It is critically important to know that all lawyers are not created equal. They are not created equal even if they practice in the same legal field as one another, such as divorce law or family/child custody law in New Jersey. And when I, Santo Artusa, a divorce and family court lawyer in Hudson County, New Jersey say this, I do not mean, John X, Esq went to Fordham and Helen Y, Esq went to Harvard so it is obvious they are not created equal. No, I do not mean that as that is too simple and too easy and really has no bearing on the quality of the lawyer, the real lawyer, the lawyer in the courtroom, "The Street Lawyer" or "The Fighter." And again, just because someone is in the same arena as the other, does not mean they play the same game. Lawyer one may be in the arena but is not a fighter, not a street lawyer but is merely a body in a suit, many times a cheap suit. On the other hand, another "Street Lawyer/Real Lawyer/Litigator" actually fights in court when he needs to fight and keeps his mouth shut when he knows the battle has been won. It is important to know which type of lawyer you are hiring and which type you are not. It is also important not to base your decisions based on free legal advice or simply online, a free consultation is good for simple cases and when you seek a 10-minute generic consultation such as "What if or the answer will be it depends on XXXX" instead of a paid 30-60 minute consult where the exact details of your vase are discussed and real legal opinions are given to you. The paid consult is well worth the price of $250-$400, you will get your moneys worth and be able to make a better decision about which lawyer to use and potential strategies.
So it is important to know that simply hiring a lawyer, any lawyer to handle your divorce or family court case will lead you down the wrong path and lead you to believe lawyers are lawyers and you wasted your money. You probably did. If you hired me today for $5000 to go to court with you to defend a wrongful termination claim, I will do my best, but that is not the law I speak, the law I know, the skill I've learned. However, if you hired me to fight for custody for $5000, you will see that the money invested in your case was well worth it. Working with an experienced, about-face attorney skilled in family law litigation, you will have a better chance at success than if you did not have me.
You have to read between the lines. Again, it is not as simple as I hired a divorce lawyer for a divorce, that is not good enough. Why is that lawyer practicing divorce or family law? How can he relate to your case? Can he relate? Does he understand the difference between the word may and will? How every word in a family court order or a settlement agreement must be so precise or you will be going back to family court again and again. In some cases, your spouse will really enjoy torturing you because the wording was not in your favor.
When you really want to achieve your case goals or obtain solutions, you have to find that lawyer that can get you those solutions or if not, why not and what his or her take or strategy would be. When I meet with potential clients, they interview me and I interview them, I do not take on every client. My client needs to know that I am in charge of strategy and finding realistic client-based solutions. I know more than most because I was a family law litigant BEFORE I was an attorney. I know about the most important things in life such as parenting time and moving on from a divorce. With that knowledge in addition to the skills I've learned, I set myself apart from other lawyers pretending to be family law or divorce attorneys. All I can say to you is this while you search for child custody or divorce attorney, be sure that attorney knows what is at stake now and what is at stake 10 years from now. I do.
Until we meet or talk, stay safe, stay healthy and enjoy the moments of everyday life.
-Santo V. Artusa, Jr., Esq.