Jane is seeking to get divorce from her husband, Joe. The couple has been married for 10 years and have 2 children. Joe is a blue collar man who works full-time making a comfortable living. Jane works part-time in an office and knows she does not have the income to support herself, her children and the marital residence while going through a divorce.
Beware the $400 Divorce
Jane searched Suffolk County for a Divorce Attorney and found someone advertising a $400 divorce. She is very excited and believes that she and Joe will be able to quickly and efficiently get divorced. The couple move forward with the $400 divorce. The parties’ attorney quickly submits paperwork and the parties begin to pick up the pieces of their lives after their divorce and move on with their lives.
What You Don’t Know, Can Hurt You
A few months later, Jane has not received monthly Child Support checks from Joe. She remembers that they had discussed Child Support while going through their divorce and begins to look through her agreement. To her chagrin, she finds there is no express Child Support obligation; there is only the presumptive calculation required by the Child Support Standards Act. Not only that, but there was no discussion of a spousal maintenance amount or equitable distribution of their property.
Jane calls a friend who recently went through a divorce and her friend tells her that Jane was entitled to Joe’s retirement benefits too. No one ever told her she was entitled to a share of his retirement benefits. She now becomes concerned that she did not receive her fair share in her divorce.
Re-Opening a Case Can Cost Much More
She finds another divorce attorney online. She goes for a free consultation and finds out that she is absolutely entitled to Child Support, Maintenance, Equitable Distribution and Joe’s retirement benefits.
Jane is devastated. She was just beginning to move on with her life. Her children had settled into a new routine. She and Joe were able to communicate amicably enough and things were going okay. Now she has learned that she has been denied what was rightfully hers and it was going to cost thousands of dollars to “re-open” her case in an attempt to receive what she was entitled to in the first place. Her main concern, however, was the Child Support checks she expected because she could not support her children without Joe’s contributions.
Things Often Go Worse the 2nd Time Around
So, she decides to move forward with what is known as a Post-Judgment Action. She has to pay a hefty retainer with a family law attorney. Joe has also hired an attorney to fight her Support Petition. Jane’s retainer is used up quickly and now Jane is being billed at an hourly rate for her attorney’s time, and, there is no guarantee of success because the standard to set aside an agreement and start over is a difficult burden to meet.
A Simple Divorce Can Become Contentious
Now the parties begin to dig in and what seemed like a simple divorce becomes contentious. Jane understands that in order to retire and remain in New York, she would need contributions from Joe’s retirement benefits. Joe remembers that Jane has in her possession his baseball card collection that, apart from monetary value, holds sentimental value.
Joe begins to go after the collection as well as with other pieces of property. By the time the two of them have settled their disagreements, they are tens of thousands of dollars in debt for the trial of their post-judgment action.
The Cost of Doing it Over Again
What began as a $400 divorce ended up costing them both $50,000 and their post-divorce relationship. The parties’ children have now watched their parents go through contentious legal battles, despite Jane and Joe’s best efforts to shield them. Jane and Joe rarely speak and cannot effectively communicate, even if the issue revolves around the children. This inevitably places the parties’ two children in the middle. Jane and Joe both have to attempt to start over again. The children need to readjust to their newest lifestyle. The $400 divorce has cost more, both monetarily and emotionally, than either Jane or Joe could have imagined.
Avoid Dragging Your Divorce Out; Get the Right Attorney the First Time
All of this could have been avoided if they simply hired a reputable divorce attorney who advised them of their legal rights from the beginning. It is possible that, given that they were on speaking terms then, they could have used an alternative dispute resolution process like Divorce Mediation or Collaborative Divorce, which would have saved each of them tens of thousands of dollars. Even if they ultimately had a Contested Divorce, the combined fees, stress and time until resolution would likely have been much less.
Next: Tom & Mary
Next week, we’ll present a case study of a couple, Tom and Mary, who went a different way with their divorce and the results were much different in terms of cost, time and results.
Questions About Contested Divorce on Long Island?
To learn more about what you need to know about Contested Divorce on Long Island and how to get help to protect yourself and your future to ensure you have the freedom and resources to live a full and happy post-divorce life, visit this page: Contested Divorce Attorney Protects Your Rights & Assets
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See this page for Your Guide to Preparing for a Contested Divorce.
The Cost of Doing it Over Again
What began as a $400 divorce ended up costing them both $50,000 and their post-divorce relationship. The parties’ children have now watched their parents go through contentious legal battles …. Jane and Joe rarely speak and cannot effectively communicate, even if the issue revolves around the children. This inevitably places the parties’ two children in the middle …. The $400 divorce has cost more, both monetarily and emotionally, than either Jane or Joe could have imagined.
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