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High asset divorces: Which are most complicated?

The movies don't portray high asset divorces well. It's almost always an acrimonious deal where the couple can't agree on anything. These divorces do occur, but there are less of them than many people might think.

The most difficult divorces are those that aren't very straightforward. For example, there may be $10 million, but more than half is in real estate. There might be three children in private school and the spouse doesn't work. Financial advisors say that when these marriages head for divorce court, it's important to choose what type of divorce they want. Will it be a dignified divorce? Is co-parenting an option?

The easiest divorces are those where there are no children. All that is needed is a division of assets. If spousal support or alimony is called for, the courts now use a formula to determine how much it will be and for how long. Child support is handled much the same way. For example, in New York, one child means that child support will be equal to 17 percent of the noncustodial parent. Two children will get 25 percent, while three will get 29 percent.

Do-it-yourself, collaboration, mediation and litigation are the four types of divorce handled in New York. Collaborative divorce is usually a better option for some people. Unlike mediation where there is only mediator, collaborative divorce uses an entire support system that includes lawyers, child specialists and financial advisors. This is often a good choice for those with complicated assets, the support system can take the time to look at and value all the assets.

Divorce isn't easy, but when there are many assets, children and spousal support, you may want to consider a form of alternative dispute resolution to move your case through the New York legal system faster.

Source: The New York Times, "How Rich Couples Who Aren’t Pitt and Jolie Manage Their Divorces," Paul Sullivan, Sep. 30, 2016

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