One of the first questions we often receive from new clients involves the cost of divorce in NJ. Certainly, a divorce impacts the entire family financially through property settlement, alimony, and child support. But most people are more concerned with how much money will be needed to obtain the actual divorce.
Many factors can impact the cost of divorce. While some are in the control of one or both of the spouses, others are not. Regardless, it is important not to become so focused on keeping costs down that you fail to pursue what is best for you and your children.
Issues the Parties Cannot Influence that Impact the Cost of Divorce in NJ
There are many costs that parties to a divorce proceeding cannot control or influence, such as these:
- Court filing fees for documents such as the initial complaint and motions, which are set by the court
- The cost of experts, such as custody evaluators and financial experts, which are set by the experts themselves
Issues the Parties Can Influence that Impact the Cost of Divorce in NJ
Divorces that are contested and contentious cost more than those where the spouses agree on important issues such as property division, alimony, child custody and visitation, and child support. But before you conclude that it is better to just agree on everything, read on.
Unfortunately, true agreement on these important issues is rare. In fact, often, even when the parties seem to get along well, circumstances change as the case moves along. And it only takes one contentious spouse to throw things out of line.
When that happens, the amicable spouse may choose one of two responses. First, he or she may go along with the demands of the contentious spouse. This usually results in the amicable spouse suffering in the long run, whether through a less-than-fair property settlement, a less favorable alimony or child support arrangement, or a less-than-desirable child custody or visitation. Obviously, the decision to just “go along” can impact the parties’ children, as well.
In the alternative, the amicable spouse may choose not to accede to unreasonable demands. When this happens, the actual cost of the divorce can increase significantly. NJ divorce lawyers charge by the hour. Generally speaking, every time an issue is contested by one spouse, the amount of time the lawyer must spend performing legal research, drafting motions, and appearing in court rises.
However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. The cost of involving an experienced NJ divorce lawyer early on in these cases can easily offset or even eclipse the value lost due to a contentious spouse.
Think of what is at stake in your divorce: likely a house, more than one car, retirement plans, child custody and visitation, potential alimony, and child support. In most families, it is best to pursue a fair resolution to a divorce; there is just too much to lose. And the best way to do that is by hiring an experienced NJ divorce attorney to protect your interests.
While the cost of divorce in NJ—as elsewhere—can be substantial, a divorce can cost you more in the long run without proper legal representation. Contact me, Elizabeth Rozin-Golinder, by filling out my Contact Form or calling (732) 810-0034. As a family lawyer located in East Brunswick, I have years of experience as a NJ divorce attorney, and I'll put my experience to work for you and your children.