Tanya: My name is Tanya Helfand. I’ve been practicing for 21 years. I’m licensed to practice in the States of New York and New Jersey. I’m a certified Matrimonial attorney, and this designation means I have handled a large number of cases, totaling in the thousands. This certification also requires recommendations by a number of judges and other attorneys. So I’ve seen quite a few divorce cases over the years.
The Designation of Matrimonial Attorney Requires Fulfilling the Requirements for the Certification
Interviewer: There are regular divorce lawyers and then ones that have an additional certification? What do you have to do to fulfill the requirements for this certification?
The Requirements Include Handling a Minimum Number of Divorce Cases, Recommendations from Judges and Colleagues and an Passing an Exam
Tanya: You have to have handled a certain number of cases for the three years prior to the certification. And you keep getting recertified every five years. You have to handle, I believe, a minimum of 45 hearings, 45 settlements, and 5 trials. Additionally, you require recommendations from a number of judges and other lawyers that you’ve worked with previously. To complete the certification, you have to take a very comprehensive exam.
This Designation Has Only Been Attained By Limited Number of Attorneys in New Jersey; and the Matrimonial Attorney Certification Shows That Your Attorney Takes the This Area of the Law Seriously
Interviewer: Is this certification fairly prestigious?
Tanya: It’s nice. It means that you are serious about your work and I think the statistics are that only two percent of the lawyers are Certified Matrimonial Lawyers in the state of New Jersey.
Interviewer: If nothing else it shows your commitment to the practice and your focus. Also, that you likely have a lot of good experience in this field.
Matrimonial Attorney Helfand Is a Certified Mediator and Certified Collaborative Lawyer and Volunteers for the Early Settlement Panel
Tanya: Yes, I agree. I’m also a Certified Mediator and a Certified Collaborative Lawyer. I also sit on the Early Settlement Panels in Essex and Morris County, which is a volunteer position where periodically throughout the year I, along with another experienced divorce attorney, help couples try and settle their case before trial.
Attorney Helfand Has Practiced in Family Law since Graduating from Law School
Interviewer: What led you into this area of law? It seems like an acrimonious area that most people might want to avoid.
Tanya: It’s just coincidental. When I graduated from law school I actually owned retail businesses with my spouse and I obtained a job concurrently at a matrimonial firm, the lawyers name is Herman Osofsky. He’s still practicing. I think he’s one of the best lawyers in New Jersey. He was a sole practitioner. He has a boutique firm and so I learned from him. His practice is exclusively devoted to family law.
Attorney Helfand’s Solo Practice Evolved First into Family Law and Currently Is Comprised of Matrimonial Law Cases
And then I continued my own business and I opened my own practice in 1997, and I took in whatever cases came to me, working as a regular general practitioner. So I did real estate work, municipal court work, I did worker’s comp, I did family law, I did whatever came in the door to make a living.
The practice just evolved into repetitive family law cases. The area of matrimonial law just developed into being the biggest part of my practice. Clients were satisfied and I got more referrals in the area.
With 21 Years of Experience, Attorney Helfand Is Committed to This Field and Enjoys Both the Work and Her Role Helping People through Difficult Situations
Interviewer: But after 21 years, the work must be something you really enjoy, would that be accurate to say?
Tanya: I think that the field is very interesting. I think that my goal is to try and help people through the situation. I’ve been divorced myself.
I come from a family of divorce and I know what it’s like from the inside. And I also have, because I owned several retail businesses, a businessperson’s concept of how things should go. I use what I know and my skills to try and help people.