Is Collaborative Divorce a Good Choice for Wealthy Couples?

When couples with high net worths divorce, there is obviously more at stake. These couples are often quite concerned about the possibility of losing hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars due to their separation. While some of these fears are unfounded, some are legitimate. This makes it extremely important for wealthy couples to choose the best possible divorce methods and strategies. Some spouses may limit their financial losses by taking advantage of prenuptial agreements signed before the marriage, for example. Another viable strategy is to pursue a collaborative divorce rather than a "traditional" litigated divorce. But what exactly is a collaborative divorce, and how can it help high-net-worth couples?

If you want to protect a considerable family fortune as you go through a divorce, the first thing you need to do is enlist the help of a family law attorney in North Carolina. Our legal professionals can help you protect your wealth as much as possible. While some financial effects of divorce are virtually unavoidable, there are many strategies you can employ to mitigate these impacts. One possible strategy is to opt for a collaborative divorce. If you choose this option, you will need to work with an attorney who has experience with collaborative law. 

What is Collaborative Divorce?

A collaborative divorce is an alternative option that allows you to resolve differences with your spouse without going through a trial. Essentially, this takes the form of a private negotiation between two parties, behind closed doors and with the assistance of their legal representation. Other experts, such as financial experts or mental health professionals, may be called in to assist with the negotiations if needed. 

It is much more informal compared to a trial, and the goal is to create a divorce agreement. This is a written contract that contains all of the various conditions of the divorce, including matters related to child support, child custody, alimony, property division, and so on. Once the agreement is signed, a simple hearing is required before a judge can sign it. Then, the contract becomes legally enforceable. 

Collaborative Divorces are Private

One of the reasons many high-net-worth couples prefer collaborative divorces is that they are much more private. Everything can be handled behind closed doors, and couples are not "airing their dirty laundry in public." What happens during the negotiations are strictly confidential, and neither spouse is legally allowed to disclose any details. In contrast, a litigated divorce can be quite a public affair, as everything goes on public record. This means that any allegations of cheating, drug abuse, or financial misconduct are visible to the general public. 

This can be incredibly harmful to high-net-worth couples, as many wealthy individuals are influential figures within their communities. They might be the face of successful companies, or perhaps they are public figures like actors or politicians. Keeping these matters private protects not only their reputation, but also their business interests. 


In a litigated divorce, the goal is to "win." In a collaborative divorce, the goal is to help both parties walk away from the marriage feeling satisfied. Because of this approach, there is much more neutrality involved. For example, a third party who has no ties to either spouse can step in. This individual can provide the spouses with accurate, unbiased advice on how to best handle their finances after the divorce. This can often help spouses avoid major tax issues and other problems that might have been overlooked in a divorce trial's high-stakes, highly emotional process. 

You are Not Relying on a Judge

Another important benefit of collaborative divorce is the increased level of control. Unlike a trial, you are not relying on a judge to make a final decision for you. Instead, you can make the decision that is best for you, your family, and your business interests. Judges are not business experts or financial experts, for the most part. You know more about your own business than any judge can, and you can make the best decisions for the future of your estate. In contrast, a judge might order to split everything up in the interests of "fairness," including your businesses and your properties, even though this is a clearly unprofitable decision for both spouses. 

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching the North Carolina area for a qualified, experienced family law attorney, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. We are well-versed in collaborative law intricacies and can guide you if you choose this method. In addition, we appreciate the unique concerns that many high-net-worth couples have when going through a divorce, and we can employ various strategies that help you limit any potential financial issues you might be facing. With our assistance, you can make the most of your collaborative divorce and walk away from your marriage with minimal conflict.