BLANK

Tag: time

What’s wrong with divorce mediation in Utah?

Much.

And much that you can prevent, once you know what to avoid, what to do, and why.

Profiteering mediators. It’s hard to find anyone selling goods or services these days who isn’t trying to take advantage of the client or customer. Mediators (not all mediators, but many—more than I’d care to admit) are no exception.

Overworked, understaffed judges that don’t want to do their jobs, and so they pressure divorce litigants into settling. I’ve personally witnessed judges and commissioners telling divorce litigants that they should settle because “I [the judge] will probably do a worse job with your case than you can.”

A fundamental misunderstanding of how and why successful mediation succeeds. Courts and lawyers have lost sight of what makes for good mediation, i.e., conflict resolution that is faster, less expensive, less acrimonious, more suited to the particular circumstances of the family, and more likely to result in less future litigation.

“Shuttle mediation”. If you are preparing for your divorce mediation, learn about shuttle mediation and avoid it.

  • With rare exception (such as when a party is truly terrified of being in the same room with another, or if there is a protective order in place that bars the parties from being in each other’s physical presence), shuttle mediation is an inexcusable waste of time, money, and duplicative effort.
  • Shuttle mediation at least doubles the time a mediation would otherwise take were the parties speaking to each other across the same table or in the same Zoom meeting.
  • Because the only participant in shuttle mediation who speaks to the disputing parties is the mediator (the parties don’t speak to each other directly in shuttle mediation), the mediator can manipulate the negotiation process by telling one party one thing and the other party something completely different (and many mediators cannot resist that temptation).
  • Many mediators like shuttle mediation because by doubling or even tripling the amount of time it causes mediation to take, mediators thus double or triple their fees over what they’d otherwise earn were the parties all in the same room or in the same Zoom conference.
  • The way mediation is scheduled and held is also incredibly inefficient and wasteful. Parties should go to mediation after exchanging with each other written comprehensive settlement proposals. So much time is wasted in mediation doing anything but actual negotiation.

While you are required to engage in mediation to try to settle your divorce case, you are not required to engage in shuttle mediation. If your spouse will see reason and agree to avoid shuttle mediation, then ensure that your mediator is not a shuttle mediator.

Mediation isn’t necessary if the parties and their respective attorneys are willing to negotiate without a mediator. If the parties can discuss the case and negotiate without a mediator, they are free to do so. Few attorneys, however, are willing to do this. Why I do not know. But if you are a client and you believe your spouse (and his/her attorney) is willing to meet in settlement negotiations without a mediator, try it! If such negotiations fail, you can always go to mediation next.

Parties (usually because of their attorneys) wait too long to discuss and negotiate settlement. Attorneys make less money when cases settle sooner than later. Don’t go into mediation unprepared, of course, but don’t put it off any longer than necessary.

Too much time in mediation sessions is not spent in actual negotiation. Consequently, mediation ends up being incredibly inefficient and wasteful. Often the first 2/3 of the time spent in mediation is spent “getting up to speed,” with the mediator giving an “introductory speech” about how mediation works and with both the mediator and often unprepared attorneys trying to get an understanding of the case and what the issues are. All of that can and should be dealt with before the mediation settlement conference itself.

  • The mediator should send the parties a link to his/her written and recorded “introduction to mediation” presentation to read/listen to/watch before everyone meets in the mediation settlement conference.
  • The parties should meet in mediation only after:

o   expeditiously conducting necessary discovery, so that the material and relevant facts are known to the parties; and

o   then exchanging with each other (and providing the mediator with copies of) their written comprehensive settlement proposals, so that everyone knows in advance 1) what the issues are and 2) what the initial respective positions of the parties on the issues are.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Why You Should Always Order Audio Recordings By Braxton Mounteer

You may be asking yourself, why should I order from the court a copy of the audio recordings of my court hearings? Shouldn’t the court’s own notes in the written record be sufficient? Can’t I just make my own recordings? Not in Utah.

First, the “written record” that the court keeps is more like meeting minutes and is not a word-for-word record of everything that was said by the parties, the lawyers, and the court during a hearing or trial.

Second, Utah does not allow you or your attorney to make your own recordings of your own court proceedings. Such a rule makes absolutely no sense and imposes undue costs and wait times on parties and their attorneys, but it’s the rule nonetheless.

Third, and most importantly, you should order the audio recording of your hearings and other court appearances to ensure that the orders that come out of those proceedings are accurate and complete–to ensure they are faithful to what was actually said and ordered. Most people cannot keep it all correctly remembered in their heads.

When there is a back and forth between the parties and their counsel over the specifics of a judgement or recommendation that was handed down months or years or even days ago, knowing exactly what was said is vitally important. You wouldn’t want a decision in your favor to be forgotten or misstated. Nor would you want to be mistreated due to someone imposing a harsher penalty on you than the court issued simply because no one could remember what the evidence was, what the testimony was, and what the court’s decisions were.

In Utah, you need to pay $15.00 and fill out and submit to the court clerk a form to request an audio recording. It is fast and easy. Your lawyer or opposing counsel may say “You don’t need to do that, I remember the hearing”; do not believe him/her. Human memory is fallible. Lawyers have the reputation that they have for a reason. Do yourself a favor and spend the five minutes that it would take to fill out and pay for an audio recording. Don’t leave your fate to faulty memories.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

How Long Does a Child Custody Court Hearing Take?

rprise that it usually takes much less time and effort to prepare for a proffer hearing than preparing for a full evidentiary hearing. In a proffer hearing the client won’t do much, if anything, during the actual hearing, with the exception of perhaps providing the occasional clarifying answer if the court asks them. No witnesses are called to testify in hearing conducted by proffer; instead, their testimony is provided by affidavit or verified declaration.

If you are unsure if your upcoming hearing will be a proffer or evidentiary hearing, ask your attorney. It could be catastrophic for your case if you show up at court believing the hearing is a proffer hearing when it’s a full-blown evidentiary hearing.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/How-long-does-a-child-custody-court-hearing-take/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How exactly does shared custody work? Does the child end up being like that kid from Jacqueline Wilson’s “The Suitcase Kid”?

How exactly does shared custody work? Does the child end up being like that kid from Jacqueline Wilson’s “The Suitcase Kid”?

The child certainly can be like the child (Andrea) from Jacqueline Wilson’s “The Suitcase Kid,” if under a shared parenting arrangement 1) the child divides his/her time living with both the father and mother and 2) each parent wants the child to live only with him/her and tries to persuade the child to do so.

But shared custody (also known as joint custody or—when the child spends equal time with both parents—joint equal or 50/50 custody) does not inexorably condemn the child to have a “Suitcase Kid” experience, as long as the parents place the happiness and mental and emotional health of the child above the parents’ respective self-interest. Treat your child the way you would want to be treated, were you in the child’s shoes!

It’s not popular these days to state what we all know: the best thing a fit parent can do for a child is to rear that child in a family in which that parent is married happily to the child’s other parent. Short of that, the next best thing a fit parent can do for a child is to ensure the child is reared as much as possible by both parents. Children of fit parents love both parents and want to be loved and cared for by both parents as much as possible (duh). Do it for them! They deserve it. It’s the least that divorced or separated parents can do for their children.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/How-exactly-does-shared-custody-work-Does-the-child-end-up-being-like-that-kid-from-Jacqueline-Wilsons-The-Suitcase-Kid/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Should I pay my lawyer to talk to the attorney of the other party? He spent 3 hours last week responding to 12 emails from the other lawyer and I need to pay him for this time. At this rate I my lawyer will become a secretary and I will be bankrupt.

Should I pay my lawyer to talk to the attorney of the other party? He spent 3 hours last week responding to 12 emails from the other lawyer and I need to pay him for this time. At this rate I my lawyer will become a secretary and I will be bankrupt.

This is a great question.

Clearly, if the opposing lawyer is trying to run up the costs of the litigation by calling or corresponding with your attorney excessively, so that your attorney has to take the calls and/or write responses to all of the correspondence, that opposing lawyer is playing dirty.

Still, some cases are expansive and/or complicated and may require a great deal of back and forth between attorneys as a reasonable and necessary part of the litigation process.

If your case is the kind that doesn’t require anything close to the amount of calls and emails the opposing side is sending to your attorney, if it is clear that the volume of the opposing attorneys communications are excessive and engaged in in bad faith, you are not obligated to suffer it.

One way that your attorney and you may be able to remedy this problem would be by having your attorney send opposing counsel an email like this:

Dear opposing counsel,

It is clear to any reasonable person that the frequency and volume of your telephone calls and/or written correspondence with our office are unnecessary, unduly burdensome and oppressive, and engaged in in bad faith. My client cannot afford to have my staff or me take such calls and read and/or respond to every one of such written correspondence. Consequently, my client has now directed my staff and me to:

  • spend no more than five minutes per week taking calls from anyone at your office; and
  • read and/or respond to written communications from your office totaling no more than 250 words.

If in a given week you honestly believe you need more than five minutes to speak with me; and/or more than 250 words to communicate in writing to me, my client requires that you send me an email (no printed letters, no faxes) stating a clear and concise explanation why. No one at the office will read your email but I will forward it to my client to determine whether [he/she] authorizes me that week to speak with you for more than five minutes and/or review and/or respond to more than 250 written words from you.

If you have any questions regarding this policy, you are welcome to call me and discuss them with me for up to five minutes this week and/or email me with your questions this week, so long as your email is no more than 250 words in length.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/Should-I-pay-my-lawyer-to-talk-to-the-attorney-of-the-other-party-He-spent-3-hours-last-week-responding-to-12-emails-from-the-other-lawyer-and-I-need-to-pay-him-for-this-time-At-this-rate-I-my-lawyer-will-become-a/answer/Eric-Johnson-311?prompt_topic_bio=1

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’ve never seen a GAL or custody evaluator add value equal to the fees they charge

I’ve never seen a GAL or custody evaluator add value equal to the fees they charge

This post is the fourteenth in series of 15 posts on the subject of custody evaluations and the appointment of guardians ad litem (“GALs” for short) in Utah child custody cases when the judge could simply interview the children instead. You do not have to read all 16 posts to benefit from this series. Read as many or as few as you wish.

The purpose of this series is to make the case for the proposition that an interview by the judge is a faster, more accurate, more particular, more reliable, and less expensive form of evidence than what a GAL and/or custody evaluator provides.

I’ve never seen a guardian ad litem or custody evaluator add value to the child custody analysis that is equal to what the GAL and/or custody evaluator charged in fees, and here is why:

First and most glaring of all, there is no way to know if the guardian ad litem has done anything (let alone done anything well or poorly) because the guardian ad litem does not have to make a record and is not subject to discovery. The guardian ad litem could literally do nothing and lie through his or her teeth to the court and there is be no way discover and expose it except by dumb luck. Custody evaluators, as opposed to guardians ad litem, can be subject to some discovery, but rarely is a custody evaluator willing to part with his or her file contents in response to a discovery request. It is often very difficult to get a custody evaluator to comply with the discovery request, if a discovery request is made.

Back to the problems of guardians ad litem specifically. Because the guardian ad litem is not required to furnish the court with any proof in support of any alleged facts that underlie the GAL’s assertions and recommendations, the guardian ad litem’s assertions, analysis, and recommendations literally have the same evidentiary value as any other person’s bald claims.

If there are devoted guardians ad litem out there becoming intimately and accurately acquainted with their child clients’ circumstances and feelings AND providing verifiably accurate and credible factual information to the court, as well as sound analysis based upon and citing to such evidence, I have yet to witness that personally. If anyone viewing this has had a different experience that can be documented and verified, I plead with you to share it with me. I must warn you: even if you were to produce such of guardian ad litem, I would ask whether what the guardian ad litem charged for such a thing justify the expense when the child could have been interviewed directly by the judge instead.

Third, even if we were to grant that a guardian ad litem somehow furnished accurate evidence and analysis—without the basis of that evidence and analysis being subject to discovery and verification and without having to make a record of what the children are asked and what they say in response—the amount and quality of such evidence and analysis still does not justify the time and money consumed by the appointment of a guardian ad litem compared to the much lower cost, much shorter consumption of time, and greater accuracy of a judge’s on the record interview of the child.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Do GALs or custody evaluators do a better job of interviewing children than judges do?

This post is the tenth in series of 15 posts on the subject of custody evaluations and the appointment of guardians ad litem (“GALs” for short) in Utah child custody cases when the judge could simply interview the children instead. You do not have to read all 16 posts to benefit from this series. Read as many or as few as you wish.

The purpose of this series is to make the case for the proposition that an interview by the judge is a faster, more accurate, more particular, more reliable, and less expensive form of evidence than what a GAL and/or custody evaluator provides.

But do GALs or custody evaluators do a better job of interviewing children than judges do?

When the “judges interviewing children harms children” argument is finally abandoned by those who acknowledge it’s a silly and patently invalid argument, the next argument to which some cleaning in their efforts to prevent judges from talking to children directly is this one: GAL’s and/or custody evaluators develop a much deeper understanding of the child circumstances, needs, and desires than would a judge interviewing a child. But a guardian ad litem does not spend that much time learning about a child, his parents, or his environment, and does not establish an especially trusting or otherwise meaningful relationship with the child either. I’ve talked with GALs and custody evaluators and with people who had them appointed to speak to them as children; the guardian and/or custody evaluator may have spoken to them for an hour or so. No more than the amount of time a judge could and should spend speaking to a child as well. To assert that guardians ad litem and/or custody evaluators do a better job of interviewing children than a judge can because GALs inherently care more or put more effort or time into it is demonstrably false.

First, if there are any private guardians ad litem out there who spend more than an hour or so talking to their child clients before going before the court and making recommendations based upon the interview with the child, I don’t know who they are. I have never had a guardian ad litem do that in the cases I’ve handled. And if any of you claim that you generally spend or need to spend more than an hour or so interviewing the child, please provide some independently verifiable proof.

I have never witnessed a private guardian ad litem meet or speak with the children multiple times. Even if they did, how would we ever know? None of their conversation(s) is/are made part of the court’s record.

How could a GAL speak with the parents (unless the parents are proceeding pro se) without violating the rule against communicating with a represented party? On the extraordinarily rare occasion that the guardian ad litem has sought permission to speak with my client, the conversation has been brief and not in depth. And in a way that doesn’t come as a surprise. The guardian ad litem doesn’t speak for the parents. The parents can do that for themselves. Come to think of it, except where child is too young to communicate effectively, children don’t need a guardian ad litem or a custody evaluator to speak for them either. They have their own voice and should be permitted to voice their experiences, observations, feelings, concerns, opinions, needs, and desires by themselves, in their own words, unfiltered and unadulterated. But what do I know?

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What are ways divorcees reach a mutual agreement when splitting up their assets?

What are ways divorcees reach a mutual agreement when splitting up their assets?

What they often do (but shouldn’t): rationalize and justify their greed and pettiness in advancing their “arguments”* for why they should get what they want. This results in claims for obviously lopsided divisions of marital property and to false and fatuous claims that what is marital property is actually “my separate property” and “that was a gift from my parents to us, so now that we are divorcing, it’s mine.” Being greedy and petty in the division of marital assets is self-defeating because it often leads to wasting more time, effort, and money than the property is worth.

What they could—and usually should—do: 1) think like your divorce court judge will think and do what the law requires your judge to do, i.e., divide all marital property equally (meaning an equal division of the value of the property), unless there are clearly evident exceptional circumstances that equitably warrant an uneven division of marital property.

*the definition of the word “argument” is not what many people believe. An argument is not the same as a quarrel. An argument is “a reason or set of reasons given with the aim of persuading others that an action or idea is right or wrong.”

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/What-are-ways-divorcees-reach-a-mutual-agreement-when-splitting-up-their-assets/answer/Eric-Johnson-311?prompt_topic_bio=1

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What are ways divorcees reach a mutual agreement when splitting up their assets?

What are ways divorcees reach a mutual agreement when splitting up their assets?

What they often do (but shouldn’t): rationalize and justify their greed and pettiness in advancing their “arguments”* for why they should get what they want. This results in claims for obviously lopsided divisions of marital property and to false and fatuous claims that what is marital property is actually “my separate property” and “that was a gift from my parents to us, so now that we are divorcing, it’s mine.” Being greedy and petty in the division of marital assets is self-defeating because it often leads to wasting more time, effort, and money than the property is worth.

What they could—and usually should—do: 1) think like your divorce court judge will think and do what the law requires your judge to do, i.e., divide all marital property equally (meaning an equal division of the value of the property), unless there are clearly evident exceptional circumstances that equitably warrant an uneven division of marital property.

*the definition of the word “argument” is not what many people believe. An argument is not the same as a quarrel. An argument is “a reason or set of reasons given with the aim of persuading others that an action or idea is right or wrong.”

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/What-are-ways-divorcees-reach-a-mutual-agreement-when-splitting-up-their-assets/answer/Eric-Johnson-311?prompt_topic_bio=1

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How long does it take to get results for a psych evaluation in a divorce?

How long does it typically take to get results for a psych evaluation in a divorce?

There are many variables; just to name a few: how easily the kind of qualified evaluator needed can be found, finding an evaluator to which no one objects, how busy the evaluator is (how packed the evaluator’s schedule already is), how many different components the particular evaluation may include (i.e., how many different tests will be conducted), how cooperative the party to evaluated is (or is not), how soon the evaluator’s fee(s) can be paid (the evaluator will not release the evaluation report until the evaluator has been fully paid for the work performed).

On average, you’re looking at around 3 months, in my opinion. It shouldn’t take that long, but it usually does. And don’t be surprised if it takes even longer, especially if the party to be evaluated knows he/she has something to hide and that he/she does not want exposed.

Domestic relations litigation is miserable. Never forget that.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/How-long-does-it-typically-take-to-get-results-for-a-psyche-evaluation-in-a-divorce/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

Tags: , , ,

Must I engage in all-day divorce mediation or some other time period?

Must I engage in all-day mediation in my divorce action, or for some other specific time period?

No, there is no mandatory minimum period of time you must spend in mediation. You don’t have to stay in all-day mediation or for half a day or for any specific period of time.  All you are required to do is engage in mediation in good faith. Here’s the applicable statute:

Utah Code Section 30-3-39. Mediation program.

(2) If, after the filing of an answer to a complaint of divorce, there are any remaining contested issues, the parties shall participate in good faith in at least one session of mediation. This requirement does not preclude the entry of pretrial orders before mediation takes place.

If you want to attempt to reach a settlement agreement and spend half a day or all day trying, you certainly can, BUT you are under no obligation to do that. If after just a few minutes of good faith effort you conclude (in good faith) that you don’t believe a fair settlement will be reached, you can stop. You don’t have to keep trying to settle for the sake of trying to settle.

Indeed, one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your divorce case is placing way too much faith reaching a settlement.

Many people, including their attorneys, count on settlement (the prospect of going to trial is unthinkable to them), which then leads these people to value settlement settlement’s sake. In other words, litigants and their attorneys become so focused on reaching settlement — any settlement — that they lose sight of the fact that the purpose of negotiating isn’t just settlement, but getting an outcome as good as or better than what they reasonably (even conservatively) believe they could/should achieve at trial. If your settlement isn’t better than what you would get at trial, then your settlement (and all the time and effort and money you put into it) is a waste. Other people are so desperate to settle (out of fear of trial or for other reasons) that they engage in all-day mediation out of the mistaken believe they can somehow bring about a fair settlement by sheer force of will. Either way, it leads to fruitless and costly all-day mediation.

It is not lost on me that many people have to make lousy settlements in their divorce actions because they simply run out of money or willpower to keep fighting.

People who settle out of exhaustion cannot be faulted for making lousy settlement deals when a lousy settlement is the best they could hope for. What many divorcing people forget, however, is that their spouses are usually in the same position. If you can just hold on a little longer, outwork and outlast just that little bit more, that’s when the fair offer is finally made or accepted.

Finally, there are those who settle on unfair terms because they have no better option and they absolutely know it. These are the people who settle because their spouses’ superhuman levels of tenacity born of unimaginable evil and mental and emotional instability. These are people who know that their spouses will never abide by any agreement, never abide by any court order. Those who are married to such monsters reach settlement simply to bring the divorce litigation to an end (or more accurately, in the hope of bringing the divorce litigation to an end).

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What are you tired of explaining when it comes to lawyers?

Nothing. When I am tempted to feel irritated over the questions people ask about lawyers and legal matters, I remember that the questions–though recurring–aren’t being asked by the same person over and over again, but are coming from different people who are asking them for the first time.

What I do find irritating are client gripes masquerading as questions that start with “I don’t understand….”

For example, the client knows why the case is taking as long as it is taking, why the client’s case is weak, why the fees are as high as they are, etc., but believes that by feigning ignorance and saying “I don’t understand…” it all falls on my shoulders to “fix” problems (free of charge, of course) that are not of my creation and/or not within my power to control.

If you are frustrated and anxious about your case, just come clean to your lawyer about it. If your lawyer is a good one, he or she will be much more responsive to candor than if you cloak your fears and concerns with “I don’t understand” statements.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/What-are-you-tired-of-explaining-when-it-comes-to-lawyers/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

Tags: , , , , , , ,

How Much Will My Divorce Cost? How Long Will It Take?

Good for you for coming here. You’re grabbing the bull by the horns. You’re lancing that boil.

Let’s get right to what you want to know.

When contemplating a divorce, you realize you’re entering uncharted territory. You want to get educated fast and correctly. Two of the most burning questions are, rightfully, “What will it cost?” and “How long will this take?”

When people call me up and ask these questions I give them the truth. Many of them hang up on me in disgust.  But there’s no avoiding it. Go ahead and deny it, if you want, but fooling yourself won’t do you any favors.

Here’s the truth: odds are it will cost far more than you think (to do it right) and more than it should, and it will take much longer than you think and longer than it should.

How long? Impossible to predict how long in each particular case. It is possible for a divorce to be settled in as little as a month or so, and possible for a divorce case to drag on for years before a decree is finally issued. Here are the Utah courts’ own statistics for how long divorce cases last:

https://www.utcourts.gov/performancemeasures/pending.html
Breakdown on how long divorce cases are pending in Utah courts

 

“Ah,” you say, “how encouraging. 81% of divorce cases take a year or less!” Looks can be deceiving. Of course your divorce can be disposed of in 30 days or less, but basically you’ve got a 17% chance. And odds are your case will take up to a year. Few, if any, cases should be litigated for a long time, yet here I am, still doing business as a divorce lawyer.  That’s because no matter how reasonable you are, if your spouse isn’t, then you’ll either have a fight on your hands (and spend boatloads of time and money fighting) or you’ll fold like a cheap suit (and lose boatloads of money and rights getting shafted). The moral of the story: be prepared for your divorce case to take a while.

How much? Impossible to predict how long in each particular case. It is possible for a divorce to cost no more than the cost of the court’s filing fee ($318), and there’s no limit on how much a divorce can cost. But for an estimate of the average costs and duration of divorce cases nationwide, scroll down to the bottom of this post. 

Here are the reasons why divorce is often so needlessly expensive and time-consuming, in my opinion (not in any particular order):

  • ignorance of how divorce law actually works and/or refusal to accept how divorce law actually works

– so clients dig their heels in on losing arguments, and A) waste a lot of time and money and B) get frustrated and anxious in the process;

  • most clients don’t do enough of their own work on their cases and/or don’t do good work on their own cases,

– which leads to clients leaving the work they could do themselves for the lawyer to do–and bill for;

– this also leads to important opportunities lost, and that costs you too;

  • many divorce lawyers charge clients as much as they can (I’d say “most divorce lawyers,” but then someone would accuse me of making statements I cannot prove, even though I am giving you my honest opinion), as opposed to charging what is needed;
  • clients (being human) are fickle and will drag their feet as they undergo the unpleasant task of divorce, then complain when the case is moving more slowly than they wish;
  • clients hire lawyers who make them feel good about hiring them because these lawyers told the client what they want to hear, i.e., “I’ll do this cheap, I’ll do this fast, and I’ll do it well.” That’s just not realistic, despite being ever so appealing. Has a divorce ever been done cheap, fast, and well? Yes, every now and then. Is that likely to be what happens in your case? No.
  • Clients (and many lawyers) confuse “my case is done” with “my case turned out exactly the way I wanted.” Most people, when the settle their divorce cases, settle on terms they could live with, but not on terms they loved and, frankly, not on terms they thought were all that fair.

It should come as no surprise that divorce usually (not always) is made much more miserable if one or both of the spouses are afflicted with mental illness or abuse drugs and/or alcohol. So if there are no mental illness or substance abuse issues, divorce usually (not always) costs less and takes less time:

  • the less time the couple has been married (argument for alimony is weaker, fewer grudges built up over time);
  • the less property the couple has acquired while married (argument for alimony is weaker, fewer assets to fight over, costs of litigating often outweigh the value of the assets fought over);
  • if the couple has no children (no issue of child custody and child support to fight over)

If you have been married a long time, have a house, cars, retirement accounts, debts, and children, the risks of your divorce being expensive and time-consuming are much higher. Even if you don’t want to fight, if your spouse does want to fight then you may spend substantial time and money just defending yourself.

If you think a divorce will cost you $5,000 or less and take 3 months or less, the chances of your case ending this way are slim to none.

Here are some national statistics about costs and time involved in divorces, for comparison:

https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/family-law/divorce/divorce-without-children.html

https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/family-law/divorce/divorce-without-children.html
Martindale-Nolo infographic

 

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/ctp/cost-of-divorce.html

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/ctp/cost-of-divorce.html
Nolo.com infographic

 

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/ctp/cost-of-divorce.html
https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/ctp/cost-of-divorce.html

 

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

Tags: , , , ,
Click to listen highlighted text!