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Importance of Client Narrative for Your Long Island Divorce Attorney

by | Sep 4, 2018 | Divorce Lawyer Divorce Attorney, NY

Why the Client Narrative is So Important

One of the key pieces of information your Long Island divorce attorney will need to best represent you in your divorce is known as a “Client Narrative”. Your help in providing a descriptive story of your family will prove to be invaluable to your case. Your attorney’s ability to effectively represent you depends on the information available to him or her. Therefore, in order to successfully handle the many important issues surrounding your divorce, it’s critical that you provide your attorney with a detailed history of your marriage. In doing so, you should provide the following information:

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1. Background Information

In a divorce proceeding, your narrative should start at the beginning of the marriage. However, if you and your spouse purchased large assets prior to your marriage, such as a house or business, you should be sure to provide those details to us as well.

Some important facts that should be included in your narrative are:

  • The date of marriage;
  • The ages and health of you and your spouse;
  • Children of the marriage, if any, and their dates of birth;
  • Children from prior relationships, if any;
  • Where you and your spouse are currently living;
  • The highest level of education of each party;
  • Residence(s) during the marriage and how it was acquired;
  • Education and/or vocational training obtained by you, your spouse, or your children; and
  • Employment histories during the marriage, including where you were employed and what you were earning throughout the marriage.

2. Financial Information

During your Divorce, it is important for your attorney to know what happened to various marital assets. For example, if you or your spouse owned a home from before the marriage, was that home sold? If so, what happened to the proceeds? Were they invested in a different home during the marriage? Did a 401K at the time of the marriage get rolled into an IRA and then invested into another account or into an improvement on the home? Please describe the manner in which major assets/debts that were owned/owed at the date of marriage survived or did not survive into the present day.

Accordingly, please provide us with information on the following:

  • Any agreement between you and your spouse regarding working arrangements (stay-at-home parents, one parent only working part-time, etc.);
  • Retirement plans of you and your spouse, including retirement elections already made or pending;
  • Assistance by one spouse in the career development of the other spouse;
  • Employment of you and your spouse;
  • Property owned by you and your spouse on the date of marriage;
  • Acquisition of major assets, including pension and/or other retirement benefits of both spouses;
  • Property and accounts of children acquired during the marriage; and
  • History of debt incurred.

It is also important for your attorney to understand which spouse owns what property, and, for how long that ownership interest been in existence. Generally speaking, separate property is any property owned prior to the date of marriage, as well as any property received by gift or inheritance from a third party. Personal injury settlements, even if received during your marriage, also typically fall into the “separate property” category. Finally, separate property may also include any property acquired with monies earned after the commencement of an Action for a Divorce or signing of a Separation Agreement.

Please do not forget to mention any pre- or post-nuptial agreements, or any informal arrangements entered into by you and your spouse in an effort to settle marital issues.

3. Child(ren)

Critical to your attorney understanding of your case is the history of the primary caretaker of your children. This is particularly important if custody is an issue or if there are likely to be any disputes concerning parenting time. Please be sure to discuss the following with regards to your children:

  • Birth dates;
  • Overall health, as well as any major medical concerns or diagnoses;
  • Your role as a parent from birth to the present;
  • Time off from work by either spouse, either paid or unpaid, or decisions to have one parent remain at home with the children;
  • The role and duties of the primary caretaker;
  • Special needs of the children, if any; and
  • Domestic violence specifically involving children.

4. Marital Fault

New York is a No-Fault State since 2010. What this means is that, where you formerly (prior to August 15, 2010) needed to allege grounds for divorce, such as domestic violence or abandonment, you do not need to allege such grounds today. New York has adopted the no-fault statute, allowing parties to allege an “irretrievable breakdown” in the marital relationship.  Courts in Nassau and Suffolk counties, and throughout New York, no longer require either party to prove a ground in order to obtain a divorce.

That being said, it is important that your attorney have a complete picture of your marriage. If there were issues underlying your entire marriage, your attorney should know about them. If there were instances of domestic violence, please include details and indicate whether there was a police report.

If you are not sure whether something should be included in your narrative, it’s best to air on the side of caution and include it. Your attorney can only be as prepared as you allow him/her to be.

Finally, your client narrative should not stop once your divorce begins. It’s important that you keep a log of daily occurrences and interactions with your spouse. If there is a visitation scheduled and your spouse does not exercise his or her right to see the children, you should make a notation of that. If your spouse called you 10 times in one day for no other reason than to harass you, you should make a notation.

Do You Have Questions About Preparing Your Client Narrative for Your Long Island Divorce Attorney? We Can Help

Your Client Narrative is a critical piece of information for your divorce attorney to properly represent you in your divorce on Long Island. In order to protect your rights and financial interests, it is important to have an experienced Long Island Divorce Attorney by your side. Contact our Long Island Divorce & Family Law firm at 631-923-1910 to set up your free consultation with one of our experienced Family Law attorneys.

 

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Mr. Hornberger was so helpful to me in a recent consultation. He gave me his time generously, listened patiently, offered clear counsel, and said I didn't actually need further legal services in a particular matter, which I really appreciated.
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Jenny Allen
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13:26 18 Jun 22
Mr. Hornberger was so helpful to me in a recent consultation. He gave me his time generously, listened patiently,... offered clear counsel, and said I didn't actually need further legal services in a particular matter, which I really appreciated.read more
Elizabeth Martin
Elizabeth Martin
21:06 25 Jan 22
The team at Hornberger Verbitsky made me feel at ease after I retained them after a 3 year contested divorce process. I... like their approach with how they educate you on ways to get the best outcome in your divorce. Mr. Hornberger made me feel heard and was compassionate to my case while also being aggressive in the courtroom to help me get the most positive outcome. He prevented my case from having to go to trial and he closed the deal in my long drawn out emotional divorce. I was happy that I retained him and would recommend him to anyone that is going through a high conflict divorce.read more
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rrezarta lekaj
20:47 24 Nov 21
Christine is truly the best there is. She is beyond professional, personable, genuine, extremely trusting, and has made... such a stressful and emotional time for my family and I easier to get through. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your guidance, your support, and being there every step of the way. I would highly recommend Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. to anyone that is in need for legal advice - you will be in the best hands.read more
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21:00 02 Oct 21
Rob and Christine are the very best out there!I can not say enough about them. They both have helped me so much in... different matters throughout the last several years . They have gone over and beyond!I highly recommend this law firm !read more
Tara Tocci
Tara Tocci
20:59 17 Sep 21
I called to make an appointment for a consultation to discuss a mediated divorce, the office was fantastic with getting... me a prompt appointment. When going in all my questions were asked and I left feeling comfortable in my decision to move forward in using the Hornberger/Verbitsky office. Despite a pandemic going on the office still worked diligently to get my papers filed and my divorce complete in a timely manner. Highly recommend!read more
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cristina romero
20:17 17 Sep 21
Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C were phenomenal in every way. Robert was very genuine, patient and professional. Walking in,... I had no idea what to expect but he went above and beyond to explain the entire process thoroughly. He guided and informed me of my rights. Patty was amazing, she answered every question I had no matter how many times I called, she was very understanding. I highly recommend Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. Even if its just for questions on how to navigate this process.read more
Kerri
Kerri
16:57 17 Sep 21
Rob and his team are by far one of the greatest! Patty is amazing and will make sure all of your questions are... addressed and responded to. Rob and his team made a very tough time in my life as simple as possible. Rob is extremely knowledgeable and very empathetic. Patty was a pleasure to work with and I would recommend this firm to anyone that needs a great divorce attorney. Thank you for all of your help!read more
Angela Thearle
Angela Thearle
00:21 07 Aug 21
Hornberger law was the best choice I made when I needed to go to family court with my ex for custody of my children.... They were there at any time when I neeeded them. Going through a custody battle can be a huge emotional rollercoaster and very painful. They helped me through it and made it less painful and heartbreaking. And I got the outcome plus more than I expectedread more
Tammy Granville
Tammy Granville
11:49 04 Jul 21
Everyone was very professional. Never had to call to get an update on my case. Someone always updated me on a regular... basis.read more
LilMissPerfct Dessie
LilMissPerfct Dessie
06:46 11 Feb 21
I am a graduate of Norland English nanny college. I thank God every day that Mr. Robert Hornberger protected my clients... in the legal ways i could not. Children are a blessing not a blender to be fought over during some silly spat!read more
Anastasia R
Anastasia R
22:45 17 Dec 20
I went to see Rob for a modification for my child custody agreement to relocate, I can honestly say that working with... Rob and Christine has been the best experience. I cannot recommend them enough I only wish I had seen them sooner. They are prompt with communication, and they are honest which I appreciate so much. They do not give you fake promises and they do their best to fight for what you want which they do amazingly well! You can tell they are passionate about what they do and care about their clients. A very important aspect of lawyer client relationship for me is an open line of communication, the anxiety of the unknown always gets the best of us. The fact they were always available whether it be phone call or email to answer any question was extremely comforting and exactly what I needed. I am not well versed with laws and regulation so knowing I had Rob and his partners there when I was unsure or conflicted was extremely needed and greatly appreciated.When it comes to family court it's never easy but having Rob and his partner by my side I felt extremely comfortable and he helped me have realistic expectations. Please TRUST HIM!! If you're looking for a lawyer (at least for my end from child custody/Family Court) don't look any further you will not be disappointed. I hope to never have to use them again but in the event I have to, they are going to be my forever first call.read more
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15:42 16 Sep 20
I hired Robert to handle a child custody and child support matter. He was prompt and professional and was able to... achieve a result that 3 prior attorneys could not. He and his staff made a stressful situation easy. I highly recommend his office.read more
Ann Masten
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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.read more
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Everett Roberts
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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.read more
Annemarie Cusumano
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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.read more
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!read more
Rob Spielmann
Rob Spielmann
22:15 27 Feb 20
They made our process so easy. They were there to answer and help with any questions that came up. Very friendly
Ashley Hubner
Ashley Hubner
20:30 14 Feb 20
Navigating my divorce was a challenging experience to say the least, but I was supported and guided every step of the... way by my attorney, Robert. With the daunting task of hiring a divorce lawyer, I knew I would need someone with the right combination of knowledge, compassion and integrity. Robert has a strong background in family law, sincere character and direct communication to be superior to the others. He and his staff were professional and caring. I always felt I was in good hands. I highly recommend the Law Offices Hornberger and Verbitsky for the legal expertise, compassion and understanding of the many complex facets associated with divorce.read more
Thomas Livingston
Thomas Livingston
21:31 26 Jan 20
Robert and Christine are the epitome of professionalism. They helped us with the purchase of our new home. They were... efficient, dedicated, and focused on making our closing as seamless as possible.read more
Sheila Vasata
Sheila Vasata
23:35 14 Jan 20
Robert Hornberger has been a friend of mine and my family for years. He has helped us all in ways that are too... numerable to mention. I went through a divorce that I don’t think I could’ve done if I didn’t have Robert by my side. He is vivacious, motivated, knowledgeable, and has an extreme desire to succeed and excel...and he does! He goes over and above for all of his clientele. I would recommend his law firm to anybody who is looking for a Great Lawyer with integrity!read more
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