Can one lawyer represent both parties?
No. There is a conflict of interest that is irreconcilable.
Do I need an attorney to file a divorce?
No, but if the case involves children, significant assets, retirement division, domestic violence, spousal maintenance or relocation, the issues are simply too complicated to proceed without an attorney working to protect your interests.
Does it make any difference which party commences the divorce?
Yes, it is of critical importance. In our view, the Petitioner is always in a better position to control the speed and direction of the case and, if the matter proceeds to trial, the Petitioner has two opportunities to address the Court (direct testimony and rebuttal testimony) whereas the Respondent has one.
How much will a divorce cost?
The cost of a divorce varies widely depending upon the complexity of the issues; the size of the community assets; the nature of the retirements; the financial obligations of the parties; and whether the parties are fighting on the issues.
How long does a divorce take?
This is also dependent upon the issues involved and the cooperation of the parties and attorneys. In most cases, an uncomplicated divorce can be resolved in two to four months. If a trial is necessary, the time period would extend to approximately eight or nine months. If it is a complex case involving numerous assets, a business, spousal maintenance issues, a divorce could take as long as 12 to 15 months. The length of the divorce from start to finish is very much dependent on the assigned Judge's trial calendar.
What is your experience?
Michael has been practicing law for over 30 years and concentrates much of his practice in the family law area, including real estate and business division which are frequent crossover legal areas.
Who will represent me?
Michael represents all clients in Court and discovery proceedings. Kathy and Michael work closely together in preparing your case which includes marshaling all of the documents, completing disclosure forms and Court required forms, meetings with clients, setting matters for Court appearances and strategizing on the best way to present the case to the Court. All information is confidential and does not leave this office without the client's consent and Michael's specific approval.
What are your fees?
Fees vary depending on the case and the issues. The first step is an office consultation with Michael so he can identify the issues, understand your position, explain the process and provide guidance on how to proceed. At that time the amount of the advance payment is determined and an hourly rate is agreed upon. A written representation agreement is agreed to and signed by the client and the attorney and a copy is provided to the client.