I Going to Win?
Win what? It has often been said that no one wins a divorce
case. After all, the end result of a divorce is a severance
of the family unit. We will do all we can to see that all
issues are raised, and forcefully advocated, that your case
is structured to your advantage, and that you "lose"
as little as possible. Our job is to advance or protect
your legitimate claims and interests with zeal and skill.
However, if your goal is to punish your spouse or to win
by way of an all-out, no-holds-barred victory, then we recommend
you retain another law firm, as in most such cases your
goal is unattainable.
Many clients see lawyers as gunslingers
to venture into a forum where "anything goes."
That is not the case, especially in a small state like Nevada
where the Judges know the lawyers and where this firm practices
in front of those judges almost daily. The Courts want to
follow the law and apply it as fairly as possible; after
all, the Judges value their reputation and integrity, also.
The gunslinger image is simply
wrong. Note the following from the Rules of Professional
Conduct which include the obligation of lawyers:
· To counsel no other
actions except those which appear to be legal and just;
· To employ only such
means as are consistent with the truth;
· To never mislead judges
or juries by any artifice or false statement of fact;
· To advance no fact
prejudicial to the honor or reputation of a witness;
To refrain from bringing or
defending cases or assertions or controverting issues
unless there is a basis for doing so that is not frivolous;
· To refrain from making
false statements of material fact to tribunals;
· To refrain from offering
evidence that the lawyer knows to be false;
· To refrain from seeking
to influence a judge or a juror by means prohibited by
· To refrain from knowingly
making false statements of material facts to witnesses;
· To refrain from using
means that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass
or burden witness.
This firm enjoys the success
it does because we have scrupulously tried to obey our ethical
duties. The credibility of our present clients is reinforced
by our past years of candor and honesty. We will fight as
hard for your rightful share as we can, but only within
Long Will It Take?
It is difficult at the onset of a lawsuit to foresee how
long it will take to complete. We are better able to give
you a range of time after the case has been partially prepared
and we understand what is at issue. The time involved is
primarily based on three factors:
1. The number and complexity
of the contested issues;
2. The intensity of feelings
between the parties and whether there is an inclination
to settle; and
3. The court's calendar. A
hearing is requested according to the amount of time needed.
A brief hearing can usually be scheduled within 60 to
90 days. A full divorce trial, taking a full day or more,
usually must be scheduled six months to one year in advance.
By far, the factor which makes
lawsuits last longer is the intensity of the feelings between
the parties and how much the parties want to fight.
Much Will It Cost?
It is difficult to make a realistic estimate of the total
fee until we know what issues will be contested and the
intensity of the parties' feelings. The parties, not the
lawyers, determine the amount of attorneys fees in their
case. 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 to 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 expensive than settling the lawsuit.
When we discuss "expensive,"
you should be aware that you will pay three ways-with your
time, the hole in your stomach, and the hole in your pocketbook.
1. Time. You
will have to spend your time to prepare your lawsuit.
Your spouse does not prepare your lawsuit; your spouse's
attorney does not prepare your lawsuit. Your attorney
prepares your lawsuit. We do that with your help. You
must make a commitment to put time into your case. It
takes hard work. If you are not prepared to spend the
time and do the work, then your case will not be as satisfactorily
or inexpensively prepared as it would be if you made the
expenditure of time.
2. The Hole in Your
Stomach. Many health professionals will tell
you that experiencing a divorce is one of the most painful
things you will endure. Your emotions will likely roller-coaster.
It is unusual for both parties to have the same degree
of emotion over ending the relationship and, therefore,
one party is very often emotionally hurt along the way.
We know that one party is usually the initiator who has
worked through the hurt and grief caused by the end of
the relationship even before the other party is aware
something in the relationship is wrong. If you are not
the initiator (no matter who the legal plaintiff may be),
then the path toward knowledge and acceptance of the end
of the relationship must still be traveled. If that is
you, then divorce can be an extremely painful process,
which is one reason we strongly recommend counseling.
If it is not, you may have an angry and irrational spouse
to deal with in the legal arena. Doing emotional (and
financial) business through lawyers is the most expensive
(and perhaps least productive) method.
The more issues raised, the
more painful the process and the more ways to drag out
the matter and punish the opposing party. You should be
aware of this, and we will call this to your attention
when we see this happening. We strongly urge you to read
Diane Vaughn's book Uncoupling to gain insight into the
process which ends relationships. At our initial interview
we should give you a copy of the book, but if we do not,
please ask. You may suggest that your spouse read the
book, too. Our clients have uniformly praised it.
3. The Hole in Your
Pocketbook. Because preparing and trying a lawsuit
is very expensive, we want you to scrutinize the issues
at an early stage and determine what issues can be settled.
We do not recommend making unreasonable or unnecessary
concessions, but we recommend you look carefully at the
issues that separate you and your spouse. You do exercise
some control over issues and so if there are concessions
you can make that will bring your case to a speedy conclusion
and thus reduce your fees, please consider making them.
You should weigh the price that you pay with your time,
the hole in your stomach and the hole in your pocketbook
to determine whether certain issues are worth litigation.
The attorney sells his or her
time. If you can save the attorney time by doing some
of the spadework, then your money will be more efficiently
4. The Other Hole in
Your Pocketbook. Because preparing and trying
a lawsuit is emotionally and financially draining, your
spouse may try to bully you by taking extremely litigious
and contrary positions. Settlement demands may be so unreasonable
that you must simply endure the hardship and fight for
a just and fair result. While the costs of litigation
may be great in the short run, what your spouse demands
to avoid them may be just too much. By definition, a divorce
will involve your livelihood and your fortune (and if
you have them, your priceless children), and that is something
worth fighting for. By being reasonable yourself and understanding
our advice, you may have to make the decision to resist
being tyrannized or blackmailed. Being willing to go to
court to protect your rights is not the same as being
greedy or unreasonable. If you are advised your position
is reasonable and your spouse's position is unfair, you
should be ready to do what you have to do to protect your