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CASE STUDY: Jane & Joe

A Cheap Divorce Can Cost You $10s of Thou$and$
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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

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

We look forward to the opportunity to help you put your best foot forward post-divorce. If you believe you are ready to take the next step in your road to divorce, call our office at 631-923-1910 to set up your complimentary consultation.

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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Ann Masten
Ann Masten
17:48 12 May 20
I am a paralegal in an unrelated field of law. I phoned Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. today intending to refer a client to their office. Instead (and despite that we are the midst of the present crisis), Mr. Hornberger himself graciously accommodated my questions over the telephone, and was generous with his time and adroit in his response, saving our client a small fortune in unnecessary legal fees. I have not had any similar experience, in which counsel was so generous with his expertise, in 22+ years of interacting with prominent, local attorneys, and the client is overjoyed. Based on this experience, I would now whole -heartedly recommend this firm as trusted professionals to any client requiring a firm expert in family law and related legal issues.
Everett Roberts
Everett Roberts
14:30 18 Mar 20
Going through a divorce was very challenging and emotional. Searching for an attorney can be challenging as well when you consider everything that is at stake. The choice I made to work with Rob Hornberger was surely the best choice available. His professionalism, expertise, and understanding made him and the entire team perfectly suited to achieve the outcomes I desired. Rob was always available to answer my questions and give me advice and legal considerations that affected my situation. The support I received from his staff was exemplary as well. The staff was courteous, kind, and also very professional. Thank you so much Rob and team for a worry free experience.
Annemarie Cusumano
Annemarie Cusumano
21:41 17 Mar 20
Being in family court especially when your children are on the line is extremely emotional and stressful but working with Robert and Christine put me at ease and made the process as pleasant as a situation like that can be. I have a now 3 year old daughter (who is the most important person in my life) and I've been working with them for over two years since my daughter was 7 months old, the case has been up and down and through it all Rob and Christine have never given up. My original case was due to a neglect charge. Cps is not easy to work with, but Rob and Christine were vigilant and I ended up getting my daughter back within 8 months and did not have to plead guilty to the neglect. Currently I am in family court to figure out a custody agreement. They are professional, empathetic, and patient. They have always explained everything thoroughly, informed me of all my options and advised me of what my best option would be. They always respond quickly when I contact them with questions or concerns and most importantly they fight for me in court and don't give up even when things get rough. Before hiring Rob and Christine I met with other attorneys who did not make me feel confident or comfortable at all about my case, so I am very grateful to have found Rob and Christine and to be represented by such great attorneys. I highly recommend them for any family court matters and will definitely continue to use them in the future if needed.
Steven Frierman
Steven Frierman
02:25 07 Mar 20
After meeting with 3 different lawyers, we felt Robert understood us best and he genuinely had our best interests at heart. This helped us resolve a few minor issues in a timely fashion and make a potentially stressful situation go more smoothly.Thank you
Randi Gottlieb
Randi Gottlieb
18:47 03 Mar 20
Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. - Mr. Robert Hornberger and his staff are beyond professional, they quickly gave me my consultation appointment, and helped me with an after-Divorce issue. Mr. Hornberger was empathetic and explained to me what I should expect. Mr. Hornberger was extremely professional and advised me of my options, he helped me proceed with accurate and smart decisions. I wish I had Mr. Hornberger and his highly recommended staff when I was getting divorced. I would highly recommend Robert and his staff to anyone who is getting a divorce or in need of help with situations after the divorce!


  • I have known Robert for more than 8 eight years. Robert has represented many of my family and friends. Each and every one has raved about Robert’s professionalism and expertise. He is knowledgable, friendly and truly cares about his clients. I would not hesitate to continue to refer Robert and his firm in the future!
  • I’ve known Robert for most of my life, and feel very fortunate that I have been able to turn to a good friend for various kinds of legal advice. He is very intelligent, straight forward, and professional. Most importantly though, Robert always finds the fastest resolution, and will not waste your time or money. He is NOT in the habit of dragging things through litigation if there is no need for the added expense. I have referred a few of my friends to Robert, and they have all been more than satisfied in their experience with him. Highly recommend!!



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