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At Berger, Fischoff & Shumer, LLP, our matrimonial department has been designed to meet both the personal and legal needs of our clients. We understand the sensitive nature of the issues being confronted. We take this into consideration as we review the facts your case and strategize sound legal solutions. Our accessibility to our client is obvious from the very first phone call. During your initial Free Consultation, we take the time, via telephone or in person, to find out about the case, the issues involved and most importantly about the person we hope to have as our client. Protecting and maintaining a strong attorney-client relationship is one of our greatest priorities. At Berger, Fischoff & Shumer, LLP, we view this relationship as a very personal one based upon trust, confidence and reliability.
When a husband and wife are able to discuss their situation in a civil manner and are able to reach settlement terms without the need for formal negotiations or court intervention, an uncontested divorce is often the best, quickest and least costly option. In an uncontested divorce, the attorneys serve as the drafter of the legal documents, including divorce papers and a Stipulation of Settlement, required for submission to the court for the granting of a divorce judgment. In an uncontested divorce, the parties rarely need to go to court, as the divorce is based solely upon documents signed by the husband and wife, reflecting the terms of their agreement to part ways. The process is usually civil, without great financial or emotional cost. It should be noted that in no case can one attorney represent both parties to the divorce.
When a husband and wife cannot settle their marital issues on their own, each party will usually retain separate counsel to represent their respective interests. This procedure is often time consuming and emotional and requires the guidance of experienced matrimonial attorneys to lead a client through the many difficult issues to be addressed, such as custody, support, maintenance (formerly known as ‘alimony’), equitable distribution (property distribution), retirement account distribution, educational issues, medical insurance, life insurance and counsel fees.
Our lead matrimonial attorneys each have nearly 20 years of matrimonial experience. It is our standing philosophy that it is always in our clients’ best interests to attempt to settle any matrimonial case outside of court. We do not believe it is an optimal situation to have a Justice of the Supreme Court determine your future, or that of your family, without having any personal knowledge of you, your situation or your family’s lifestyle and needs. However, when settlement is not an option, our years of experience prepare us for any issues which need to be litigated and allow us to advocate for our clients as long and as vigorous as is necessary.
We pride ourselves on the favorable judgments issued to our clients after trial in cases with no assets to those with multi-million dollar assets. Similarly, we have handled and had favorable judgments issued after trial in matters of custody, child support, visitation/parenting time and maintenance.
A legal separation can be obtained via a written agreement or by way of a judgment of the Supreme Court. Proceeding via a written agreement provides the parties the opportunity to take control of the terms of settlement rather than having decisions dictated to them through litigation. A legal separation allows the parties the opportunity to utilize the agreement as a type of “trial run” prior to making the termination of the relationship a permanent one via divorce. Because the issues to be addressed, such as custody, support, visitation and property distribution, are so important, it is always preferable to have the agreement drafted by an attorney experienced in the area of matrimonial law and for each spouse to have representation. There are many advantages to proceeding via separation prior to or in lieu of divorce which we would be happy to discuss with you in detail.
Other Matrimonial Issues/Areas Of Practice
Actions for Annulment
Equitable Distribution of Assets