Two of the most common questions asked by clients, sometimes even before what his/her entitlements are, is how much will my divorce cost and how long will it take? While these questions are certainly reasonable, the answers are complicated and usually cannot be provided with certainty. While an experienced attorney can often provide somewhat of an estimate of the cost and duration of a divorce under normal circumstances, the process is fluid, making an a definitive answer virtually impossible. Understanding this fact is critical, as it will assist in tempering expectations involving the litigation, as well as formulating strategies in proceeding forward.
Other than the litigational delays caused by the current pandemic, there are inordinate factors which influence the cost and duration of divorce litigation, such as:
- the amount and complexity of the issues involved;
- the experience of the attorneys;
- whether you are the monied or non-monied spouse (if you are
- the monied spouse, it is likely you will be responsible to pay some if
- not all of your spouse’s legal costs, as well as your own);
- the court’s calendar;
- your spouse’s agenda during the litigation (ie – malice versus
- a desire to end the action expeditiously) and
- your own expectations and agenda in the litigation.
The presence of any one or all of the above factors can be the difference between an amicable and speedy resolution versus a costly and prolonged litigation. While some of the factors are clearly beyond your control, the fact remains that your reasonableness (and that of your spouse) during the action is a significant factor, as well as your ability to communicate with your attorney and heed the advice of counsel that you yourself chose to retain. In this regard, an experienced attorney is familiar with how to best navigate through and deal with all the above factors
There is no question that divorce litigation is difficult, and has been made significantly more challenging for litigants, attorneys, and even the courts during the pandemic. While patience is certainly in short supply during such an emotionally charged process, the one certainty is that you still remain the captain of your own destiny. The one promise I can make to clients is that there is a beginning to a divorce and there is an end. How and when you get there is a conscious and carefully planned decision between you and your attorney. It often requires patience, flexibility, perseverance and undoubtedly strength.
If you believe that your litigation is going on too long and/or that the cost is prohibitive, communicate these concerns to your attorney, so that an assessment can be made as to of how these concerns can be addressed.
In this regard, be open to what your attorney suggests may be the cause, and his/her ideas on how it may be remedied. While sometimes it may be that you are at the mercy of things beyond your control, there is most often some strategy to alleviate the issue and move things forward.