contested divorce

Financial Divorce FAQs

How do I survive financially after my divorce? How can I save money in money in my divorce? Will life ever feel back to normal? Get the answers to these, and other frequently asked questions, about how to emotionally and financially survive divorce in New Jersey:

How can I financially survive after my divorce?

It is almost impossible to avoid some level of financial readjustment after divorce. Both parties now must maintain separate households while shouldering the obligations of spousal and child support and perhaps paying off marital debts. It may be that you must reduce your financial lifestyle while you adjust to your new living situation, such as moving to a smaller home, spending less on entertainment and vacations or putting off retirement. Planning a budget for during and after divorce may prove helpful. Contact your financial advisor for tips and strategies that best fit your lifestyle.

What is the difference between separation and divorce?

Separation from your spouse only means that the two of you are no longer living together, but you are still officially married. New Jersey does not recognize legal separation. As long as you and your spouse are still married, all obligations, such as financial obligations remain the same. If entitled, you can file for child and/or spousal support when you are separated, without filing for divorce.

When should I begin financially separating from my spouse?

The sooner spouses begin amicably separating their finances, the easier the divorce process will proceed. You may wish to obtain separate bank accounts, although keeping one joint account to pay marital expenses will be helpful. You may also agree to divide existing back accounts and existing debt. You may also agree to sell the marital home, if neither of you wishes to or can afford to remain in the house. Do not remove your spouse’s name, transfer any monies, sell any properties or change any insurance without your spouse’s knowledge and agreement.

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.

Here’s it for instance; we might have met you at an initial consultation and have a feeling that you would be reasonable-minded and you have an assessment about what the overall issues will be and that you’ll be compromising and fair and reasonable in the situation at hand. But what we don’t know yet is who the other person is on the other side. Is that person going to come to the settlement table with a like mind? Or is that person going to come and not cooperate? Meaning, they’re going to turn a deaf ear or they’re going to be unreasonable, and ultimately going to increase extra costs and inflate the expenses just by virtue of the fact that they are difficult to deal with.

What I can tell you is that in the State of New Jersey, lawyers bill on an hourly basis. That means that the more time it takes, the more it ultimately costs. We don’t bill on a flat fee and we don’t bill on a contingency basis, that means that ultimately I’m not going to get a third of your house when the case is over. Not like in a personal injury matter when an attorney takes one-third or some percentage of the ultimate award.

What are some things I can do to save money in my divorce?

This is a really important question and one that everybody should take the time to stop and think about as they enter the divorce process, because the divorce process is a really expensive one and the costs escalate as you go forward. One thing to be mindful of is the more you talk to your lawyer and the more you communicate, even by email with your lawyer, those charges are accruing. So one thing that you can do is to figure out what your questions are over a period of time, write them down, and contact your lawyer at a designated time. Once a week, once every other day… Figure out a particular period of time. But if you email your lawyer four or five, six times a day, you’re going to be charged for those communications, each and every one of them. Also, be mindful that while your attorney might want to be sensitive to your needs and be that ear that you need and listen to all of your issues, sometimes it’s a little less expensive to go to a qualified counselor or therapist in the capacity of that type of mental health situation versus your lawyer, especially if your therapist is in your insurance plan and you only have to pay a co-pay versus your attorney’s rate. That is an area where you can save a tremendous amount of money.

Can I force my spouse to pay for my legal fees in a divorce or family law matter?

There are certain appropriate circumstances where one spouse should absolutely be held accountable for the legal fees of another spouse. For instance, bad faith litigation tactics. When one spouse is not being cooperative in the legal process, or is somehow thwarting the discovery process, failing to provide legal documents when it’s mandated, or otherwise not participating when they’re supposed to be participating, judges are allowed to award legal fees to compensate the frustrated spouse, if you will. There are also occasions when an earning spouse may be required to pay for the litigation fees of a non-earning spouse. So, if there is a disparity in earnings or some type of financial disparity, one judge or another may, in fact, level the playing field, if you will.

How do I survive emotionally after my divorce?

It is without question a difficult time in your life, dealing with separation and the end of your marriage. It is completely natural to go through a grieving process and need time to adjust. It can also be emotionally difficult for children during this process. Lean on your friends and family during this chaotic time, and if needed, seek the help and advice of a professional counselor or divorce therapist.

How do I survive the divorce with children?

It is important to remember that children as just as emotionally effected by divorce. Take care to not involve them in the process to the best of your ability. And, take care of yourself. It is impossible for you to care for your children if you do not care for yourself, first.

What should I tell my family and friends about my divorce?

It is up to you what you wish to share with your friends and family members. This is a difficult time and details are personal. Allow your loved ones to support you when you need it, but do not feel pressure to take anyone’s advice if that advice goes against your wishes.

Can you give some examples of other professionals we might need for divorce proceedings?

One of the most common experts that’s needed in a divorce and family law proceeding is the custody expert. So oftentimes when parents are having disputes over child custody and parenting time, arrangements or plans, well, they need to get some type of psychological forensic expert involved who is there to perform a best interest custody evaluation. So the expert comes in and they meet with the parties, they meet with the children, they meet with them individually, they meet with them in combination, and they render ultimately a report, and that report gives ultimately recommendations about how custody and parenting time should be decided. And the judge weighs whether or not that report should help make a decision. Also forensic accountants render reports as to business valuations or tracing of assets. We also find appraisers for assets such as pensions or personality. There are a whole host of experts. When you go and you meet with your divorce and family law attorney, that particular expert will meet with you and talk to you about the relevant additional professionals who might be needed in your specific case, given the issues in your matter.

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