Divorce Litigators

The Litigation Attorney

When attorneys are retained to represent each spouse, it is the attorneys who act on behalf of, and speak for, the spouses until the circumstances require each spouse to speak for herself or himself—which usually won't take place until he or she is under oath in a deposition or on a witness stand. It is the litigator’s job to fight for the most advantageous outcome for his or her client, whether that is by adversarial negotiations or in a trial of the case. The most advantageous outcome is not necessarily the fairest outcome; it is simply the best outcome for one person that the lawyer was able to secure. Sometimes, a fair outcome is the result of an adversarial approach, but the cost of that approach can be staggering.

The Cost of Litigation

The time and money spent on one dialogue over any one issue can be multiplied at least six times if one analyzes the full dynamic of any one conversation. For example, if one spouse is suggesting a parenting schedule, the discussion over that issue may begin with (1) a letter written by the lawyer for the spouse asking for the schedule, which will be sent to the opposing lawyer. Before that letter is mailed, (2) it is discussed or reviewed with the client. When (3) the receiving lawyer reads the letter, he or she will then (4) discuss the letter with his or her client. They will decide upon a response, and (5) the lawyer will write a response to the other lawyer, who will then (6) discuss the response with his or her client—and so on. All of this is happening in billable time! For each letter written and billed for, there is a counter-part, i.e., a letter being read for which the client is billed at the other end. For each phone call between two lawyers, the cost is double what either one spouse will see on his or her bill, because there will always be that other lawyer who is billing his or her client for the same phone call. This math holds true for all settlement discussions, trips to the courthouse, depositions, and pre-trial conferences. Two lawyers (at least) are billing for every one task conducted.

Before the actual trial, there will likely be trips to court for hearings on temporary orders for spousal support, child support, or parenting plans. There may even be hearings regarding the assets, possession of and access to the marital home, and payment of recurring household expenses. Anything that cannot be resolved through adversarial negotiations will probably end up at court before too much time has passed. One or both lawyers will file motions, which is the first step to getting an assigned date for a court hearing. And yes, lawyers charge for the motions they write and file, and charge for reading the ones filed by the other side.

On the day of the court hearing, there is no guarantee how long the clients and their lawyers will have to wait before they can actually get heard by a judge. Waiting time is billable. The travel time to the court is usually billable. If the case has not been reached before the lunch recess, a lot of lawyers bill for the lunch hour—and will always bill for it if it is spent preparing for the afternoon hearing that looms ahead. The hearing in front of the judge is billable. The conference with the client to explain what transpired in court is billable. And then there is the return trip to the office. Now take that scenario, and multiply it by two lawyers—one for each spouse—or by three, if there is an attorney for the children—and the financial consequences of litigation should be easy to anticipate, and staggering to conteplate.

What is not so obvious is the stress that accompanies the adversarial journey underway. The emotional cost of this process is not quantifiable. Words are not sufficient to convey the fear, the worry, the financial strain, and the loss of control that most litigants experience during this lengthy process. 

It is a serious commitment to choose the road of litigation to resolve your divorce. The price to be paid will be equally serious. From beginning to end, it is possible for the divorce to cost tens of thousands of dollars; sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars. It will have consumed one, two, or more years of each person's life. It will have caused emotional strain and anxiety that becomes a way of life while the case is pending. How does one ever recover from any of that?


Areas in Connecticut Serviced by The Firm

Serving New Haven County, including Woodbridge, Guilford, Madison, Cheshire, Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Branford, Derby, East Haven, Hamden, Meriden, Middlebury, Milford, Naugatuck, North Branford, North Haven, East Haven, Orange, Oxford, Prospect, Seymour, Southbury, Wallingford, Waterbury, West Haven, Wolcott, New Haven and the surrounding communities. Also serving Fairfield County, including Danbury, Easton, Westport, Weston, Fairfield, Bridgeport, Ridgefield, Redding, Newtown, New Fairfield, Sherman, Shelton, Trumbull, Brookfield, and Monroe.


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