Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why do I need an attorney? Can I just fill out the forms the court gives me and tell the judge what is happening?
Divorce and the other issues we help you with – guardianships, adoptions, custody issues—are life-altering events.
The actions you take will have life-long impacts. It is best to get an attorney’s advice. Even a court form, if filled out incorrectly, can have dire consequences. If a matter is simple, we can provide you limited assistance representation, so that you have the benefit of an attorney’s advice with the least cost.
Q. How long will my divorce take?
While there is no “typical” divorce, an uncomplicated can take between 6-8 months. Courts have “time standards” that are used to gauge whether a case is being handled efficiently. Modification cases are on an “eight-month” track. Divorces are on a “14-month track.” This does not mean, however, that your case must be completed by that date. In the relatively few cases that go to trial, the process can last as long as two years.
How long your case takes to complete depends on many factors:
- The complexity of debts and assets
- Whether appraisals are needed to value assets
- Amount of conflict between you and the other side
- Difficult child custody matters that require the assistance of an investigator or clinical evaluator (“guardian ad litem”)
- Personalities of everyone involved.
As you can see, several factors are beyond our control. As your attorney, it is our job to evaluate these factors to let you know how they will impact your case, your options, and the best advice on how to proceed.
Q. How much will my divorce cost?
It depends. The cost can vary anywhere between $5,000 to much more. Complexity of debt and assets, and the level of conflict, as well as the personality and negotiation styles of the players, all play a role. If possible, we will suggest a budget and ways that you can remain within a budget.
As a general rule we will ask you for a retainer prior to working for you, and bill against the retainer. (For more on retainers, read the article, “Fuel for your Case: Retainers and Time Billing”
Q. Why isn’t the first consultation free?
We charge for this service because good service costs money.
We will set aside at least an hour for you – and more time, as needed – to thoroughly analyze your case. We will give you a list of questions and materials to bring to the first consultation because we do much more than a quick, generic explanation. Our goal is to leave you with a list of options and feeling empowered to take the next steps.