Financial mediation and prenup. I love to use my mediation skills and financial expertise skills not just to help couples part ways gently and smartly but also to help couples who wish to stay together but are getting ripped apart by their wealth. I have had the privilege of working alongside great couples’ counselors who ‘handed’ such couples over after it became apparent that in addition to addressing the why, they also needed the financial what and the future how to.

Here is my most recent couple, Brad and Amy. They have been married about 15 years and have two kids. Brad was the one with the substantial family wealth but Amy came into the marriage with some of her own. After several years, she began to question some of Brad’s financial decisions that seemed very risky. Each time she asked him to explain the financial transactions, investments, and new business entities, he confused her with a ton of information. She kept asking more clarifying questions because that is how she processed information. He became increasingly frustrated feeling “unappreciated” and she seemed “ungrateful to him because he has been expanding their family’s wealth”. They were both exhausted, but they were not ready to give up on each other yet. They came to me and we embarked on a journey together.

After an exploratory call with each of them individually and then together, I decided to approach as two phases.

In the first phase, I put on my financial analyst hat. I analyzed financial statements and then walked Amy (with Brad present on the call) through the flow of their money, explaining the various entities and transactions.  To ask additional questions to each other, we chose an email format, which allowed Brad to ‘slow things’ down and for Amy to then digest it in a bite size pieces. Plus, it took the emotions out of it.

In the next phase, I put on my financial mediation hat and over a number of joint sessions, they shared their money values, discussed how to divide their financial roles and how to meet their goals in a way that honored them individually and also as a couple.

Denisa Tova, CFP, CDFA is an experienced financial and divorce Mediator, Certified Financial Planner and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. Denisa has worked with hundreds of couples with complicated substantial wealth to help them resolve their conflict around money, bridge their different money personalities, renegotiate prenuptial agreements, and provide financial solutions.