If you are considering divorcing your spouse or if your spouse has indicated that he or she intends to divorce you, you probably have a lot of questions. As you begin the next chapter in your life, the decisions made during the process and the outcome of your divorce can impact your future for years to come.
Because there is so much at stake, it is important to fully understand your rights under New Jersey law. It is also important to make sure you understand what to expect from the process.
When you meet with a Passaic County divorce attorney for a consultation, you will have an opportunity to ask questions so you can make informed decisions.
What to Expect When You Meet with a Divorce Attorney
It is understandable to be apprehensive about meeting with a divorce attorney for the first time. When you choose an experienced lawyer, you can have some peace of mind knowing that he or she has likely handled cases similar to yours in the past.
During your initial consultation, your attorney will ask you a series of questions. Being open and honest will help your lawyer evaluate your case. The specific circumstances of your situation will guide the direction of your conversation.
In general, you can expect your attorney to talk about various options and considerations for your divorce. New Jersey law provides for both “fault” and “no-fault” divorces and recognizes a variety of grounds for filing divorce. If you have children who are minors, your lawyer may also give you situations to think about related to custody and child support.
Sometimes, the spouse contemplating a divorce may be hesitant to consult with an attorney out of a fear that their husband or wife will find out about the meeting. You can be confident that whatever you share in your meeting with a Passaic County divorce attorney will remain confidential. Privacy and confidentiality are key tenets of the attorney-client relationship.
Understanding the Process of Filing for and Finalizing Your Divorce
While divorce can certainly be intense, it is possible to have a more collaborative divorce where you and your spouse agree on the major issues. The goal is to protect your rights and interests while finding solutions that your spouse can agree to.
The matters you and your spouse will need to determine in your divorce include the following:
- Property division (assets and liabilities) – Your marital property will be divided equitably in your divorce (but not necessarily equally.)
- Alimony – Spousal support may be awarded to allow both spouses to maintain the standard of living they had during the marriage.
- Child support – Child support in New Jersey depends on a number of factors and is calculated using a specific formula.
- Child custody – If you have one or more minor children, it is critical that custody decisions be made in their best interest.
If you want to file for divorce in Passaic County, you will need to file a complaint with the Passaic County Family Division. The complaint will need to be “served” on your spouse, who will have a specific time period during which to respond to the complaint. You will need to clearly understand and articulate what outcome you are hoping to receive for each of the critical decisions discussed above.
Your case may involve hearings or trial proceedings depending on the circumstances. Your divorce will be finalized when the court issues a Final Judgment of Divorce.
Choosing a Passaic County Divorce Attorney
Hiring a divorce attorney to represent you is smart, even for a relatively straightforward divorce proceeding.
You have rights under New Jersey law. Your divorce attorney will help you understand those rights and will advocate for you. It can be tough to stand up for yourself when you are facing the emotional hurdles that come with a pending divorce.
When you are searching for the right Passaic County divorce attorney to represent you, look for someone with the following qualities:
- Choose an attorney who has represented others in Passaic County Family Court.
- Your lawyer should be sensitive and compassionate about what you are going through, yet tough when fighting for your rights.
- Some attorneys know the law inside and out, but don’t do a good job of translating legalese into plain English.
- Choose an attorney who stays away from jargon and who explains things so you can understand them.
- During your consultation, your lawyer should give you an opportunity to describe your situation and to ask questions. Stay away from an attorney who doesn’t seem interested in the specifics of your case.
Divorces are rarely uncomplicated. When you choose to work with an experienced, knowledgeable Passaic County divorce attorney, you will have an advocate in your corner, helping you get past this difficult time in your life and protect your future.