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Avoiding Bad Divorce Advice

By Jamie Berger, Esq.

Morris County NJ Divorce and Family Law FirmDuring the divorce process, many people will turn to friends and family for support and advice, and rightly so. In fact, having a support network to lean on during the divorce process is something most Morris County divorce lawyers and mental health professionals would recommend that a person do.

However, there are a number of commonly given pieces of advice which can be misleading, and even just flat out wrong. Obviously, your friends and family aren’t purposely trying to lead you astray, but at the same time laws relating to various aspects of divorce frequently change over the years, nullifying some of the things an older friend or family member may tell you, while others times a well-meaning person can give you advice which may be detrimental to a positive, healthy, and successful divorce process.

When it comes to seeking advice and counsel from friends and family during divorce, here are a few of the things you may be told which are either no longer accurate, or may actually cause your divorce to be a much more difficult, time-consuming, and expensive process than it ever needs to be.

“Get Out of Your House As Soon As You Can”

Morris Plains Divorce Attorneys

In extreme cases, such as when domestic violence is a concern, leaving the family home during divorce as quickly as possible can be a prudent measure. Barring this, leaving the family home before taking certain legal steps can actually be quite detrimental in terms of child custody. By leaving your home, you are establishing the precedent that your spouse is the primary caretaker of your children, and as such may not secure the kind of child custody and visitation rights you might like to.

Instead, before rashly leaving your home during the divorce process based on the advice of a friend or family member, it is highly recommended that you speak with an experienced Morris Plains divorce attorney about securing a temporary child custody agreement first. There are several different ways to go about doing this, and many different reasons why you most likely should before leaving your home.  To learn more about this process and its various benefits, please view our temporary child custody page here.

“You Can Get Back at Your Spouse by Securing Lifetime Alimony or More Child Custody”

Denville Divorce and Child Custody Lawyers

There are several distinct problems with this type of advice. First, using your divorce to “get back” at your spouse will almost always backfire on you as an individual, as well as your family. By unnecessarily litigating agreements instead of finding more constructive solutions, you are essentially spending much of the money you might be able to expect as part of your division of assets agreement, and endangering the future economic welfare and stability of your family.

Second, while “lifetime alimony,” which legally known as open duration alimony, used to be commonly awarded during divorce, New Jersey’s alimony laws changed significantly in 2014, making it so that open durational alimony can only be awarded when a marriage lasts for twenty years or more, absent exceptional circumstances. Otherwise, alimony can only be awarded for the same number of years that the marriage lasted, unless, again, exceptional circumstances exist (although this type of alimony known as “limited duration alimony” is much more commonly awarded for a length of time equivalent to about half the length of the marriage).

Finally, using your divorce’s child custody agreement simply to get back at your ex will probably hurt your ex, but more importantly it will hurt your children. Not to mention, New Jersey law is of the belief that children should spend as much time as possible with both of their parents following a divorce, so barring extreme circumstances you should most likely expect to share parenting time of your children with your ex on a relatively equal basis.

“Hide Some of Your Assets so You Don’t Have to Split Them with Your Ex”

Randolph Equitable Distribution Attorneys

As tempting as it may be to hide assets or funds from the equitable distribution process, whether because you fear for the survival of your business, for example, or simply don’t feel like your spouse deserves a portion of those assets, the risk is never worth the reward.

If it is discovered that you have lied about or hidden certain assets or finances, not only might you be penalized in your divorce litigation for engaging in such behavior, but the additional legal fees and maybe even expert fees to deal with that issue in your divorce will cause both you and your spouse further financial harm. Of course, if you are wealthy enough to have assets you think might be worth hiding, your spouse is wealthy enough to hire an experienced and skilled Randolph equitable distribution attorney, one who almost certainly will have the resources and ability to easily discover said hidden assets.

Contact Our Morris County Divorce and Family Law Firm Today

Considering all of these commonly given, but ultimately ill-advised, pieces of divorce advice, it is probably a much better idea to leave the legal advice to your lawyer, and the personal advice to your friends, family, and other support networks.

At Jacobs Berger, our attorneys have extensive experience effectively and attentively advising, guiding, and constructively resolving all manner of divorce and family law issues for our clients in towns across northern New Jersey and Morris County, including Denville, Morris Plains, Randolph, Madison, Morristown, Dover, East Hanover, Florham Park, Morris Township, and more.

With a unique approach to family and matrimonial law centered around constructive and creative problem-solving, our firm is ideally suited to helping you and your family resolve your divorce and its various related agreements of child custody, child support, alimony, and marital asset division in a manner which not only protects the financial and emotional stability of you and your family, but lays the foundation for continued success as you and your family adapt to changing circumstances.

To speak with one of our family law and divorce attorneys today in a comprehensive and confidential case assessment regarding your divorce, any kind of post-divorce modification or enforcement issue, or any other kind of family law matter, please contact us online, or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 710-4366.

Contact Our Morristown Attorneys Today

At Jacobs Berger, our attorneys are experienced in protecting our clients across Madison, Randolph, Tewksbury, Morristown, and the greater Morris County area in all family law-related issues.

To schedule a strategic planning session with one of our experienced team members regarding your particular case, please contact us online or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 354-4506.