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Case Studies

Case Studies

1. Dilemma

Karen and Richard were married for 20 years, with two teenage children. One afternoon, Richard left his computer on, open to a website, and upon looking at it, Karen realized that he was on a site for gay men, and arranging hookups with several of them frequently. She was stunned!

Unfortunately, the marriage did not survive this discovery. She felt betrayed, and he became angry and defensive. They proceeded to fight about everything, from who should stay in the house, to time with the children, to how to divide their finances. The real issue, of course, was the lifestyle betrayal, but it played itself out by being attached to other issues. Getting this couple to avoid wasting time, psychic energy and resources on lawyers took an understanding of what was really driving their behavior. We were able to mediate a divorce agreement by dealing with the underlying psychological issues.

*This is not an actual case but representative of issues that have occurred*

2. Dilemma

My client was a doctor from a family that had an extensive art collection. When he married his wife, they had a prenuptial agreement that gave his wife a reasonable property settlement in the event of a divorce, but not a share of the value of his medical practice.

He was worried because he was purchasing some expensive artwork during the marriage – Kandinsky and Picasso – that he had not thought to list as his separate property. We were able to arrange for the artwork to be purchased by his medical practice so that it might be exempt from the property he had to give to his wife upon divorce. In addition, we were able to mortgage the collection with an Investment Advisor to make it safe even from creditors.

But since he was generous to his wife in other ways, she did not contest the prenuptial agreement and they were able to work this out. I’ve seen the same strategy work with owners of fleets of gulfstreams and hotel chains. It can be done.

*This is not an actual case but representative of issues that have occurred*

3. Dilemma

Lisa and Steve lived in the suburbs with their 9 year old son. After she discovered her husband was doing cocaine and sleeping with the baby sitter, she asked him to leave. He moved out and stopped renovating their house, which was under construction. This left a large hole in the roof, and every time it rained, the floor and the furniture in the house got wet.

One morning, when Lisa got into the car to drive her son to school, the car would not start. A quick check showed that it was out of gas, even though Lisa had filled the tank the night before. Her husband had siphoned the gas out, leaving her with no way to get their son to school. I was able to decide how to deal with this sociopathic spouse to get her the best results in a separation agreement. It took an understanding of his pathology to make this happen.

*This is not an actual case but representative of issues that have occurred*

4. Dilemma

Lisa was married to Mark, a doctor. They lived in a brownstone in Manhattan, near his office. She began to notice that when she phoned her husband at his office, she was told that he was either “unavailable” or not in his office. When she asked him about this, he said he sometimes went to his gym during the day. She started calling the health club when he was not in the office but was told he was not at the gym. He also started giving Lisa less and less money each week although he earned well over half a million dollars a year.

Lisa spoke with her mother daily by phone, complaining about her husband’s increasingly abusive and strange behavior. One day when she was in the basement, Lisa realized that their home phone was hooked up to a recording device and that her husband had been recording all her conversations with her mother. He was using this information to gaslight her.

When she came to me with this story, I realized she was living with a sociopath. He was charming at first, but once he got what he wanted he started to change his behavior. In representing her in a divorce we used every trick in the book to discover her husband’s true income, prove his cocaine habit and his dissipation of marital assets, convincing the judge that she was entitled to a large amount of property. A good example of how understanding your spouse’s divorce personality can greatly improve the results of your divorce settlement.

*This is not an actual case but representative of issues that have occurred*

5. Dilemma

Susan and Harris were married with 2 young children. Susan was a high-powered hedge fund owner and managed the household finances. One day at work, Harris discovered that a lien had been placed on his modest salary by the IRS. He found out that the couple’s joint taxes had not been paid for the last three years, and the IRS had garnished his salary. It turned out that he had relied upon his wife to pay all the bills and taxes, but she had not paid the IRS or State for large sums of taxes owed for the past 3 years and had hidden this information from him. We had to investigate Susan’s finances and file an innocent spouse claim to get Harris off the hook for the unpaid tax bills, and obtain his share of the assets she had hidden offshore. An abusive, paranoid spouse, gone wrong and discovered.

*This is not an actual case but representative of issues that have occurred*

    “"Amazing, Skilled Mediator"”
    Amazing, Skillful Mediator!!!! We went to see Lois Brenner for a mediation consultation. We had pretty much decided our marriage was over. We just wanted to end things fair and amicably. Lois Brenner spent so much time with us, and gave us great insight as to how the process would help us, we hired her on the spot. Our sessions thereafter were stealth. She organized us, helped us identify and address all the issues. She showed us how to communicate effectively throughout the process. We were able to address all our issues, especially property and finances, arrive at a comfortable settlement agreement, and now we are waiting for the judge to sign our divorce. What an extraordinary process. I highly recommend Lois Brenner and mediation. She’s super, and mediation really works.
    - Maggie and Josh
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    I have hired Mrs. Brenner and had the best experience with her in my complicated and intense divorce. She was there for me all the way, always answering promptly any questions I had. She gave me the best advice, in such a caring and kind way. She has an amazing team of specialists, that will cover any needs you might have. I highly recommend Mrs. Brenner, you can feel she’s got your back!
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    Lois is a “Rock Star” I was very worried about my daughter who was in a really bad marriage. I started researching divorce attorneys and found Lois Brenner. I called her, discussed my daughter’s horrible marriage and she agreed to meet with us. Since my daughter’s husband wanted out of the marriage too (he was cheating), Lois suggested she help them dissolve their marriage in mediation. To my surprise it worked out. Lois was able to keep my daughter and husband from fighting during their sessions, and she helped them resolve all their financial issues. Since I was paying the fees to help my daughter, not having to go to court saved us a great deal of money. As a father, I am truly grateful for everything Lois did. Her talks with me in the beginning of the process, to calm me down, really helped. I would highly recommend her to anyone thinking of divorce.
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    I met with Lois Brenner nine months ago, and my life has been changed for the better! She and her legal team really encouraged me to leave a very abusive husband. They gave me the knowledge and courage to take the necessary legal steps. My parents were helping me and found Lois to be smart, and compassionate. My whole family felt really comfortable having her handle my case. I am finally divorced, away from an abusive man and ready to start a new life. I can’t thank Lois and her legal team enough for all the support I received. I got a much better settlement than I expected because they were relentless in locating money my husband had hidden. Thank you so much!
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