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Divorce Law in New Jersey

How to Find a New Jersey Divorce Attorney

New Jersey is said to have the lowest divorce rate in the entire United States. About 6% of all New Jersey married couples get divorced. It seems that the cost of divorce is one of the reasons why divorce isn’t always the first choice.

Divorce is indeed expensive, but if your are considering divorce or searching for a New Jersey divorce attorney, you’ll be glad to hear that there are many ways to keep the legal fees to a minimum and get more of what you want from the divorce.

If this sounds like what you may be looking for, this article is for you. In this article (which is based upon New Jersey divorce law), we’ll discuss:

  • New Jersey specific divorce law requirements;
  • What you need to know about divorce, in general;
  • Whether it’s in your best interest to hire a New Jersey divorce attorney;
  • How to find and select a qualified lawyer; and
  • How to prepare to work with your lawyer.

New Jersey Divorce Law Specifics

  • Either you or your spouse must have lived in New Jersey for at least 1 year, immediately prior to the divorce filing. However, there are exceptions so be sure to consult with a qualified New Jersey divorce attorney to get accurate information about your individual situation.

  • New Jersey law requires that divorce filings include the grounds for the divorce such as living apart, desertion, adultery, deviant sexual acts without consent, abuse and cruelty, addiction, imprisonment, and institutionalization for mental illness.

  • Unfortunately, New Jersey divorce law terms, which identify you and your spouse, are archaic and the terms, “plaintiff” and “defendant” are used. Neither term means you did anything wrong. Some other states use terms such as “petitioner” and “respondent”.

  • Divorce filings are made in the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part for the county where either you or your spouse resides.

  • Unless you otherwise agree, property distribution will be equitable, which means, “fair”, not necessarily equal.

  • Spousal support (i.e. alimony) may be awarded in some cases and child support in based upon the Income Shares Model.

What You Need to Know About Divorce in a Nutshell

Your future now depends upon you. You can mange your divorce quite well if you work with a collaborative oriented divorce attorney and follow his or her advice. After all, that’s what you’re paying them for.

You’re attorney will likely want you know that you can keep legal fees to a minimum, reduce your stress and your children’s stress, get more of what you want, and reach resolution faster if you:

  • Communicate and provide all requested information, promptly.
  • Say, “yes,” as often as you can during all divorce negotiations. Save “no” for when you really mean it.
  • Keep your focus on cooperation, collaboration, and compromise. This will help you avoid court interference, stress, and higher fees.
  • Work with a therapist. Feelings of fear, anger, sadness, loss, and stress are completely normal. You need to deal with these so you can be there for your children and be happy. Your divorce lawyer and your children are not your therapists.

Is it in Your Best Interests to Work with a New Jersey Divorce Lawyer?

Of course, it is. While you can legally represent yourself, you’re not likely an expert in New Jersey matrimonial law. Even highly educated and experienced attorneys hire divorce law lawyers when they get divorced.

Imagine what one mistake or a few mistakes could cost you. If you give up marital rights during divorce, you will be forever barred from asserting them in the future.

How to Find and Select a New Jersey Divorce Attorney

If you’re okay with people knowing that you’re considering divorce, you can ask for referrals. You can also get a referral from the bar association. But even if you get a referral, you need to be sure that the attorney is right for you.

In addition, the easiest and most private way to find an attorney is to do a virtual search for “How to Find a New Jersey Divorce Attorney”.

Look for an attorney who:

  • Focuses his or her legal practice on divorce and family law and is licensed in the state of New Jersey.
  • Is willing to work collaboratively. An attorney who offers to do nasty things to your spouse or “make your spouse pay” may be tempting; however, that attorney will cost you and your family more in the long run, both emotionally and financially.
  • Will answer your questions on a regular basis.
  • You’re comfortable with.

How to Prepare to Work with Your Divorce Attorney

You can best prepare by getting in the right mindset and gathering financial documents.

  • Consider reconciliation. The divorce court will always be available later if you decide to file next month, next year, or 10 years from now.
  • Keep in mind that neither your divorce lawyer nor your children are therapists. Meet with a therapist to deal with the emotional aspects of divorce.
  • Know that cooperation, communication, collaboration, and compromise are required during divorce.
  • Gather financial documents showing all income, expenses, debts, and assets. Tax returns, financial statements, and loan applications are all helpful.
  • Create a wish list of everything you would like in the divorce. Indicate which items are “musts” and which are “would be nices”.
  • List questions to address with your lawyer at your next telephone conference.

If divorce is right for you, you can get divorced (even in New Jersey) without losing your shirt.

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