As part of your divorce settlement, the decision was made to liquidate certain household assets and split the proceeds. So where do you go to get top dollar for things like paintings and art work, antiques, and other jointly owned valuables and collectibles? If you have items to unload, here are some people and places that can help maximize your money: Read more
Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise reached a settlement agreement in their headline-making divorce only 11 days after Katie filed in New York to end the marriage. The contents of the agreement are confidential, but the statement released by Katie’s legal team, “We are thrilled for Katie and her family and are excited to watch as she embarks on the next chapter of her life,” seems to be a telltale sign that the actress got exactly what she wanted. How did she do it? Here are three key ways Katie’s approach to divorce was incredibly smart: Read more
We’re watching the Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise divorce unfold just like everyone else and will no doubt have much to say on the topic in upcoming posts. But for now, we’ve decided to put aside issues of religion and prenuptial agreements, to focus on one seemingly small issue that may have a big impact on Katie Holmes’ divorce filing: state residency requirements. Read more
Women are now the top income earners in one-third of all marriages. But what does this mean when some of these marriages end in divorce — as an estimated 50 percent of marriages do? As CBS 2 New York reports, more and more women are being forced to pay not only alimony to their former spouses but also child support. Read more
Reading through a list of some of Hollywood’s nastiest divorce battles, we couldn’t help but notice that each case described offered a very valuable lesson in how to (and how not to) get what you want from your divorce. Call it a Hollywood teachable moment! In part 1 of our blog series on celebrity divorce, here are three particularly ugly divorces…and a takeaway message we can learn a thing or two from: Read more
When Ron left Mary after just shy of 10 years of marriage, he thought their divorce would be quick, clean and leave him free to pursue the life he always wanted. Because they didn’t have kids and Mary was steadily employed, Ron didn’t pay much attention to the divorce documents he filled out, just estimating as best he could on certain items, like his income and his own expenses. Read more
When Kevin and Jessica entered divorce mediation, they both immediately demanded “school night” custody of their 7-year old daughter Lilly. It became such a stalemate that it looked likely the pair would need to go before a judge. As a last resort, the mediator took each aside and asked them privately to explain the real goal of their custody demands — what did Kevin and Jessica really want? Read more
Maria and Shane had leased their Jersey City apartment for three years when the couple decided to get a divorce. Shane moved in with his brother while he looked for a new place to rent. Maria remained in the apartment and over the next few weeks, had the building superintendent change the locks and paid the rent herself on the first of the month. Read more
Due to the state’s judge shortage crisis, divorce trials in Essex County, home to the state’s busiest courthouse, have been on hold since December 2011. Still waiting for your day in court? Depending on the issues involved, it may be wise to ask your divorce attorney if a form of alternative dispute resolution is appropriate in your case. Two of the most popular alternatives to litigation include:
Mediation: If both parties are willing, private divorce mediation can accomplish the same goals as litigation, but comes with the added bonus of helping you feel more in control of the divorce process.
What Happens: In a typical divorce mediation session, you and your spouse sit down with your attorneys and a neutral professional known as the mediator (often a lawyer or retired judge). At first, you may take turns identifying your individual needs and wants. The mediator then tries to facilitate a settlement discussion, talking about compromises that might make sense in your situation. However, a mediator only makes recommendations when asked — his or her sole goal as a neutral professional is to get the parties to come to a resolution that they can both live with. It should be noted that this process is not recommended for divorces where abuse or domestic violence is present.
What Else to Know: Mediation is completely private and non-binding. Let’s say your July 14 court date is postponed and you give mediation a try, but it doesn’t work out to your satisfaction and you decide to go before a judge in the fall. The courts won’t know what happened behind closed doors, so nothing that happened during mediation can be used against you (nor can it be used against your spouse). With that said, however, mediation is so popular precisely because people are getting the results they want.
Arbitration: Getting divorced through arbitration is similar to mediation in that it’s confidential and an out-of-court type settlement, but the arbitrator is the one who in the end decides the terms of the divorce, much the same as a judge.
What Happens: In a typical arbitration session, a neutral arbitrator–often a lawyer or retired judge–sits in a room with a stenographer and takes testimony. Unlike the give and take of mediation, you need to go into an arbitration meeting prepared and ready to present your case to this person in the exact same way you would a judge. After listening to both sides, the arbitrator deliberates and then hands down a binding decision that you will need to live with (or go to court to appeal).
What Else to Know: If you feel you have a very strong case and have demands that you know your spouse will not compromise to meet, this type of alternative dispute resolution may be the route to take. For those who want a third part to make a decision, but don’t want to linger in court system limbo over the summer, arbitration can be a very efficient way to reach a settlement.
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