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Approaching divorce or a family law case can seem overwhelming. But the answers to the following Frequently Asked Questions provide a useful and clear overview of the initial steps in the process. To prepare for your first meeting, simply click on the headings below for detailed explanations of matters that concern clients most.

In your introductory session with one of our attorneys, you can of course ask for further information on these topics, or about any other questions you may have. Davis Friedman’s attorneys also have prepared checklists that you can find and print in this section to facilitate gathering the documents you may need to ensure the best outcome for your divorce.

What can I do to prepare for my divorce before proceedings begin?

Davis Friedman’s attorneys always appreciate when a client understands that the divorce process begins well before any formal legal action is taken. While every case is different, it is always helpful to adjust your behavior so as to present yourself in the best possible light.

What happens during my first meeting at Davis Friedman?

During your initial meeting with an attorney, you will share a considerable amount of information so that the general scope and challenges of your situation can be determined. In addition to exchanging information, this first meeting helps you establish a rapport with the attorney. It is essential that you have a sense of comfort with the attorney you choose to represent you. This is part of the initial planning process.

What documents do you need to assess my case?

This checklist is designed to provide a guideline in preparing for a productive first meeting with your lawyer. If you do not have all of this information, please bring what is available to you at that time.

While you might not have easy access to all of these items and some may not apply to your circumstances, this list will help you assemble the information most helpful to your case.

  • Monthly earnings and other sources of income
  • Real estate
  • Other assets
  • Investments
  • Income tax returns for the last three years
  • Valuable collections
  • Assets sold or transferred during the last three years

In addition, lists of expenses and liabilities are needed to complete the financial plan, including:

  • Major expenses
  • Required monthly deductions and summaries of monthly living and other expenses
  • Child related expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Healthcare and life insurance costs
  • Mortgage documents
  • Business records
  • Bank statements
  • Credit card records

How long will the first meeting take?

Initial meetings typically take less than two hours.

Does my divorce have to be a fight?

Divorce does not have to be an acrimonious process, and the attorneys at Davis Friedman know that few families want to turn an already painful situation into a brawl. Litigation is not always the answer, and the attorneys have experience in dealing with a range of approaches, including mediation and collaborative divorce proceedings.

Even when litigation is the only answer, it does not mean the gloves have to come off. Davis Friedman’s attorneys know how to minimize conflict where possible – but they are also fully prepared for a fight if it is necessary. The final approach will be up to to the client and their attorney, based on the particulars of their case.

How long does the average case take?

The duration depends on each individual case as shaped by the specific circumstances and the people involved. But as your attorney becomes familiar with the details of the situation, he or she will be better able to predict a timeline for the duration of the case.

Here is one important rule of thumb: A case settled between the parties is almost always finished before a case decided by a trial.

What is the average cost for representation by Davis Friedman?

Fees are based on the amount of time Davis Friedman spends on your case. Each case is different. Based on your unique circumstances, the fee will be determined according to the time and resources necessary to ensure the best outcome. Factors such as the number and complexity of the issues raised by you and your spouse will influence the amount of time needed. There also are mandatory charges such as court filing fees. Your lawyer will discuss costs during your initial meeting.

In addition to the lawyer who is primarily responsible for your case, Davis Friedman typically (but not always) includes an associate on your team. This approach provides a more efficient and cost-effective way to handle the day-to-day matters that arise while serving you. Davis Friedman charges for the time all its partners, associates, paralegals, and law clerks spend on your case, at their various rates.

You will be asked to pay an initial retainer which will be deposited in the firm’s trust account and applied to fees and costs as they are earned or used. Every month, Davis Friedman will send you an itemized billing statement

Do I only work with the lawyer I meet at the first consultation?

At Davis Friedman, clients work directly with a lawyer, and an associate is included for maximum availability, timeliness and effectiveness. Highly trained paralegals also help reduce attorneys’ fees and client expenses, and in large cases more than one associate or assistant may be assigned.

Typically, one lawyer leads a client’s case. However, partners frequently advise and strategize with one another to ensure the most successful results.

How does your firm utilize support staff, including paralegals and legal assistants?

In order to deliver the highest quality representation to our clients, Davis Friedman utilizes the support of legal assistants, paralegals and other support staff to craft the best possible case and expedite the process. However, the support staff is just that: support. While some firms may employ support staff to perform legal tasks, at Davis Friedman all substantive legal work on your case will be conducted by qualified, experienced attorneys.

Have questions? Contact us about working together.

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