Property Division and other Financial Litigation – Constantly Evaluate Genuine Settlement Value

Does it make any sense to incur $5,000.00 in attorneys fees for the chance of collecting $4,000.00 from your former spouse or partner? Not unless you are assured that your request for an attorneys fees order will be granted and the total debt is collectible (which is simply not always the case).

Take another very typical example of a disaster that could have been avoided: After performing her financial disclosure requirements, Wife offers to pay an equalization payment to her soon-to-be former Husband in the amount of $50,000.00 cash. Husband spends the appropriate attorneys fees doing his mandatory financial disclosure, but is not emotionally ready to settle (or alternatively, his attorney can’t or won’t give him settlement advice at this point). Husband’s attorney performs a very preliminary calculation which predicts that Husband may be entitled to $75,000.00 or even $100,000.00 in part based upon Husband’s inflated valuations of assets that Wife wishes awarded to her. Husband’s counsel does not ask his client for genuine valuations. Husband then spends $20,000.00 in further attorneys fees and even hires an appraiser (or a forensic accountant, any variety of experts, etc.). The parties (and their children) continue to live in the ongoing stress of divorce litigation for more than a year. Ultimately at a settlement conference, the Judge Pro Tem convinces the parties to settle for a $60,000.00 equalization. The result: Husband has a net payment of $40,000.00 in his pocket ($10,000.00 less than was offered a year earlier), the parties resent each other more bitterly and both parties’ attorneys were paid fees for months.

Hughes Law Group attorneys want you to move on with your life, to spend fees efficently and will evaluate responsible settlement to end (or hopefully avoid) litigation. Don’t be confused: We are trial attorneys and love trial work. We won’t encourage settlement on unfortunate terms because we won’t or can’t try your case. We can and will be aggressive when necessary but only when your case requires it and not simply to generate fees.