FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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What Is A "Retainer Agreement" and Why Do I Have To Sign It?
A "retainer agreement" is simply a contract between you and the firm that spells out your rights as a client and what you can expect from the firm. The "retainer agreement" also sets forth what services will be rendered by the firm and what rate you will be charged; as well as how and when you will be charged for the services performed.
How Should I Prepare For An Initial Consultation?
Generally speaking, the initial consultation should not be an unproductive time consuming event. The client should bring to the initial consultation any "notices", "litigation documents", "correspondence" (in writing or electronic), applicable "financial records", "notes" or any other source materials that the client believes will be helpful at that first meeting. (If the initial consultation is conducted remotely, having these documents available in an "uploadable" format would be of great help.) In addition, the client should bring a photo ID and be prepared to pay the the agreed upon consultation and/or retainer fee.
Why Should I Choose Glenn Milgraum P.C. For My Legal Needs?
Glenn P. Milgraum, Esq. is a trial attorney with over 30 years of experience. He is experienced in all of the subject matters found on this website.
What Is The Best Way To Make An Appointment?
Appointments can be made by making direct contact with the firm. This can be done by filling out the "contact" page of this website OR by e-mailing Glenn P. Milgraum, Esq at Disputelaw@aol.com OR by calling the firm directly at 973-812-8660. (If you are calling for "mediation services" in New York State you can also call 718-748-6625)
Does The Firm Offer Telephone Consultations?
Many times the initial telephone conversation will be your initial consultation. It is the point of contact where the firm and you will determine if we are a good match for each other. It will be a cursory conversation where basic information is exchanged to determine the timeline as to when certain aspects of your matter need to be performed. (For exmple: If you were served with a Summons and a response needs to be made within a prescribed number of days; OR you entered into a sales contract to buy/sell a home in New Jersey and your 3 day right of refusal may have begun to run).
What Is "Litigation"?
"Litigation" is the term used to describe the process when parties wish to get the courts involved in a dispute. Litigation is usually commenced by the service of a "Summons with Notice" or "Summons and Complaint" upon a party indicationg what wrongs need to be addressed and the demand for compensation for the damages suffered.
Who Are The Parties To A "Lawsuit"?
The parties to a lawsuit have very specific titles which follow them throughout the litigation. The "PLAINTIFF" is the person(s) commencing the lawsuit (sometimes known as the "Petitioner"); The "DEFENDANT" is the person(s) who must answer for the alleged wrongdoing and is the one being sued (sometimes known as the "Respondent"). The initial document explaining the wrongdoing for which compensation and/or damages is sought is known as the "COMPLAINT". If the Defendant in turn wishes to complain about the Plaintiff s/he brings an action known as a "COUNTERCLAIM". If there is more than one Plaintiff the term used to describe an individual Plaintiff is "Co-Plaintiff". If there is more than one defendant the term used to describe an individual Defendant is Co-Defendant". If a Co-Defendant wants to sue another named Co-Defendant s/he commences what is known as a "CROSS-CLAIM". If a Defendant wishes to bring into the action a party who is not being sued by the Plaintiff or a Co-Defendant s/he commences what is know as a "THIRD-PARTY COMPLAINT" and the party being sued therein is then known as a "THIRD-PARTY DEFENDANT" and the complaining party is then known as the "DEFENDANT-THIRD-PARTY PLAINTIFF".
What Is "Discovery"?
"Discovery" is the process utilized by the parties to obtain information that might be in the possession of the other side to a lawsuit. "Discovery" may be obtained through various methods which includes, but is not limited to, "Bill of Particulars", "Interrogatories", "Depositions", and "Notice to Produce". Depending on your case, this firm may utilize some or all of the methods listed and may even choose to utilize other information gathering techniques.
What Is A "Motion"?
A "motion" is simply a request to the court asking for its intervention in a matter. This is usually done during the pendency of a lawsuit, but can also be done after a final judgment has been obtained.
What Is "Mediation"?
"Mediation" is a term used when the parties to a dispute agree to choose a neutral third-party to assist them in working out a resolution to their problem. The mediator facilitates the discussion between the parties using various techniques to help the parties reach their own conclusion as to how best to settle their dispute. The agreed upon terms are ultimately set down in a format for the parties to sign, which is generally known as a "Memorandum of Understanding" or "MOU". A "mediator" is not an "arbitrator" or a "judge" and will not make a decision for the parties.
How Long Does "Mediation" Take?
Mediation can take as long as is needed to reach an amicable conclusion between the parties. However, if a matter is currently before the court, a time constraint may be placed upon the parties by a judge even in light of the fact that most judges will permit some time extensions if the parties are truly negotiating in good faith.
What Is The "Mediation Process"?
The process is CONFIDENTIAL and cannot be utilized in court. The mediator does not represent any of the parties. It is not the role of the mediator to give legal advice. However, the mediator, from time-to-time might explain the law as it pertains to your matter, or bring in other professionals (i.e: financial or psychological) to assist. Mediation is performed in scheduled sessions to assist the parties in obtaining what they believe to be a "win-win" resolution for all. The parties, by agreement, may be accompanied by other individuals, including attorneys, if they so choose.
Why Should I Choose Glenn P. Milgraum, Esq. To Be The Mediator?
Glenn P. Milgraum is a trained "Divorce Mediator", as well as a "Civil Mediator" having been educated, trained and qualified pursuant to New Jersey Rule 1:40 (New York State has no equivalent requirements). He appears on the New Jersey Court Roster, a list of approved Civil and Divorce Mediators. He has also been trained to handle matters that contain aspects of Domestic Violence.
Do You Want Us To Be Your "Mediator" Or Your "Advocate"?
If you are unsure as to whether you wish to hire Mr. Milgraum as your mediator or as your litigagtion advocate, please let him know up-front at the initial point of contact. This is simply due to the fact that if you want Mr. Milgraum as your mediator he must remain neutral and cannot hear one side's "story" without giving the same opportunity to the other side. Retaining Mr. Milgraum's services as your mediator will require the other participant's agreement to utilize his services as the third-party neutral. If no such agreement can be reached, you can then utilize his services as your attorney to advocate on your behalf. However, once mediation has begun, with Mr. Milgraum as your mediator, you will no longer be able to retain his services as your advocate in the same matter.
Why Choose "Mediation" Over "Litigation"?
Mediation can be the most useful tool to resolve a dispute. Mediation, however, takes two parties who are able to communicate and who have the shared goal of resolving their dispute without someone else (the judge) making decisions for them. Mediation is usually done in a meeting place of the parties choosing, rather than in a courtroom. Mediation is "confidential" and things may be discussed that you would never want revealed in open court. Paying for your share of the mediator's time is usually cheaper than the combined costs of each party retaining the services of their own lawyer. Mediation moves at the pace dictated by the participants as opposed to the time constraints placed upon you by the Court. Mediation allows for "creative" solutions.
Why Choose "Litigation" Over "Mediation"?
Litigation works best when there is a complete break-down in communication. Litigation is conducted in the "public's eye" and as such one should not expect any "confidentiality" to apply. Litigation tends to work best when one party absolutely believes that they are in the right and the other party is not; and they are willing to move forward just to prove this point. Litigation allows you to hire a strong mouth-piece to advocate on your behalf. Litigation is framed in the "law" and is built upon interpretations of statutes and prior court rulings.
Is "Divorce Mediation" Helpful?
Simply put, the answer is an astounding YES. "Divorce Mediation" is helpful in all stages of the divorce process. Whether you are simply considering trying a "separation period" or seeking a definitive "Divorce", mediation will prepare you and your spouse for your future in separate households. If there are children involved one of the priorities will be to work out a custody/visitation routine that all of the parties can agree upon as being in the best interest of the children. Simultaneously, the mediator will assist the parties in working on individual budgets to assist in determining the amount of spousal support and child support that should apply and any deviations from the statutory guidelines that a court would need to follow. The mediator will also assist in determining how to divide up the parties assets which may include tangible and intangible property, savings and retirement benefits, if any. Going to mediation, will not deny you the use of an advocate of your choosing. Mediation is usually concluded with the drafting of a "Memorandum of Understanding" ("MOU") which will then go to each party's attorney for review, fine tuning, and the processing of the divorce.
How Does Glenn Milgraum P.C. Charge For Mediation Services?
Generally speaking, mediation services are "pay as you go" and are billed hourly, broken down to either 6 minute intervals (1/10th of an hour), or 15 minute intervals (1/4 of an hour), depending on the retainer agreement agreed upon. The parties will be invoiced proportionately, pursuant to an agreed upon ratio. Payment is expected at each session.
Why Should I Hire Glenn Milgraum P.C. To Be My Real Estate Attorney?
Glenn P. Milgraum, Esq. is licensed in the states of New York and New Jersey and has been involved in residential and commercial real estate sales transactions since the mid 80's. Glenn P. Milgraum, Esq. has been dealing with various real estate issues as a litigation attorney for over 30 years. He has taught all aspects of real estate licensing law for 25 years and is well versed in all the pitfalls and nuances of real estate transactions. He is versed in understanding mortgages, as well as the various expectations placed upon HOA, condominium and co-op ownwership.
Who Should I Call First When Getting Involved In A Real Estate Transaction?
Prior to even contacting a real estate agent, you should contact an attorney.
What Is A "Listing Agreement"?
A "listing ageement" is a contract between you and your real estate agent. The "listing agreement" defines what obligations the agency has to you and what obligations you have to them. The "listing agreement" will include terms as to length of time you will be beholden to each other and what the compensation for service will be. There is nothing "standard" about the agreement and as such all agreements are negotiable.
Is The Agent Helping Me Find A Property A "Buyers' Broker"?
When purchasing a property, the agent assisting you may not be beholden to you. That agent may be termed a "purchasers' agent" or "buyers' agent" but still owes loyalty to the seller. A true "buyers' broker" owes loyalty to the buyer and not the seller. A "buyer's broker's" fee may be separate and apart from the commission that real estate agents receive (usually from the seller). A "buyers' broker" is obligated to not only assist the purchaser in obtaining the property from the seller's agent but is tasked with other assignments to educate the purchaser such as doing "deep dive" research of the property, the community, environmental impact review, "Megan's Law" research, etc.
Co-op or Condo Which Is Best?
There are good aspects and bad aspects to buying either a cooperative unit (co-op) or a condominium unit (condo). While co-ops and condos might look alike they are different.
Do I Have A 3-Day Right Of Refusal?
In New Jersey - YES. In New York - NO.
What Is A "Closing"?
A "closing" occurs when all of the necessary moving parts of a real estate transaction comes together. All of the home inspections have been concluded to everyone's satisfaction. The purchaser has obtained a final commitment from their lender. The title company has investigated the history of the property and is satisfied that the seller truly owns the property; has a right to transfer it; and is also satisfied that there are no outstanding financial obligations which would prevent the transfer of the property. Only then, do all the parties attend the "closing". At the table there are typically two "closings" taking place simultaneously: The transfer of the property and the obligations pertaining to the mortgage.
Does The Firm Offer Remote Meetings?
YES, for most matters. The firm's chosen platform is "Zoom Pro" a system that is easily utilized even for those with rudimentary computer abilities. Zoom is the selected system being utilized by the courts throughout the State of New Jersey. "Zoom" permits "meetings" to be conducted with use of a computer and/or "smart" phone. It handles video, similar to "face-time" and even operates with just voice communication.
Do I Really Need A "Divorce Lawyer" To Obtain A Divorce?
No. You can handle your own matter "Pro Se". If you don't know what the term "Pro Se" means, that is one indicator that you should hire a divorce lawyer. Divorce lawyers are your mouth-piece and the instrument you utilize to effectuate the best results in your divorce case. If your spouse has an attorney who is seeking to utilize the nuances of the laws in your spouses best interest, don't you think it is in your best interest to also have an attorney so that you are both on equal footing?
Why Should I Hire Glenn P. Milgraum, Esq. To Handle My Divorce?
Glenn P. Milgraum, Esq. is an attorney who has been handling all varieties of divorce and family matters since the mid-80's, as well as other civil issues that relate to marital assets and interests. He has "trial" experience in Family and Civil Courts and is not intimidated by opposition counsel. Glenn P. Milgraum, Esq. is a trained and rostered divorce and family mediator. Glenn P. Milgraum, Esq. has appeared on several continuing education panels as a panalist and continues to keep himself educated on the applicable laws on an on-going basis.
What If My Spouse Doesn't Want A Divorce?
Too bad. Under the current laws (applicable in NY, NJ and most states), so long as one party wants out of the marriage the Court will not put any barriers in the way to prevent that from happening?
Can I Request Spousal Support?
Spousal support will be paid to the non-monied spouse. In most situations, the non-monied spouse is the spouse that is the lower earner.
Will I Have To Pay Child-Support?
If you have childeren and you are deemed to be the "non-custodial" parent or the parent with "right of visitation", you will most likely be obligated to pay some form of child-support. Child-support is usually calculated (In NJ and NY) pursuant to statutory guidelines; however, the parties can agree to deviate from the guideline amounts.
How Can I Best Protect My Custody/Visitation Rights?
Hire an attorney, sooner rather than later. An experienced attorney, such as Glenn P. Milgraum, Esq., has the knowledge of the current laws as it applies to your situation. Glenn P. Milgraum, Esq. will assist you in preparing for the future so you will be ready in the event that your spouse seeks to deminish your rights. You should always have an attorney ready to protect your interests when it is needed, and Glenn P. Milgraum, Esq. prides himself on his ability to move quickly to act in your interest and in the best interest of your child(ren).
Do I Have A Say As To How "Child Support" Is To Be Spent?
Sorry to say it, but the general answer is NO. "Child support" is meant to provide for housing, food, and clothing for the children, as well as other necessities. Sometimes, the guideline amount may seem excessive as the "needs" do not reach the amount designated. If there appears to be an inequity, a "deviation" from the guidelines may be requested, but is rarely granted without consent of the other spouse.
Should I Move Out Of The Marital Home?
This is a question that should not be taken lightly. Nobody should remain in a situation that is uncomfortable or dangerous. However, vacating the marital premises prior to 'Divorce" can be detrimental. Vacating the home means the creation of a second home that needs to be carried with limited marital funds. This can become especially burdensome to the non-custodial parent or parent with "visitation" rights. Which party remains in the marital home may also become a factor to be considered by the court when determining custody/visitation.
Can I Get "Spousal Support" If I Am Getting/Paying "Child Support"?
Yes. Regardless of whether you are receiving or paying "Child support" you may be entitled to receive "spousal support".
Can Mediation Take Place On-Line?
Yes. However strict rules must be followed to secure the "confidentiality" of the mediation. There are good and bad aspects to conducting mediation "on-line" and "in person". Neither one is "better" than the other, they are just different and different people may favor one method over another. In person mediation tends to give the mediator better control over the flow of the mediation. It also permits umrestricted view of the individual's body language and other nuanced behaviors. According to some, "remote mediation" tends to make document exchange difficult as the "original" documents aren't being produced and finding appropriate words or phrases in electronic copies on-line can be time consuming and frustrating. While others find it easier to view documents together on-line, as everyone then is focused on the same thing at the same time.
I Did My Research, Do I Really Need A Lawyer?
Of course you should have a lawyer to protect your interests. While it is always a good idea to educate yourself, each case is case-by-case sensitive. Your attorney should be able to pinpoint the issues of your fact-specific situation and apply it to your case. Glenn Milgraum P.C. has over 30 years of experience of assisting clients navigate through legal minefields. Avoiding the use of an attorney may ultimately cost you more money and time then you expect.
Will Glenn Milgraum P.C. Assist Me In filling-in Court Forms?
It depends. Just because you found "court-forms" on-line, doesn't mean that you have the confidence or knowledge on how to complete those forms. Court clerks, who may also be a source of forms, are forbidden to give "legal advice". While you believe you might be saving time and/or money by going the "do-it-yourself" route; you may be surprised when your paperwork is "rejected", definitely adding more stress to your already complicated situation. If you did mange to get some papers through, you may have already forfeited rights or interests which you should have preserved.
Do I Really Have To Avoid Using Social-Media During My Divorce?
In an ideal world, you would have stopped utilizing social-media long before you considered getting divorced, especially when children are involved. But, as we all know this is not a realistic approach to modern life.
What Happens To My "Fur-Baby"?
Determining who gets the family pet is always a difficult question for the Court to answer. Most courts have kept to the old precept that animals are simple possessions, like a painting or piece of furniture. New Jersey has a fluid set of guidelines set down through fairly recent case law that suggests that the Court look at several factors: 1. Who is the first, or documented owner, of the pet?; 2. Who has custody of the children? (believing it is in the best interest of the child not to be separated from the family pet.); 3. Who spends the most time with the pet?; 4. who takes the responsibility of caring for the pet's daily needs?; and 5. Who has paid for the pet's health needs in the past? It would not be unheard of for the court to reach a decision where one of the parties is designated as the "custodial possessor" of the pet for a designated period of time (likened to exclusive use of a vacation home). However, do not expect the court to issue an order granted "joint custody" or phrase its decision in what is in the "best interest" for the pet. However, the courts in New York are leaning in this direction.
What Is An "Early Settlement Panel" (ESP)?
In New Jersey an "Early Settlement Panel" (ESP) is a dispute resolution process implemented by the Court to assist in resolving marital issues prior to conducting a trial. The ESP is usually comprised of 2-3 experienced matrimonial attorneys. The focus of the ESP is usually limited to financial and property issues. The panelists will review statements and documents provided by each side before meeting with the parties and their counsel. At the meeting the panelists will address the parties directly and will also pose questions to their counsel. The panalists will provide the parties with what they believe will be the ultimate outcome if the matter goes to trial. If a mutual agreement can be reached the matter usually goes directly to the judge to issue a judgement of divorce based upon the mutually agreed upon terms which will be placed on the record. If no agreement, or a partial agreement, can be reached with the panalists assistance the judge will be informed that the parties partook in the ESP but were unable to reach a mutual agreement. The matter will usually receive a "trial date" and then be referred to mediation to see if a mutual agreement can be worked out. If no mutual agreement is reached the matter will go to trial.
Is My Virtual (Zoom) Meeting Protected?
YES. Zoom Pro has instituted rigorous measures to prevent "Zoom Bombing". With the current version of Zoom, files are now encrypted. The Zoom meetings are not vulnerable to intrusion, so long we as "Host" follow certain guidelines (which we always do). 1. We establish a "new" ID number for each session; 2. Each session gets its own password; 3. No participants can enter the meeting without the Host being present first; 3. All participants are placed into a "waiting room" and admission needs to be granted by the host; 4. The Host has the ability to "kick" someone out of the seesion; 5. The Host has the ability to "lock" the meeting so that there are no new participants entering the session; 6. The Host controls the audio/video function for all participants and can turn it "off" at any time; 7. The Host has the ability to use "break-out" rooms to give "privacy" to the individuals in the "break-out" room; 8. The Host can allow/disallow document sharing amongst the parties. and 9. The Host can end the meeting at any time.