Episode 061 Seeing the bigger (legal) picture
Episode 61 Use the Divorce Process to Set Yourself up for Success with special guest Marilyn B. Chinitz
Welcome to another wonderful week of divorce! This week Leanne and The Boyfriend discuss the legalities of divorce. Leanne had the same attorney for both divorces. The process was fairly simple and Leanne and her husbands shared the same lawyer. There was no point in getting separate lawyers. They had nothing to argue about. Leanne and her husband (both of them) kept it simple and fair. They agreed on how to split their assets and took that information to the attorney. The attorney filed all the paperwork and it was over in a couple of months.
10:46 Meet Marilyn Chinitz!
Marilyn Chinitz is a formidable advocate for her clients, guiding them through some of the most challenging transitions in their lives. She concentrates her practice in matrimonial law, particularly high-net-worth divorce actions. Marilyn is a skillful negotiator whose numerous high-profile and celebrity cases have received national and international attention. She has more than 35 years of experience in every facet of family law, including:
- complex divorce actions involving diverse transactional matters
- high-conflict custody cases
- international custody cases including the return of abducted children in proceedings filed under the Hague Convention
- premarital agreements and postnuptial agreements
- same-sex divorce/dissolution matters
- paternity cases
Known for her straightforward, creative, and responsive approach to representing her clients, Marilyn is as successful in litigation as in settlement negotiations. She has argued winning appeals in the appellate courts of New York, and in trials before the family court and the supreme courts of New York.
When high-profile marital matters or recent changes in the law make headlines, Marilyn is a sought-after commentator. She is often quoted in print, and has appeared on local and national television and radio shows including:
- NBC’s The Today Show
- ABC News 20/20
- Inside Edition
- HLN’s Headline News
- Hollywood Heat
Outside the Firm
Marilyn is the proud mother of two accomplished adult children. She loves cycling, and participates in fundraising rides and organizes travel to international destinations.
13:10 Marilyn likes to set her clients up for success after their divorce. Marilyn finds that women often are unaware of their financial situation. They don’t have all the information and come into the divorce process very lost. Marilyn feels good about using the divorce experience as a learning opportunity to set them up for future success. She’d rather not focus on the negative because that only shuts doors and makes the process much more difficult.
17:10 When people are so busy in their daily lives, they don’t always pay attention to the details of their finances. For instance, when they own property they need to fully understand the taxes, capital gain or otherwise, that come along with it.
Marilyn gives an example. If a client is offered a settlement of $1 million cash or $1.5 million in stocks they usually go for the higher number. The problem is that after taxes and fees, that higher number turns out to be the lessor number. Most people don’t know all the details and she is there to look out for their best interest.
Marilyn wants to work with clients who want to listen, learn, and understand what the options are. She wants to do the right thing for her client and stay on the right side of morals and ethics.
There is so much opportunity at the time of divorce. There’s always a silver lining. Marilyn often sees people trying new things and expanding their horizons. Marilyn loves seeing a client become hugely successful after something so negative as divorce.
23:15 Marilyn represented a husband in a divorce and about a year later his ex-wife reached out to Marilyn. Marilyn was reluctant to meet with her at first, but after obtaining permission from her former client, Marilyn responded to his ex-wife. It turns out the ex-wife wanted to thank Marilyn for inspiring her to change her life. After the divorce, the ex-wife became a paralegal. She went back to school and made huge changes in her life. She said that Marilyn was a role model for her. They now stay in touch.
25:32 “If you are strong, positive, and healthy, your kids will be stronger, positive, and healthier through this process.” Children look to your for guidance. Using your kids to get back at your spouse is not healthy.
Marilyn offers workshops for kids and hears how they are impacted. It all depends on how their parents behaved.
27:59 “If I have a client who wants to do something retaliatory to their spouse that’s going to affect the child, I’m not interested in representing them. I think it’s damaging. I think you have an ethical, moral, legal obligation to protect kids no matter what.”
33:15 There’s a lot of risk in high profile cases. There’s a lot of people trying to get the dirt on the situation. It’s the attorney’s job to keep things under wraps. Marilyn wants to make sure things are done quietly in the attorney’s office rather than in a court. Lawyers often make the mistake of thinking they are the high profile person and it’s about them. When things get leaked, things can get messy.
36:06 Stay off social media. Whether your a celebrity or not, posting on social media is not a good idea. It will come back to bite you. What you post becomes evidence that’s usable in a court of law. It puts people in a very vulnerable position.
Be weary of what’s on your computers, social media, and phone (texts, calls, etc). You may even have spyware on your computer that you don’t know about! Keep it all communication private during a divorce.
Even things you’ve posted in the past can come back and haunt you – in your divorce, job opportunities, etc. Be mindful!
40:15 Let’s talk same sex divorces and custodial rights. Marilyn shares example of two women who had a child together. When the two women split up, the non-biological mother sued for custody and the court was saying she had no legal rights. Things have changed in the past couple of years and this same scenario could end differently. It’s important to know your state laws because they are all different. There are also portability issues – moving from one state to the next.
Marilyn shares example of a couple who has been together for many years before they were legally married. How are the assets handled? Some states are making more progress on cases like these, but not all.
Another example of a same sex couple and how new progress is being made with the non-biological parent receiving custodial rights.
“If you’re going to live in a state, you have an obligation to know what the state laws are.”
48:39 Prenuptial agreements are very important. People don’t always know who they’re really marrying and what their true financial situation is. If you’re going to have a prenup
- You want to have an attorney
- You want full financial disclosure
- No agreement can be unconscionable – you cannot have a complete waiver of everything – there must be consideration in the agreement
- You want to make sure the agreement is rock solid and not subject to challenge
Whether it’s same sex or hetersexual couples, prenuptial agreements are very helpful.
There are some things you cannot put into a prenuptial agreement.
For instance, you can’t talk about custody for unborn children.
If there is a child already, it doesn’t matter because the situation can change over time.
Marilyn briefly discusses parens patriae.
According to an article in Study.com, Parens patriae is Latin for ‘parent of his or her country.’ In the juvenile justice legal system, parens patriae is adoctrine that allows the state to step in and serve as a guardian for children, the mentally ill, the incompetent, the elderly, or disabled persons who are unable to care for themselves.
Marilyn keeps in touch with her clients and loves to see them grow and prosper.
Tweet: Prenuptial agreements are very important. People don’t always know who they’re really marrying and what their true financial situation is. ep 61 w/Marilyn B. Chinitz @blankromellp #marriage #relationships #divorce #lifelafterdivorce #podcast
Tweet: Even things you’ve posted on social media in the past can come back and haunt you – in your divorce, job opportunities, etc. Be #mindful! ep 61 w/Marilyn B. Chinitz @blankromellp #marriage #relationships #divorce #lifelafterdivorce #podcast
Tweet: There is so much opportunity at the time of divorce. There’s always a #silverlining! ep 61 w/Marilyn B. Chinitz @blankromellp #marriage #relationships #divorce #lifelafterdivorce #podcast
Tweet: There’s a lot of risk in high profile cases and it’s the attorney’s job to keep things under wraps. Ep 61 w/Marilyn B. Chinitz @blankromellp #marriage #relationships #divorce #lifelafterdivorce #podcast
Tweet: We’re loving this episode (61) w/Marilyn B. Chinitz who’s all about doing the right thing for her clients and staying on the right side of morals and ethics. @blankromellp #marriage #relationships #divorce #lifelafterdivorce #podcast