A Case Study in Mediation and Litigation

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Barbara

A Case Study in Mediation and Litigation


You may have guessed that the tone of the mediation process is very different from that of litigation, but you may or may not realize that a couple can makes use of more than one process choice during the course of a divorce. Barbara and her ex-husband, Alan, used a mediator to design a parenting plan, and the process was both cost-effective and peaceful. But when it came time to deal with the unraveling of their financial lives, the tone shifted.

Barbara had left her job in social work 13 years prior to stay home and care for their children, one of whom suffered from a life-threatening disease before his passing at the age of seven. Alan worked long and hard to cultivate a successful career on Wall Street.  As a result, Alan deferred to Barbara on much of the decision-making around parenting, while he took responsibility for the management of their finances. Their views of each other’s contribution to the economic partnership were very different, and the division of their assets became a point of contention. Mediation was no longer an option.

Today, Barbara joins Katherine to explain how she and Alan began the process with mediation and why crafting a parenting plan was the easiest part of their divorce. She discusses how differing world views led to clearly defined roles during their marriage and tension around the equitable distribution of assets during their divorce. Barbara speaks to the challenge in understanding your partner’s contribution to the economic partnership of a marriage and how the definition of ‘equitable distribution’ continues to evolve. Listen in for Barbara’s insight on how communication works in mediation, collaboration and litigation and learn how she navigated a divorce involving more than one process choice.

Topics Covered

How Barbara and Alan’s differing world views affected their divorce

Barbara and Alan’s clearly defined roles during their marriage

How the couple designed a parenting plan through mediation

Why crafting a parenting plan was the easiest part of their divorce

How the definition of ‘equitable distribution’ continues to evolve

Why Barbara and Alan left mediation prior to a full resolution

Barbara’s take on communication in process choice

  • Communicate with third party present in mediation
  • Supervised communication in case of collaboration
  • Communication done for you in litigation

How a commencement of action set the tone for their division of assets

What is involved in the equitable distribution of assets during a divorce

Barbara and Alan’s differing views of their contributions to the economic partnership

The need for a signed participation agreement to initiate the collaborative process

Why Alan was willing to risk the associated legal fees for a greater share of their assets

Connect with Katherine Miller

The Center for Understanding Conflict

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The New Yorker’s Guide to Collaborative Divorce by Katherine Miller

Email katherine@westchesterfamilylaw.com

Call (914) 738-7765