Maybe you did not ask or want to get divorced, but you’re in court now for divorce and custody, as well as all the other issues, including but not limited to: equitable distribution of assets and debts; and spousal and/or child support. You want to drag it out to keep the family under one roof until your youngest graduates high school. You remember stories of your friends who went it through it and it dragged out for over four years. Not anymore due to the new laws and rules. But how are you going to afford to live without your spouse’s income added to yours and having to deduct support payments? Don’t ask me, but there are those who find a way with less than you earn. Yes, they do pay less in support, and have even less left over.
It especially sucks on Long Island because it is extremely expensive to live here. Your spouse is going to struggle too. True, maybe not as much as you, because once you add the support your spouse will receive, and deduct it from your income, you may be left with less, maybe not. The Courts will tell you it is because your spouse has the children, more people to house and feed. But they do not realize you need similar housing for overnight parenting time and feeding them and all the utilities etc such that your costs are not much lower than hers and the more time you have with the children, the more closely your costs are to the custodial parent’s costs. Why can’t the judge understand this? Because the Judge is mandated to follow and apply unrealistic laws without much room for deviation if at all depending on the facts.
The sooner you accept reality of your case if the other side will not negotiate better terms for you than what they know a judge will reasonably grant to them after trial, the better off you are to save big on legal fees. Too many lawyers will grab onto your sentiments to try for better terms at trial, but even if you do get a bit better financial decision after trial, how will that savings compare to all the costs of bringing the case ready for trial, preparing for trial, conducting trial, and post trial summations? Only if this cost is a lot less than the savings you may get after trial is it worth it, otherwise you just made your situation even worse than what you were complaining about. In other words, you caused the divorce to suck even worse than it should have, and even worse yet if you have to pay your spouse’s legal fees in addition to your own.
Once a trial lawyer explains this to you, who would otherwise earn much more money going to trial, why would you doubt it? Then you hire another lawyer to go to trial who fills you with what you want to hear, and then if you lose worse at trial than the settlement offer, you run back to the first lawyer to fix it, but he or she can’t because its too late. Oh well.
Moral of the story: if you can get your divorce over with rather fast and peacefully close in terms to what the law would require after trial, with less legal fees and heart ache, do it!