FAQs: Divorce in NJ Part V

Do You Think I Should Get a Divorce?

Only you will ever be able to answer this question. However, in my decades of practice, I have found that there are certain patterns that often lead to someone getting a divorce in NJ. If your spouse has committed infidelity (especially multiple times), that sort of indicates a lack of basic respect for you. Once the lack of respect leaves a marriage, it is difficult to reclaim. Couples who do not respect each other often get divorced. Similarly, if the parents are unable to work together and compromise, this can be toxic. Imagine trying to co-parent with someone with whom you fundamentally disagree, and who refuses to meet you in the middle. This leads to a blockade in communication and trust, rendering a marriage irrelevant. If one spouse is unwilling to make the relationship work, then it might be time to consider moving on.

How Much Will a Divorce in NJ Cost Me?

If you decide to go it alone, you will certainly save attorney's fees. However, there are unseen costs associated with filing a divorce pro se. If you have a large estate, major contested custody issues, or cannot agree on anything, you will probably save yourself time by hiring a lawyer. Hiring a lawyer will also ensure that you have filed everything right and that your divorce decree is enforceable and correct. Filing a complaint in New Jersey will cost you around $250.00, no matter if you are representing yourself or with a lawyer. You'll also pay at least $25.00 for a parenting class if you have children. If you decide to invest in a lawyer's services, you can expect to pay between $100-$400/hour, depending on the jurisdiction and that lawyer's experience. Most will request a retainer up front, which can range between $2,500.00 and $10,000.00.

How can I Save Money if I Decide to Hire a Lawyer for My Divorce in NJ?

First, being reasonable and willing to negotiate with your spouse can go a long way in reducing lawyer's fees. The more a couple fights, the longer and harder a lawyer must work for you. If there are highly contested issues, then you might need to hire third-party experts, like property appraisers, child psychologists, or even lawyers who will represent the best interest of the children. If you want your divorce to be relatively inexpensive and stress-free, come to the table with an open mind and be willing to negotiate. Additionally, making sure you pick the right lawyer - not necessarily the cheapest - will ensure you mitigate the costs of getting a divorce in NJ.

How do I Choose a New Jersey Divorce Lawyer?

First, think about the kind of experience you want your lawyer to have. You should find someone who practices family law. They will know the procedures, complex legal statutes, and sometimes can even get an idea of how your judge will rule on a matter. You want someone who is experienced, even if someone fresh out of law school might be a better deal. Remember, you are dealing with your money and your children - two of the most important things in someone's life. Of course, if you recognize your attorney's name through their work in the community or publications, this is another great sign you've got a competent professional. Any special credentials, like certifications from the New Jersey Supreme Court, can help you know that the lawyer is recognized in their own community for excellence.

How can I Make Getting a Divorce in NJ Easier?

First, hiring the best lawyer to reach your goals will go a long way to ease your mind. There are other things you can do to ensure you stay healthy and sane while getting a divorce. Don't be afraid to talk it out, or even get professional help. There are hundreds of therapists who have experience in helping individuals deal with a failed marriage and the divorce process. They will help you find tools and coping mechanisms to ensure you can move forward successfully and not get stuck obsessing over your ex. Getting a divorce is a great time to focus on you and your own future. If you've had interests that have maybe been pushed to the side, now's a great time to start exploring! Maybe you've always wanted to visit a foreign country or take a language class. Take time to pursue your own interests and give yourself something to look forward to that is just about you. Think of it as a respite from the stresses of life and the divorce.

Is There Anything I Need to do Once the Divorce Paperwork is Signed and Finalized?

Unfortunately, yes - the process does not end just with the final decree and clap of a gavel when getting a divorce in NJ. First, make sure your property is actually divided. Stay on top of your lawyer to ensure that any closing documents, like deeds transferring property, or qualified domestic relations order dividing up retirement, are actually drafted or properly recorded in their respective agencies. Next, decide if you need to change your will and beneficiaries to reflect your new relationship status. Make sure all your insurance companies know about your divorce - including your health insurance, car insurance, and even homeowner's insurance. Often, you will find that you're paying to ensure things that aren't even in your possession any longer. Make sure everything is up to date with them. Make sure you've changed any joint accounts to ensure the other party cannot gain access to your bank accounts. The best thing to do is close any joint accounts and open up a brand new one in your name only. Finally, start preparing for the future. Think about speaking to some personal financial advisors to take stock of your new financial situation and help you to invest and save.

If you want to read more information on divorce, see Frequently Asked Questions About a Divorce in NJ - Part 1, Frequently Asked Questions About a Divorce in NJ - Part 2, Frequently Asked Questions About a Divorce in NJ - Part 3, and Frequently Asked Questions About a Divorce in NJ - Part 4. If you have more questions about getting a divorce in NJ, contact the law offices of Peter Van Aulen today at 201-845-7400 for a free, initial consultation.

Client Reviews
Peter has integrity, and values his relationships with his clients beyond his financial relationship with them. For me to say this about any lawyer is really saying something. He is compassionate, straightforward and knowledgeable. I would easily recommend him to anybody. Lewie W.
Peter Van Aulen handled my case with great diligence and integrity. He is also a compassionate individual who realizes what a difficult time divorce can be emotionally. Peter works hard and doesn't take any shortcuts in preparing for a case… I highly recommend Mr. Van Aulen and his staff. Chuck Solomon
Peter is an exceptionally great attorney. He handled my child custody case and was able to ease any of my concerns with honest answers. He always took the time to explain the pros/cons and was always available to answer any questions that I had… I would highly recommend this attorney to anyone who is looking for one. Jessica Cruz
Peter Van Aulen is a very compassionate, honest and straightforward person. He was there for me at my lowest point with a genuine concern not only for my situation, but for me and my child's well being above all… He is fair and he is strong and when push comes to shove he is there for you. Cathy Dodge
Our cousin used Peter's law office to help with a sticky custody situation. He was extremely responsive, very nice and most importantly did an awesome job with the court! He is awesome. Lawrence Polsky

*Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances