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Divorce Tips: How to Avoid Two Million Dollars in Legal Fees

The divorce rate in the United States has been about fifty percent for decades.

So one out of every two marriages ends in divorce.

Also, with the legalization of gay marriage and civil unions, there will likely be more divorces, simply because there will be more marriages.

Many years ago, a very wealthy couple consulted with this author to see if their marriage could be repaired through marriage counseling.

This couple was in trouble. The husband had discovered that the wife was having an affair with another man. In fact, he had a video of her leaving a motel room at three in the morning on several occasions.

Also, there was a lot of conflict between the wife and her in-laws.

After seeing the couple about six times, they both came to the conclusion that it would be better if they parted ways with the company and went their separate ways.

They had three young children and substantial assets, including several family businesses, a large home in one of the richest communities in the country, and a large number of bank accounts abroad.

The husband was very angry with the wife and the wife was quite disenchanted with her husband.

I suggested that they try to resolve the matter fairly, diplomatically, and civilly. I reminded them that they could use their funds for their children, for their education, and to establish trust funds and help them start their own businesses if that is what they wanted to do when they were older.

I also suggested that they consider mediation, as this would save them money, time, emotional energy, and legal fees.

I also explained that the law was probably pretty clear as to what each of them would get once they broke up.

Unfortunately, each of them hired law firms that seemed more interested in fighting and generating fees than in resolving the matter amicably and efficiently.

After nearly two years of fighting and two million dollars in legal fees, they each ended up with exactly what they would have gotten if they had settled their case from the beginning.

Anecdotes like this are still all too common when it comes to divorce law.

According to the famous and respected New York attorney, Barry Slotnick, “the best way to avoid this kind of hassle is to use prenuptial agreements before you get married.”

As Mr. Slotnick noted in our recent interview, “A prenup is needed when two people have a lot of assets and when one person has more assets and wealth than another.”

A prenup is a lot like a preventive approach in medicine.

So if your financial situation warrants it, consider entering into this type of agreement before you get married.


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