Divorce litigation is expensive; everyone knows that. But did you know that if your attorneys don’t get along, the cost will be 20% higher?
I was struck when I heard that fact mentioned at a panel discussion on the topic of what mediation clients can expect if they end up in court. One of the panel members was a Supreme Court referee who handles matrimonial cases; she mentioned a survey that showed that if your attorneys are fighting with each other for the sake of fighting, you and your spouse are going to pay this significantly higher cost.
Attorneys who don’t get along are likely to be inconsiderate of each other and will deny what may seem seem like reasonable requests to you—such as requests to change a deposition or court date due to a work conflict you may have, or give extensions of time to hand over the extensive amount of documents they’ve requested. If your attorneys are hostile toward each other, you can be sure that your divorce will take much longer than it should and you and your spouse will experience greater conflict with each other. Unfortunately, some clients actually think paying the financial and emotional costs associated with this kind of behavior is a necessary sacrifice; they figure if their attorneys cooperate with each other, then they can’t really be advocating for them.
This kind of thinking is a mistake. In reality, we can be better advocates for our clients when we can see all perspectives and work together like adults.
If we can transcend whatever issues we might have with each other, then we avoid dragging you into an emotional battleground. Why should you pay $100,000 in legal fees to get sucked into a vortex of dysfunction? Especially when you’re in the process of doing everything you can to get out of what may be a dysfunctional marriage.
So what can you do? One option: Ask the attorney you’re interviewing whether she knows the attorney who your spouse has hired or is considering hiring. Have they worked together successfully before? How did they handle challenges that may have arisen?
Better yet, hire collaborative lawyers who are trained to work with each other to get you and your spouse to an agreement that works for both of you. Collaborative lawyers model the considerate behavior we expect from our clients. We share similar goals. We want to help you divorce in a better way. That agenda works to your advantage, not against it.
Contact me today to learn more!
570 Lexington Avenue, Suite 1600
New York, NY 10022