Yesterday, the New York Times ran a front-page article by John Leland, titled “In Housing Fall, Breaking Up is Harder to Do.” The article described how divorcing couples were now faced with an additional challenge: how to split up assets that have declined greatly in value, and may even be very hard to value in an uncertain market.
One couple’s divorce process is incomplete after nearly two years “with legal and other fees of several hundred thousand dollars. “Both spouses are living in rental properties as there attorneys argue over the value of their remaining assets: “Their wealth is ticking away at $350 an hour, times two.” The husband is quoted as saying: “‘It’s got to end, because at some point there’s nothing left to argue about.'”
Their plight is hardly unique, and not limited to divorces — or even to the destruction of something valued in dollars and cents. But the summary of their situation says a lot in just a few words: the process of their fight itself will eventually destroy any assets they have left. Almost any agreement they could reach through mediation a mediation process would be better for both of them than staying the course.