Special divorce considerations for high-profile, wealthy couples

Last updated on April 8, 2021

Why might ultra-wealthy families in Georgia and elsewhere seek to avail themselves of a so-called “alternative dispute resolution” process rather than proceeding to a courtroom to effect a divorce?

The acronym ADR is often used as a shorthand to denote family law processes such as divorce mediation or collaborative divorce, which are avenues that a couple seeking to divorce can take rather than having a family law judge issue deadlines and orders in their dissolution matter.

The reasons that a divorcing couple might opt for an ADR-focused divorce can be myriad in any given case, but they can make particular sense for couples that are exceedingly wealthy or have high public recognition.

A panel of divorce-related advisers addresses some of those reasons and discusses other matters as well that are often especially germane to exceptionally rich and powerful couples seeking to divorce. The group of professionals was gathered by a financial magazine, which solicited their views on what many “billionaires, celebrities and other rich individuals” are centrally looking for as they go through the divorce process.

Often, the ultra-rich focus on the same set of problems and issues that most people face in divorce, things like child custody, support, equitable property division and so forth. An obvious difference relates to magnitude, though. A massive amount of wealth often needs to be divided. Children are often targeted by paparazzi. As noted by the aforementioned magazine, “private family disputes can become headline news.”

And thus many power couples opt to — need to — retain a core group of professional advisers to help them work through issues and effect a marital dissolution that all affected parties can live with.

Often, an accountant is a core actor within that group. So, too, can be an estate planner and child psychologist.

And proven attorneys typically play centrally important roles. As one of the above advisers notes, “The legal team is usually at the center of the process.”

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