There is an excellent series of articles about risk that begin at this Blog:
This is a lengthy, intelligent discourse on risk management spread over a series of blogs. Good divorce attorneys have been using their own version of this for years.
For example, a client comes in because his spouse has left him and two children. He tells me that his spouse refuses to pay any support until a Court orders her to do so. I start the below questions:
How long has she been gone?
It is good to look at when the separation occurred. Did she leave last night, last week, last month, or last year?
Has she paid any bills?
Many times, a spouse will leave but will still make various household payments, such as mortgage, school tuition, utilities, etc. The challenge is balancing what she is paying/the chances of these payments continuing , and the amount of support my client can expect to receive, if he prevails at a temporary hearing.
What are your incomes?
I calculate the amount of child support and projected maintenance against what is being paid
What is your rent/mortgage?
Reality check for client—will he be able to afford the home even receiving support? If not, we have a discussion about selling the house OR
Is there equity in the house?
If there is no equity in the house, the pros and cons of continuing to make a mortgage payment.
Is there money you can borrow to make it for 3-6 months?
I tell him the projected amount of fees for a temporary hearing versus filing and getting into the ENE process.
Because most of my practice is located in Anoka County, I can give a pretty good idea of the timeline for an ENE or a temporary hearing. The client and I plan accordingly, with the understanding that putting a case before a judge should be a last resort. But more on that later.