Appeal, appeal, and appeal again! That’s what David Dunkel and Maureen Daly are Doing.
Since July 2012, David Dunkel and his now ex-wife, Maureen Daly, have been in court battling over the details of their divorce. One of their majorly-contested issues involves whether Mr. Dunkel should be ordered to transfer stocks in K-Force to his wife, and, if so, how much. Ms. Daly accused Mr. Dunkel of conspiring to fraudulently transfer thousands of Kforce stock shares to diminish her portion of the marital estate. Of course, the parties have waged their private war for all the world to see; all their dirty laundry is part of the public court record.
Now, almost five years later, after countless hearings, depositions, and even an appeal, the parties are still battling. On March 1, 2017, the court finally issued an amended final judgment. But, no surprise, on March 13, 2017, Mr. Dunkel moved for rehearing.
There will, no doubt, be an appeal of this amended final judgment.
If the Dunkels had resolved their divorce issues using Collaboration, instead of litigation, they would have discovered a plethora of possible outcomes, many of which no court could order.
The collaborative divorce process engages a team of professionals, e.g. lawyers, mental health professionals, and financial professionals, to enable the parties to settle their issues. Its guiding principle is interest-based negotiation. The parties first define their goals and interests, i.e. they have to figure out why they want what they want. After goals and interests are defined, then the team brainstorms possible means to achieve those goals. The possible solutions elicited during the brainstorming session are then evaluated. Finally, the spouses agree on a solution and put it into action.
In the case of Mr. Dunkel and Ms. Daly, if a collaborative team had asked Ms. Daly why she wants the stock, there might be other solutions that fulfill her goals besides the stock. For example, does she want revenge against her husband? Does she want control of the company? Does she need more money to fund her lifestyle? If this is the case, maybe there are jobs within the company that would fit the bill. Does she want a certain amount of assets to maintain her lifestyle? If this is the case, there might be other assets that they can transfer. In sum, there are other options besides transferring a specific amount of stock.
Furthermore, the collaborative process would have kept these very private matters . . . well, private. This publicity has undoubtedly affected the reputation of Kforce. How much money has the company lost due to this negative publicity? How much have the attorneys earned due to the parties’ ugly, seemingly endless battle? Regardless of the result of this litigation, is anyone really winning?
Follow Open Palm Law to learn more about the collaborative divorce process and how it can help you!
About this week’s authors: Joryn Jenkins.
Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, 2 of which she served as professor in law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen award, an honor bestowed upon those who have provided exceptional leadership to The American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.