by Gregory Rabinowitz, Esq.*

"Divorce Your Loved One With Dignity", is
embossed on a Mexican Law Office sign hanging
over Frank Sinatra in an old movie poster and it
makes me grin every time I see it. After
practicing Matrimonial and Family Law on Long
Island for the past 16 years, more often than not,
each time a potential client sincerely assures me
that their divorce will be "amicable", the case
begins to mimic the antics of Michael Douglas
and Kathleen Turner in "War of the Roses".
What the "amicable" client does not understand
is that, usually, if you were truly able to keep it
"amicable" then you probably would not be sitting
opposite a divorce attorney. I cannot imagine any
other field of law where the emotions could run
as high. Dividing houses, bank accounts, 401K's
and hard earned pensions is emotionally draining.
Oh, did I mention the stress and gut wrenching
angst that accompanies fighting over child
custody and visitation issues?
Now, add the variable of the dreaded
divorce lawyer. Unfortunately, there are some
matrimonial lawyers out there who
unknowingly, or sometimes deliberately,
exacerbate and rile the clients' emotions and
"fan the flames." The result, more fighting which
translates into more counsel fees, less
assets and most importantly, less money
available for the children's college and graduate
educations. Then there's the divorce lawyer
who makes you promises or guarantees (that
you do not know at the time cannot possibly be
met) and then virtually disappears as your case
is assigned to a less experienced associate that
you meet for the first time after you have signed
and paid your retainer.
In this day and age, you do yourself a great
disservice if you do not thoroughly investigate
your options. Who should you use as the
mediator? Should you use a social worker who,
most likely, never sat for or passed the Bar
exam? Should you use a lawyer who only
mediates and has never tried a case? Are you stil
a mediation candidate when your spouse
threatens that if you don't mediate, they will
make sure that you will be living out in the street
and will never see a dime? What are the
differences between a divorce and a legal

Here's a freebee you are not legally separated
simply by living separately! You must be an
educated consumer. Bring a list of questions to
your initial consultation. If you are meeting with a
seasoned practitioner; all of your questions
should be answered in advance of your having to
ask them. Finally, even if the attorney was highly
recommended by a trusted source, you must still
use your "gut". Just because the attorney was right
for cousin Tilly doesn't mean the attorney is right
for you or your situation. Yet, do not fret, if you
hire the right attorney, you can "get divorced with
dignity". I've seen it!
Gregory Rabinowitz, Esq. is a matrimonial and
family law practitioner. He is a barrister of the
N.Y. Family Law American Inn of Court and
member of the Nassau and Suffolk County Bar
Associations and Matrimonial Law Committees
and the N.Y.S. Bar, Family Law Section. He has
handled numerous matrimonial cases from
inception to completion, including the trials and
appeals thereof He has also lectured to fellow
matrimonial practitioners. Mr. Rabinowitz
founded N.Y. Divorce Options where clients
can evaluate the realities and/or benefits of
mediation verses litigation. Mr. Rabinowitz does
not rely upon associates and does all legal and
counseling work himself. He can be contacted
at his Jericho Office (516)605-2600,
or more information at;

January 2008 • LONG ISLAND WOMAN