Sometimes, resolution of family disputes in court is necessary or cannot be avoided. Mr. Bezinque has been representing divorce clients in court for decades and is an experienced, effective advocate for his clients.
Throughout litigation, Mr. Bezinque works closely with his clients, keeping them well informed of the steps in the process and explores different strategies to best achieve his client’s goals.
Even in matters in which litigation is necessary, the approach the parties and their attorneys take will make a significant different in the parties’ long-term relationship. This can be especially important if the parties have children together or other reasons to have an ongoing relationship after the divorce is over. Mr. Bezinque believes that divorce litigation should be conducted firmly and zealously, but with due respect and courtesy, in a manner designed to reduce acrimony between the parties whenever possible. When appropriate, he helps parties locate resources, such as parenting counseling to work on the changed parenting relationship or parenting classes, to help develop a more constructive relationship in the future.
Some Steps in Divorce Litigation
Not all couples are not able to resolve every issue in their divorce or separation through negotiation. When impasse makes further progress impossible, a New York Supreme Court justice or matrimonial referee is available to make decisions and orders on the disputed issues. The litigation process can vary significantly based on the issues, location, and personalities involved, among other factors.
Either party may request judicial intervention when there are contested matters and the assistance of the court is required. The court will then set a date for a first conference or, if either party asks for an order while the litigation is ongoing, a date is set for motion argument.
Before the first preliminary conference or motion argument, the parties and counsel will have time to submit information about the circumstances, including Statements of Net Worth, and tell the court what the clients want. If the parties are not able to come to an agreement on some or all issues, with the assistance and input of the judge or referee, a decision and order may result to address matters before a trial or hearing. Such interim relief can include spousal and child support, residency and access to children, payment of household bills, attorney’s fees and so on.
Litigation can be useful in cases in which parties are not able to reach agreements on immediate issues, such as temporary support and parenting time. In many cases, there will be a number of settlement conferences with the court to help negotiate a final resolution of their case, based on the input of the court. In fact, the large majority of cases settle before a judge or referee makes a determination after a fact-finding trial.
Ultimately, if the parties are unable to resolve the issues with the input of the court, an evidentiary trial will follow. Parties and their attorneys will present evidence through testimony of witnesses and documentary evidence. The judge or referee will make findings based on the evidence, including making credibility determinations where there is a conflict in testimony.
It is important to be aware that litigation is not the only approach available to resolve a family law matter, and in many cases it is not necessary or beneficial. Clients should carefully consider all the dispute resolution options and evaluate the option or combination of options that is most appropriate for their situation.