Rieger & Fried LLP

Once I Retain A Matrimonial Lawyer In New York Do I Need To Go Immediately To Court?

Once you have retained a matrimonial lawyer, the next step will be for the attorney and client to discuss the appropriate course of action. Not every case immediately belongs in a courtroom. In some instances, it might be appropriate for the attorney to send a "first letter" to the other spouse to advise him or her that the attorney has been retained. The "first letter" is an inoffensive letter that would state the following:

"Please be advised that your wife, _________, has retained my office in connection with the marital difficulties which you are presently experiencing.

It is your wife's desire to seek an amicable resolution of all outstanding marital and financial issues. Toward that end, I would appreciate your arranging for you or your attorney to communicate with me promptly so that a conference to discuss the outstanding issues may be arranged at a mutually convenient date and time.

Thank you for your anticipated cooperation and courtesy."

The objective of sending the "first letter" is to inform the other side that an attorney is involved in the case. After the letter is sent, the next step would be for the attorney to work with the client to prepare the Statement of Net Worth which is the most important document that is prepared in a matrimonial proceeding. Once both parties exchange their sworn Statements of Net Worth, a four (4) way meeting (a meeting between the parties and their attorneys) can be conducted in an effort to resolve the matter quickly without court intervention.

In other instances, a "first letter" may not be appropriate. For example, if one spouse is taking all of the funds out of the joint accounts, it will be necessary to act swiftly and decisively by commencing an action for divorce which is accomplished by the filing of a summons and complaint in the County Clerk's office. Once the summons and complaint is served upon the spouse, he or she is prohibited from transferring, liquidating and moving assets during the pendency of the divorce proceeding unless it is in the ordinary course of business or to pay counsel fees. These prohibitions are attached to the summons and constitute "Automatic Orders" of the Court as follows:

NOTICE: Pursuant to Domestic Relations Law §236(B)(2)(b), the following automatic Order of the Supreme Court of the State of New York is in full force and effect:

(1) Neither party shall sell, transfer, encumber, conceal, assign, remove or in any way dispose of, without the consent of the other party in writing, or by Order of the Court, any property (including, but not limited to, real estate, personal property, cash accounts, stocks, mutual funds, bank accounts, cars and boats) individually or jointly held by the parties, except in the usual course of business, for customary and usual household expenses or for reasonable attorneys' fees in connection with this action; and,

(2) Neither party shall transfer, encumber, assign, remove, withdraw or in any way dispose of any tax deferred funds, stocks or other assets held in any individual retirement accounts, 401(k) accounts, profit-sharing plans, Keogh accounts or any other pension or retirement account, and the parties shall further refrain from applying for or requesting the payment of retirement benefits or annuity payments of any kind, without the consent of the other party in writing, or upon further Order of the Court; and,

(3) Neither party shall incur unreasonable debts hereafter including, but not limited to, further borrowing against any credit line secured by the family residence, further encumbrancing any assets or unreasonably using credit cards or cash advances against credit cards, except in the usual course of business or for customary or usual household expenses or for reasonable attorneys' fees in connection with this action; and,

(4) Neither party shall cause the other party or the children of the marriage to be removed from any existing medical, hospital and dental insurance coverage, and each party shall maintain the existing medical, hospital and dental insurance coverage in full force and effect; and,

(5) Neither party shall change the beneficiaries of any existing life insurance policies, and each party shall maintain the existing life insurance, automobile insurance, homeowners' and renters' insurance policies in full force and effect.

The foregoing automatic Order shall be binding upon the Plaintiff in this matrimonial action immediately upon the filing of this Summons (or Summons and Verified Complaint), and binding upon the Defendant in this matrimonial action immediately upon the service of this Summons (or Summons and Verified Complaint) with this automatic Order.

The foregoing automatic Order shall remain in full force and effect during the pendency of this matrimonial action unless terminated, modified or amended by further Order of the Court upon motion of either party or upon written agreement between the parties duly executed and acknowledged.

Finally, there may be instances in which one spouse refuses to pay temporary support by terminating the other spouses access to credit cards, failing to maintain the status quo by refusing to pay weekly or monthly direct support or simply failing to pay household bills. Under these circumstances, it would be necessary to proceed immediately into Court and file a motion for temporary support requesting that the other spouse pay temporary child support, temporary maintenance (alimony), the mortgage and carrying charges on the marital residence.

We represent individuals in abusive and deteriorating marriages who need to move on with their lives...If you have questions that need answers about your particular matter herein in New York, we invite you to call our office to schedule an appointment for a consultation.

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  • In a time of Divorce,emotions and confusion can run high. Michael Fried immediately made me feel more comfortable, informed, and cared for. He is very experienced and knowledgeable on all aspects of a Divorce. His personal demeanor put me at ease throughout the whole process. He explained every step in the process in a very simple and understandable way. Divorce is a terrible time in someones life, but with Michael Fried, you will be able to get through this difficult time with all the information,understanding and compassion you will need.
  • So many people tell you, "Oh, I've got the BEST lawyer for you." Or, "This guy is the absolutely the BEST lawyer to handle your case - the BEST!" When in a divorce situation, you hear a lot of this. But, when you are in a situation so foreign to any experience you have ever gone through, there is so much more that is important. It is not the lawyer, who may look great and have a career of flashy litigation. It all comes down to the entire TEAM of individuals working in your best interest. It comes down to their sincere dedication to every minor detail regarding your case, and, most importantly, understanding, and reacting to your mental frame-of-reference, sensitive to the fact that a divorce is one of the most traumatic events one can go through. This level of competence is the consistent apex at which Rieger & Fried operate each and every day. Not only is a successful outcome of the litigation an ultimate priority of the relationship - through over-the-top competence - but their understanding of a client's well-being, who is probably completely out of their depth in a divorce proceeding, that really sets Rieger & Fried apart from all other firms. Hats off to Rieger & Fried... truly the BEST. SD
  • Rieger and Fried recently handled my divorce. I worked with Mr. Michael Fried. He was kind and compassionate from our initial meeting. The proceedings wound up being more involved and demanding than had initially been anticipated. Mr. Fried always explained things to me in a professional but easily understood manner. He presented me with clear and concise options, and gave me guidance regarding all decisions that needed to be made. Mr. Fried always made time for all of my questions (and there were many) and when I was confused or overwhelmed, he helped me see things in a calm and rational way. In addition, the staff in the office were courteous, professional and helpful at all times. I highly recommend Mr. Fried and his firm. ST
  • "Rieger and Fried is the finest law firm to hire. I got the best outcome any client can hope for in a custody case: sole residential and legal custody of my two children. I hired the firm four years ago; my case was a highly contested interstate divorce and custody. The delay in my case was due to the opposing party. My case was handled by Michael Fried who is the most ethical professional I have met. Michael focused on facts of law and documentation to protect my children's legal rights. Michael is efficient, prompt, and helped me for years through the most difficult time of my life. The paperwork was filed on time. The motions were carefully researched and submitted. Michael made sure that he documented all communication with opposing counsel.

    Michael was involved in the evaluation of my ex-husband's medical practice, meeting with me and the forensic accountant. Michael is highly organized and detail-oriented. He tracked down the most important financial documentation to prove my ex-husband's income in order to determine child support.

    Michael prepared me for trial and was keen about details and how to highlight my role as the primary care giver for my children. I went through 16 days of trial during which Michael moved away from his family to stay in Brooklyn in order to meet with me daily before trial to review every single detail. He emailed me in the evenings to make sure all evidence was in place.

    When emotions ran high and opposing counsel was provocative during trial, Michael maintained his calm and represented me and my children wholeheartedly. Michael is the best lawyer any client can hope for, and I am ever so grateful that he handled my case."
  • So many people tell you, “Oh, I’ve got the BEST lawyer for you.â€? Or, “This guy is the absolutely the BEST lawyer to handle your case – the BEST!â€? When in a divorce situation, you hear a lot of this. But, when you are in a situation so foreign to any experience you have ever gone through, there is so much more that is important. It is not the lawyer, who may look great and have a career of flashy litigation. It all comes down to the entire TEAM of individuals working in your best interest. It comes down to their sincere dedication to every minor detail regarding your case, and, most importantly, understanding, and reacting to your mental frame-of-reference, sensitive to the fact that a divorce is one of the most traumatic events one can go through. This level of competence is the consistent apex at which Rieger & Fried operate each and every day. Not only is a successful outcome of the litigation an ultimate priority of the relationship — through over-the-top competence — but their understanding of a client’s well-being, who is probably completely out of their depth in a divorce proceeding, that really sets Rieger & Fried apart from all other firms. Hats off to Rieger & Fried… truly the BEST. SD
  • Kieth and Michael were instrumental in the positive and fair outcome of my case. From the start, they set realistic expectations. They fought hard on — and won — the critical issues that arose during the course of my case. I am extremely happy with their services; I highly recommend them! Melissa J.
  • Michael Fried was very professional and supportive during a very difficult period in my life. He worked very hard to look out for my interests while trying to come to a fair and equitable agreement. I would highly recommend him. Cathy C.
  • Kieth Rieger navigated my divorce with the expertise of a highly skilled negotiator. He is the consummate divorce attorney: determined, effective and compassionate. Rebecca H.
  • Keith headed the team that navigated me through the most difficult time of my life. My divorce was very lengthy and uglier than most. Keith litigated brilliantly and made certain the outcome would be just and fair. Karen D.
  • The Firm Rieger & Fried handled all my family concerns with the utmost respect and professionalism. Joshua Rieger is not just a attorney with the vast knowledge of Matrimonial law and Family Law, he is in tune with his clients , and understands the important challenges they face. The Firm Rieger & Fried protected my interests from start to finish ,and are truly a cut above the rest. Jason B.
  • Kieth Rieger is a superior attorney and I was able to benefit from his ability to process large volumes of information quickly and formulate effective strategy. Kieth was extremely accommodating and sensitive when he represented my case yet firm and commanding when warranted. Soo L.
  • Let’s face it, going through a divorce can be long and nerve-wracking process during which you can be excruciatingly vulnerable. Keith proved to be the sharp, savvy, efficient, frugal and empathetic attorney I needed to be able to achieve a timely and favorable outcome. Jay E.
  • As a fellow attorney, I was aware of your reputation as a skilled and highly regarded matrimonial lawyer. Your representation of my interests in my own divorce confirmed what I had heard; I received outstanding counsel. Thank you for your advice and guidance and for an excellent result. Richard R.
  • When I considered getting a divorce, I wanted to assert my rights while at the same time making sure I wasn’t being unfair to my spouse, and preserving the good relationship I had with my children. You took the time to understand what I was hoping to achieve, and dealt fairly with me and with my spouse. I understand that matrimonial law is inherently adversarial, but I felt that you helped keep it from being more adversarial than absolutely necessary. The end result: a settlement in which both sides got what we needed, in which my parenting relationship with my ex is a productive and civil one, and in which the children are comfortable and cared for. It’s hard to be excited about a divorce, particularly one that ends up in the courts, but you made it as fair and painless as possible, and I thank you for it. Jonathan W.
  • Kieth Rieger made me realize the divorce process is not about showmanship in the courtroom but simply the facts. Eric W.
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  • Kieth Rieger and Michael Fried handled my recent marriage litigation. During the entire process both were very professional and always available to answer my many questions. I would highly recommend both if you have this type of litigation. Patrick P.
  • Faced with a contentious divorce 12 years ago, I turned to Kieth Rieger to represent me. I found not only brilliant legal advice, but strong support and calming guidance that came at a critical time. All these years later I returned to him to help me write a pre-nup agreement as I begin a new life. He is a trusted professional who I have recommended many, many times. Amy D.
  • Keith Rieger , My Superlawyer, who checked his ego at the door, rolled up his sleeves, fought for me and my girls, and won in the end. If you want a smart, honest, hardworking lawyer who really cares about his clients, look no further. Lauren L.
  • Going through my divorce was very draining and emotional. Kieth helped me through this time in my life, he made me feel comfortable and at ease that everything would be fine. He and his staff treated me as if I was family. It turned out just the way he said it would. I would recommend this firm to family, friends and anyone that needs a Divorce attorney. Mr. Rieger and associates are hardworking, caring and extremely intelligent. Thank you for giving me a new beginning! Sharyn S.
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