A State Bar of Arizona Board Certified Family Law Specialist, Mitchell “Mitch” Reichman has the knowledge and experience to manage high conflict divorces with substantial assets. Mitch focuses his practice only in family law and represents clients in high-stake divorce matters. He is one of only 1,650 family law attorneys in the United States admitted as a fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Academy fellows are considered as preeminent family law attorneys with high level of skill and integrity.
Upon joining Jaburg Wilk in 1995, Mitch devoted his practice exclusively to family law, utilizing his understanding of business, finances, accounting, and commercial litigation to assist high-income and net-worth families divide large and often complex estates. Mitch blends his business instincts with a pragmatic legal approach to gain a rich understanding of his clients’ (and their spouses’) varied businesses, including law practices, dental and medical practices, retail stores, real estate companies, and investment entities.
Being a supportive listener has been mastered by Mitch. He builds an alliance with his clients that helps relieve the anxieties attendant to divorce. Mitch has a particular and personal interest in helping clients deal with issues of co-parenting in a sometimes hostile environment. He encourages his clients to consider alternative means of resolving their disputes, including mediation, arbitration, and other non-traditional methods of dispute resolution. Mitch is as adept in the courtroom as he is at the negotiating table, and provides sound legal advice on when to compromise and when to litigate.
Mitch is a board member of the Executive Council of the Arizona State Bar Family Law Section, and has been involved in the Domestic Relations Custody Study Group. Mitch was appointed by the President of the Arizona State Senate to the Children’s Behavioral Health Council. Mitch has been selected a Southwest “Super Lawyer” every year since 2009, named a “Best Lawyer in America” by Best Lawyers and “Arizona Top 10 Family Law Lawyer” by Arizona Business Magazine.
- Fellow, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
- Certified as a Family Law Specialist by the State Bar of Arizona
- Board Member of the Executive Council of the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Arizona
- Former Member of Domestic Relations Custody Study Group until the group disbanded
- Previously served on the Children’s Behavioral Health Council by appointment from the President of the State Senate
- Particularly adept at critically analyzing and persuasively presenting information concerning business valuations and the cross-examination of business valuation experts.
- Experienced in high-conflict divorces with substantial assets.
- Utilizes understanding of business, finances, accounting, and commercial litigation to assist high-income and high net-worth families divide large and often complex estates.
- Clients include business people, attorneys, dentists, doctors, retailers, real estate owners, and investors.
- Encourages clients to consider alternative dispute resolution, including mediation, arbitration, and other non-traditional methods.
- Finding hidden assets. Mitchell represented a woman whose husband of 30 years had left her, taken up with another woman, and secretly acquired a business that he concealed during the divorce. Mitchell discovered the existence of the business, obtained ex-parte relief-which included the appointment of a receiver who took control of the business-and ultimately was able to obtain a very favorable settlement for his client.
- Winning resolution on the eve of trial. Mitchell represented a man who had been married for several years. His wife suffered from a personality disorder which impacted both their marriage and children. Mitchell’s persistence and patience ultimately brought it to conclusion just before trial.
- Saving the Company. During a divorce proceeding that had been pending for several years, husband and wife were negotiating the terms of husband’s purchase of wife’s interest in their multimillion dollar company. Unexpectedly, during those negotiations wife received an offer from a third party venture capitalist to buy her 50% interest in the business for significantly more than what husband had offered and on better terms. Mitchell was engaged and tasked with the goal of preventing the sale of wife’s interest to the venture capitalist. After only a few months of high stakes litigation the work that Mitchell did and the advice he provided resulted in husband being given the opportunity by the Court to match the offer of the venture capitalist. Husband was able to do so and as a result he became the 100% owner of the company. At the conclusion of the acquisition, husband excitedly declared to Mitchell “You saved the company!”
- Obtained Reversal of Onerous Judgment. Husband was a successful businessman who had been married for a number of years. His wife’s father was a lawyer. After wife filed for divorce, husband negotiated with wife’s father in an effort to resolve all of the issues. While the negotiations were ongoing, husband did not pay particular attention to the litigation which he thought was being attended to by a lawyer he had engaged. Unfortunately, wife obtained a judgment against husband in the divorce which obligated him to pay her several million dollars based on her unchallenged testimony as to the value of the business and her request for spousal maintenance. The amount of the judgment and the obligations imposed on husband well exceeded his ability to pay them. Husband engaged Mitchell in the hope that he could have the judgment vacated. Mitchell was successful in convincing the Court to vacate the judgment and then after protracted litigation, Mitchell was able to successfully negotiate a resolution of all of the issues on much better terms for husband than the judgment provided.
- Creative Resolution of Complex Custody Dispute. In highly acrimonious case involving a family that included two children, there were allegations of domestic violence, substance abuse, various mental health issues, parental alienation, infidelity and generally dishonest behavior. A Comprehensive Custody Evaluation was completed by a Court Appointed Psychologist over a period of months during the litigation. Following the completion of the Evaluation and before the trial, Mitchell worked cooperatively with the opposing counsel to fashion a unique Custody Agreement and Order for the Court to enter bringing a therapeutic approach to resolving the custody and parenting time issues. Components of the Agreement included creation of a treatment team of psychologists, one for each parent, one for the children and a psychologist to whom each of the others would report to in the role of a Parenting Coordinator. Each treatment provider was tasked with certain treatment goals and reporting requirements. Milestones were established within the Agreement that would allow a parent to progress from supervised therapeutic access, to unsupervised parenting time without overnights, to parenting time that included overnights and ultimately a more expanded parenting time schedule. The Agreement was accepted by the parties and adopted by the Court. In fact, the Judge in that case used the Agreement and the Order prepared by Mitchell and opposing counsel as a template that he used in other complex custody disputes put before him for decision during the remainder of his time on the Family Law bench. This Agreement was also presented as part of an educational seminar to other Family Law practitioners and Judges in the State of Arizona.
- Thinking Outside the Box. Our client and her husband owned a number of hotels. While she had been actively involved in running the business during the marriage, by the time she filed for divorce husband was in complete control of it. Husband could not be trusted to treat wife fairly with respect to the income he was receiving and the expenses he was paying out of the business during the divorce.
Generally most judges do not have sufficient time available on their calendars to hold hearings or the expertise to fashion the kind of detailed orders that are necessary to oversee and manage such a situation. For example, in Maricopa County, Arizona, as of June 2013, each family law judge had a caseload of approximately 800 active cases and 22,000 inactive ones. Judges set hearings for “temporary orders”, which are orders that can be entered for purposes such as managing the community cash flow, for no more than one hour. You have to fight to get significantly more time in a courtroom for a temporary orders hearing. In a complex divorce which involves a business you simply cannot get enough time to present evidence and obtain temporary orders that will protect a client who is not in control of the family business during a divorce.
To protect our client’s interest in this case and to preserve the value of the business, we petitioned the Judge to appoint a “Family Law Master.” We asked that the Judge empower an experienced, highly knowledgeable lawyer that we had selected to hold hearings and make recommendations for orders to create complete transparency in the business and put controls in place with respect to what husband was permitted to do without our client’s consent.
We were successful in this effort. The Family Law Master gave us the many hours of time we needed in order to present detailed financial information about the operation of the various hotels and to present and point out how husband was taking unfair advantage of his position of control by paying many of his personal expenses out of the business. As a result, we were ultimately able to obtain the kind of orders necessary to protect our client’s interest. This result could not have been achieved if we had simply allowed the case to proceed through the usual channels of the court system. The resolution required thinking out of the box.