The most commonly-asked question by a brand new client visiting a family law office is some version of, “How long is my case going to take?”. Or, “When can I finally be free of my wife (or husband)?”. Or, “What’s all this going to cost me?”. Same question with the same answer: we have no idea. That’s the honest answer and the only answer. If your family law attorney can tell you – at your initial consult (which oughta be free, by the way) – the date that the case will end then they are clairvoyant at which point you should pay them more as that can be quite valuable in matters such as these or they are suffering from paranoid delusions and should be committed. One of those.
Please understand that at the initial consultation your attorney has only the broadest sketch of your case. All from your perspective. We may not know who the judge is yet. We haven’t even spoken to opposing counsel or the other party, if they are pro-se. We may not have read what they filed, or know exactly what their concerns are. We don’t know how much fight they have (or you have). We don’t yet know whether you have exasperated the judge yet or whether you are going to fail a drug screen spectacularly two court appearances from now.
So, please. We simply don’t know how long your case will take. It will take as long as it takes to do it right the first time around so you never have to come back. And not a day sooner. Trust us, your attorney and your judge don’t want your case to last any longer than you do!
Oh, and one last thought while we are discussing time and Family Court. Public service announcement that your attorney is not late if he or she is not in court by nine a.m. Your attorney is only late if the judge takes the bench before we get there. You’re early if you beat the judge! That’s the rule!