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CASE STUDY: A Smooth Contested Divorce

Not All Contested Divorces Have To Be Contentious
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case study contested not contentious divorce

Below is an illustration of two people who hired the right attorneys (on both sides) and had a Contested Divorce that saved significant financial, as well as emotional resources for the family.

Mary & Tom’s Smooth Contested Divorce

Mary is seeking to get a divorce from her husband, Tom. The couple has been married for 10 years and have 2 children. Tom is a blue collar man who works full-time making a comfortable living. Mary 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.

Dealing with Divorce Sticker Shock

Mary begins to search for a Divorce Attorney who can fully protect her rights. Her friend recommends an attorney who charges a $5,000 retainer with an hourly rate of $400. After swallowing her sticker shock, she decided to go meet with the attorney for a free consultation.

Why Is Contested Divorce So Expensive?

At her meeting, the attorney explained all the work that would go into her divorce to fully protect her rights. They discussed attorney activities and responsibilities such as financial disclosure and an appraisal of the marital residence, among many other discovery issues that needed to be performed to ensure that she received what was fair and equitable. They also discussed the attention she would receive from the firm, what she was entitled to and what path the process would likely take.

Mary left this meeting not having retained the attorney, but ultimately decided that having someone experienced work on her case would be worth the money.

Not All Contested Divorces Have to be Contentious

Mary contacts the attorney again and together they decide to sit down and have a conference with Tom and his attorney. The two are able to settle a few issues, such as child custody and visitation, child support and equitable distribution of the parties’ cars.

Fast forward a few months and the two still cannot reach an agreement with regards to Tom’s retirement benefits and the marital residence. They go to trial on those issues, which lasts one day. When all is said and done, all the possible issues between the parties have been resolved.

Maintaining Open Communication for the Good of the Family

While some points of their divorce were contested, the two have been able to effectively communicate with each other when it comes to their children. The children have been able to stay out of the divorce, and have been able to begin to settle into their new routine. Tom and Mary have begun to move on with their lives and there have been no issues creeping up as they continue on with their lives.

A Few Thousand $$ Well Spent

While Tom and Mary spent a few thousand dollars on their Contested Divorce, hiring the right attorneys the first time kept them out of court for months and kept their legal fees manageable. Compare that to the case study of Jane and Joe we previously published where the couple tried to get a “cheap divorce” and wound up over $100,000 in debt.

Mary & Tom’s Relationship with their Children

Further, Mary and Tom are now able to have a relationship where it concerns their children. The children were never used as “pawns” in their divorce and they can cooperate where it comes to issues involving their children. They are rarely willing to cooperate with regard to children’s commitments or adjusting visitation or vacation schedules when issues arise (as they always do). When they attend their children’s extra-curricular activities, they stay as far away from each other as possible. Naturally, this puts their children in an awkward situation and makes them feel they have to choose a side.

Much Less Stress and Money Wasted

Tom and Mary have spent significantly less than the Joe and Jane we previously published. They had much less emotional stress in their divorce and they are able to effectively communicate for as long as they have to be in each other’s lives for their children.

Remember, a ‘Cheap Divorce’ is Rarely That

While both Case Studies have been boiled down to their simplest form, the broad strokes give enough information to make the point that a “cheap divorce” is rarely that and hiring the right divorce attorney for a Contested Divorce can save you tens of thousands of dollars.

Saving Money on a ‘Cheap Divorce’ Can Be Very Expensive

Sadly, this kind of situation happens often. People try and save their money in the beginning of the divorce, and end up paying significantly more than they would have if they had paid an experienced Divorce Attorney in the beginning. With a $400 divorce, the attorney will not spend the time and resources necessary to fully protect your interests. It is impossible to do proper Child Support and Maintenance calculations without the necessary financial disclosure. This costs money, time and law firm resources, all of which a $400 divorce attorney will not spend on your divorce. In order to properly evaluate the martial residence and retirement accounts, more financial disclosure needs to be done, as well as hiring the proper appraisers.

It Takes Time & Money for a Good Divorce

The amount of work that goes into each and every Contested Divorce will obviously vary. Some couples have little to no assets, some couples have endless amounts that take months to comb through. This work costs money, but it will ultimately pay off. Without the legwork, there is no way to ensure that you receive what you are rightfully entitled to. In order to fully protect your rights and assets, it is important to have an attorney willing to put in the work on your case. What happens in your divorce has far-reaching and long lasting implications; the work done during your divorce should be thorough and detailed.

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. 

For more information on Contested Divorce, read What You Need to Know About Contested Divorce.

Contact Us for 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.

Much Less Stress and Money Wasted

Tom and Mary have spent significantly less than the Joe and Jane we previously published. They had much less emotional stress in their divorce and they are able to effectively communicate for as long as they have to be in each other’s lives for their children.


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Melissa Rappa
Melissa Rappa
18:09 08 Feb 24
At one of the hardest and most stressful times of my life, it was so comforting to have a team at Hornberger and Verbitsky who ALWAYS responded in record speed to my questions, phone calls, emails or texts and who I felt really cared about helping me through this difficult time. It was a long few years and I am grateful to all of you. Thank you so much Rob, AnneMarie, Christine, Patty, Joan and Lawrence. Your guidance, professionalism and expertise is appreciated beyond measure.
Paul Carmichael
Paul Carmichael
16:21 11 Dec 23
I would give 6 stars if I could. I can't say enough good things about Robert and his firm. We were in a situation for over 2 years and I could have never made it through without Robert's experience and knowledge. He guided me through tough times when needed and his expertise could "read" the situation and make the next best move for me. He was tough when he needed to be tough (thankfully) and at the same time guided me through the process to make me feel comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. I would not want to go through this process without Robert and his team having my back. he helped move the case along and not waste any time or money. One last time, I 100% endorse Robert and his expertise.
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