Divorce involves not only the law, but people – real human beings. The law gives us standards to apply, but each person is unique. People’s personalities, passions and understandable emotional reactions to the trauma of divorce can make even a simple case complex – not because of the issues, but because of the litigants involved.
There is no substitute for having a highly experienced group of legal professionals to handle difficult situations. It can be the key to resolving the matter and controlling costs. If you hire a firm with a strong reputation for experience and competency, a case made complex through the bad behavior of a litigant can be resolved.
Another way a case is complex is because of the actual issues – custody, support and asset division. Again, if you hire a seasoned matrimonial and family law attorney who has handled a wide variety of family law cases and litigants, you will be protected irrespective of the level of issue complexity. The professional who focuses on only family law matters will have handled similar cases on hundreds of occasions. As you always hear, there is no substitute for experience and knowledge.
If you were a patient going in to have a complex heart procedure, you would want a doctor with years of successful practice in cardiac procedures. It is no different in law. For example, let’s say you own a business. A business, just like a home or a retirement account, is subject to claim by your spouse and potential division. The key engagement is the establishment of a value of the business as an asset. With a home, we use real estate appraisers. With a retirement account, once we have statements and details, we work with an expert to effectuate a tax free division. With a business, attorneys typically work with forensic accountants who assist them in establishing a value. Unlike real estate or retirement accounts, the process of valuing a business is an art, not a science. An experienced attorney is familiar with the three traditional methods of valuation. If the income method is used, there are several mathematical formulas and attributions that can have an enormous impact on value, such as the capitalization rate applied in the process of establishing a present value of future earnings. There is absolutely no substitute for an experienced law firm when addressing these complex issues. The slightest variation can swing the numbers by hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions.
Be a wise legal consumer. Do not choose your lawyer by their geographic location or a magazine poll. Similar to hiring a cardiologist best able to save your life, no matter where they are located, make sure to hire the attorney best capable of protecting your interests. Knowledge and understanding of the intricate network of laws and skill set to deal with difficult adversaries only comes with experience and primary focus on family law matters. A consultation with an attorney is where you have an opportunity to determine whether you are comfortable with the attorney and believe he/she has the skillset to properly guide you through a complex matter. Do not be afraid to ask about the experience of their firm in handling complex divorce cases or specific issues in your situation. Do not hesitate to view their resumes, their extracurricular activities and their publications. These are the important questions to ask to determine whether the attorneys in a firm have committed themselves to family law and will be well equipped to represent you in a complicated matter.