In a divorce, should both parties have skin in the game?

Contrary to legal conventional wisdom and precedent, a NY divorce judge made a ruling in a high profile divorce case  that stunned the parties involved.  In the divorce case of hedge fund millionaire George Sykes and unemployed wife Amanda Sykes, the judge determined that the situation was unbalanced.  The couple has been embroiled in a contentious divorce since 2010, during which substantial legal fees have accrued.  Judge Matthew Cooper went against long-held legal precedent when he ruled that Mrs. Sykes should also have ‘skin in the game’ and that legal fees would be paid out of marital funds, rather than Mr. Sykes’ personal funds.

Traditionally, the court may direct the ‘monied spouse’ to pay for the legal fees of the ‘non-monied spouse’ and this is generally accepted and followed so that the litigation is “shaped not by the power of the bankroll but by the power of the evidence.”

However, Judge Cooper’s decision has opened the door to future rulings of a similar nature and spouses of wealthy mates may find that running up excessive legal bills during a divorce will work against them.
Do you have skin in the game?
Divorce by its very nature is a contentious undertaking and often leads to emotional decisions that can be harmful to all parties involved.  This is especially true of litigated divorces where parties go to battle to fight their adversary – the ex spouse – and winning becomes everything.  Often leaving emotional scars that never heal.

However, there are alternatives to litigation that can achieve the same end – a divorce – without causing unnecessary pain and enabling both parties to survive with their dignity and emotional health.

Mediated and collaborative divorces are alternative approaches that enable both parties to have skin in the game and works toward a fair outcome.  The benefits of these cooperative approaches include:

•    Greater control of problem resolution
•    Equal airing of grievances
•    Lowered legal and court costs
•    Establishes cooperation between spouses
•    Establishes co-parenting solutions
•    Family issues are decided by you rather than the judge
•    Quicker resolution to problems

 A NY divorce mediator can help

The fallout of a litigated divorce can have long-lasting financial and emotional effects on your family.  And a mediated or collaborative divorce may help you avoid that unnecessary pain and suffering.  To learn more about alternatives to litigated divorce contact a NY divorce mediator ( today.

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