Arnold Cribari Blog

Divorce Lawyer Explains How to Save Marriages

It may seem a bit crazy for a divorce lawyer and mediator to write about ways to save a marriage. I got the idea from an owner of an auto body shop who would speak at business networking groups about how to avoid motor vehicle accidents.

A bad divorce is like a car crash. Much harm and expense can result from both, except if a car crash does not result in serious physical injury, it may be better than a divorce. Why?  Because there is usually insurance to pay much of the expenses, whereas there is no insurance to defray the cost of a divorce. The auto body guy and I are both idealistic and very consumer-oriented. We both know the world would be a better place if there were fewer car accidents and more saved marriages. Those are worthwhile goals even if it means that we both make less money.

The best way for most people to save a troubled marriage is to go to what I call “a damn good marriage counselor.” Go to the best marriage counselor you can find, and do not worry about whether your health insurance will cover the cost. This is an important investment […]

COMPARING A COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE WITH A LITIGATED DIVORCE

 

COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE    LITIGATION DIVORCE
The couple controls the process and make final decisions. Judge controls the process and makes final decisions.
The process is affordable: costs are limited. The process is much more expensive. There can be unforeseen expenses, such as post-judgement litigation and appeals.
 The couple determines the timing of events in a collaborative divorce.  Timing of events is dictated by the Judge.
 The couple chooses and retains experts and specialists who can guide them in achieving MUTUALLY beneficial solutions.  Specialists and experts may be chosen and retained separately and therefore couple encounters higher expenses.
Collaborative lawyers brainstorm solutions that benefit both parties and their children.  Each party’s lawyer fights to win. Some litigators prefer trials to maximize their fees at the clients’ greatest expense.
 The couple communicates openly and honestly while keeping negotiation private and confidential.  Communication is one-sided and Court -driven while information is not always private.
Collaborative divorce can be a healing process and provide a good divorce aftermath. […]

Case Study Demonstrating Collaborative Divorce Benefits

How the case Started?

- At initial consultation, Mr. C. (the husband) wanted a Collaborative Divorce. Why?
- He liked the benefits:
- Economic divorce – save money on legal fees and preserve the marital estate
- Control – not to naively put your destiny in the hands of a Judge (a stranger).
- We both communicated with Mrs. C. (the Wife) regarding Collaborative Law and its benefits and gave her a brochure and website so she could find a good Collaborative attorney for herself.

- all to no avail
- she did nothing for 6 months
- so, Mr. C. hired me to start a divorce litigation

Retainer

- Ability to have an economic divorce starts being eroded
- Retainers typically higher for a divorce litigation than a Collaborative Divorce.
- divorce litigation is much more time consuming.
- So, you pay substantially more up front for litigation that you do for Collaborative

Loss of Control over events in your life from the Outset

- Wife responded to the Summons and Complaint with a Pendente Lite Motion

- She immediately asked for a Judge to grant her temporary relief (Child Support and Maintenance and counsel fees while case is pending)

- Husband (Mr. C.) and his attorney (me) must respond to that on paper (reminds […]

Mediation, Collaborative Divorce and the Children’s Best Interests: a Legal, Psychoanalytic Perspective

When you think that your happy marriage is coming to an end, but deep down you know that your children will be severely affected by it, you might want to consider Collaborative Divorce or Mediation first.

To avoid any misconceptions and /or confusion: collaborative divorce and mediation are not the same. However, both are protective of children and prevent a potentially destructive and traumatized experience. Other authors have called a collaborative divorce “The Good Divorce”.

Mediation is for couples who can each compete on a relatively even playing field, where there is a minimal, if any, power imbalance in their relationship. It is simpler and usually more affordable than collaborative, but it is also a child-friendly option like collaborative.

Mediation does not require each party to hire his/her own divorce lawyer but, instead, one neutral mediator facilitates a negotiation between the parties to reach a meeting of the minds for settlement. If the mediator is also an attorney, then the mediator can also draft the Separation Agreement.

Collaborative divorce is for couples who may have a significant power imbalance in their relationship, and who still want to avoid a bitter contested divorce fought in Court. Like mediation, a collaborative divorce considers the needs […]

How to Save Money in your Divorce

Settle Maintenance (Alimony) before December 31 of this year:
If you have exposure to paying maintenance, which is the term used in New York for alimony, you can save a lot of money by immediately retaining an attorney to make a legally binding agreement settling the maintenance issue. Such an agreement could be a Separation Agreement.
Time is of the essence, however, because if maintenance is resolved by December 31, 2018, the new Tax reform Act provides that the payor will get a tax deduction for it. If not, the payor will not be able to deduct it.
You will need an Attorney that has the time available to help you make such a settlement by December 31, 2018.
Other ways to save money in a Divorce:
1. Organize your documents.
2. Do not call your lawyer to ask questions every day, unless it is an emergency. Instead, make a list of questions ahead of time, and call your lawyer once per week to ask your questions.
3. Consider retaining a divorce lawyer with a reasonable hourly rate.
4. Consider an out of court settlement first. Litigate only when necessary. Mediation or Collaborative Law are great ways to make an out of court divorce settlement.
5. Be willing […]

Postnuptial Agreement: Can It Help Save The Marriage?

Are you hurt because your spouse cheated on you? That triggers a divorce for many people. If you have been hurt this way, it is perfectly understandable if you are considering a divorce.

Earlier this year a marriage counselor recommended that a woman, living in an affluent suburb of Westchester County, contact me to help her with a Postnuptial Agreement. Although her husband cheated on her, she did not want a legal separation or a divorce. In fact, she was optimistic that her marriage could be saved and that a Postnuptial Agreement could help her accomplish that.

What is a Postnuptial Agreement? It is similar to a Prenuptial Agreement except that instead of making it prior to the marriage, it is made after the marriage. Both Agreements are similar in that they commonly provide for the following in the event of a divorce : (a) protect the existing assets and future acquired inheritances and gifts of each party so they are not shared with their spouse; (b) define what the marital assets will be and how they will be divided; and (c) address the issue of maintenance (alimony). Unlike a Prenuptial Agreement, a Postnuptial Agreement might also address custody, visitation and […]

A Most Affordable Prenuptial Agreement

The inspiration for my recent article entitled “The Most Affordable Divorce,” was a recent matter in which I was hired by a couple, very much in love, to serve as their mediator to help them negotiate a Prenuptial Agreement.

The bride was young and financially middle class, and the groom was older and a high net worth individual. What made this matter most compelling was that in 2017, each party had hired his/her own high priced, aggressive lawyer, and the negotiation became so adversarial that the Prenuptial Agreement was never finalized and executed, and the couple called off their marriage and split up!
Fortunately, love triumphed, the couple got back together and resumed the negotiation of their prenuptial agreement keeping lawyers out of it.

A few more facts are important to shed light on this couple’s situation and concerns. The groom had a net worth in excess of $35,000,000, annual income in excess of one million dollars, and a very successful business known to most people where this couple lived. The groom was also married and divorced twice before, and had spent a fortune on legal fees in his prior divorces. As a result of this and the bad experience this couple […]

The Most Affordable Divorce

Unbeknownst to many divorcing couples, it is possible to have a one-attorney no-court divorce, which is the most affordable divorce.

If done properly, such one-attorney divorces are also fair and reasonable, and enforceable.

Kitchen Table Divorce Utilizing a Neutral Mediator
A “kitchen table divorce,” or “Starbucks divorce,” happens when a couple negotiates their own settlement terms for divorce (over the kitchen table or at Starbucks) without any attorney involved, and then an attorney is retained to draft the separation agreement or marital settlement agreement.

In my opinion, the best way to do such a kitchen table divorce is for the couple, after their private negotiations, to go together and retain a divorce attorney to serve as a neutral mediator, who will then draft the settlement agreement. Each spouse is likely to trust the attorney if they meet and retain the attorney together, and then discuss with the attorney the agreed upon settlement terms.

When the attorney serves as a neutral mediator, he/she represents neither party, but rather remains neutral to facilitate a dialogue between the couple to help them finalize a settlement. The neutral mediator is in a position to share his/her thoughts about the settlement terms, so as to best meet the […]

Divorce Mediation and Saving the Marriage

Within the past year I served as the divorce mediator for a couple in which the wife was broken-hearted. Her husband had cheated on her and she confronted him with her proof: a shareholder certificate showing that the husband jointly owned a co-operative apartment with another woman who was unrelated to him.
The husband denied having any romantic relationship with the other woman. His explanation for the shareholder’s certificate, which he had tried to conceal from the wife, was the following:

1. he needed to make more money than he earned at his salaried job in order to pay for college for the couple’s two children and maintain the family’s middle-class lifestyle;
2. the other woman was a real estate broker who showed him the co-operative apartment, they jointly invested in it because it was such a golden opportunity, they never had sex or lived together, and she now lives in the mid-west;
3. the husband never told the wife about the broker and the co-operative apartment because he knew the wife would object to him making such an investment;

The Husband’s above explanation made the wife furious. She believed it was a total lie, and that […]

ELIGIR A UN ABOGADO DE DIVORCIO: ¿PORQUE CONTRACTAR UN PROFESIONAL DE CONCILIACION?

Probablemente usted tiene más experiencia tratando con doctores que con abogado de divorcio.

Si usted tiene problemas con su corazón, usted no llegaría a un ortopedista. Si tu objetivo es un acuerdo de divorcio bueno, entonces, ¿Por qué irse a un abogado litigante? Hace más sentido elegir a un abogado con competencias, preparación y experiencias a conseguir asentamientos buenos.

En la nuestra analogía médica, un proceso de divorcio es comparable a una cirugía. Una cirugía es peligrosa, estresante y costosa.

Usted no se somete a una cirugía salvo si es absolutamente necesario.

Un divorcio colaborativo es comparable a un enfoque medico a un problema. Cuando se trata una enfermedad, solitamente se recomienda el tratamiento meno riesgoso. Irse a juicio es riesgoso. Durante mi tratamiento como abogado de divorcio de más de treinta años, he dicho a numerosos clientes, “Que se cubra sus necesidades en un acuerdo. En juicio usted lanza el dado.”

Cuando se confronta con un divorcio, en primer lugar, piensa colaborativo- en la misma forma que usted pensaría a la medicina o fisioterapia ante de considerar cirugía. La Corte debería ser el último recurso.

Además, si se toma realmente en serio de evitar el riesgo de irse a la corte, ¡Que contrate un […]