Matrimonial cases and family court issues are often nasty and sometimes take years to resolve. The judges are overwhelmed with a large volume of cases and adjournments of periodic court conferences are common. When custody of children is an issue, psychologists may be necessary to provide their opinion as to the most suitable parent in the best interest of the children. Since the expenses of extended divorce and custody matters are often substantial, it is important for an attorney to assess early on how the case is likely to be resolved after a trial, and try to obtain an equivalent settlement as soon as possible. Of course, that requires all the parties and their attorneys to be reasonable. Our office strives for that approach and we frequently advise clients to compromise to save time, money and ill will.
Over the years of my practice, I have represented clients in various divorce cases. New York has recently added no fault divorce as grounds for divorce, and the court will allow a divorce as soon as child custody and the equitable distribution of the couple’s assets are resolved. In divorce cases, everything becomes a financial battle. The discovery process in a matrimonial case involves learning about the assets of each spouse, so that they can be divided fairly. The longer the marriage, the more likely it becomes that the assets are divided 50/50 between each partner. Assets are divided into separate property, not subject to equitable distribution, and marital property that is subject to equitable distribution. The court requires a statement of net worth, where each party is required to set forth their financial situation in writing, under oath. If a party has misrepresented the reality from the statement of net worth, this becomes a problem over the course of the case, and the party can be penalized.