How to get ready for a high net worth divorce


date published

30th August 2020

written by

Emma Heptonstall Image

date published

30th August 2020

How to get ready for a high net worth divorce


Money makes everything easier, right? Not always. Not when you need to get ready for a high net worth divorce 


It’s true, money can buy material comfort. Money can solve problems. But it can rarely buy happiness, especially if your marriage is falling apart. And it brings stresses of its own. 


If you or your spouse has a high net worth, divorce can get a lot more complicated. And a lot more acrimonious. 


How to get ready for a high net worth divorce covers how to prepare yourself for divorce, emotionally and practically, when there’s considerable wealth at stake. Whether you’re the high net worth individual or your soon-to-be-ex is, getting ready for divorce is crucial.


Accept your emotions

Humans are complex creatures. Add relationship and wealth factors into the mix and our feelings get even more complicated. It’s likely you’re feeling a whole rainbow of emotions. These are five common responses, especially in high net worth cases:



If you want to leave, it’s common to feel guilty about it. Perhaps your ex is perfectly happy. Do you have friends or family telling you to be grateful for everything you have? Perhaps you are telling yourself that? Accept that feeling guilt sometimes is part of the territory. It doesn’t mean it’s true. All the money in the world can’t buy happiness if your marriage isn’t working. You can allow the guilty feelings and still do what’s right for you. 



It might look like you have a dream life on the outside. But you’re lonely. Maybe both within your marriage, and outside it. You don’t connect with your ex, and your friends can’t understand why you would walk away. If you don’t have friends you can trust it’s important to reach out for support. Loneliness can erode your self-esteem and keep you stuck. Work with a coach, mentor or therapist to start creating the support you want and need.



There’s no getting away from the fact that high net worth divorces are usually more complicated. There are more assets, so there’s more to decide and process. The thought of what’s ahead can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Overwhelm is paralysing, so it’s important to break things down into manageable, logical steps. If you’re daunted by the task, seek a trusted professional to help you. 



When there’s more at stake tempers flare. Maybe you’re furious at your soon-to-be ex’s behaviour, and you’d like nothing more to take scissors to their entire wardrobe. You want revenge and you want it now. But acting from anger usually leads to unwise choices. And that can have repercussions in court. Accept and allow your anger, it can be a powerful catalyst for action. But don’t let it control your decision-making.



Often women involved in high net worth divorces are used to getting things done quickly! You know what you want, and you want it sorted. And that’s admirable. But don’t let impatience lead to bad decisions. You might think, ”Oh let them have everything, I just want out.” 


But remember this is the rest of your life you’re talking about. Yes, it is important to prioritise your happiness and freedom. But you don’t need to relinquish what is rightfully yours to get it. It is important to take the time needed for yourself emotionally, as well as accepting that the legal process will take time. 


Choose your support crew

We talked about loneliness just now. Always, in divorce, your loved ones will have opinions. In high net worth divorces those opinions can be bigger and more public! You might find you’re the hot topic in whole networks of ‘friends’. It might be that social circles fall away as the news of your separation filters out. It might be that your ex holds power over who you have social contact with. 


Spend some time thinking who you can trust, and what you can trust them with. It might be you have layers of support: a small circle of friends you go to for cheering up and staying sane. An even smaller group you are more vulnerable with. And you only share the ins-and-outs with a professional in confidence.


Understand your numbers

Usually, in marriage, there is one person who’s on top of the finances and one who just isn’t! If numbers aren’t your thing, now’s the time to get organised and get savvy. There is no way you can enter the divorce process without a good grasp of your marital assets and liabilities – both jointly and individually. 


High net worth marriages have more complicated finances. It’s important that you get the advice you need to navigate the numbers properly. Get advice from an independent financial adviser so you can understand what you’re dealing with. 


It may be that your soon-to-be-ex attempts to hide assets – sadly that’s not unusual, especially in high net worth divorces. A wealth tracer can work with you to ensure you and the courts are not being misled in any financial disclosures. 


Choose the right professionals

In high net worth cases there will be a lot of people wanting to offer their professional services and take their fee! And it is definitely worth getting professional support. Your emotional, legal and financial decision-making all benefit from expert input. So as you decide who to invest your money, time and trust in, ask yourself:


Are they experienced in cases like mine?

For example, there are thousands of law firms to choose from. But not all of them know how to handle high net worth cases. When it comes to money, Independent Financial Advisers vary in specialism enormously. Equally, there’s now a growing number of divorce coaches in the UK. But not all of them have the expertise and experience to support women in high net worth marriages. I do!


Do they act with integrity?

Trust is a critical factor when it comes to working with professionals. Can you trust the person who wants to help you? Have they talked through how they operate? Do they have values and principles you agree with? For example, I often refer my clients to a wealth tracer who works with the utmost integrity – it’s the right thing to do, and it also means all the evidence will be permissible in court. Even if you’ve found a company that specialises in what you need, make sure you know exactly who you will be dealing with. And decide whether you can trust them.


Know what you want

We talked about impatience earlier, and it’s so tempting to rush headlong into divorce. You want to get it over and done with so you can get on with the rest of your life. That’s understandable, especially if divorce has been on your mind for some time. Or maybe your ex has acted appallingly and you just want out. But you risk more than money if you charge ahead without thinking. You risk your reputation and future happiness as well as any material assets. 


The only time to act quickly is if your safety is at risk. If that applies to you, you can get specific advice from Women’s Aid here.  Don’t forget to cover your tracks online. 


It is vitally important to have a plan. A plan starts with knowing what you want. A vision for your life after divorce. If you know where you want to end up, you can start to build a road to get there. 


The first part of your plan has nothing to do with practicalities. It’s about what’s important to you – your values. Once you connect to those you can bring them to life, in a way that is realistic for your situation. 


The next part of your plan is about understanding where you are now. As we’ve seen – that can feel overwhelming, especially if finances are complicated. But you can work through it, and you can get the support you need. 


And the final part of the plan is about taking the steps to get from where you are now to where you want to be. That’s about the legal process, yes. It’s also about the emotional journey. It’s about establishing yourself as an independent woman now and into the future.


Get the support you need

I have years of experience in supporting women through high net worth divorces. I bring my years of expertise as a lawyer, as well as a coach to help you navigate the very personal journey of your divorce. My network of trusted contacts will help you take charge of your wealth and financial decision-making.


I offer private coaching packages for women who need intensive, 1-1 support as they embark upon divorce. I can help you with every stage of the process: from making the decision to leave, to putting a professional team together, to understanding the numbers, to coping with the emotional fallout, to understanding what happens next.


If you want the support you need, exactly when and how you need it, I can be that person for you. 

Just contact me here to find out how we can work together.

About Emma

Emma Heptonstall, the Divorce Alchemist is author of the Amazon best selling book How to be a Lady Who Leaves, the Ultimate Guide to Getting Divorce Ready. A former lawyer, Emma is a family mediator and founder of Get Divorce Ready the online self-study and group programmes. Emma has been featured on BBC Radio, The Telegraph, the iPaper and in Marie Claire Magazine. To find out more visit


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