Interview With A Family Lawyer

interview with a family lawyer
source; Dreamstime

I’m very pleased to introduce to you Brad Micklin of The Micklin Law Group out of New Jersey, N.Y.  Brad generously agreed to answer my interview questions and you, dear readers will benefit from his family law wisdom.

Interview with a family lawyer
Brad Micklin of Micklin Law Group

Q:Welcome, Brad 🙂 Please tell the readers about your family law experience and a little about ‘you’.

A: My family law experience spans my entire career. I actually began studying it as a specialty in law school.  I was drawn to the area because I came from a divorced family with an abusive father and thought I’d be able to use that understanding and experience to help others through such a difficult and challenging process.  Additionally, early in my career I realized that I enjoyed this area of law and most attorneys did not. So, it seem like a good fit when I opened my own office.

Q: One of the biggest frustrations for people going through divorce is how long it takes.  What is the # one thing we can do to make our divorce progress quickly?

A:  One thing people can do to make the process go faster is to realize there is greater value in moving on with their lives than most of the items in dispute.  Most people can’t see the pleasure and happiness that comes once a divorce is over and, if they realize this in the beginning, would probably not fight about as many things.

 

Q: What is the first thing a person should do to protect her assets?

A: The first thing a person can do to protect his/her assets is to ascertain its/their value. First, there is the obvious value in the marketplace, but, secondarily, they should determine the value to themselves.  Many divorcing couples will swap assets when , for instance, one spouse wants to keep the house and maybe the other spouse wants to keep a retirement account. These are not always equal distributions but the value in what they’re receiving or giving up may be for them.

 

Q: What is the biggest misconception or misunderstanding about spousal or Alimony support?

A: The biggest misconception about alimony is that you are required to pay it after being married for a certain number of years. Commonly people believe it’s 10. The biggest misconception is either that they do not have to pay until a certain time or, after a certain time, they are required to pay. The analysis is much more complex even following the recent reform in New Jersey.

 

Q: What should we all know about child support?

A: The one thing everybody should know about child support in New Jersey is that, although it is sent by a guideline, the guidelines are only presumed to be accurate and there are many reasons to allow a deviation. Most people, including attorneys, do not think of this any longer and just accept the guideline number. Given the increase in costs of raising children including the greater need and cost of extracurricular activities and medical expenses, there are many families who should consider deviating because of the special needs of the children.

Q: Could you explain the typical steps you take your client through to actually finalize and settle the divorce?

A: The typical steps to finalizing a divorce are difficult to outline because every divorce  follows a different pattern. However, the average case will have, at least, the initial filings, one to three case management conferences for scheduling, the exchange of information (called discovery), up to three settlement conferences sponsored by the court and a final hearing or trial.

Q: Is there one mistake divorcing couples make that you see repeatedly? What is it and how can people avoid it?

A: The most common mistake I see people make in a divorce is failing to realize the impact it has on their children.  They can minimize this by excluding the children from any decisions or discussion. This means don’t even have them in the room because children hear telephone conversations, they see incoming mail and they realize a lot more than parents realize.

Q: Can you identify when your client is divorcing a narcissistic personality type? If so, do you adapt your case strategy?

A: Yes, I can identify when a client is divorcing a narcissist. I actually did a YouTube video that you may find interesting on this topic. The typical characteristics are the spouse is often very successful in his or her career, charismatic to others, very controlling at home, and the client is terrified about litigating against them at my initial meeting.

Yes, I change the style. First, I advise the client to expect to be confronted with the most egregious, unsubstantiated and shocking lies against them. I ask them what is the worst he or she can believe his/her spouse would say about them and expect 10 times worse.  I then tell them to go immediately and gather all support, documents and the names of witnesses that will be favorable to them. I then instruct him/her to speak specifically to these witnesses to ensure that they will be available and to obtain information on what they would say about the family. This way, we have the information before we are even confronted with the allegations that will be coming.

Q: Under what circumstances is it better for a client to go to court than to settle?

A: It is rarely, if ever, better for a client to go to a trial then to settle. The only circumstances might be when one spouse refuses to settle and the costs of trying to settle and the time to try to settle is greater than what it would be to hold a trial. However, the decision of the trial is always outside of your control and never something you want to seek if you don’t have to.

Q: In the event that a divorce case goes to court, what are the estimated costs?

A: Estimated cost for a trial is impossible because it all depends on the complexity of the issues and difficulty of the parties.  Divorces, regardless of settlement or trial, are based more on the difficulty and complexity of the people rather than the difficult and complexity of the issues. Two reasonable people can settle a divorce case in 20 minutes. Others, take 20 months.

A big thank you to Brad. He has shared some valuable insight into the divorce process. Connect with Brad through his website, twitter or facebook.

Looking for a lawyer and don’t know where to start? Brad’s has excellent tips to consider for finding the right lawyer for your case here

Brad’s website MicklinLawGroup

Brad’s Youtube video on divorcing a narcissist here

What did you learn from the interview? One of the biggies for me was his explanation of determining the asset values. The actual market value for a marital asset might be different than the personal value. Divorcing couples shouldn’t get as hung up on matching values in dividing of the assets. BRILLIANT.

Also, the #1 mistake Brad sees? Not considering the children enough. Sad but true, even though our intentions are good we get caught up in one-upping each other. Let Brad reminds us that the children’s welfare should always comes first!

Leave a comment or question for Brad…

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22 Replies to “Interview With A Family Lawyer”

  1. Hi Lisa,

    This post is quite informative for those who could be thinking that divorce is inevitable. Though I come from a culture where divorce is looked down upon as a stigma but the modern, independent couples are challenging this age-old concept. They are smart enough to give their marital understanding some time and divorce before planning their children. I really appreciate this approach.

    The real sufferers are children as they are torn between the two individuals, both of whom are equally dear to them.

    1. Oh, you are so right, Balroop. It’s always the kids that pay the price however, there are remedies and steps the parents can take to minimize that. In some cases, the kids are happier after the initial adjustment. TY Balroop for sharing with us.

  2. Great guest post, Brad, and thank you for having him here, Lisa! You nailed it right off the bat with my feelings, sir. I’ve worked in a career field for 27 years with a horrible high rate of divorce. And I can firmly say to each of male/female friends each time they choose this in the marriages, “Get out as fast as you can because fighting will only produce one winner – the lawyer.” This is of no offense to you whatsoever, Brad, but a reality. I have several lawyer friends and have always held them in high regard for getting their client “out”…neat and fast. There doesn’t need to be anymore harm done than already exists to either party. Have a great week, sir, and you too Lisa!! 🙂

    1. Mike, I agree entirely with what you said. I am the 1st to tell a client not to hire me if they’re not received the benefit of the cost. Just this morning, I met with a client who has a compelling ground to change child support. However, he and his ex wife are both self-employed and that greatly complicates the income analysis for child support. I told him he’s better off filing himself because knowing the cost to determine his child support will minimize, if not, not completely negate the savings that would get form.
      The difficult thing is not only getting your client to understand the value in putting his or her differences aside but both sides have to be willing to take this approach for it to work.

      1. That’s awesome advice, Brad. Mike, you give your friends solid advice as well. In my experience the longer the divorce drags on, the angrier and more frustrated the couple become, leading to even more conflict.

    1. Thank you Brad. Your answers will certainly help many of my readers in their divorce process. You’ve given valuable advice and lots for us to think about! We all appreciate the time you’ve taken to share with us here at The Great Escape 🙂

  3. Hi Lisa,

    This Article is quite informative for those who could be thinking that divorce Really Helpful Post , understanding some time and divorce before planning their children. I really appreciate this approach. You Are The Best Writer Superb information , good Job , Thank You For Sharing me , Keep it up ,

    Jassica

  4. Thanks for sharing this interview– it is very great insight on how the judicial system works for family law cases. It is incredible how complex laws are that have to do with alimony and child support as well. However, in my opinion, it’s a good thing that deviations from these laws can be made on a case-by-case basis.

  5. I really appreciate this inside information from a family lawyer. I like that he points out the specific things that a family lawyer can do for their clients and how they can have the best success. I found it really interesting that he talks about the importance of helping the children when parents are going through a divorce. Thanks for this information!

  6. I agree that most parents don’t realize the impact a divorce has on a child. It is very important that both parents keep the child the center of attention and just find ways to make them smile!

  7. My cousin has been going through a lot of family problems lately. We have known that her husband has not been a good guy from the beginning but all we are worried about are the kids and their well-being. I really like how you explained that a family attorney can make sure that kids are not impacted or traumatized by a divorce. I hope that sharing this article with my cousin can help her to know what is best for her kids.

  8. Hi,

    You have shared such a nice post.If you are looking to hire a lawyer, you likely have a specific reason in mind already such as a contested divorce, child custody, or domestic violence case.

    Many lawyers work in cooperation with large firms, meaning you may have a team working with you rather than one family attorney. This can be both beneficial and have its downsides. The most important thing is to know whom exactly will be working with you and at what stages.

    Thanks for being sharing.

    Regards
    William Lyons
    William Lyons recently posted…‘Springing’ Powers of Attorney Present Some Legal ComplicationsMy Profile

    1. Hi William, yes a ‘team’ seems to be the way lawyers approach certain cases and can be very beneficial to the client. It works well if there is a less costly ‘junior’ lawyer as part of the team to contain costs for the client. Thanks for stopping by with your tip. 😊

  9. Family law issues are often complicated and are generally managed when you are highly stressed out and totally break down emotionally. This is the time when it becomes very difficult for you to make life-changing decisions and this is where family law lawyer comes into existence. They are like angel in disguise who helps you wade through the chaos. However, you need to make sure that you hire an experienced attorney who can help you see the bigger family issues at play and provide the advice that is the best in the interest of your family. He should be skillful enough to answer all your questions regarding the subject matter.

    1. I agree. One thing I disagree with though, is “They are like angel in disguise”. Not in my experience. Plus, people need to realize a lawyer is not a marital or family therapist. They are not a sounding board for the emotional issues of divorce. A proper therapist is required for that side of things. Thanks for stopping by and sharing, I do appreciate your comment.

  10. Lawyers consider several factors when setting their fees. For example, some lawyers who are well-reputed in a particular law area may charge more than ones who are not. You may not mind paying a higher fee if you feel the lawyer’s special expertise and skill will yield better and faster results.

    1. Yes, that’s true. It’s hard for people who were economically dependent on their spouse to find the resources though. A lawyer once explained to me that their rates are also based on “what the market can bear”.

  11. It’s good to hear the perspective of a family lawyer on divorce cases. I especially liked that he offered advice on narcissistic personality types – that information will certainly be invaluable to clients struggling to deal with these kinds of spouses. Thanks for sharing!

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