You’ve made up your mind to divorce your spouse. However, the prospect of actually following through with it - all the paperwork, appointments, lawyers, working out custody agreements, dividing your property - seems daunting.
Our Bergen County divorce lawyers know that in the early stages of your New Jersey divorce, you likely have a million questions and are deeply concerned about your kids, your finances and your future. The legal process can seem overwhelming. The good news is that by working with an experienced divorce attorney, we help you navigate it all step-by-step, so that you can regain control of your life and begin fresh with both confidence and peace of mind.
Take a Few Beats to Plan
Your initial instinct may be to hurry up and file for divorce immediately. Although this will start the process, it is wise to pause for planning. The steps you take in the early stages - where you file, when you file, and what you say in your paperwork - can dramatically impact the outcome of your case.
We recognize that you may have never planned to be divorced, but now that this is where you are, the best thing you can do is think both carefully and strategically about what you want and who can best help you.
Depending on your answer, you may be well-served by first gathering certain documents, doing a bit of research and talking with an attorney before any formal announcements or filings.
What Are Your Objectives?
Before you file for divorce, it’s wise to think about what you want from it. What do you want your life to look like? Where do you want to live? Where do you see yourself working? Do you need to go back to school? What would be your ideal child custody/parenting time arrangement? While you want to be realistic during this exercise, it’s a good way to figure out what is fundamentally important to you so that you can pick and choose your battles.
Make a list for your attorney that outlines your needs and wants, as well as the things you’re largely indifferent about.
You will also want to be open about the possibilities when you talk to an attorney. You may have a hardline desire or objection to certain aspects, but at least hear your attorney out. For example, lots of divorcing couples think right away that they want to hang onto their home. However, the reality is it might not be in your best financial interests to do so, yet you may be able to use it as a bargaining chip for other assets.
Choose a Bergen County Divorce Attorney to Represent You
One of the most important decisions you can make early on in your divorce is hiring the right divorce lawyer. You’re going to be depending on your lawyer to answer your questions, to be responsive, to be your advocate and act promptly when necessary. It’s important to choose someone who knows when and how to fight, but also when negotiating may be the best tactic.
Schedule initial consultations with a few different divorce lawyers before choosing one. These meetings are typically free, and will give you a sense of whether this is someone you can work with. Keep in mind you’re going to be sharing some very personal details with this person, so make sure it’s someone with whom you’re comfortable talking.
Some things to consider when hiring a Bergen County divorce lawyer:
- Make sure they are experienced in practicing family law. You wouldn’t go to a dentist for a broken arm. Attorneys have different practice areas. Some purport to be a sort of jack of all trades. They may technically be allowed to represent you, but the problem is the lack of knowledge and experience in the kinds of issues that are going to arise specifically in your case. At Rozin Golinder Law LLC, we exclusively practice divorce and family law.
- Be wary of a bulldog. Some lawyers build their brand on this type of persona, but combative tactics don’t necessarily translate to success, especially in family Court. Driving up the tension can actually be very costly for all parties involved. Yes, you need someone who can deftly advocate on your behalf, but that often means knowing strategically when it’s best to negotiate.
- Ask to see client feedback. What do their former clients have to say about their work? This may tell you a lot about what you can expect from them.
Before you formally file for divorce, you’ll want to have your documents in order. Collect any financial records you can find: Bills, legal agreements, property records, savings accounts, retirement accounts, insurance information, etc. Other records that can be helpful include tax returns, recent pay stubs, healthcare records, etc.
Essentially, you want anything that will show the assets and liabilities of the two of you, both individually and as a couple.
Once you have all these records, consult with your attorney about what you’ve gathered and they can advise you from there.
Contact our Bergen County divorce attorneys today at (732) 810-0034 to schedule an appointment.