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Making Divorce Affordable; Cutting to the Chase

On Behalf of | Sep 21, 2011 | Divorce

The Manely Firm, P.C. provides a no gimmicks, low cost alternative to a high priced divorce and other family law issues.

We accomplish this partly because of volume.  Rather than work a few cases to death, we spread our costs over many, many clients who each still receive individualized, team attention, excellent service and superior results.  But there is another key to our relatively low cost: we cut to the chase.

I often represent clients whose cases are fairly simple in the scheme of family law.  While the case isn’t simple for the client, living the saga that is her life at that moment, from a family law perspective I can often tell how a case will resolve in the first consultation.  I’m not clairvoyant it’s just that 22 plus years of experience have taught me how judges resolve the issues that constantly arise in families.

Case in point:  We represented a late 20’s, stay at home mother of a little girl who was less than a year old  The mother and her husband had been married just shy of five years.  He was a very successful small restaurant manager who worked six days a week between 10 – 12 hours a day.  Neither party drank excessively, used drugs, was violent or had a criminal history.  Neither party had engaged in an affair. The only additional circumstance was that the young mother was from Canada.  The young father was from here.  She had no family in the US.  All of his family lived close.

The young father, a man of some modest means, consulted a fairly expensive law firm in the $10,000 retainer range. He recited these facts in his consultation.  He told the firm that because the mother wanted to return to Canada he wanted custody.  “We’ll get you custody,” the firm said.  He wrote that firm a $10,000.00 check.

This man was never going to get custody under these facts  But for a $10,000 fee this firm told this father what he wanted to hear, their opinion nicely tailored to make him happy enough to sign on the dotted line.

The young mother told me the facts within a half an hour.  I told her the inevitable result: you’ll go home to Canada with your daughter.  And because there is nothing wrong with father, he’ll get visitation.  Life won’t be like y’all had planned originally, tucking the little girl into bed every night, but he’ll get some extensive time with her, over time. This is what judges do.

If this father had hired a rational, cut to the chase firm, we could resolve this matter within a few hours at a nominal fee.  But he hired a firm who told him what he wanted to hear.  That firm was not going to let him go now until they had burned through every penny of his $10,000.  Then, magically, they would re-visit their opinion.  They’d blame their new opinion on the father, something he hadn’t told them, they’d say, and they would strike a deal within the few hours that the whole divorce should have taken from the beginning. 

And so it goes.  And so it went.

Be very wary of any attorney who tells you what you want to hear when she’s asking you for money.  Hire a firm who has been around the block and can cut to the chase. 

Michael Manely

International Family Law