Client Experiences

(names and faces changed to protect privacy)

Fairness is not always 50/50

Spouses who are equal wage earners have a tough time dividing the assets.


Mike (51, IT Consultant)
Amy (47, Pharmaceutical Professional)

  • 15-year marriage
  • Two children, ages 8 and 12
  • Two working spouses
  • Significant assets

Like many families, Mike and Amy juggled busy professional careers in addition to raising their two children together. Both spouses worked together to create a stable financial base for their family. Respectful of each other’s contributions, they agreed (in theory) that they would evenly split their assets. But it wasn't that simple. The challenge arose when they tried to figure out exactly what was fair.

Mike’s Concerns

“I knew that 50/50 wasn't going to be fair, and so I wanted everything broken down so that I could decide for myself what was fair.  I wanted to have all our options fully laid out so that I could pick and choose the financial and custody decisions that gave us both a sense of fairness."

Amy’s Concerns

“I was worried about how I was going to afford life as a single mom. I was not as confident when it came to financial matters, and was afraid I was going to make poor decisions that would negatively affect myself and my girls."


How We Helped

Although Mike and Amy had similar incomes, there were extenuating circumstances that we took into consideration during the mediation sessions. For example, they didn’t have enough equity in their house for Mike to buy out Amy. But they had enough in savings to work out an acceptable payment. We discussed the fact that Mike’s job wasn’t as stable as Amy’s, and that she had a much better retirement plan. All of this was factored into the settlement amount. We also documented that Mike would pay for certain children’s activities in lieu of making child support payments, since the support calculation was minimal. Instead of a black and white agreement, we helped Mike and Amy see the many ways they could insert flexibility into their plan – and in doing so – create a more equitable agreement that worked in the long run. Access to additional supports also made the process go more smoothly.

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Hand Holding Every Step of the Way



Martin (55, finance executive)
Sofia (53, homemaker)

  • 20-year marriage
  • Kids in college
  • Significant assets
  • Different education levels
  • Dependent spouse

After moving to United States from South America many years ago. Martin developed a highly successful career in finance that allowed his wife, Sofia, to stay at home and raise their two children. After nearly 20 years of marriage, they grew apart and decided to amicably part ways. Martin moved to Florida for a new job, leaving the home to Sofia while they worked through the separation. With two children in college and significant assets to split, they needed guidance to navigate the next steps.

Martin's Concerns

"It was very important to me that my ex-wife knew that I was being completely forthright and fair during the divorce process. I didn't want her to feel at a disadvantage. I recommended mediation so she would have an unbiased and neutral professional to explain the process and her rights. I wanted to set her up for success for my own peace of mind."

Sofia's Concerns

"Since English is not my first language, and I had never worked outside the home, I was dependent on my ex-husband-in many ways. There were so many decisions to be made, and I was afraid I would get lost."


How We Helped

The plan had to be financially feasible, good for the kids and flexible in case things changed. Our attorney-mediator carefully communicated Martin’s proposed terms to Sofia. Through two financial mediation sessions, they split their assets, established alimony for Sofia and set aside funds for their two college-aged children. Since Martin had moved to Florida during the process, Sofia was left to file the final paperwork with the court. Our court document specialist spent extra time guiding Sofia throughout the entire filing process until the divorce decree was in hand.

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Creating a Positive Transition for All


Kyle (35, Financial professional)
Christine (34, stay at home mom)

  • 12-year marriage
  • Three young children
  • Custody and alimony
  • Homeowners

Despite the differences that led to their divorce, Kyle and Christine were on the same page when it came to their three young children. Their kids came first and this guided all of their decisions. During their marriage, Kyle was the primary breadwinner, while Christine had stayed home with the children. They both knew that Christine needed to return to work in order for her to maintain a separate household; however, they wanted to wait until their youngest started school. How could she afford to divorce? How would Kyle stay close to his children?

Kyle’s Concerns

“Some people think when you’re the breadwinner, you’ll get taken advantage of in a divorce. I had that in the back of my mind. But more importantly, I wanted to show that I would do right by my family, no matter what."


Christine’s Concerns

“I wanted the divorce.  But having been out of the workforce for so long, I was worried that I couldn't afford to divorce and had no idea how I would get back on my feet. Plus, I didn’t want to feel pressured or belittled in any way." 


How We Helped

We worked with Kyle and Christine to create a three-year timetable that outlined custody, alimony and budgeting. Since Kyle was supporting his wife and three children in their home and his own apartment, money was tight. We helped them budget carefully and anticipate all tax repercussions. Our parenting mediator worked with the couple to design a modifiable custody agreement so Kyle could have more visitation time once he could afford a larger place to live. The alimony agreement was also flexible in case Christine found work sooner or Kyle didn’t earn a bonus. All of our support centered on their primary goal – giving their children a stable environment during the divorce and beyond.

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Not Dwelling on the Pain of the Past


Frank (57, business owner)
Linda (56, homemaker)

  • 30-year marriage
  • Three grown children
  • Infidelity
  • Significant assets
  • Retirement at stake

Linda contacted Main Line Family Law Center at a difficult time. Her husband Frank had disclosed an extramarital affair and wanted a divorce. Despite the circumstances, both Frank and Linda knew that they had nothing to gain by going to court.  Over their years of marriage, they had built a secure financial portfolio. How would they be able to discuss dividing marital property when Linda was angry and hurt, and Frank felt so guilty?

Frank’s Concerns

I didn't want to feel punished for how we ended up here. I wanted to be treated fairly and find a mediator that truly cared about both of us – not only in getting a fair settlement, but also caring about our long-term financial future in separate homes.” 

Linda's Concerns

"I was nervous that I might not be heard or that my side would not be taken into consideration.  I had a lot of questions and was anxious about being able to understand a process I'd never been through before." 


How We Helped

Infidelity will ramp up emotions in a divorce. To stay focused, our attorney-mediator helped Frank and Linda set clear expectations and laid groundrules from the start that no one would lay blame or fixate on the past.  This helped them establish a healthy mindset for mediation. Due to the complexity of their financial assets, we brought in a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, one of our trusted financial partners, to look at retirement scenarios. With both Linda and Frank heading toward retirement, we focused on health and long-term care insurance.

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