Reading about the attorneys tells you how long we've been practicing and where we went to school. And that's good information. But all lawyers went to law school somewhere, and most have some level of experience. That information may not really distinguish us from most other lawyers.
When you've been practicing law as long as we have you learn that there are lawyers and there are lawyers. This is probably true for a lot of professions, but it really stands out in the legal profession. In the legal profession, there is a wide range of ability.
Marilyn was voted seven years in a row as one of the top family law lawyers in Santa Clara County in San Jose Magazine. So that tells you something. And all we do is family law relating to divorce and children's issues. We don't juggle a divorce case with an bankruptcy case and then take on the incorporation of a business. We do one thing, and we do it well.
We are also pro-active about moving your case towards completion. There are some instances, such as when you have been awarded a very favorable support award, or you are living in the family home essentially rent-free, when it is in your interest not to move the case forward. In those situations, we might advise you to preserve the status quo.
Generally, however, it is in your best interest to move your case forward. And that is what we try to do. (Unless you change your mind about pursuing your case, of course.) Sometimes there is real urgency, such as when you need support to be able to live or a restraining order for protection. But even when matters aren't urgent, we make a real effort to keep the flow going towards a finished product, be it a divorce or permanent support or a custody order or whatever. The quicker your case is over, the less expensive it is for you, and you can move on with the rest of your life.
Although almost all of our cases settle without going to trial, the attorneys in the Moreno Family Law Firm are known as "litigators". This means that we actively pursue our client's interests in the cases we handle. Some lawyers can be intimidated by the threat of having to put on a hearing against an aggressive opponent. We are not afraid to go to court and argue your case before a judge if the parties simply cannot agree.
We are not bullies. We aren't successful because we pound on the table. We are known as tough litigators because we will have prepared the best possible presentation of your case based upon the facts, the law and the strategy.
We believe in settlement. We encourage compromise. Because in most cases, your best interests will be served by reaching an agreement without going to court. But there are some instances where an agreement cannot be reached.
►A parent with little interest in the children may suddenly want 50% custody because that will lower the amount of child support. That parent's interest in the children has not increased, only their interest in paying lower support
►A non-working spouse may feel that after the divorce the spouse who is working should continue to support them indefinitely.
►A party with serious mental health issues may feel that these issues do not impair his or her ability to be an effective parent.
►One party may have an unrealistic view of the value of a house, small business, stock options or other property.
►One party may completely misrepresent the facts of a given situation.
Often issues like these cannot be settled. If your attorney is not a litigator, you have no choice. Settle or talk it out some more with an opposing party who has their own agenda which may be unreasonable, vengeful and/or abusive. Delaying the case may be to their financial or emotional advantage.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Speak softly but carry a big stick." I can't say we always speak softly. We do when appropriate. But we always carry the big stick. If the other party is not going to settle, we are not afraid to argue your case before the judge.