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.
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.