Are you in need of a divorce and family lawyer? If so, you’re likely feeling a lot of stress and uncertainty.
Family law matters can be complex, stressful, and emotional. But you don’t have to go through this experience alone.
With an attorney at your side, you can get the peace of mind that comes with having your best interests protected by a skilled professional – no matter what comes your way.
One Client Taught Me Something That I’ll Never Forget
Over the course of my experience as a lawyer, I’ve seen it all. But when I think back to all the families and individuals that I have counseled, one case still stands out the most…
When The Case Started
The client was a Wall Street investment banker – an incredibly successful professional with multiple PhDs and vast resources at his disposal. (For the purposes of this story, we’ll call him Mr. Wright.)
Mr. Wright had started his divorce with another law firm and on the eve of his trial, he decided to fire his attorney and handle the case on his own.
He thought to himself, “I’m smart. In fact, I’m smarter than my own attorney. So what’s the problem here? It’s just facts and a few laws, I can represent myself.”
Can you guess what happened?
He Learned The Dangers of Going Without a Lawyer… The Hard Way
The next morning, Mr. Wright represented himself at trial. But because the other side had an attorney, they were able to take advantage of his position.
What went wrong? The evidence in court showed that Mr. Wright had an income of over $750,000 per year.
He tried to explain that he had recently lost his job, and that the financials were not accurate… but the court simply didn’t care.
Not only did Mr. Wright lose the trial – he walked away paying top-dollar in spousal maintenance (alimony), child support, and counsel fees.
You Should Always Protect Yourself With An Attorney
It’s critical to keep this in mind:
No matter what legal issues you are facing… No matter how smart you are… The court will always expect you to have the same expertise as an attorney.
Mr. Wright thought that he could present a good argument before the court – but he failed to recognize that you need to know thousands of pages of law to argue your case properly.
And that’s not all…
Courts also require you to submit evidence and present arguments in a very specific way. And if you’re not able to follow these strict procedures – they won’t even consider what you have to say.
So, what happened next?
When Mr. Wright Came To My Office
Mr. Wright first came to my office two years after he represented himself at trial.
I reassured him that everything would be fine – all we needed to do was file an application to have the support orders modified. So, I asked Mr. Wright for his financials and we got to work.
I was confident that this would be a routine filing that would be resolved in a few simple steps. Only, something was wrong…
He Didn’t Tell Me The Whole Story
After the application was filed, the other side’s legal team came in with a major roadblock.
They found that Mr. Wright shared his tax return and other important documents – but he didn’t tell me about his investment income…
And his modification application? It was outright denied.
Naturally, Mr. Wright was disappointed with this outcome, but this was his second mistake…
When it comes to matters of the law: What you put in is what you get out.
But If You Make A Mistake: Try, Try Again
After the application was denied, I told Mr. Wright that we could file again in a year . . .
But only if he was able to show a real change in his financial situation… And only if he provided me ALL the relevant financials so that I could take the right steps…
So in 2015, Mr. Wright did just that – and this time, he was prepared. We refiled his application, and it seemed like a simple win.
But then, something else happened…
Lightning Struck In The Same Place Twice…
The Judge thought that Mr. Wright’s new application was the same application that we had filed the year before.
Because of this, she denied the application for the second time – and she ordered Mr. Wright to pay the other side’s attorney fees as a penalty.
Immediately, I could see that the Judge had made a mistake. Not only was there a good argument for the support order to be reduced – there was no reason for the penalty fees.
So, we filed an appeal…
I Had To Be The Bigger Person…
As we were leaving the court, the opposing counsel made a snide comment right in front of the Judge: “You must have to appeal a lot…”
Any lesser attorney would strike back. But I only reminded myself of the old Teddy Roosevelt phrase: Speak softly and carry a big stick.
Or, in this case: Speak softly and carry a big law book.
And As Time Went On, The Odds Stacked Against Us
Unfortunately, New York appeals take a long time – up to a year or longer. And this appeal in particular took three years.
During this time, Mr. Wright and I had a settlement conference in the appellate court with a well-respected retired judge (who had 30 years of judicial experience).
In the meeting, he told us that we should withdraw our appeal. He thought we had no chance of winning the case.
So It Was Up To Us To Make The Right Choice
Understandably, Mr. Wright wasn’t sure what to do. So that day, we walked out to the park across from the courthouse to talk.
I told him, “Look, based on the facts that we submitted and based on my knowledge of the law, I think our Judge is wrong.”
“Of course,” I said, “This is your money, so it’s your decision to make. But my recommendation is that we continue to appeal the decision – because I think we can win.”
Even though the retired judge had a career of 30 years, and I was only 15 years into my practice at that point, Mr. Wright took my counsel.
So we held our ground… We didn’t withdraw the appeal… and we won the case!
Finally, We Found The Satisfaction Of Success
After all that we had been through, Mr. Wright and I were overjoyed at the win.
Not only did we overcome the opinion of a well-respected Judge and the trial court Judge that had denied our case two times… We were able to show the other side’s counsel that no amount of snide commentary could get to us.
Imagine What An Attorney Like This Could Do For YOU…
This story is a key example of how crucial it is to have an experienced lawyer on your side from the very beginning.
Even though my work greatly improved the situation and we were ultimately successful, Mr. Wright’s decision to go without an attorney caused enormous damage to his case…
But you don’t need to suffer the same fate.
Whatever legal issues you’re facing, you can find the best outcome by choosing to work with an experienced attorney.
My Name Is David Bliven and I’m Here To Help
I am an attorney who works with people throughout the state of New York – and I have been practicing family law for over 25 years…
I have represented clients like you in every kind of situation — and I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure that your rights and interests are protected.
I would be happy to speak with you about your case… So if you’re interested in finding out more, don’t hesitate to contact my office to schedule an initial consultation.
Don’t wait, find out if my services can provide you with the care and results that you deserve…
Call Now To Schedule YOUR 20-minute Case Assessment Or Full 50-minute Case Strategy Consultation
(347) 797-1188 (White Plains) | (914) 362-3080 (Bronx)