BRODER: Ironically, the amount and percentages of support were similar for all parts of the state, but when I asked about the "step-down" where the support would be reduced due to the aging of the children, in Stamford they weren't so much in favor of a step-down. In the rest of the state, they were in favor of a much more accelerated step-down. In other words, the alimony would be reduced much faster, during the term of alimony. The results for alimony were all over the place that's what's remarkable.
LAW TRIBUNE: What does this say for a client, for someone picking a lawyer? Is it a total roll of the dice?
BRODER: In some respects, yes. Unfortunately for litigants, the matching of the lawyers could make for quite a dramatic difference in how their case is viewed. It's more an art than a science. And it's challenging for the lawyers, because you lack predictability as to what's going to happen. That's the most frustrating thing. Clients crave predictability. But when you see the disparate results on a survey like this, it becomes very difficult to predict the outcome of the case.
LAW TRIBUNE: And this hypothetical case lacks the idiosyncrasies of a real-life case, so there would be fewer grounds for disagreement.
BRODER: It's a plain vanilla situation. The kids don't have special needs. There's some money saved, not a ton. There's a house.
LAW TRIBUNE: Was there agreement about how to handle the house?
BRODER: That was very interesting. In the example, the house's equity is $300,000 and the balance of their assets is $350,000. I asked when do you sell? The kids are 15 and 12. Almost 50 percent of the respondents said they should wait six years for the house to be sold. That means they deny the husband half the assets for six more years. And so you've tied the parties together.
LAW TRIBUNE: Would it be better for Connecticut citizens if matrimonial lawyers had more basic agreement on what is fair? Would rules of thumb, or default guidelines, be good for clients?
BRODER: It's not healthy for litigants that the lawyers they're hiring show such a wide range of what they thought the outcome would be in a relatively simple fact pattern.
LAW TRIBUNE: The lawyers were not answering as advocates for one side or the other, right?