Daily Journal > In Housing Slump, Breaking Up Is Harder To Do

Posted on August 1, 2013


From Greg Katz:

Frederick Glassman, president of the Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association and senior partner at Mayer & Glassman, said he also has crafted settlements recently centered on the parties’ unwillingness to sell their homes.

“In many of my cases now, we’re saying, ‘This isn’t the right time to sell the house, and it may not even be the right time to award it to one party or the other, because
it might not have the value it would otherwise have,’” Glassman said. “With the economy the way it is, they’re looking for some choices in the process.”

Going to court for a divorce often results in a judgment that requires the sale of the house. That makes mediation or collaborative proceedings attractive to those concerned about losing the investments they made in their homes, said Glassman, who for years has been an outspoken advocate of using ADR in divorce proceedings.

He was careful to say that he doesn’t think that the economic slump has made parties reconsider divorce.

“In my experience, I don’t want to say it’s just the opposite, but people get divorces because there’s a lack of income, there’s a lack of financial security,” he said.

But an agreement not to sell a home may cause other complications in a divorce.

Torrance-based mediator Kimberly Davidson said that parties may want to defer selling their homes at the time of a mediation, but often change their minds later when circumstances change, so settlements have to account for uncertain future events, like remarriages or job losses.

To work around that problem, Davidson said, she suggests including triggers in their settlements that can require them to discuss selling earlier than the original agreement indicates.

“A triggering event might be ‘husband loses his job,’” she said. “That would be a trigger that would cause them to sit down and talk and sell the house sooner than the year or two years that we agreed on.”

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