Is Investing In Divorce The Wrongest Thing Ever, Or Kinda-Sorta Good?

In fun holiday news, a new type of investment company is popping up around the country. If you’re intimidated by the stock market, maybe you’ll want to invest in divorce proceedings? Or not. Two companies—Balance Point Divorce Funding in Beverly Hills and Churchill Divorce Finance in New York—let you contribute to a woman (or man) going through a divorce proceeding and cover, say, a part of their lawyer’s fee or the cost of an investigator to seek out hidden assets. In exchange, you get a percentage of the settlement that’s reached in the end.

Before you get all up in arms about the state of our society, this actually isn’t the worst idea ever.

Balance Point Divorce Funding was started by finance lawyer Stacey Napp, using money from her own divorce. When Napp split from her husband, he sold stakes in his $5.7 million business, making it hard to follow the money trail. She went through an eight-year legal battle, using loans from friends and family, and realized how hard it must be for women without the proper tools. Now, she works with women in similar situations. Since starting her company last year, Stacey has provided over $2 million to 10 women seeking divorce. “We want to help those people, the underdog, to make sure they get their fair share,” Napp said. “It furthers the concept of putting both spouses on an equal playing field.”

At first glance, this seemed like another financial power trying to take advantage of people in their time of need, but in practice, it seems more about helping women who can’t afford the caliber of lawyer that they need. If about 50 percent of the country is divorced, how many people got screwed in their settlement? Right now, Balance Point works with people with marital assets between $2 and $15 million, but it sounds like this might be a market with (sadly) plenty of room for growth. Not to be a downer, but why not buy stocks in other people’s inevitable unhappiness? There aren’t many sure things in this world, but as long as people are getting married, they’re probably going to keep divorcing. [NY Times]