Long Island Divorce Attorney- Some Unexpected Costs of a Contested Divorce Trial
Once a divorce case has progressed to the point of the assignment of a presiding Justice, it is imperative that the divorcing party obtain a copy of the Judge’s rules. These rules explain the procedures in the Judge’s Part. Adherence to these rules are mandatory, so it is worthwhile to examine them thoroughly as some Part’s have rules, particularly relating to trial. In some instances Part rules impose high out-of-pocket compliance costs which must be funded before the trial even begins. For example, a non-exhaustive list would include the: (1) preparation of worksheets for the Court on support and property issues; (2) formal accounting of support arrears; exhibit and witness lists; trial notebooks (which contain all trial exhibits which may be introduced at trial and in some instances, must be exchanged with the other party beforehand); multiple copies of deposition or pre-trial hearing transcripts, prior court orders and insurance policies must be made and in some instances exchanged with the other party); written trial closing arguments; and written post-trial memorandums must be prepared. This list does not include the requirements in the State’s Rules of Court which also require the preparation, exchange and filing of a Note of Issue and Certificate of Readiness and the Statement of Proposed Disposition before trial.
Clearly, if a divorcing party is made aware of the Judge’s particular Part Rules, then that party becomes better informed as to whether settlement is preferential to trying the case. The costs of accommodating certain Judge’s Part Rules can run into the many thousands of dollars and can result in ‘sticker shock” when the attorney’s bill arrives. I once had a discussion with a Judge (who is now retired) about a client who could not afford to pay the costs associated with compliance with the Judge’s Part Rules. I asked him whether I could make a motion to the Court for relief from the Rules in future cases due to financial hardship. His response was that he would consider it and that he found it interesting that no one had ever asked him that question before. Thus, having a frank discussion with your attorney about these costs and financial implications to you is critical in trial planning and decision making.
You need a Long Island divorce attorney on your team. To discuss your family law related issues with me, please call my office at 516- 747-2290.
Author: H. Michael Stern, Attorney at Law