Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce
When clients first come to see us, their minds have often been working on overtime for weeks. They have been envisioning outcomes, puzzling through possibilities, and many times imagining the worst. At initial consultations, we do what we can to assuage client fears and let them know that divorce is a survivable process. What we have found is that many clients have similar questions or concerns, especially at the beginning of the divorce process. Here are some of the questions we typically hear when we meet a client or potential client for the first time:
- How long will it take to get me divorced?
- How much will a divorce cost me?
- Does this have to be a bare-knuckle brawl?
- What can I do to prepare for this divorce before it begins?
- Who will be working on my case?
- How does your firm utilize support staff, including paralegals and legal assistants?
- How closely will my lawyer and I be working together? Will my lawyer disappear for weeks a time?
The amount of time it takes to finish a marital dissolution and actually get the parties divorced can vary considerably. If the parties are on relatively good terms and intend on working together to reach an agreement, this can go a long way toward shortening the process. On the other hand, a contentious divorce in which many issues must be litigated before a court can extend the process. If timing is a concern, bring it up with your attorney when you first meet. When time is of the essence, you and your attorney can work together to try to reach a conclusion as soon as possible, while still achieving an equitable resolution.
How much will a divorce cost me?
Like the time it takes to get divorced, the answer to this question will vary considerably from divorce to divorce. At Berkman Bottger Newman & Rodd, we have excellent attorneys that run the gamut both in terms of cost and experience. For example, we have younger associates with a few years of practice under their belts who are nonetheless excellent litigators, mediators, and collaborative attorneys, but are lower in cost. Our firm also features true giants of the matrimonial law world who have been practicing in this area for upwards of 40 years – these attorneys will be more expensive. Our attorneys and support staff work with clients individually to determine what is needed for their particular matter, and we always take cost into consideration.
Does this have to be a bare-knuckle brawl?
Absolutely not. Berkman Bottger Newman & Rodd, LLP, is one of the few New York City divorce and family law firms that offers all three options for pursuing a divorce: litigation, mediation, and collaborative law. For families that prioritize minimizing conflict, mediation or collaborative law may be the more appropriate choice. Even litigation does not necessarily mean a fight – as our attorneys always strive to minimize conflict when possible – but we are prepared to battle if necessary. In other words, client and lawyer can decide together the best way to approach a case.
What can I do to prepare for this divorce before it begins?
This is an excellent question and our attorneys always appreciate a savvy client who understands that the divorce process can begin even before an action is filed. Just remember that how you start a divorce can often dictate how you end the divorce. In terms of both finances and child custody, a concerned spouse can do much to minimize any future difficulties. In part, this involves adjusting behavior to present your case in the best light to the court. For more information on this topic, please see our Dos and Don’ts of Divorce.
Who will be working on my case?
As noted earlier, Berkman Bottger Newman & Rodd employs litigators and mediators, collaborative lawyers and negotiators, partners and associates – attorneys who present a wide variety of options in terms of specialization and cost. Our website also features extensive biographies of our lawyers. With a member of our support staff, you can discuss your specific concerns and the facts of your matter, and we can provide you with some suggestions as to which of our attorneys will be a proper lead counsel for your case. And of course, a lead attorney will bring in his or her colleagues as needed.
How does your firm utilize support staff, including paralegals and legal assistants?
In addition to our highly trained and well regarded staff of attorneys, we also employ a small army of paralegals and legal assistants who provide invaluable assistance on cases. However, clients should know that under no circumstances will non-attorneys be involved in any substantive legal work. That is the domain of our partners and associates. Unlike smaller firms that rely on non-attorneys for drafting or other legal tasks, we clearly delineate the duties of lawyers and support staff because we have a deep bench of experienced legal practitioners.
How closely will my lawyer and I be working together? Will my lawyer disappear for weeks a time?
Matrimonial law is a unique field in part because it demands a level of mutual respect and cooperation between client and counsel that is not seen elsewhere in the legal world. You and your attorney will be working closely from the beginning of your matter to its resolution. Our firm also has a policy of consistent and respectful communication with clients – we will not wait days to return your emails or phone calls. We understand how important it is for a client to feel that their interests are being looked after, and we make sure you know we are doing just that.