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DIY Divorce in New Jersey: (Most People Really Do Need a Lawyer)


The internet is an empowering information tool, and there are tens of thousands of do-it-yourself-divorce resources available at your fingertips. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. In fact, most people really do need a divorce lawyer.

We say this not simply as divorce lawyers, but as staunch advocates of fairness in the New Jersey family law system. Although it may seem that practically anything is possible if you do enough online research, the reality is there are certain things truly best left to those who have studied and practiced for years. Divorce law is one of those things. The stakes are simply too high to leave your personal and financial well-being to chance.

Some examples of divorce cases wherein getting legal advice is strongly recommended:

  • Any situation involving a history of domestic violence or allegations of domestic abuse.
  • Spouses/partners who disagree about child custody arrangements.
  • Your spouse has already hired a divorce attorney.
  • You or your spouse is in the military or lives in a foreign country.
  • Either spouse owns real estate or personal property of substantial value (individually or jointly).
  • You, your spouse or your child(ren) receive public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), SNAP (food stamps), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid or others – particularly when you’re concerned about obtaining spousal support/alimony/child support from your spouse.
  • Anyone seeking alimony or spousal support.
  • One or the other spouse has a sizable pension.
  • You have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place.
  • Either spouse is involved or was recently involved in a personal injury lawsuit.

We recognize that not every family law client requires the same level of legal services. Couples who shared a relatively short marriage with no children, few shared assets and asserting no-fault grounds for divorce may get by with very little guidance, and perhaps a relatively quick mediation process to resolve any loose ends. Even then, however, a little legal advice can go a long way in assuring the entire process runs smoothly and you’re spared from unpleasant surprises.

New Jersey Divorces Can Be More Complex Than You Realize

Even with relatively simple divorce cases, parties still must contend with:

  • Gathering all appropriate information and records (and there are a lot);
  • Deciding what you want the court to grant you in the divorce (alimony/spousal support, division of property, division of debts, insurance policies/premiums, child custody/parenting time/support, etc.);
  • Preparing and reviewing forms, maintaining calendar to track all important dates and deadlines, filing documents with the court and ensuring proper service of documents;
  • Conducting discovery to ensure you have all the information your spouse provided;
  • Negotiating a pre-trial divorce settlement;
  • Potentially taking a divorce case to trial before a judge (presenting records, examining witnesses, etc.).

Courts do not grant much leeway to individuals representing themselves in divorce cases – even if your spouse has an attorney. If the outcome of your case is not one with which you’re satisfied, requesting a change can be arduous and requires proof of a significant change in circumstance. Better to get it right the first time.

An experienced East Brunswick divorce attorney can help explain your rights, help you appropriately interpret statutes and correctly and timely complete all relevant legal paperwork. This is the best avenue to a swift – and fair – dissolution of marriage in New Jersey.

To learn more about filing for divorce in New Jersey, contact Rozin | Golinder Law today at (732) 810-0034.