The two biggest complaints we hear from litigants in family court is that it takes too long and that it costs too much. (Also See BLOG – How long does it take to get divorced in New Jersey?)
The expense of getting a divorce in northern New Jersey depends on many factors, including the complexity of the issues, the extent to which the issues are contested, the need for expert witnesses, the motivation of the parties to settle, the availability of information necessary to settle the case (eg., valuation of assets, knowledge of both parties’ income) and the billing rate of the attorneys. If assets are held by only one party, the Court can direct one party to lay out the counsel fees for the other side, without prejudice, meaning that at the end of the case, the fees could be reapportioned depending on the outcome.
Because time is money, delays in litigation usually result in increased costs. Sometimes this is unavoidable. But when delays are caused deliberately by the other side – such as the spouse who is trying to thwart a business valuation by hiding assets or records – the Courts can step in and level the playing field. In egregious cases of bad faith in litigation a judge has the authority to shift counsel fees to compensate a party for willful and deliberate delays and increased legal expenses.
We believe that the billing rates for lawyers at the law offices of Gina Calogero are reasonable and commensurate with the area. We disclose our fee schedule in a written retainer agreement as required by the Rules of Court and we issue periodic bills – usually once a month – to keep our clients informed about how much they are spending. We welcome questions about the bills and we never charge for conferences to determine disputes over billing.
If the issues in a case are complicated, it is not advisable to try to cut corners. We believe in the old adage that penny wise can be pound foolish.
If you aren’t sure how much your spouse earns, you should take the time and invest the money to hire a forensic accountant. If your children’s emotional or physical welfare is at stake, you may need a custody evaluation for their protection. When your spouse owns a business of substantial worth, it is not always wise to accept the tax returns or the company’s internal documents to determine the value. On the other hand, we don’t want you to waste money chasing assets that are worth less than the cost of an expert. For example, hiring an appraiser to value multiple pieces of jewelry may cost more than the jewelry is worth on resale.
We at the law offices of Gina Calogero Law will take the time to explain the pros and cons of hiring experts to investigate income, find assets, appraise property or determine custody. We want you to make an informed decision about your case before spending money on a forensic accountant or private investigator. You can always feel comfortable asking questions about your bill, the legal fees we charge you and the expert fees.
We try to reduce the time and expense as much as humanly possible, but there are some built-in reasons for delay and cost that can’t be avoided. We want our clients to understand the process of getting ready for divorce and why quicker is not always better. We are also prepared to fight for our clients and to shift fees to the other party if the facts permit. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with the experienced New Jersey divorce lawyers at Gina Calogero Law, conveniently located in Bergen County, New Jersey. We are experts in Divorce & Family Law and provide exceptional legal advice!