How to Prepare for Divorce in NJ
No one plans to get divorced. When folks get married, they expect that the relationship will last a lifetime. Unfortunately, life does not always work out the way we hope. Around 40 to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. Divorce is one of those strange events, however, that is common in the aggregate but which most people will only experience once in their lifetime, if at all. When you realize your marriage is coming to a close, what can you do to prepare yourself? What steps should you take? Read on for a few tips on how to prepare mentally and financially for your pending divorce from our experienced New Jersey divorce and family law attorneys.
Get Educated About the Process
The scariest things are those that are unknown. The more you can learn about the divorce process, including filings, court proceedings, hearings, depositions, options for a collaborative divorce, etc., the better. When you speak with your attorney, ask all of your questions about what to do, what to expect, and what not to expect. Ask trusted friends or family members who have been through divorce what to expect, and do your own research online. When you know what is coming, you will not only be better able to prepare and protect yourself; you will also alleviate much of the stress and anxiety that divorce can bring.
Divorce can be a challenging process mentally, physically, and emotionally. Go into the process expecting it to be a marathon, not a sprint, and that it will take its toll. It is important to know that you are not in this alone, no matter how isolated you feel. You have friends and family that love and support you. Recognizing these sources of support, and leaning on them, can alleviate much of the burden of divorcing.
Divorce counseling is also extremely helpful. Therapists who specialize in divorce know how to help you work through the variety of emotions and issues that arise as a result of divorce, including anger, grief, guilt, residual feelings for your former spouse, and others. We highly recommend professional counseling for divorcing parties who are able to get it.
Collect and Review Your Personal and Family Finances
Much of the divorce process involves disputes over finances. Division of property, child support, spousal support, division of liabilities, etc., all depend on the state of each party’s finances. You and your attorney will need to gather all of your financial records and all information you have about your spouse’s finances in order to assess what you have, what they have, which assets are separate and which are marital. Get copies of all financial documents, including bank statements, paychecks, credit card statements, investment account statements, loan application information, tax returns, mortgage statements, retirement account statements, and other financial documents relevant to your situation. You will need to disclose all of your finances early on in the process, and it is important to be both honest and thorough to avoid any negative consequences from the court.
Prioritize Your Goals
No matter your circumstances and the state of your relationship, divorce involves compromise. Neither party will walk away with everything they could have wanted from the proceeding. Start making a list early on of what you want most from the divorce. Are there specific assets you want to keep, such as the car, the house, or a collection of art or jewelry? What kind of custody arrangement do you prefer, if you have shared children? The more you focus on your goals for the process and the more you think about the future rather than the past, the better your attitude and the stronger your position will be throughout the divorce.
Consider Alternative Dispute Resolution
If you and your spouse are on good, or at least amicable, terms while divorcing, it is worth pursuing alternatives to traditional litigation. Collaborative divorce, mediation, settlement negotiation, and arbitration all offer paths to resolution of child support, alimony, property division, child custody, and all other issues attendant to divorce, without going through protracted, heated litigation. These alternatives tend to be more streamlined, costing less time, money, and emotional energy than traditional litigation. If you and the other party can keep things neutral and professional, some form of alternative dispute resolution is preferable, even if just to resolve some of your divorce disputes.
Our Professional New Jersey Divorce Lawyer Is Here to Help
If you need seasoned legal help with child custody, divorce, child support, alimony, or other family law matters in New Jersey, contact the Union offices of family law attorney John B. D’Alessandro at 908-964-0102.