What All Divorce Clients Should Know About Our Firm
The goal of my office is to provide courteous, competent, professional service to my clients. I am well qualified to represent you in matrimonial matters, and I pledge to you the best result that can be obtained by hard work and ethical representation. By way of background, I spent 10 years working in a major litigation firm here in Las Vegas, during which time I acquired considerable experience in handling divorce cases of all types and sizes. I have authored numerous articles pertaining to divorce that have appeared in the Nevada bar journals. For the past 8 years, I have been in private practice, representing family law clients.
It is important to me that you understand the philosophy of my firm in handling matrimonial matters at the outset of our representation of you. First, please remember that I fully support efforts toward reconciliation. If, at any time during the course of your action, you feel the need to reconsider your decision for divorce or separation, please do not hesitate to advise me of your desire not to proceed. If you wish, I can supply you with the names of marital counselors, psychologists, and others who may be able to counsel with you regarding reconciliation, divorce, custody, and visitation problems, or any of the other wide range of problems parties in the process of divorce or separation might experience.
Second, my goal in handling your case is to resolve it quickly. Although the expeditious handling of a case requires the cooperation of both sides and the courts, I will work hard on your behalf to move a case along in a speedy and efficient manner. I realize the toll litigation takes and the psychological burden it places on parties and children, and you can be assured that I will make every effort to resolve your matter at the earliest possible moment without sacrificing your interests.
Third, please note that my approach to divorce litigation is to act in such a way as not to make a bad situation worse. I will make every effort to conduct myself in a civilized, courteous manner and conduct negotiations to make every effort to defuse tensions, avoid hostility, and maximize the ability of the parties and lawyers to arrive at a fair and reasonable settlement. It is my belief that a negotiated agreement between the parties serves both parties best because it allows them to fine-tune matters between themselves in a way the courts often are unable to do. The court can never know a case as well as the parties and the lawyers do, and it is always prudent to work out a settlement if at all possible.
Occasionally, despite the efforts of the lawyers and clients, settlement cannot be reached. This may be the case for several reasons, including unrealistic expectations of one or both of the parties, disputes about the facts or the law, the existence of novel and as yet undecided issues, or the desire on the part of a party for revenge or to deny a divorce to the other spouse. Where trial is necessary, I am well qualified and willing to represent you, and my willingness and ability to try cases when necessary allows us to negotiate from a position of strength.
As your case proceeds, bear in mind that settlement discussions can proceed at any time B before, during, or even after trial. Ordinarily, it is better to conduct settlement negotiations after an action has been commenced to obtain the advantage of disclosure and discovery devices and so that the time spent in negotiation is not lost in the event settlement is not achieved. This is a tactical decision that depends on the facts and circumstances of your case. I will advise you if I feel your case should proceed otherwise.
It is the policy of my office to send you copies of all documents prepared or received by me relating to your case. This includes all pleadings and correspondence. These are sent (often times sent electronically via e-mail) to you so that you can be kept informed as to the status of your case. It is important that you review these materials when they are sent to you, and that you contact me with any questions you may have at the time you receive the document(s).
In the event litigation is commenced, certain formal stages will occur. In Nevada, an action for divorce is commenced by the service of a Summons and a Complaint for Divorce by one party upon the other. The Complaint is a formal document which must be signed under oath by the filing party (the [email protected]), which states the grounds for the divorce and describes the issues to be decided by the court. The Complaint and Summons will be accompanied by a AJoint Preliminary [email protected] ([email protected]), which is binding upon you when served upon you, or upon its issuance if you are the party filing for divorce. The JPI prohibits you and your spouse from doing the following during the pendency of your divorce action:
- Transferring, encumbering, concealing, selling or otherwise disposing of any of your joint, common or community property except in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life, without the written consent of the parties or the permission of the Court.
- Molesting, harassing, disturbing the peace of or committing an assault or battery upon your spouse or your child or stepchild.
- Removing any child of you and your spouse then residing in the State of Nevada with an intent or effect to deprive the court of jurisdiction as to said child without the prior written consent of your spouse or the advance permission of the Court.
After service of a Complaint by you (the Plaintiff), your spouse (the Defendant) must file and serve an [email protected], which is also a formal document filed in response to the Complaint. A [email protected] for divorce may also be filed, which is the Defendant=s equivalent of a Complaint.
After the service of the Complaint and the filing of the Answer, the process of discovery begins. Although the discovery period varies from case to case, it is typically set anywhere from 30 days (for an uncomplicated case) to 180+ days (for a complex case). You will be actively involved in the gathering and organization of the documents.
Several types of discovery proceedings may be utilized in your case. The most commonly used discovery device is the deposition. This proceeding involves taking sworn testimony of you, your spouse, or other persons who have knowledge of facts relevant to your case. Should your deposition be scheduled in this case, I will discuss the procedure with you in detail and provide you with additional information prior to its commencement.
During the discovery period, certain issues may arise which require the filing of a motion, requesting interim relief from the court. These issues include temporary spousal support, preliminary attorney=s fees, possession of the marital residence, and sale of the marital residence.
Your case may also require that we hire other professionals to assist us. We frequently require the assistance of accountants and real estate appraisers to assist with tax and valuation issues. If your case includes a contested custody issue, a psychologist or psychiatrist may be needed. In the event that we determine that your case requires the services of another professional, we will advise you and assist you in selecting the appropriate person for your case.
Finally, please bear in mind that divorce litigation, like all litigation, can be emotionally and financially draining. Discovery, experts, pre-trial motions, and trial preparation can be very time-consuming. Often, divorce cases involve issues which are highly emotional but financially imprudent to pursue. We will actively strive to protect your financial interests while keeping our fees at reasonable levels. As a result, we will encourage you, when appropriate, to use joint appraisals, stipulate to facts, schedule meetings with your spouse and his/her lawyer to resolve disputes rather than file motions, and to take reasonable positions on interim matters involving discovery, temporary custody and support, and restraining orders. The fact that we encourage these things does not mean that we are not fighting for you, but instead, that we are looking out for your best interests.