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Ten Things You Should Know About Divorce

Divorce isn’t easy; it’s a complicated emotional, financial, and legal process. Below, we’ve outlined ten things anyone going through a divorce should know before proceeding.

Ten Things to Know About Divorce in New Jersey

1. Divorce is an Economic Transaction.

During a divorce, a couple must resolve their economic relationship, including the distribution of property they acquired during the marriage and setting appropriate alimony and child support obligations. They must also fix a parenting plan that addresses access to their children and custodial rights, or the Court will decide these issues for them.

2. Address Your Emotions.

Strong emotions anger, grief, sadness, hostility, and even denial are regular ingredients in every divorce. These many emotions of divorce are the key reasons the divorce process can be so unpredictable, lengthy, and costly. Professional counseling even a small amount of it, before, during, or even after the divorce process, can help the participants of divorce get through it.

3. Letting Your Emotions Drive Your Decisions Make You Poorer In The Long Run.

To the extent that spouses allow their emotions to affect their decision-making in a divorce, they will enrich their lawyers and impoverish themselves. Litigants must approach the end of their marriage as a business proposition that requires an equitable sharing of assets an appropriate assessment of support rights and obligations and implementation of a parenting plan that recognizes each parent is entitled to continue a relationship with the children and, most importantly, that their children need both of them.

4. The Courts Generally Don’t Care Who Is At Fault.

New Jersey has no-fault and fault grounds for divorce. The reason that you state for filing for divorce in your divorce papers, extreme cruelty or no-fault separations, for example, are usually accepted at face value by the court. The court normally does not care who or what was responsible for breaking up the marriage. (That was not the case 30 years ago, prior to the passage of no-fault divorce laws; back then some judges used to lecture spouses about the need to keep the marriage together, and occasionally judges would deny a divorce request). Still, marital misconduct may be relevant with respect primarily to parenting issues.

5. Good Counsel Is Essential. No Counsel Is Foolish.

While it may be tempting to try to avoid the expense of representation, virtually no one not counting counselors or even judges recommends that you enter into the divorce process without the advice or representation of a reputable attorney. A good attorney will recognize the important issues of divorce quickly and intelligently and help you focus on and achieve the results you both want and need, consistent with the parameters within the system or the judge assigned to your case. Having no representation or advisor especially when substantial assets are involved is widely regarded as just plain foolish.

6. “Digging In Your Heels” Always Costs More.

It may sometimes be worth it, but a large amount of time and expense goes into the divorce process when two sides refuse to communicate on basic issues.

7. A County Seminar is Mandatory.

Most Counties in New Jersey will expect you to attend a two-hour presentation on the effects of divorce on children. You will sit with a small number of the other 5,000 (2,500 couples) who file for divorce in your particular county every year, and you will receive a lecture and watch a video on the importance of communication and commitment to proper child rearing during and after a divorce.

8. The Courts Are Interested In Settlement Progress.

During the divorce process, the court will expect you and your lawyer to at least telephone in for Case Management Conferences to report on the progress of your case. After a few months, if no progress is made in reaching a settlement, the court will assign you a trial date. Most divorce cases, about 95 out of 100, are settled before going to trial.

9. Your Case Information Statement Is At The Center Of Your Case.

You will be expected to fill out a Case Information Statement, which is a court-approved form that contains significant information about your economic life, including lifestyle expenses, assets, liabilities, income, health insurance, and other insurance benefits and the like. Both sides must complete these forms. They are a critical part of the case because the courts rely upon them, in part, in the event the litigants cannot come to a consensual resolution. You may need to retain experts to value assets and you have an absolute right under court rules to do so.

10. Always Behave Appropriately In Court. The Judge Is Always Watching You.

  • Do not make faces, ever. If your spouse lies like a rug, do not roll your eyes or shake your head. No matter how much you want to, a judge might think you are being childish or that you are faking your reaction.
  • Do not speak out in court.
  • Follow your attorney’s instincts. This is a tough one if you’ve been very involved in planning the strategy of your case and now your lawyer wants to do something you think is wrong. When you are at trial, it is not a good time for the camp to be divided. If you feel very strongly, and there is a sound basis to your thinking, present your idea to your attorney. However, unless you are also an attorney, or you are very certain you are right (which might be based on your knowledge of your spouse), do not give your attorney ultimatums.
  • Do not argue with your spouse’s lawyer. If you are too angry to speak, wait or take a sip of water before continuing to testify.
  • Avoid sarcasm.
  • Avoid crossing your arms while you are on the witness stand.
  • Do not doodle. The judge might notice and it will look as though you just do not care.
  • Do not talk to your spouse in court without good reason (i.e., scheduling parenting time with the children). Usually, there is just too much emotion for communication.

Contact Our Somerset County Divorce Lawyers Today

If you’re about to go through a divorce, having a competent attorney in your corner is paramount. Contact the Somerset County divorce lawyers at the Law Offices Kisha M. Hebbon, LLC today.

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