How interpersonal relationships can impact high-asset divorces

Posted on in Divorce

George Washington once said, "Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence." His advice is informed and should be heeded when entering into a high-asset divorce. Failure to do so can result in undesired consequences for the process as a whole. True, good friends and loyal family members can help you to navigate your divorce with grace and dignity. But friends and loved ones who are not quite so true can complicate your divorce proceedings and compromise your ability to obtain the settlement terms you desire.

Unfortunately, high-asset divorces sometimes bring out the worst in friends and loved ones. Those around you may be more concerned about how your divorce settlement terms will affect them than how they will affect you. They may even be inclined to act upon their concerns in ways that affect your divorce process.

For example, say that a relative is named in your joint will with your current spouse. If that relative believes that he or she will not be named in your newly single estate plan but will remain a beneficiary in your spouse's new will, that relative may actually try to influence your divorce settlement to ensure that you receive fewer assets. It is hard to believe that individuals would behave this way, but it happens more often than you would think.

As a result of the complicated motives of others, it is best to keep the evolving details of your divorce process as close to your chest as is both possible and practical. Confiding in a few trusted persons may be necessary. But failure to keep your process relatively quiet may impact its outcome.

Source: Huffington Post, "Concerning Money: Keep Your Friends Not So Close and Enemies Even Further Away," Don McNay, Feb. 10, 2013

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