New York’s real life War of the Roses divorce was finalized after six years and likely at least $1.5 million in legal fees. It is likely not over.
Simon and Chana Taub, married in December 1984. Chana filed for divorce twenty-one years later in 2005. This was the second marriage for both. Together they have four children in addition to their children from previous marriages.
Their case was filed in New York which, until recently, did not have no-fault divorce, as a result divorce process was compounded by disputing the cause. Certainly the need to argue and prove cause presents additional potential for conflict in any divorce action. It is not possible to know if the 6-year case would have been less contentious if New York’s divorce laws had been different. However, since this was a litigated case, and therefore public, we do know a great deal about the case and the Taubs’ personal lives and motivations.
The couple built their dream house and neither is willing to have the other live in it. They have other property, even one two doors away from the house in question. Regardless they have refused to budge. Simon and Chana Taub who are full of the anger and contempt for one another continue live in the same house – with a wall dividing the space. Neither is allowed to enter the other space.
The presence of the wall has not made the sharing of the space easy or conflict free. The wall seemed to increase the conflict between the Taubs and the shared space resulted in numerous lawsuits pitting the Simon and Chana against one another.
The house has become the primary object to use against one another; a means of having their positions in the case validated.
Chana Taub has stated:
I used to give charity, and now I have to take from charity, and it hurts me. When my children needed shoes, I used to give them the best shoes, the most comfortable and finest shoes, not look for bargains. It’s not that I caused it. He caused it, and he needs to be punished, not me.
Simon Taub has stated:
This house will be sold or I will live in it. It doesn’t matter if I spend $10 million. She will not live in that house.
Now that the divorce is final, the current living arrangement has been ordered to change. As part of the settlement order, the Taub’s have been ordered to sell the house they share, along with two others, and split the profit. Chana plans to appeal.
In the six years that they have been litigating the divorce they have both spent hundreds of the thousands of dollars on legal fees. The cost to Chana alone is $1 million in legal bills, much of which she has borrowed from her family.
When the case first started it is unlikely that either Taub conceived of the financial costs they would incur. However, as the litigation continued, and costs mounted, Chana found herself with extremely limited funds. It is likely that this spurred her desire to make Simon “pay” and increased her anger-filled accusations. Simon has voiced offense at the accusations Chana has levied against him from the very beginning of the divorce it is possible that this only strengthened his resolve to push her out of the house. Regardless of the motivations, the financial cost to both Simon and Chana Taub is huge.
In addition, both have experienced non-financial costs related to their time and health. Their relationships with their children have been affected as well, as the children have been drug into the conflict.
Divorce is not an easy decision. Couples that opt to split up often have high levels of conflict. The traditional litigation process only increases the conflict. Could the Taub divorce have been different if they had worked together from the beginning to figure out how to organize their split? Would a less public venue have made a difference? 6 years and over a million dollars is a lot to pay for emotion and pride, much less a divorce.
- Problem With Litigation
- Divorce Mediation Cost
- Pride Increases Conflict
- Wanting To Hurt
- Divorcing Couples Should Try Mediation First
- Confidentiality In Mediation
- New York Times Article About Taub Case (new window will open)
- New York Mediation Services