THE THREE DIVORCE QUESTIONS ASKED BY CLIENTS
1. Am I going to win?
2. How long will it take?
3. How much will it cost?
AM I GOING TO WIN?
Win what? It has often been said that no one wins in a divorce case. We will do all we can to see that all issues are raised, that your case is structured to your advantage, and that you "lose" as little as possible. However, if your interests is to punish your spouse or to win by way of an all-out, no-holds-barred victory, then we recommend you retain another law firm, as in most such cases your goal is unattainable.
It is difficult at the onset of a lawsuit to foresee how long it will take to complete. We are better able to give you a range of time after the case has been partially prepared and we understand what is at issue. The time involved is primarily based on three factors: The number and complexity of the contested issues; The intensity of feelings between the parties and whether there is an inclination to settle; and The court's calendar.
A hearing is requested according to the amount of time needed. A five-minute hearing can usually be scheduled within 10 days. A full divorce trial, taking a full day or more, usually must be scheduled six months to one year in advance.
By far, the factor which makes lawsuits last longer is the intensity of the feelings between the parties and how much the parties want to fight.
It is difficult to make a realistic estimate of the total fee until we know what issues will be contested and the intensity of the parties feelings. The parties, not the lawyers, determine the amount of attorney fees in their case. If the parties want to settle, make compromises, and end the matter quickly, they can do so. If the parties do not trust each other, want complete discovery of all assets and liabilities, and argue many issues to the bitter end, no matter what the issue is, the process becomes very long, drawn out and expensive. Going to trial is almost always more expensive than settling the lawsuit.
When we discuss "expensive" you should be aware that you will pay three ways - with your time, the hole in your stomach, and the hole in your pocketbook.
Time - You will have to spend your time to prepare your lawsuit. Your spouse does not prepare your lawsuit; your spouse's attorney does not prepare your lawsuit. Your attorney prepares your lawsuit. We do that with your help. You must make a commitment to put time into your case. It takes hard work. If you are not prepared to spend the time and do the work, then your case will not be as satisfactorily or inexpensively prepared as it would have had you made the expenditure of time.
The Hole In Your Stomach - Many health professionals will tell you that experiencing a divorce is one the most painful things you can do. Your emotions will likely roller coaster. It is unusual for both parties to want to end the relationship to the same degree, and therefore, one party is very often emotionally hurt along the way. If that is you, then divorce can be an extremely painful process, which is one reason we strongly recommend counseling. The more issues raised, the more painful the way of dragging the matter out or punishing his or her spouse. You should be aware of this, and we will call this to your attention when we see this happening.
The Hole in Your Pocketbook - Because preparing and trying a lawsuit is very expensive, we want you to scrutinize the issues at an early stage and determine what issues can be settled. We do not recommend making unreasonable or unnecessary concessions, but we recommend you look carefully at the issues that separate you and your spouse. You do exercise some control over issues and so if there are concessions you can make them bring your case to a speedy conclusion and thus reduce your fees, please consider making them. You should weigh the price that you pay with your time, the hold in your stomach and the hole in your pocketbook to determine whether certain issues are worth litigation.
The attorney sells his/her time. If you can save the attorney time by doing some of the spadework then your money can be more efficiently used.
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Most of the firm's clients come to this office to seek a divorce. Not all have made up their minds to take the big step, and seek first to know their other options. The firm encourages clients or potential clients to explore alternatives to divorce, and often suggests other approaches which will protect the client and meet his or her needs, short of divorce.
When your attorney raises the topic of reconciliation with you, he or she is not questioning or judging your decision, but is confirming that you are aware that the results you seek may be attained by other means and that what you really desire is a divorce.
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