Who Gets The Dog (And Our Stuff)?
You never thought it would happen. You’ve been together for so long. But now, living together has become intolerable. You agree to disagree and, although it's tragically sad, it's best for both of you to finalize the divorce. You don’t have kids and you don’t want a drawn-out court battle. All that being said, you just don't feel comfortable sitting down together in the same room and tackling how to divide your community property, which for one of our clients included four properties, a thriving business, a ton of airline miles and, perhaps most difficult, custody of the dog.
Recently, we worked with a couple who found themselves in this exact situation. Although the divorce part was relatively “easy” despite the fact that one of them was not emotionally ready to end the marriage, the division of properties of varying value and the strong opinions of one of the mother-in-laws, made the matter too complex for a quick and unemotional conversation.
Through a series of mediation sessions, and homework assignments in between those sessions, such as getting appraisals, seeking tax advice, and taking a hard look at what their futures were going to look like, we were able to help the couple resolve their differences and reach an agreement which gave them each an equal share of properties and liabilities. We also worked out a visitation agreement for their dog! We led them through a discussion of their options and ultimately to an agreement with which both parties were satisfied and could live with so they could get on with their respective lives.