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The information contained in this web site is not legal advice; it is for educational purposes only. Use of nissenbaumlaw.com does not create an attorney/client relationship between you and Nissenbaum Law Offices, even if you provide this web site, whether by e-mail or through one of its software programs, with your personal or confidential information. If you are in the process of (or contemplating) a divorce or involved in any legal matter, you should hire a lawyer.

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Home >> How to Hire Us

How to Hire Us

Please note: if you are not already a client, gratuitously providing us with any information or documents will not be confidential and no attorney/client relationship will result. This information about how to hire us is intended to be a guide for those whom we may consider representing -- after a meeting with one of our attorneys.

Overview of Steps

Non-Emergency Emergency go now
  • Prepare a written narrative
  • Submit narrative
  • Schedule an appointment
  • Pay consultation fee
  • Telephone the office
  • Prepare an abbreviated narrative
  • Written Narrative for Non-Emergencies

    If your situation is not an emergency: Prepare a written narrative describing as many details as possible about your lives together. A narrative is what we call the "good, the bad, the ugly and the things you would never tell anyone else."

    We need to know everything so we can be prepared to use it to your benefit or to try to protect you from adverse consequences. You certainly would not want an anesthesiologist to put you under or a surgeon operating on you unless she or he had all the facts. We are no different. We need all the background facts and documents.

    What should your narrative contain?

    Your narrative should contain all important facts and the history leading up to your current situation. For example: If this is a divorce, you should start with who you were and who your spouse was when you met. Tell us where each of you were born, grew up and went to school and what assets and liabilities existed when you met. Include significant events which occurred while dating (i.e. graduations, arguments, new jobs, moves, real estate purchases), date and place of marriage, significant things that happened at the wedding, significant events occurring during the marriage (i.e., birth of children, illnesses, new jobs, moves, trips to hospital emergency rooms and hospitalizations, etc.), events leading up to the divorce, and your current situation.

    • Please click on the Section 34 factors and try to include information on each factor.
    • If custody or visitation may be contested, please click on Custody Considerations and then provide us with as much information as possible for each factor.
    • Please include a family tree (grandparents to grandchildren) to help the attorney understand the structure of your family, family interactions, family gifts, etc.
    • Please include a "Wish List," which is to say that if we could waive a magic wand and make this "all over" right now (we cannot make "all better"), what do you think would be a fair result on all the issues, from children's custody and visitation, child support, alimony, division of assets and so on.
    • You should also include a complete list of all family assets and liabilities.
    • If you have them, please send us the last 5 years of income tax returns including, if available, the returns for any family-owned businesses and trusts.
    • What should the format of your narrative be?
      • Ideally, your narrative should be typed, double spaced and in 14 point print with page numbers and it should also be on a computer disc in WordPerfect version 9 for Windows 1998 or any lower version.
      • If you do not have access to a computer, you may hand write the information as legibly as possible, on lined paper, using every other line and only one side of the page, with page numbers. If, as you go along, you remember some thing that occurred earlier, do not re-write the whole thing. Just go back and put an "*" in with a note to see the attached page, which is where you can add that material.
      • If you do not have access to a computer and prefer to use a tape recorder, you may do so. Please use a standard size tape.
      • Spelling and punctuation do not count. Completeness does count.

    Telephone the Office

    Telephone our office to advise us when your narrative is done and that you are sending it. Please send it by express delivery (Federal Express or Express Mail) or, if you want as an e-mail attachment.

    Schedule an Appointment

    Telephone the office about three business days later to schedule an appointment to meet with an attorney.

    Consultation Fee

    We charge for the time we spend reviewing your material and for the initial conference.

    When you call for the first time, after talking with an attorney, you will be told how much the initial consultation fee will be. The amount depends on the complexity of your situation.

    If you choose to hire us and we choose to accept your case, any money not used initially will be put toward future work. If you choose not to hire us, any balance will be returned. If we spend more time than the deposit pays for, whether we accept your case or not, you will be billed for any balance.

    For more information about our fees, see

    Emergency Situations

    Emergency situations, by definition necessitate more immediate action. Phone our office and we'll provide you with the necessary details to proceed in accordance with your situation. We recommend that you prepare a brief narrative (see Prepare an Abbreviated Narrative below for details)

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    Phone the Office

    Please telephone our office. Explain the nature of the emergency situation to the paralegal or secretary. Your information will be put into a memorandum and given to one of our attorneys. He or she will return your call as soon as possible.

    Again, you cannot establish an attorney-client relationship by your unilateral act of calling and/or providing information to a secretary or paralegal. This can only be done if you talk with one of our attorneys and if certain material information is discussed and if you have called with a genuine desire to hire us.

    Prepare an Abbreviated Narrative

    In the event of an emergency, you will still be asked to prepare a shortened version of your narrative to help the lawyer deal with the current urgent matter. You will still need to prepare the long narrative once the emergency has been dealt with, as that is the best way for the attorney to understand the full scope of your situation.

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