James R. Skirbunt - Skirbunt Cahn Skirbunt Ramsey LLC

James R. Skirbunt

Listed in Best Lawyers since 1995

    Attorney James R. Skirbunt is an experienced litigator and a pioneer in interest based negotiation and processes alternatives to litigation. Deciding the process as to how a marriage ends is a critical choice for every family. The choice of process will not only impact the outcome, but also the noneconomic and emotional costs a family will incur through this  transition. Jim has the experience and knowledge to provide you with all of your options and to obtain superior results in whatever forum you choose, whether litigation, mediation, Collaborative Divorce, or Cooperative Divorce.

Jim has a reputation for being creative and he brings those ideas to the table whether as a problem solver or as an advocate. He is a certified family law mediator, and the Founder of the Center for Principled Family Advocacy. He has also represented high-profile clients in courtrooms throughout Ohio in complex matters involving business valuations, the tracing of separate property, and the enforcement of pre-nuptial agreements. With 40 years of legal experience, Jim is effective in obtaining results for clients in the courtroom and at the negotiating table.

 Jim has been invited to address judges and magistrates at the Ohio Judicial College and he has frequently lectured for numerous organizations, including the Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and Bar Associations throughout Northeast Ohio. His firm, Skirbunt, Skirbunt & Wirtz LLC, is located in Cleveland, Ohio and he routinely handles matters in Cuyahoga, Geauga, Summit, Lorain and Medina Counties.

Georgetown UniversityBoston College Law SchoolJ.D. 1974
The Center for Principled Family Advocacy

Case History

Evaluative Mediation/Arbitration — Served as the Evaluative Mediator and Arbitrator in a divorce with assets in excess of $100 Million. The significant issues included the determination of the amount and allocation of appreciation in a business interest owned prior to the marriage where the Husband was CEO of the company and part of a management team that involved venture capital partners and other family members. Participation resulted in a creative settlement structure on all major issues.

Enforcement of pre-nuptial agreement — Represented the Wife in a divorce case in which the significant issue involved the interpretation of a pre-nuptial agreement when, unbeknownst to Wife, the significant assets from which her entitlement to a property division pursuant to the pre-nuptial agreement had been transferred by Husband to an Irrevocable Trust. The assets transferred included the royalties to a catalog of music recorded by Husband prior to the marriage which generated  income in excess of $600,000 annually. The matter was litigated to conclusion and appealed through the 8th Appellate District.

Tracing separate property — Represented Wife in a divorce case in which the parties lived together for more than 5 years prior to the marriage and, during which time, the Husband invested his income while using the income of Wife to pay the expenses of the couple. During this time prior to the marriage the parties also purchased real estate together in joint names. Throughout the marriage, Husband continued to make investments resulting in an accumulation of more than $10 Million. The issues presented included a tracing of what was Husband's separate property interest and whether the relationship between the parties prior to the marriage warranted the court adopting a date other than the ceremonial date of the marriage as the date that the marriage commenced. The case settled on the date of trial.

Divorce where Wife found to be incompetent — Represented Husband in a divorce where Wife was determined to be incompetent in Probate Court. Husband sold a business which was his separate property for in excess of $15 Million prior to the divorce. The parties had a pre-nuptial agreement. The significant issue was to find a solution to Wife's long term medical needs, including institutional care, within a framework that was equitable for Husband. The matter was resolved with a creative structure involving an interface of Husband's estate planning with the needs of Wife and creating appropriate trusts and funding mechanisms to assure the long term security of Wife and the independence of Husband.

Client Comments

"James is very knowledgeable and smart. He is an excellent attorney with very clear communications."

"Some one once told me that wisdom is the coming together of intelligence, knowledge, and experience. If this is true then Mr. Skirbunt must qualify as one of the wisest men I have had the pleasure of knowing. Having found myself in the difficult position of being asked for a divorce, I sought legal advice from Mr. Skirbunt. Not only has he proven to be a very wise attorney, but he also serves as excellent counsel. He helped me to understand the important issues in my case and to learn to put so much of the emotion aside. He maintained himself as a true gentleman throughout all my dealings with him and opposing counsel. I could not recommend any attorney more highly. "

-David Rosenblatt
Software Support Group, Inc.

"Many potential clients choose to consult several domestic relations lawyers. When I met Jim Skirbunt 10 years ago, he was the first and last attorney I "interviewed." Instantly, I felt that I would be able to trust this man. From the moment you enter their lovely offices on the 31st floor of the Cleveland Center, there is an immediate feeling of warmth and friendliness from the staff. The entire environment just feels like a "safe" place to be. Jim has excellent listening skills and displays enormous strength and integrity. Thoroughly knowledgeable in his field, Jim is tough, fair, compassionate, and honest. He doesn't lead you down the wrong road, and his negotiation skills are the best. Having known Jim now for a decade, I can confirm that he is the same person I met on day one. I am proud to know him."

"Jim Skirbunt is the "Renaissance Man" of divorce lawyers. His talents range from a deep understanding of the psychological underpinnings of divorce to superb negotiating skills, complete familiarity of the court system, and a no-nonsense ability to take charge. Jim fiercely protects his clients and it becomes clear, early on, that it is to your advantage to trust his expertise and advice. He designs a creative, out-of-the-box structure of your individualized case and carefully guides you to the finish line in an expedient, organized, and professional manner."

Office Location

One Cleveland Center, Suite 3150
1375 East Ninth Street
Cleveland, OH 44114
United States

Lawyer of the Year Awards

2011 Lawyer of the Year in Family Law of the Cleveland Metro Area
James R. Skirbunt has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2011!

Practice Areas

Family Law (Arbitration and Mediation, Collaborative Law, Divorce, Special Master)

Other Information

Gender: Male