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DIVORCE-WHEN YOU LET IT ALL OUT OF THE BAG, SOMETIMES THERE IS NO TURNING BACK, EVER, BEWARE
You may have heard the stories, you may have been through it, you may know people who have been divorced, but all divorces are not created equal. A divorce can be one of the biggest life changing events in a person's life yet people do not think it through. I am not saying whether a person should file a divorce or not, but it is how you go about it that is critical. While certain people may be trying to ignite the fire, trying to guide you, giving you advice that they know nothing about, it is important to speak to a legal professional about your options. You do not have to start a war to get what you want in a divorce. With some give and take, you and your spouse can craft an agreement through divorce mediation that you both provide input towards and an agreement that you can live with. While you may not get everything you want, at least a Judge is not making the final decision who does not know you, who is handling hundreds if not thousands of cases each month. Working with a skilled divorce attorney who can mediate, the attorney can help you resolve issues concerning: alimony, separate property, division of assets, the marital home, investments, retirement assets, tax deductions, parenting time, residential custody, college costs, child support, health care, debts and so forth.
DIVORCE COURT- IT IS NOT LIKE IT IS PORTRAYED ON TV
While people think they would rather have a Judge decide the issues that will affect their lives and the lives of their children than decide for themselves through divorce mediation, they may not realize how a divorce court really works. While some seek to "have their day in court," what they do not realize is the fact that the New Jersey Divorce and Family Courts are so busy that while you think a Judge can listen to every statement you make, know every aspect of your case, it is not true. The Judges are so busy that they prefer when agreements are made so that both parties have input into their divorce agreement.
When people watch television, they see people in court and juries that pay close attention to every statement, every piece of evidence and then the jury reads their verdict. In family court, a jury does not exist. The Judge is the trier of fact and referee. The case is not continuos, so while you feel you may be able to present your case while the Judge pays attention, the Judge will only give your case dates that are available on the Judge's calendar. So for example, you may have a trial set for March 5 at 10am, there may be another trial that day, there may be emergency hearings, there may be settlement meetings all vying for the Judge's attention. You may start the case on the 5th, and then the Judge may see come back on March 27th at 10am, then after that April 15th and so on and so on. Why is this important? Again while you believe you will have your day in court, your case will gain and lose momentum because of the lack of consistent court dates and the hectic schedule of the courts and Judges. In short, do not risk it unless you have to.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO TRY AND SETTLE YOUR CASE WITH A DIVORCE LAWYER WHO DOES NOT REPRESENT EITHER OF YOU BUT SEEKS TO RESOLVE YOUR ISSUES
Many people do not know that one lawyer can be hired to mediate the issues between the parties in a non-binding and more relaxed environment than the court house. The mediator will provide you with the time to listen to what you want and apply the New Jersey laws to help you reach a resolution. Both parties have the ability to discuss the issues privately with the mediator and then the mediator will break down the issues and help the parties reach a resolution that the court will accept.
This approach keeps both parties vested in trying to resolve the issues without going back and forth to court and without getting too ugly as many facts or concerns (cheating/infidelity) have nothing to do with the economic issues in the case, nor child custody (unless the child was neglected, etc). Another factor to consider is that if you do not agree with the mediator's final determination, you do not have to sign the marital settlement agreement and can fight in divorce court without any of these issues/negotiations being permitted to be used against you in the divorce proceedings.
Cost- While a divorce trial will cost anywhere from $10,000 to $150,000 plus, with a mediator, you have dedicated time in the lawyer/mediators office and instead of two lawyers being paid for all the preparation, wait time, trial time, travel time, negotiation time and so on, the mediator's time will be more efficient. While the lawyer will charge you hourly, you will have more control over the cost. In a trial situation, if the Judge tells you to be there at 10am and the case does not start until 2:30pm, you just paid a lawyer 4.5 hours just to wait around. That 4.5 hours could have gone toward the mediator and toward progress.
THE CHOICE IS YOURS
In the end, the choice is yours. You may think you have such a strong case because of XYZ but when you get to court, the rules of evidence prevail and XY cannot be considered by the court. Aside from the complex rules of evidence, the court may not think your case is as strong as you and your lawyer think it is. You have the choice to try and negotiate terms with the help of a divorce lawyer/mediator instead of wasting your time in court for an unknown ruling.
If you are ready to discuss how this process can help you and your family, contact my team in our Jersey City headquarters on 201-706-7910 today or visit our informative website on www.topjerseycitydivoreclawyers.com.