Elizabeth was living with her husband and two children in Hong Kong when her husband suddenly decided to end their marriage. Unclear of where to turn and where her divorce would be adjudicated, Elizabeth called Dishon & Block. Within 24 hours of her call, she had a clear game plan, a road map for her divorce and the sense that her case would be resolved quickly and fairly. This is Elizabeth’s story in her own words.
“Even though I thought my situation would be difficult to understand since I was living overseas, it was clear that Aaron was not scared by the complexity of my case.”
Can you tell me about your initial experience with Dishon & Block?
My sister found Aaron’s name for me and I immediately called his office. To my surprise, he called me back quickly. I thought my situation would be difficult to understand since I was living overseas. However, Aaron explained to me how my case could be handled in California and what I needed to do next to protect myself. It was clear that he was not scared by the complexity of my case.
What were the details of your case?
My divorce started when I was living overseas with my husband in Hong Kong. He was stationed there for business for a five year period. Our permanent residence was in California, so I was able to seek legal help from there rather than in Hong Kong.
My husband planned our divorce behind my back. He had started an affair with his high school sweetheart and began to plan his exit from our marriage. Instead of accepting an assignment back in the United States, my husband resigned from his company. He actually told me that he had been terminated. His severance was constructed to pay our rent and he claimed that he simply needed a few months off. However, he was extremely slow at finding another job, while still saying that he wanted a divorce.
Meanwhile, he began to move his assets and claimed it was because of business deals he was making. Actually, he was trying to hide money from me before the divorce process began. He presented me with one final ultimatum – leave Hong Kong and start an art business with him or we would divorce. I did not want to leave Hong Kong as one of our children was close to graduating high school and I did not want to uproot them. When I turned him down, things only got worse.
Without me, my husband returned to the United States, continued his affair and started a company in Florida with his mistress. He had begun to tell people that we were separated. All of this occurred without my knowledge. The following month, he finally came clean about the affair to me, told me he was leaving, and informed me about his plan. He was going to take our savings and equity to start an art gallery in Laguna Beach. I would work at the art gallery full time with him and his mistress to gain business experience and would be paid a salary out of our savings. Essentially, he was creating a complex situation where he would not have to pay me alimony. I did not agree to anything and immediately started looking for an attorney back in California.
Was there anything that surprised you about the process?
My husband refused to acknowledge the court in California because he believed that he lived in Hong Kong. He stopped covering our children’s expenses, such as tuition, which had been covered by his employer. I needed him to transfer funds to me to live off of, and we were constantly reaching the limits of the transfer. He presented me with an offer of child support and spousal support that was far below our expenses. He tried to tell me that if I didn’t take it, I’d get nothing, since a judge could not force him to work or put money in our children’s college funds. I could not believe how absolutely cold and callous he had become about the situation.
I had to realize that divorce is a process that is not about justice. I simply needed to get through it. Without focus, you can go down the wrong path, stubbornly, just to prove you are right. Aaron showed me that I needed to focus on what was reasonable to expect, to turn away from seeking things that the law did not cover.
“If you have to go to trial, Aaron’s who you want there. He will fight for you when he has to in order to get things done.”
How was Aaron able to help?
Thanks to Aaron, I was able to get before a judge and make my case. I was able to get exclusive use of our permanent residence, even though my husband was trying to sell it for next to nothing. I was able to have input on the sales process and made sure that we sold the property for a fair price. Money my husband had spent on other big ticket items was recovered by forcing him to sell those items and turn over some of the proceeds. Essentially, when he decided that we were getting divorced, he attempted to spend as much money as possible to tie our funds up in assets that he thought I would not be able to recover. Aaron worked to make sure that I was fairly compensated for items that were actually community property, even if my husband thought otherwise.
Aaron was able to have a vocational specialist review my husband’s ability to work. My husband was forced to prove that he was looking for work, when there were serious indications that he wasn’t trying that hard to find work. Eventually, because of the influence of the court, he found another job as a CEO.
“Aaron was different that other attorneys I had known before. He was comforting and really cares about families.”
Was there anything that stood out about Aaron?
His confidence. From the moment we first spoke, I knew that he was prepared to take my case and would get me results. He was different that other attorneys I had known before. He was comforting and really cares about families. There’s a quality in him that not all attorneys have; he’s not jaded or immune to feeling.
What value did Aaron provide you during your case?
He got my family through the divorce process quickly and efficiently. He would always give me choices, but he kept his focus on the big picture and the long term. When property division turned contentious, Aaron told me he could fight my husband’s demands, but it would cost a significant amount of money. In other words, Aaron was always conscious of his fees.
“Aaron was always conscious of his fees.”
Did you work with any other members of the team at Dishon & Block?
Chandra helped me greatly throughout my case. She has an amazing depth of knowledge regarding pensions and retirement funds. When my husband was hiding a retirement account, she was able to track it down. She knows all of the strategies one might use to hide money, which makes her great at finding it. I don’t know anyone else who can handle the level of detail required for a case like mine. She also was great with her follow up; I always knew exactly what was going on with her research.
In terms of the other members of the staff, they were great. They were always extremely kind and made me feel comfortable. They were professional, but always added a personal touch.
“The staff was professional, but always added a personal touch.”
Would you refer a friend or family member to Dishon & Block? If so, what would you say about the firm?
I have referred a number of people to the firm already. I saw it in Aaron’s eyes that he cares, which makes me want to have him help people I care about. He is absolutely brilliant in the courtroom. He constantly outmaneuvered the other attorney. If you have to go to trial, he’s who you want there. Aaron will fight for you when he has to in order to get things done.
Any statement, testimonial or endorsement contained herein does not constitute a guarantee, warranty or prediction regarding the ultimate result or outcome of your legal matter. If any result of any legal matter is portrayed in this website, please note that the result portrayed was dependent on the facts of that case, and that the results will differ based on different facts.
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