Rarely is making the decision to divorce easy. Considering all the decisions you need to make and the emotions you will have to deal with can be overwhelming. Since divorce is a life-changing event, there are several things you should consider before moving forward:
Is the marriage beyond repair?
Because divorce can be expensive, time-consuming, and emotional, you should give some thought to whether your marriage can be salvaged. You may want to visit a family therapist first to see if your issues can be worked out. If your spouse refuses to go, seeing someone yourself can help you make the best decision for your life.
How do I file for divorce in New Jersey?
Like other states, New Jersey has a residency requirement when it comes to filing for divorce. You or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least a year prior to filing. A consultation with a lawyer is an investment that will empower you to protect yourself if you or your spouse should decide to proceed with legal action. During the consultation, you will learn about the divorce process, your rights, and what you may expect during your case.
How much does a divorce cost in New Jersey?
Every divorce case is unique and the same can be said for the cost of every divorce. If you and your spouse can come to an agreement quickly and amicably, it will be less expensive than if you go to trial. Typically, mediation is also less costly than litigation. How you both decide to pursue your divorce will have a big impact on its final cost.
How is marital property divided in New Jersey?
New Jersey is an equitable distribution state. That means marital property will be divided between the spouses in a fair and equitable manner. It does not necessarily mean that the division of the estate must be equal. While in many cases it is fair to divide the estate equally, the court has discretion to award one spouse as little as one-third of the estate and award the other spouse as much as two-thirds of the estate.
How are debts dealt with in a New Jersey divorce?
Most people enter into marriage with their own debts, and you will leave the marriage with those. Debts taken on during the marriage will be divided fairly and equitably. You will need to decide if you want to reduce the debts by paying them off or selling property like the primary residence so you will no longer have the mortgage.
What am I entitled to in a New Jersey divorce?
Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to alimony and child support. In New Jersey, permanent alimony has been replaced with “open durational alimony” today, which is not as common; instead, the courts view alimony as a temporary means of support to help one spouse transition to a new life independent of an ex-spouse. In cases where open durational alimony is awarded, there is also a presumption that alimony will terminate upon that obligor spouse attaining full retirement age. When it comes to child support, the amount of parenting time you spend with your children directly affects the amount of child support you will receive or owe to your former spouse. Generally speaking, the more parenting time, the more child support you will receive.
How will I support myself after the divorce?
This is one of the largest worries for people contemplating divorce since the income that used to support one household will have to support two. If it’s been awhile since you have been in the workforce, this will undoubtedly be a big concern for you. Get a handle on what a post-divorce life may look like financially by preparing a budget to help you determine what your options may be.
How will I protect myself financially during the divorce?
During a divorce, you will need to look out for your own interests, especially financially. Some things you can do to protect yourself include closing all joint bank and credit card accounts and opening separate accounts in your name only, changing your passwords on all financial accounts, downloading important financial documents in case your spouse changes those passwords, etc.
How do I know what is best for my children?
When you have kids, custody can be a difficult issue to navigate. Your attorney can educate you on your options for legal and physical custody as well as how parenting plans work. Consider what needs to happen to ensure that you and your spouse will be able to co-parent effectively.
How do I know what is best for me?
Only you can answer this question, but you should be sure you understand all your options — financially, legally, and emotionally. Your attorney can provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision on whether divorce is the right move for you right now.
Protecting your interests and achieving results that support your needs is what you can expect from Murphy & Cistaro. Contact us today for your free consultation.