NJ Divorce Lawyer
A divorce can be extremely difficult, complex and anxiety filled. The best way to alleviate the uncertainty and fear, is to have an experienced lawyer dedicated to you who you can trust to provide you complete, prompt answers to all your NJ divorce questions, educate you of the laws governing your divorce and provide a clear roadmap of what to expect.
The divorce process begins as early as the contemplation of divorce. Many people contemplating divorce do not have a clear picture of their marital finances, do not have access to the significant marital financial accounts, and therefore, are often at a disadvantage once the divorce process is initiated.
Understanding your financial picture prior to engaging in the NJ divorce process is imperative. You do not want to be unprepared or uneducated before making this life changing decision. You can avoid many months of litigation and spending thousands of dollars by gathering and copying key financial records prior to a divorce such as personal and business tax returns, bank and loan statements, credit card statements, insurance policies, most recent paystubs, retirement account statements, wills and trust documents, real and personal property appraisals, deeds and mortgages, and business records. I also advise my clients contemplating divorce to begin keeping good records of what it actually costs to maintain the household.
Complaint and Answer
The divorce process begins once the complaint is filed. It is common practice for the initial complaint to ask for more than what the complaining spouse is entitled to. Attorneys often use the initial complaint as a wish list. The Defendant has a limited time to file an answer. If the Defendant fails to answer, the Plaintiff may request to enter default judgment. The Defendant’s answer admits or denies each assertion and will ask the court to deny the Plaintiff’s request. Any claims the Defendant makes against the Plaintiff are written in the counterclaim. The counterclaim is a good tool because without it, the Defendant could easily find herself or himself at trial facing an agenda set by the other spouse’s inflated wish list. The Plaintiff answers the counterclaim by admitting or denying every allegation.
Divorce mediation in NJ may be sought before or after filing for divorce.
Case Management Conference
The court will schedule a case management conference about 30 days after the last pleading is filed (either the answer or Plaintiff’s answer to the counterclaim). At the case management conference, all issues in the case will be discussed to evaluate the proper discovery time frames, a date for the early settlement program may be set, and the trial date or second case management to set a trial date may be set. The case management conference is for the sole purpose of identifying issues. Thus, no testimony or evidence is presented. The parties’ attorneys must participate either by appearance, phone conference, or by submitting a case management order signed by both parties.
Early in the NJ divorce process, either party may file a motion for temporary orders to address pressing issues such as support, child visitation, and attorney fees. The parties may also arrive to temporary agreement without going to court.
Discovery is the process of gathering relevant information about the other party. During the discovery process it is common to request answers to interrogatories (a document asking the other party relevant questions), obtain professional evaluations, and request production of relevant documents.
It is common for cases to settle on the day of the trial and in some cases even during the trial. The property settlement agreement has important advantages. A reasonable settlement agreement may allow you and your spouse more control over your judgment. Many clients prefer to avoid the anxiety of wagering their lives on a judge’s decision.
Additionally, time and money considerations may lead to a settlement. You may wait one to two years for your trial, but meanwhile, both you, and your spouse’s attorneys’ fees will continue to increase. These fees normally increase dramatically as the trial date approaches because of the significant amount of time spent by the attorney in preparation.
Although fewer than 2% of all divorces go to trial, this figure varies substantially according to certain factors, including salary level, length of marriage, and the spouse’s occupation. The length of your trial will depend on the time the court allocates and the number and complexity of issues to be decided. Your trial may last anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks.
Contact us today at 732-276-9499 to schedule your free NJ divorce consultation.