Couple Battling Through 10-Year Divorce

Most people who have to go through a divorce hope the process goes as smoothly and quickly as possible, but that’s the exact opposite of what’s going on in a courtroom in Connecticut.

Although the divorce has gone through, David Zilkha and his ex-wife Karen Kaiser have been embattled in a 10-year tussle over stipulations regarding asset division and child visitation rights. To date, the family law case has produced over 600 motions and ruling.

Both Zilkha and Kaiser have attacked the character of one another, which led Judge Michael Shay to comment on the frustrating nature of the case.

“There are some cases that for whatever reason… sort of spin out of control,” said Shay. “It seems impossible, it seems intractable, sometimes to pull them back and try to get them on the right track, and that’s what I’m trying to do here.”

He Said, She Said

Judge Shay has had to sift through countless documents and testimony to attempt to discover what is true and what is an embellishment. Below, you can see some of the claims made by Kaiser and Zilkha.

Kaiser claims:

  • Zilhka has repeatedly lied to authorities
  • He has subjected her to slanderous campaigns to damage her reputation.
  • He ex-husband once punched her in the face.

Zilkha alleges:

  • His ex-wife has refused to schedule “unification therapy” for him and his children, whom he hasn’t seen in four years. Both parties agreed to participate in therapy in January, but no sessions have taken place.
  • Kaiser has repeatedly lied to the authorities about him.
  • She has alienated him from his children.

Zilka went on to say that he was fed up with the whole ordeal.

“Basically, my kids and I have been brutalized,” he said. “It’s been soul-destroying. It’s been life-destroying.”

Slow Process

Kaiser initially filed for divorce in 2003, saying that the marriage had “broken down irretrievably.” The divorce went through in 2005, but has since he a slew of holdups.

Other than custody issues, one of the biggest reasons the case has dragged on for so long is because of allegations of insider trading. According to email exchanges provided by Kaiser, her ex used trade information to make his former company over $14 million. Zilkha was later fired by his former business after the Securities and Exchange Commission launched an investigation into the company’s practices. He was awarded $2.1 million as part of a wrongful termination suit, and the judgment has been a hot topic during the divorce as both parties vie for a larger piece of the pie.

It is believed that the divorce case is the longest such case in history.

Family Law Attorney Amanda Crain comments

In Minnesota, judicial officers and courts must follow certain case management rules to move their divorce through the judicial process. For example, many counties in Minnesota now require parties to appear before the court for an Initial Case Management Conference (ICMC) as early as three weeks after a divorce case is filed.

The fundamental purpose of the ICMC is to select a settlement process to resolve a case. The court is also required to issue scheduling orders which set forth deadlines for discovery, specific dates to hear motions, dates for a pretrial and a final trial.

Oftentimes, judges in Minnesota strive to finalize a divorce proceeding within one to one-and-a-half years. However, depending on the level of conflict following a divorce proceeding, couples may find it necessary to go back to court for post-divorce motions to address issues such as modifying parenting time schedules, custody, child support, and/or spousal maintenance.

Related source: USA Today

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 Couple Battling Through 10 Year Divorce

Amanda Crain

Amanda is a partner and family law attorney at Heimerl & Lammers. She is passionate about helping Minnesotans in child support, child custody, and domestic abuse cases. Amanda received her J.D. from the University of St. Thomas School of Law. She currently lives in Minneapolis and enjoys traveling and running in her spare time.