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Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Will It Take?
It is difficult at the outset of a lawsuit to foresee how long it will take to conclude. We will be better able to give you an estimated time range later when we understand more clearly what is at issue. The time involved is primarily based on four factors:
a) The number and complexity of the contested issues;
b) The intensity of feelings between the parties and whether there is an inclination
c) The attitude and tenacity of your spouse; and
d) The tenacity and desire for litigation of the lawyer of your spouse.
By far, the factor that makes lawsuits last longer is the intensity of the feelings between the parties and how much they want to fight.
How Much Will It Cost?
It is difficult to make a realistic estimate of the total fee even when we know what issues are contested, the intensity of the parties’ feelings, and the complexity of the issues. 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 costly than settling the lawsuit both financially and emotionally.
I Need a Really Tough Attorney; Are You Tough Enough?
Some people believe that to be a “fighter,” an attorney must (1) be uncooperative with opposing counsel in such matters as disclosing information, disclosing documents, and arranging for convenient dates for meetings, depositions, etc; and (2) never consider or advise compromise or negotiation with opposing counsel. This notion is sadly misguided; the time to “fight” may be in TOUGH NEGOTIATIONS or in court. Being uncooperative with opposing counsel greatly increases attorney’s fees. An uncooperative attitude serves no useful purpose. At times in your lawsuit it may seem that you are always on the defensive. At different stages of your lawsuit, the roles reverse. Do not worry, as things tend to even out throughout the course of the case.
What If My Attorney Is Friendly with My Spouse’s Attorney?
Attorneys who specialize in a particular practice area are likely to have many cases against each other over the years. They are also likely to attend the same professional events and may work on committees together. Because they deal with each other day in and day out, a camaraderie may develop. Your attorney and your spouse’s attorney may exchange pleasantries, share a joke, or even have lunch together. This does not mean the attorneys are being disloyal to their clients. Remember, your attorney is professionally committed to achieve the best result for you given the facts and law applicable to your case. This does not mean that he or she must dislike the other side, or be hostile, rude or mean to the other side. Such behavior frequently harms, rather than helps, your case.
Since the Other Side Suggested It, Is It Bad?
It is unfortunately common to believe that just because the other side suggested something, they must have an ulterior motive. Also, some parties believe that they should automatically do the opposite of what the other side wants. Let your attorney guide you in responding to requests from the other side. However, a request, suggestion, or offer from the other side is not per se “bad.” Most attorneys are not out to “get, trick, or ruin” the opposing counsel or party. Therefore, we do not advise a “knee jerk” negative response to any request from the other side.