While current New Jersey law does not require a divorcing spouse to retain an attorney, it is wise to hire one. Even amicable divorces can sour as the case proceeds, and irreparable consequences can occur without parties having proper legal representation.
Retaining a skilled divorce attorney can help safeguard your best interests and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the divorce process.
Can I Represent Myself During My Divorce?
Although it is not required that you retain an attorney during your divorce, it is not advisable to represent yourself. Common issues are often overlooked by inexperienced litigants during settlement negotiations. These include:
- Life insurance: Life insurance benefits can be addressed as a safety measure to secure child support and/or alimony should the payor spouse die before his/her financial obligations end.
- Retirement: Mishandling how retirement funds will be divided can lead to significant tax penalties.
- Child custody: It is important to understand the various aspects of child custody arrangements when negotiating your divorce. Ambiguous or missing custody language in the divorce agreement can result in difficulties for your children and lead to unnecessary and costly post-judgment litigation.
How Will a Divorce Attorney Help Me?
Regardless of how amicable you and your spouse consider your own situation to be, divorcing is a stressful and traumatic experience. Court appearances, required filings, and court deadlines can often overwhelm people. A divorce attorney can help you by:
- Verifying your residency and determining venue: Regardless of where you were married, if you have not resided in New Jersey for a sufficient amount of time, you may not have obtained residency for purposes of filing a divorce. An experienced attorney can assist you in determining whether you can file for divorce in New Jersey and, if so, what county has proper venue.
- Determining your grounds: Your attorney will work with you to identify the grounds for the divorce and gather supporting proof for the court if you are the spouse filing the Complaint. If you are the spouse receiving a divorce Complaint, your attorney will work with you to properly file the required responsive pleadings in a timely fashion.
- Filing: Your attorney will assist in the preparation and filing of all paperwork by the required deadlines. If you are the filing spouse, this will include the process for properly serving your spouse with the Summons and Complaint.
- Negotiating the agreement: Your attorney will negotiate with your spouse or your spouse’s attorney to craft a marital settlement agreement that properly addresses the division of property, custody and parenting time if children are involved, and adequate alimony and child support, if applicable.
- Representing you in court: If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreeable settlement, your divorce will move into the court system, where a judge may ultimately make the decision for you at trial. Should your case go to trial, it is crucial to have a divorce attorney by your side to protect your interests and navigate the process.
New Jersey Divorce Lawyers at Lepp, Mayrides & Eaton, LLC Represent Clients During Divorce Proceedings
The decision to divorce is not easy and the experience can be stressful and overwhelming. Our experienced New Jersey divorce attorneys at Lepp, Mayrides & Eaton, LLC can shoulder some of the stress and anxiety for you and make certain your best interests are represented. Call us at 908-800-7676 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is located in Somerville, New Jersey, and we serve clients throughout Central New Jersey, including Somerset, Hunterdon, Warren, Morris, Mercer, Monmouth, Union, and Middlesex counties.