.
  • Using a needs-based analysis to develop financial peace. When one partner is facing a greatly reduced standard of living, determining how much money you really need can help you find peace during the process.
  • When one partner builds a highly successful business during the marriage, each partner may feel as if they were a big part of the success of the business. This can lead to conflict if not navigated carefully.
  • What high net worth divorces have in common with all divorces. A divorce is a divorce. While high net worth divorces have some special challenges, ultimately many of the issues and many of the feelings are the same in all divorces.
  • Setting the ground rules for financial transparency. It’s important to be open and transparent and disclose everything at the beginning of the process. Failing to do so can lead to greatly increased costs, delays, and feelings of betrayal.
  • What happens if the woman has the money? In many ways, we’re still a traditional society. If the woman was both the primary income earner and more than 50% responsible for family and household tasks, resentment can develop during the divorce process.

Ultimately, understanding all of these issues and how they might affect your high net worth divorce can help you feel empowered and more comfortable with the divorce process. Join us for the entire series as Ms. Smith shares her expert advice on divorce financial issues with us.

If you’re considering a divorce and would like to take a different, more peaceful approach, contact my office for a confidential consultation.