Negotiation and Conflict Management

Mr. and Mrs. Endin are getting a divorce. They have been married for three years. Wilma has been a successful attorney for twenty years. Manny retired one year prior to their marriage. Manny has a comfortable retirement income to which Wilma has no legal right or interest.

The couple has been living in a home that belonged to Wilma prior to the marriage. Wilma purchased the home thirteen years ago for $650,000, paying $250,000 in cash and obligating herself to a mortgage in the amount of $400,000.

Wilma has not been very assertive with Manny in the past. Against Wilma’s wishes, Manny moved in with Wilma two years before they were married. Manny’s lifestyle improved significantly with this move. Shortly after Manny moved in, but prior to their marriage, Wilma transferred, without mortgagee consent and without Manny obligating himself to the mortgage, the title of her home so that they would own it jointly.

Manny paid Wilma $50,000 for the transfer. The market value of the home at that time was approximately one million dollars. Currently, the market is depressed, making the value now closer to the original price of $650,000.

The parties signed a prenuptial agreement before their marriage. It merely states that each party will retain his or her separate assets and that Wilma waives all rights to support. One year ago, Wilma transferred the entire title to the home into Manny’s name solely. The transfer was made only between the parties with no notice or consent by the mortgage holder.

Wilma remains the only party obligated on the mortgage. There was no financial payment by Manny for the transfer. For a period of approximately two years and until six months ago, however, Manny made the mortgage payments in full. The monthly mortgage is $4,000.

The relationship deteriorated after the last title transfer. There have been two occasions on which police were called to the home when Manny lost control of his temper. Manny is under treatment for depression. He has left the home. Both parties want a divorce. Both parties want the home. They have set a meeting to resolve the dispute over the home and any other financial matters between them.