Divorce in New Jersey – FAQs

Get the answers to how much it costs to get a divorce in New Jersey, and more in the following divorce FAQs:

Generally, how much does it cost to get a divorce in New Jersey?

The costs associated with the divorce process vary based upon the complexities of your case and whether or not you hire an attorney, a mediator or any experts. There is a set filing fee to file your paperwork with the court ($350.00 plus any parenting education program cost.)

How much will my divorce cost if my spouse and I agree to everything?

If you and your spouse have come to an agreement regarding your property, support, your children, and all other issues, your divorce is uncontested and should not be as costly as a contested matter involving many court appearances and paperwork. If you hire an attorney, they typically bill you by the hour, so the less time you and your spouse spend in heated litigation, the less you will naturally spend on counsel fees.

How much does it cost to get divorced in New Jersey?

Everyone wants to know what the total cost is going to be to get divorced in the State of New Jersey. The reality is it’s just an answer that can’t be provided and it’s not because divorce lawyers are trying to be evasive or sneaky in any way. The reality is we just don’t know because your matter is going to be different from anybody else’s matter. Your issues are going to be different from anybody else’s issues and candidly speaking, we don’t yet know all of the factors that need to be known in order to even assess how much it’s going to cost.

How do I find the best divorce attorney for me?

Finding the right divorce lawyer is such a personal decision. What you need to understand is that you have to have absolute confidence and trust in this person’s ability to take on your most personal and intimate interests. Not only your finances, but your children. What could be more personal? So, go meet with the prospective attorney and make sure that that person is well equipped on the issues of family law. Make sure that that person’s every day is dedicated to family law and divorce related issues. After all, you want to make sure that this is their specialized trade. You want to make sure that they deal with this issue day in and day out and they understand the nuances necessary to handle your specific issues. You also want to make sure that they understand what is important to you and that they’re listening to what your objectives and your goals are. So go and meet with the person if it’s possible. You want to know if this attorney is someone that you just get a good vibe from. Is this someone who you can just sit down and talk to? Is this someone who is going to have your best interest at heart? And is this someone who’s going to fight for you and your family?

How much does a consultation with a divorce attorney cost?

The divorce and family law attorneys at Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group, LLC provide prospective clients with an initial consultation where you get answers to your questions and understand your next steps. Costs associated with other law firms can vary.

What are typical attorney’s fees for a good divorce lawyer in New Jersey?

Family law attorneys typically charge their clients on an hourly basis, and in New Jersey, the typical hourly rate ranges from $225.00 per hour to $500.00 per hour depending on the attorney’s experience and qualifications. Attorneys may ask for a retainer (a lump sum of money paid at the beginning of the case that is then billed from) and retainers can vary from $3500.00 to $10,000 depending on your case.

What should I ask my divorce attorney at my initial consultation?

When you go and you meet with a divorce and family attorney for a consultation, my suggestion is that you go with an already prepared list of questions so that when you leave, you don’t have that moment of panic that you left and you didn’t ask that one question that you really wanted to know. Because when you’re there, you’re probably going to be nervous and forget some of the things that you had anticipated asking while you were there, because time goes by pretty rapidly. Here are some of the things that you’re going to want to ask. Number one is, “How long do you think this matter will last? How much do you think this particular case will cost from start to finish? Do you think my expectations are reasonable? What do you anticipate the ultimate outcome will be?” And candidly, what is the strategy of the attorney in moving forward with your case?

How much does it cost to serve divorce papers on my spouse in New Jersey?

Divorce papers are typically served through a professional process server, and the fee is generally $300.00 for service of a complaint for divorce. Divorce papers can also be served through the local sheriff’s office. If your spouse has an attorney, he or she can accept service of the papers on his or her behalf, if they agree to do so.

What is the cost if I have to have a divorce trial?

While it is always difficult to predict the exact costs associated with a trial, if you have an attorney representing you, divorce trials can be quite costly, because of the amount of time that must be spent to properly prepare and represent you at a trial. It is in your best interests to work with your spouse and your attorney to reach an agreement in your divorce case.

How much does a “do it yourself” divorce cost in New Jersey?

Some people make the decision to represent themselves in their divorce case. If you have no issues at all and are merely seeking a divorce from your spouse, the cost to obtain a divorce decree could be minimal. However, very few divorces truly have no issues, so it is wise to consult with an experienced family law attorney before attempting to navigate the divorce process on your own. Frequently, mistakes made during DIY divorce process lead to unexpected expenses and mistakes that cost more to fix than what would have been spent to work with an attorney.

Is the divorce process less expensive if we have been married less than five years?

The length of the marriage itself has no bearing on the potential cost of your divorce. The filing fees are the same and although your marriage may be short-term, there may still be issues regarding division of property, child support, alimony and insurance.

What documents should I bring to my consultation with my divorce attorney?

When you’re going through your initial consultation with your attorney or shortly thereafter, there are certain documents that you should consider bringing to the attorney to make the process more efficient so that the attorney can give you advice immediately, because you’re going to want to talk to the attorney about your specific situation rather than in generalities. So, some of those documents are, for instance, the past three years of tax returns if you have them, the past three years of W-2 statements or any other 1099s or compensation documents such as pay stubs. You’re going to want to bring to the attorney any financial account statements such as IRA statements, 401K statements, pension documents, any bank account statements: not just in your name, but in your spouse’s name. If you hold account statements as joint custodians for your children, you’ll want to bring those to the lawyer as well including 529 account statements for college education.

Coupled with that, you want to make sure that the tax returns are not just personal tax returns; you want to bring business tax returns. So, if you and your spouse, or either one of you, have an interest in a business entity make sure that your attorney is aware of it whether that business entity is an active participating business where you’re currently working at that business, or if it’s just a silent partner kind of interest. You want to make sure that your attorney also has access to a fully completed case information statement. This is a document that is nothing short of the lifeblood of your actual divorce. It’s going to be utilized by the court and your attorney is going to need it, whether it’s going to be in form of discussions with the judge or presentations at court or otherwise in preparing your settlement papers. The case information statement identifies all of your respective incomes, yourself and your spouse. It also identifies your monthly budget. That is for your shelter expenses, your transportation expenses and your personal expenses. Not just for you but for your spouse and any children of the marriage.

On top of it, you want to make sure that that case information statement includes an identifiable, accurate and completed list of all assets and liabilities, everything that you know. Liabilities being credit card statements, outstanding, not just those that are being paid every single month but those that have revolving charges. Any mortgages, home equity loans, outstanding medical bills, car loans or car leases, make sure it’s in there. Your attorney’s going to need to know.

I’m getting a divorce and think my spouse is monitoring my computer activity, what should I do?

First things first. Here’s what you want to do, absolutely, get a new email account. You want to make sure that any communications that you’re having with your lawyer, your confidant in this particular situation is not going to be a family email account or an email account that your spouse has access to or knows your passwords. Change all your passwords. Make sure that everything that you have access to on the computer is secure and protected and private and known only to you. If you’re communicating with your attorney, you want to make sure that all of those communications are protected and confidential. You want to know that all of the strategizing and negotiations are going to be private between you and your legal counsel. Your representative and you do not want to be tipping your hand and showing your cards to your adversary at any point in time. If you feel it necessary, bring in a computer forensic. Have that person come in and check out to see if there are any bugs on your computer system. You want to make sure that there’s no monitoring going on your computer at any time because you need to feel secure in this situation.

How to I obtain a certified copy of my divorce?

You can obtain a certified copy of your divorce which includes the stamp of the Superior Court Clerk by submitting a records request form and payment of $25.00 to the courthouse in the county where you were divorced. If your case is very old, you may have to request the document from the Office of the Superior Court Clerk. Please note that you may be charged additional fees if you wish to have your marital settlement agreement certified, as well. Contact the Clerk’s office for more information.

Does a divorce affect your credit?

Simply seeking a divorce or getting a divorce will not negatively impact your credit. However, missing payments on your mortgage, credit card bills or support payments can affect your credit. Running a credit report before and after your divorce can help you identify any payment issues, as can signing up for credit monitoring plan for the first few months after divorce.

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