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Yulia Vangorodska, Esq
Guest Author

Yulia Vangorodska is a veteran NYC divorce and family attorney and the founder of a highly successful Vangorodska Law Firm, located at 741/A Madison Ave 4th floor, New York, NY 10065, (212) 671-0936. She doesn’t only deal with contested divorces, child custody and visitation cases, but also has unique skills in mediation. Yulia is also a published writer and contributor to many legal media and editorials.

With over four decades of experience in New York State, Yulia Vangorodska has reached the apex in the crowded field of divorce law. Driven by personal experiences as a young child, Mrs. Vangorodska is determined to see that divorces are handled appropriately and with as little malice as possible. The drive to work with families going through one of life’s most difficult challenges has made Mrs. Vangorodska the go-to attorney for discerning clients. Combining mediation skills with appropriately aggressive courtroom skills, Yulia has negotiated the labyrinth of divorce law with thousands of clients.

There can be mixed emotions when a marriage ends. Fear, anger, hurt and even depression can be piled on top of lost sleep and concerns about how the split will affect the kids. Because of the emotional trauma that can go with a divorce, divorce clients aren’t always at their best. Yulia Vangorodska keeps this in mind when he first sits with a client at their initial meeting.

Trying to make his divorce clients as comfortable as is reasonably possible, Vangorodska has incorporated four touch points that he insists on when dealing with each client. These four points have been refined over the years and are incorporated into the practice of many attorneys.

 

Compassion — Lawyers are not therapists, but an attorney needs to be aware of — and sensitive to — their client’s emotional state.

 

Clear Explanation — Instead of just rattling off complicated legal theories, statues and the law, attorneys should provide a care explanation of things involved.

 

Avoid Legal Jargon — “Legalese” can be challenging for clients to understand

Write It Down — Clients facing a divorce may be overwhelmed and find it difficult to concentrate or even remember everything their attorney says. It is beneficial to give the client handouts to read later that go over what was discussed during the initial meeting.

Successfully navigating divorce court is dependent on the client and attorney functioning as a team. The client has a part to play in the process which is every bit as important as the attorney’s. Mrs. Vangorodska has put together a suggested checklist for people seeking a divorce attorney with whom they can feel comfortable working.

 

Competence — Make sure the attorney you’ve chosen to work with is experienced and competent. Talk with friends and even check the attorney out through the state bar association’s website; any cases of professional misconduct will be listed there.

 

Experienced — Find out how many years your attorney has practiced family law and make sure their areas of experience match your needs. Not all attorneys are prepared to handle a complicated custody battle that crosses international borders. Are you the spouse of a hugely successful venture capitalist? Make sure your lawyer has the know-how to deal with the complicated financial analysis which will be needed.

 

Chemistry — You’ll be spending a great deal of time with your attorney, so make sure you can carry on a good working relationship.

Once you have completed the checklist and are ready to have that first meeting with the attorney, having some knowledge of what to expect can be beneficial to the attorney/client team.

 

What Should Happen During the First Meeting

What occurs during your first meeting with a divorce attorney will largely be determined by what has happened prior to the meeting. In some cases, divorce papers have already been filed and in others, the couple may have already talked and decided to use a collaborative divorce process. Some clients may be facing an emergency or there may be issues of domestic violence which require immediate attention and protection.

Normally a client arrives at the attorney’s office with a list of questions about an impending divorce and the lawyer should review the various options available. It’s important that the attorney asks a lot of questions. They need to learn as much about the client’s spouse and any children involved. Having a good understanding of the client’s complete situation is required so that any referrals to psychotherapists, divorce coaches and financial planners can be made.

At the end of the initial meeting, clients, normally leave with homework which would include learning as much as possible about the couple’s finances regarding assets, liabilities and continuing expenses. Often, in some marriages, only one spouse is in charge of the money, however, prior to a divorce being resolved, both spouses need to have a thorough idea of the couple’s income.

The initial meeting, as are the the rest of the attorney/client meetings, is completely confidential. All communications with your attorney are protected and the client’s right to privacy is absolute.

 

Divorce Mistakes and Vangorodska’s Pointers

Years of experience has shown Mrs. Vangorodska six mistakes that many client commit. The mistakes are understandable and easily fixed. Yulia points out the errors and suggested corrections to hers clients early in the attorney/client relationship. These six mistakes are:

 

MISTAKE: Your Spouse Will be Fair

Usually when faced with a divorce, people are emotionally vulnerable and in a state of denial. A statement that Yulia hears too often is, “My spouse wouldn’t treat me this way.” Well, the truth is, spouses do mistreat their ex’s.

 

VANGORODSKA POINTER: Look Out for Number One

Watch for your best interests — and expect your spouse to watch out for theirs’. Once involved in a divorce you are part of an adversarial system. Maintain a cautious pessimism and lower expectations.

MISTAKE: Unrealistic Demands

Often, too many people facing divorce feel they will get everything they demand. Often the expectations are exaggerated. Since finances, property and possibly a retirement fund are involved, keep your demands reasonable.

 

VANGORODSKA’S POINTER: Keep Realistic Expectations

The key in surviving divorces is having realistic expectations. Focus on problem solving and doing whatever you can to help your own case.

MISTAKE: Not Asking Questions

Many clients are intimidated by the legal system and accept everything they’re told instead of asking questions. That won’t work.

 

VANGORODSKA’S POINTER: Ask Lots of Questions

Ask as many questions about a possible settlement as you would if you were purchasing a car. Ask your attorney for an honest, clear evaluation of what your chances are. Keep asking questions to make sure you do everything in your power to get what you want.

MISTAKE: Withholding Information

Some clients don’t trust their lawyer even though the attorney is representing them. Withholding information about future plans or financial assets just hurts the client in the long run.

 

VANGORODSKA’S POINTER:

Present a clear picture of what your goals and motives are. If you expect your attorney to be effective, they need the whole, unvarnished, truth.

MISTAKE: Not Checking Basic Facts

Attorneys are people, and people make mistakes. There have even been cases where an attorney has written the children’s names incorrectly in a brief and complicated problems resulted.

 

VANGORODSKA’S POINTER: Trust, But Verify

Don’t be intimidated by “legalese.” Read all documents, motions and other paperwork to make sure they are accurate. Once something is entered in the courts’ record, it might be too late to fix.

MISTAKE: Emotions Trump Logic

Often people going through divorce are distraught. If you let your emotions gain control, reason and logic will be lost and you will hurt your case.

 

VANGORODSKA’S POINTER: Let Logic Lead

Become reflective on the situation and let logic lead the way. Do not be reactive. Anxious people seldom hear correctly what is said.

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