Low Conflict Litigation
I first met Henry about a year after his wife, Wilma, had filed for divorce. They had worked with a mediator, and come to an agreement on a custody plan for their two (2) children. However, they could not overcome their differences about how to divide their property, the amount of spousal support Henry should pay Wilma, and for how long, and whether to sell a home the entire family loved. That was when Henry hired me, and Wilma hired another family law attorney to represent her.
Henry and I reviewed his financial documents, including numerous bank and stock accounts and a healthy retirement plan. I brought in a real estate professional, and the three (3) of us talked about home sales in Henry and Wilma’s community, and what they could expect to get for their home. Henry and I also spent time discussing how he saw his future and what he wanted for his children. I then sent a proposal to Henry’s lawyer, and we talked. Henry and Wilma each gave up a little of what they wanted, agreed on a period of spousal support for Wilma, and decided not to sell their home until the children graduated from high school. They have remained on good terms.
High Conflict Litigation
After a 30-year marriage, Howard filed for divorce. Howard was a salaried employee of a major American corporation, making over to $2,000,000 a year, plus a sizeable annual bonus. He had retirement accounts through the company, and had established a substantial stock portfolio. The home Howard shared with his wife, Wendy, was community property, as were and all of their other major assets. Since community property is divided equally, and spousal support for Wendy was easy to calculate, the case should have been simple and over quickly.
However, Howard’s anger at Wendy kept the case going for over three (3) years. He refused to turn over financial documents, as required in a divorce, refused to allow the parties’ realtor into their home to see its condition, and initially refused to allow possible buyers in, as well. He then refused to sign documents required to officially divide his and Wendy’s assets. Wendy obtained her share of the assets and the spousal support she deserved after I went to court several times, but both were worn out by the time everything was over.
After just over ten (10) years, with two (2) young children, Hugh and Winter realized that their marriage was over. They were both unhappy about the break-up, and wanted to resolve things amicably for the sake of the children and each other. We met on several occasions, working out a custody plan, what Hugh would pay Winter for child and spousal support, and how they would divide most of their assets. The major problems involved several businesses they had built together, one of which was in serious financial trouble. After I helped them hammer out a way to divide the healthy businesses, I contacted the bankruptcy lawyer they had previously retained. She and I discussed how the parties’ final agreement must be written in order to avoid attack by the bankruptcy court, and a few changes that should be made to the document. About five (5) months after retaining me, Hugh and Winter signed their agreement, which was then filed with the court.