Filing for Divorce: Overcoming the Unknown

Making the decision to move forward with a divorce can be overwhelming. Even when a marriage seems over as a matter of fact, ending the marital partnership as a matter of law can be a scary proposition. You may be overwhelmed with questions regarding your post-divorce life, including concerns regarding the custodial arrangement, support, and your financial situation after the divorce. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to prepare yourself for this process that will help ensure your success while maintaining peace of mind.

The best way to prepare yourself for a divorce in New Jersey is to understand the process and your legal rights and liabilities based on the laws of New Jersey. Once you reach the point that you believe you may wish to proceed with a divorce, the first thing you should do is to schedule a consultation with an experienced local family law attorney. Prior to the consultation, try to gather basic financial information, which will put your attorney in a better position to advise you with regard to your particular case. This information should include last year’s tax returns, current balances of bank, brokerage and retirement accounts, and current balances of debts, such as mortgages and credit card debts. If you do not have access to this information, do not worry. You will be able to obtain this information during the divorce through a process known as discovery. During discovery, documents and information relevant to the case will be exchanged between the parties.

Prepare Questions About Filing For Divorce

Remember that you are consulting with an attorney for legal advice—not just to have someone tell you what you want to hear. Come to the initial consultation with a list of any questions that have been weighing on your mind regarding a potential divorce and the divorce process. Having your questions answered will provide you with a firm understanding of what your rights and liabilities are. Even if some of the answers you receive are not exactly what you want to hear, they will allow you to better plan for moving forward with the divorce process in your particular case. Once your questions are answered, you will be in a better position to begin to picture a new, post-divorce beginning for yourself.

Every Divorce Case Is Unique

New Jersey law recognizes that every case is different. As such, the laws regarding custody, alimony and equitable distribution rely on an analysis of multiple case-specific factors. There is no cookie-cutter formula for resolving any of these issues. Under the circumstances, relying on neighbors, friends or family alone to guide you with regard to your divorce based on the facts or results of their divorce may result in you having a misunderstanding of the likely course of your case. The sooner you can meet with an experienced family law attorney, the sooner you will understand how the law in this state will apply based on the unique facts of your case.