Divorce is often overwhelming, disorienting, and stressful. For many people it shatters long-held expectations about their life and their future. It means losses on every level. Much of that can’t be helped.
But remember too that divorce is not an end-point. It is a step in a life filled with learning and growth. Eventually your divorce will be final. But you are doing yourself a disservice if you wait until then to arrange your new life. Whether you are the one who started the divorce or the one who is reluctantly dragged into it, the time to build your life after divorce is NOW. Immediately.
As your divorce attorney, I view my role as taking you through the divorce process efficiently and strategically, so that you come out the other side financially and emotionally intact. I want you to walk away from your divorce hearing — or your divorce trial — with your finances on solid ground, your relationship with your kids as strong as ever, and your confidence high. So here are a few things you can expect if we work together:
1. I will tell it to you straight. My job is to give you a realistic understanding of the divorce process and your possible outcomes. So many people enter the divorce with misconceptions about the law and about the goals of divorce. They think divorce is about putting their spouse’s conduct or personality on trial, or about “winning” in some way. They think that their divorce will go exactly the way the divorce of their friend/relative/co-worker went. Here’s the deal. Divorce is about divorce, period. It’s about dividing assets, providing alimony and/or child support where appropriate, and taking care of the kids. Forget retribution. Forget punishment (divine, financial, or otherwise). Forget about anything other than drawing up o a balance sheet and providing a parenting arrangement. You can trust me to set you straight if you start “spinning” in your divorce by focusing on things you can’t control or goals that make no sense to pursue in the divorce forum. You can trust me to keep you from digressing from your goals and wasting your time and money on dumb moves. If you are behaving badly, I’ll tell you. If your spouse is behaving badly, see the next paragraph.
2. I will fight hard and smart for you. i tailor my approach to the circumstances. Where the situation calls for aggressive advocacy, I’ll fight like a tiger. But I won’t be aggressive just for the sake of being aggressive—that’s another giant waste of your money and time. There are plenty of attorneys who encourage their clients to take the most bellicose stand on every issue because—surprise!!—that’s how the attorney lines his or her pockets. That’s not me. Sharks are equal opportunity predators, and sooner or later they will feast on their own clients. I will fight hard and smart for you.
3. We will work as a team. I will never file a pleading without showing it to you beforehand to get your comments and to answer any questions you might hove. I will never write a substantive letter to opposing counsel without your input. I will never negotiate with opposing counsel without your prior agreement about goals and strategies. You are the client, and I will never know better than you do what is right for you and your family. We will work as a team.
4. I will use your money wisely. Everyone wants to know at the outset how much their divorce will cost. Unfortunately, that’s not something in your or my control. If the other side is unreasonable, hyper-aggressive, or sadistic; if the court’s calendar is clogged so that your divorce is drawn out over many months, then you are likely in for an expensive process. I understand that for most people, every dollar they spend on me is a dollar taken away from their retirement or their kids’ educations of some other, more pleasurable expense. I will use associate attorneys and paralegals where it makes economic sense to do so (and supervise them closely). I will give you my best estimates of what it may cost to bring a motion, go to trial, etc. Where feasible, I will fight to get attorneys fees paid by the other side or as an advance on marital assets. We can discuss payment options as necessary. Your budget is important to me, and I respect it. I enjoy making money by helping other people to not squander it.
5. I will be clear with you about your options. There are many alternatives to full-on litigation. These include an uncontested divorce, limited assistance representation, mediation, conciliation, collaborative law, and any other creative alternative the divorcing couple can agree on. Sometimes these alternatives will be your best bet, and sometimes they will not be. If the other side is hell-bent on going to trial, or if your case involves domestic violence, most or even all alternatives will not be available. Sometimes the available options will change over time. We will constantly consider viable alternatives as your divorce proceeds. I am not a rigid thinker and will always be presenting alternative possibilities to you.
6. I will connect you with the best of the best. As we address your life after divorce, I will make sure you are connected with other professionals who can help you get to where you want to be. Many of my clients have CPAs, estate planners, financial planners, wealth managers, realtors, insurance agents, therapists, etc. whom they trust to help them plan for life after divorce. But if you need a referral, I am fortunate enough to know many senior advisors of sterling reputation to whom to refer you. I don’t get anything from these referrals except for the satisfaction of knowing you are in good hands. I will always give you more than one name so you can make the right decision for you.
I have been doing this work for a LONG time. I have seen and heard as many miracle stories as horror stories. I have been through a divorce battle myself. I am a parent. If we work together, I will apply to the fullest my skill, my experience, my training, my insight, my street smarts, and my intellectual and emotional intelligence so that you move forward confidently.
All the best,