You may have heard horror stories from coworkers or friends of couples battling it out in divorce court where the proceedings dragged out for months or even a year. Believe it or not, one New York couple has been duking it out in divorce court for 14 years…and there’s no end in site.
73-year-old Joseph Yerushalmi has been trying to obtain a divorce from his wife, Malka, for the past 14 years. Mr. Yerushalmi, a former attorney, has made several claims against his wife including that she’s a gold digger who has left him to try to get by on meager Social Security earnings and that she has lied about her assets. He says, “I’m
trying to protect myself against the vicious activities of lawyers who are paid by my rich estranged wife. The court is totally indifferent, and entertains her postponements all of the time,” (Palmeri, 2014).
While Mr. Yerushalmi blames the foot dragging on his estranged wife, her attorneys are pointing the finger at him. One attorney for Malka says that the divorce proceedings are a vendetta on the part of Joseph and that the “one thing she wants is her freedom. This has been harder on her over all these years of litigation. She would like very much for this divorce action to be over,” (News 12, 2014).
According to court papers, Mr. Yerushalmi has paid Malka an average of $15,000 per month in maintenance and legal fees (Palmeri, 2014). That comes out to $2,520,000 over the past 14 years.
If you’re contemplating a divorce but fear the proceedings dragging on and on and running up a pretty penny, consider these tips for keeping the time to the bare minimum:
- Hire an attorney who specializes in divorce and family law. While there are plenty of DIY divorce kits available online, hiring a knowledgeable attorney can help ensure things are done efficiently as well as correctly.
- Be honest about assets. Hiding assets like the inheritance you got from your great aunt will only prolong the proceedings. If your soon-to-be ex suspects you’re hiding something he or she will ask for delays and postponements to try and prove you’re being deceptive.
- Try to be logical. While getting divorced can be a very emotional event, during the proceedings try to think logically in order to get things done as efficiently as possible. Heated arguments with your soon-to-be ex and his or her attorney will only prolong the case.