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Do I Need a Lawyer for My Divorce?
Many people who try DIY divorces often find themselves in a mess, ultimately needing to retain an attorney anyway. Let’s discuss everything you need to know.
The biggest concern when it comes to divorce is the sheer cost and time investment of the process. The reality is that divorce is a great equalizer in that regard. You, or your soon-to-be-ex, may want to file for your divorce without an attorney to save money. You might even be asking, “Do I really need an attorney for this?” However, many people who try DIY divorces often find themselves in a mess, ultimately needing to retain an attorney anyway. Let’s discuss everything you need to know so you can make an informed decision.
An Experienced Family Law Attorney Is the First Person You Should Consult
Every case of separation and divorce is different. Even if you’re an attorney or have been divorced before, you still need to discuss your current circumstances with an experienced divorce lawyer.
You need to ensure you’re thinking about all the laws and ins and outs of the legal system that you can’t possibly know, all the assets you have and want to keep, and the future. Plus, you need to do all of this with a level of emotional detachment.
Depending on where you are emotionally when you consult an attorney, you likely haven’t thought about all the financial aspects of a divorce. Therefore, you need an attorney and most likely a financial advisor. They’ll give you advice tailored to your unique situation. You can decide if you want to have their support while you go through the process.
You’ll need to talk with at least one attorney to discuss what’s in your best interest concerning:
These areas are important for you to discuss the legal ramifications of any decisions you make with an attorney who’s on your side. You also don’t want unresolved issues lingering after your divorce. If you finalize your case “on your own” and then remember a minor detail, you may have to go back to court (and pay more court fees) to adjust your divorce decree. With an experienced attorney on your side, they’ll be sure to cover all aspects of your agreement.
New Jersey Is a 50/50 Divorce State, Isn’t It?
The term “50/50 state” means that the marital assets are split down the middle, with each partner taking half of the assets. However, New Jersey isn’t a 50/50 state.
In New Jersey, assets in a divorce will be divided equitably, meaning that the distribution will be fair, but not necessarily equal. Additionally, the judge will have a lot of latitude when it comes to deciding how best to divide the assets. That’s why it’s so important that you hire an experienced divorce attorney or use a mediator for your divorce.
This won’t be a simple 50-50 split. Your attorney will know what factors go into dividing the property and assets and can make sure that the outcome is favorable for you and your needs.
Hiring an Attorney Could Cover Your Attorney Fees
In some cases, you may not have to pay your attorney’s fees. If your spouse makes significantly more than you do, then you may be able to make a motion to have your fees covered by your spouse. This isn’t a guarantee, but it’s a possibility under New Jersey law.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Get a Divorce in New Jersey?
While you don’t technically have to hire an attorney for your divorce, we highly suggest that you do so. Even if you’re going through an amicable or “friendly” divorce, you never know how quickly that can change. Your attorney can advocate for you and make suggestions that will ensure that your best interests are protected.
Even In Uncontested Divorces, the Paperwork Filing Process Is Overwhelming
New Jersey divorces aren’t easy when it comes to the paperwork. If you’re filing an uncontested divorce, one party still must start things by filling out all the necessary paperwork.
This means you’ll have to draft the divorce complaint, a summary of your marriage, and what you’re asking the court to grant you in the divorce process. You’ll also need to complete other forms including the summons to require your ex to be present on the court date, as well as have your ex served with those papers.
You’ll also need to file your settlement agreement in the county where you and your spouse are living when you file for divorce. In addition to filing these forms, many have fees which must be paid when filing.
All these forms plus the mandatory deadlines to complete them can be problematic and time-consuming. That’s why an attorney and their staff can help you to ensure that all these things are handled correctly.
Do I Need an Attorney to File My Divorce Case in NJ?
Even the New Jersey court system suggests that you hire an attorney to handle your legal cases including divorces. The legal process is never easy, especially for a layperson, and attorneys are trained to know how to follow the appropriate procedures to complete the necessary paperwork.
Want To File for Divorce on Your Own? Consult a Family Law Attorney for The Best Legal Advice
An experienced family law attorney can give you several advantages. Not only can they handle all the paperwork, but they can compile all of the data into a Marital Settlement Agreement for the finalization of your divorce.
Even if you have drafted your own agreement (or if your ex has done this instead), you should hire an experienced attorney to look over the fine print to make sure there’s nothing hidden that can come back to haunt you later.
Invest In Your Future by Consulting a Family Law Attorney That Works for You
Divorces aren’t just expensive when it comes to the actual process. They can be incredibly expensive when it comes to your later lifestyle including asset distribution, alimony, and child support. That’s why a good family attorney is an important investment to protect your legal and financial best interests.
Contact the Expert Family Law Attorneys at Smedley Law Group in Woodbury, NJ Today
If you’re thinking about filing for divorce, you’ll also most likely be dealing with another matter like child custody, child support, or division of assets, so you’ll need to speak with a qualified attorney. The New Jersey family law attorneys at Smedley Law Group represent clients throughout the state, including West Deptford, Woodbury Heights, Runnemede, and Westville. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at (856) 251-0800 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 750 Cooper Street, Woodbury, NJ 08096.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.