Get Answers to Your NJ Divorce & Family Law Questions

10922563_10152519607281175_951460366111270209_nOn our Facebook page, we asked people to share questions they have about divorce and other family law-related matters. We received questions about everything from how to file for divorce in New Jersey to how to change the terms of a divorce settlement. Some of the highlights from our Q&A can be found below. Do you have a question concerning divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, asset division, or other related matters? Please note that we are now taking questions on our website! Submit your question via our web form and an answer from us will shortly be heading your way. It is free and easy to use and completely confidential.

Question: I just filed divorce papers and he was served today. Now what? I am trying to figure out what happens next and already feel overwhelmed and confused. I want out of my marriage, but I don’t want to make any mistakes. – Mandy

Answer: Hi Mandy, first of all, you are to be applauded for asking for help so early on in your divorce! We actually find that people who take time to learn about the divorce process tend to be the same ones who end up with divorce settlements they feel good about. We focus a great deal on client education at our firm because we know firsthand that in divorce, knowledge is power. This is also why we created Divorce 101: The NJ Divorce Process, a brand new (and free) resource for anyone to use. The information is designed to replace all those feelings of confusion with feelings of confidence about your options. You can watch the actual video of the Divorce 101: A link at the bottom of the page will take you to the written slides for further reference. We wish you the best.

Question: Both of us know the marriage is over and want out, but since neither of us is rushing out to marry someone new, can’t we just live separately? It seems like it would save a lot of money. – Neil

Answer: Hi Neil, we know there can be many reasons why it might seem like a good idea in the moment to just remain separated indefinitely — even if you both know deep down inside that the marriage is irretrievably broken. If you think there’s any way you can salvage your marriage, then by all means, we hope you get the help you need to reconcile. As for your plan B of indefinite separation, we wrote a blog not too long outlining some of the key financial risks this kind of arrangement can result in: What we see most frequently is that if the couple’s relationship takes a sour turn, marital assets (i.e. the family home and/or bank accounts and investments) suddenly become a battleground and result in more court costs and headaches that if the couple had opted for a divorce. Only you and your spouse will know what’s best for you, but we hope this gives you food for thought!

Question: I just filed for divorce yesterday (1/5/2015). How long before my divorce is final? – Randy

Answer: Hi Randy, the benchmark set by the New Jersey courts is one year (12 months) from the time of filing to when the divorce is final. Of course, divorces with fewer matters to settle (i.e, no kids and little property) tend to be settled more quickly than divorces dealing with more complex issues. Where are you on this spectrum? WLG’s Bari Weinberger recently made a great video explaining this in detail, as well as other factors that can lengthen (or shorten) the time it takes: Thanks for the question & we hope this information helps.

Question: My husband and I own a business together (a restaurant) and are now divorcing. He invested money in the restaurant, but I am the one who actually manages it. What will happen to the restaurant in our divorce? It’s my livelihood, but he’s now saying that he wants to sell and split the money with me. Can I stop this? – Veronica

Answer: Hi Veronica, in situations where a spouse has helped run the business, or has invested and/or in any way has a stake in the business, what becomes of this business asset will need to be a matter settled in your divorce. In cases where one spouse wants out, but the other spouse wants the business to continue, we’ve found that mediation can be especially effective in helping spouses negotiate a mutually agreeable resolution (here’s more on divorce mediation: If he is really set on selling, you might want to start thinking about the kinds of bargaining chips you have to offer. If you’re not sure, we encourage you to speak to an attorney who can help you prepare strategy. Also, we have an excellent blog post describing some common scenarios that can happen with businesses in a divorce. We encourage you to give it a read: If you would like to discuss your matter further, please schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.

Question: I want to file for divorce, but the thing holding me back is money. How do I cut the cost of getting a divorce? – Sharon

Answer: Hi Sharon, we hope it can put your mind at ease to know that several options are available to help couples keep divorce costs to a minimum. Depending on the issues involved in your divorce, you might want to start by investigating mediation, a process in which you and your spouse hire a family law mediator to settle your differences yourselves, rather than leaving it in the the hands of a judge. Compared to going to court, mediation can result in considerable cost savings (as well as saving you both time and stress). The relatively low cost of mediation is probably why it is growing so rapidly in popularity among NJ couples. You can learn more about mediation here: Other lower cost divorce options include arbitration and collaborative divorce. Like mediation, these are “alternative dispute resolution” (ADR) methods of achieving divorce. More information on ADR can be found here: Thank you for your question!

Question: How do I find a good lawyer for my divorce? I am very concerned about making sure I get equal custody of my kids. – Ryan

Answer: Hi Ryan, when it comes to finding the right attorney for your divorce or family law matter, we suggest looking for a New Jersey family law attorney. The “family law” part of this is important because this means the lawyer focuses their practice area on the kinds of issues you will encounter. With the stakes as high as they are, it’s unlikely that you would want a tax attorney to handle your child custody arrangement. To get some names, ask your friends, family, or coworkers who have dealt with a family law issue for their recommendations. Once you have a list, it’s a good idea to choose a few possible lawyers and then interview them to find out their background and see who you feel most comfortable with. In your case, ask questions about their experience with child custody matters and see how they feel about your case. We have more tips on how to find a lawyer here: Hope this helps!