An IDEAL Approach Our Legal Philosophy

An Ideal Approach to Family Law in Hackensack

Guiding Families in Bergen County through Their Case

Selecting the right counsel is an important decision can be the difference between a divorce that is contentious and spiritually, emotional, and financially exhausting, and one that it civil, expeditious and redemptive.

There are five principles that make up the ideal approach to family law matters:

  • *I*ntegrity
  • *D*iplomacy
  • *E*mpathy
  • *A*dvocacy
  • *L*egal Knowledge


Our approach is simple: integrity in everything we do. Integrity in our billing. Integrity in the courtroom. Integrity in our assessment of the merits of your case.

Integrity goes beyond honesty. Integrity is about being honest when nobody is looking. Integrity is about being honest when it would be easier to be dishonest. You have enough going on in your life to have to worry about whether the counsel you look to for advice is being honest with you. Integrity serves as the foundation of Laterra & Hodge, LLC. Our Hackensack attorneys stake our reputation on every representation we make to you, the court, and our colleagues.


Diplomacy is one of the most important traits a divorce attorney can possess. Unfortunately it is also one of the most overlooked and misunderstood concepts. Most people look first and foremost for an aggressive attorney- often to the exclusion of any other trait. Diplomacy and aggression are not mutually exclusive. They are both important and necessary to effective advocacy, and are both traits.

The opposite of diplomacy is not advocacy; nor is the opposite of diplomacy aggression. The opposite of diplomacy is antagonism. Antagonism is poisonous to a divorce proceeding. It yields a breakdown in communication, enriched positioning, and finger pointing. The bigger picture gets lost in the minutia of fighting over silverware and lawnmowers, and the finish line gets further and further way.

The goal in every divorce case is to reach the finish line as quick as possible with results that will give peace of mind. At Laterra & Hodge, our Hackensack lawyers’ job is to keep you focused on the finish line, to encourage you to refrain from taking the bait of antagonistic adversaries, and to put forth our best efforts to deescalate the tension, while at the same time standing up for your rights.


Empathy is so important because diplomacy and integrity are so difficult. When you are tempted or frustrated, we are there to talk to. When you feel you cannot take any more, we are there to pick you up and help you move on. There are few ordeals as painful as a divorce or separation. The legal proceedings associated with the divorce process represent just one aspect of the painful process. The grief associated with losing a husband or wife is great. And then there is the fear and uncertainty of what the future holds.

In 2005, the New Jersey Supreme Court rendered an opinion in Mani v. Mani, 183 N.J. 70 (2005), that marital fault does not matter to the courts. Tell that to a wife whose husband has walked out after twenty years of marriage after cleaning out the parties’ bank accounts; or to a husband whose wife has filed for divorce and for permission to move with the children across the country because she wants to remarry the man who contributed to the dissolution of the marriage.

The day we look at our clients’ matters as nothing more than a series of transactions is the day we dissolve this firm and change our professions.


You have a story that needs to be told. You have interests that need to be protected. You have opinions on what is fair and equitable, on what is in the best interest of your children.

It is our job to make sure your story is heard, and that your opinions are considered. It is our job to speak on your behalf when your integrity is impugned. We are your mouthpiece, and we will amplify your concerns. We will not allow you to be pushed around. We have too deep a grasp on the law, and what you are entitled to, to be bullied.

Legal Knowledge

Our attorneys stay up to the minute with the ever evolving field of family law. Every day , new trial court and appellate decisions are published, court rules are revised and amended- all of which reshape the family law landscape. Our Hackensack attorneys recognize that we can only do our when invest more of our time and energy into knowing this field more than our opposition. This means not only keeping up with changes in the law as they occur, but also keeping our fingers to the pulse to anticipate these changes, and the underlying public policy considerations behind these changes, before they occur.

When you are ready to get started, call (201) 580-2240 to schedule your free consultation.

Hear It From Our Clients

Helping You & Your Family Achieve Positive Outcomes
  • “I highly recommend Laterra and Hogde to anyone in need of a good divorce lawyer”

    - Frederika V.
  • “Worked out even better than I could have anticipated”

    - Jessica A.
  • “They treated a difficult, emotional situation with utmost professionalism respect and compassion”

    - Artur M.

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