Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about your individual situation it is best to seek the advice of an experienced legal professional.

In recent research about estate planning and family wealth, family conflict was estimated to be one of the biggest threats to passing on a legacy to the next generation. Respondents to a survey identified designating beneficiaries, failing to communicate and blended families as the three biggest threats to estate planning. Many estate planning issues intersect with divorce, and when divorces involve high net-worth individuals in particular, there can be issues with power imbalances, inefficient planning and toxic dynamics. More American families than ever count as non-traditional and “blended” families. The glow of the second marriage can unfortunately wane when step-children and new spouses don’t get along. Unfortunately, statistics show that a high proportion of second marriages end in divorce. Divorces involving family money or second marriages need all the help they can get. If the divorce is complicated, you can choose to involve other family members. Mediation can even have the goal of transforming toxic family dynamics from conflict and distrust into more positive relations.

The Second Marriage, or Blended Family

The second marriage is a second chance at love, but if not properly negotiated, a second marriage or divorce can run into conflict. There can be territorial step-children, step-parents, ex-spouses or even parents. There can be a very real threat to the children’s and ex-spouse’s security if the second spouse is favored in inheritance or if family assets are given away in divorce. On the other hand, a second spouse can be left with nothing in the event of divorce and be made to feel like the poor relation. By the time divorce happens, there may already have been conflict. In mediation, the divorcing spouses and any relevant family members can discuss issues in the same room or together. The mediators at Boileau Conflict Solutions have specific tools to help identify mutual and individual interests. We do not sweep differences under the carpet, we reveal financial and emotional needs and desires using tools like game theory, communication theory and relevant branches of psychoanalysis.

Family Money, and the “Meddling In-Laws”

When you marry into money or enter into a marriage where there is a financial imbalance, power differentials and conflict can follow. You might need to be wary of entering into a prenup or postnup that isn’t favorable to you, or might feel compelled to back down in divorce and accept less than your due. You might even want to be fair to a divorcing partner, but family might interfere. When family members control trusts and other property or exert undue influence, mediation with more than the two of you can help you regain control.

The Family Inheritance, Holiday Home or Priceless Family Heirloom

When you divorce you are often splitting property acquired before the marriage or inherited before/during it. California has laws about community property and what is covered in the marriage or outside it, but when property is a gift or shared it might not be so simple. Take the epic battle between Frances Bean Cobain and her ex-husband over the alleged gift of Kurt Cobain’s guitar. Property might also be shared, or funds used during the marriage towards the marriage, which could be considered community property. If the property is something with value to more members of the family than the divorcing couple — like a holiday home or timeshare — the feud may become bigger than the divorce. Divorce mediation over such property can focus on the property itself, or it can aim to heal deeper wounds and even transform family relationships. At Boileau Conflict Solutions we can work with deeper psychological undercurrents to resolve fights about money and property that are about much more.

Who We Are and How We Can Help

We are caring, well-educated mediators who are skilled in applied financial mathematics, the law psychoanalysis, and game theory. We strive to efficiently comprehend your situation and its opportunities for sustainable and agreeable resolution. Conflict analysis can result in a more optimized understanding of the net community property, which adds value to the overall estate, benefiting you both. The sooner you can resolve your conflict, the sooner you can begin to craft a sustainable future for you and your children. Our specially trained divorce mediator-accountants can also help reveal and investigate the proven financial facts of a divorce to make a full financial appraisal of your divorce and to suggest creative solutions for financial planning after divorce. Our high-level divorce mediation services are tailored to the needs of people with complex lives or divorces that may be difficult or protracted. We can intervene to break litigation deadlocks when divorces are already underway. We work with individuals from several cultures and countries, and can help with national and international relocation issues associated with divorce. You can visit us at our offices in Campbell, CA, Irvine, CA and San Diego, CA. We can also be reached by Telephone, Zoom or Facetime. We are available 7 days a week and at urgent notice. Please contact us to see how we can help.

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