While most people entering into marriage are hoping that “for better or worse” applies to their long lives together, if you’re getting divorced, you might feel it’s equally applicable to the divorce process.
During your divorce, you and your partner may make many different decisions. Some may feel small or inconsequential, such as who keeps the kitchen table or who stays on your shared phone plan. Others may feel monumental, like dividing your retirement accounts or negotiating parenting time.
These decisions, both big and small, can be highly nuanced. What’s more, they carry a lasting impact. As you consider your options, working with a trusted legal advisor may bring clarity and confidence as you move forward. Here are seven reasons we recommend finding an attorney that fits your goals.
Seven Reasons to Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney
1. Emotions are high
Divorce can be one of the most challenging emotional experiences of your life. Many of those emotions can be attributed to a fear of the unknown. How will the divorce impact your children? Your assets? Debts? Even your income?
Wherever fear is present, conflict can quickly follow.
With legal counsel present, many couples are able to achieve a more amicable divorce despite the discord. An attorney can help you focus on what is most important to you and find areas where you can productively compromise. Some divorcing couples even find that the process helps them lay the groundwork for a more agreeable relationship afterward.
If communication with your spouse becomes hostile, aggressive, or abusive, working with an attorney can help reduce conflict. A family law attorney can act as a conduit for communication and negotiation, giving you an opportunity to focus on your future and start healing rather than wasting your energy on unnecessary arguments.
In short, an attorney can help clients stay focused on what’s next, rather than grappling with the past. We’re here to help you separate the emotion from the legal proceedings and assemble a strategy that lays the foundation on which you can begin building your new life with confidence.
2 . You have children
In any divorce, child custody, child support, and parenting time can be hot-button issues. You’re focused on advocating for the best interests of the youngest members of your family—and ideally, so is your spouse. Regardless of your marital status, you both want to spend as much time with your children as possible.
Unfortunately, these situations may become contentious because spouses have different views of what’s best for the children.
An experienced divorce attorney can help you advocate for your children and find solutions that are in their best interests. They can also help you understand different ways of approaching the open issues with your spouse, including alternative conflict resolution methods, such as mediation and arbitration, to help, to the extent possible, collaborate with your co-parent and come up with creative solutions that work for everyone.
3. You have prior legal agreements
Did you and your spouse sign a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement? An attorney can walk through how these types of agreements may factor into your divorce and the subsequent outcomes. Alternatively, if you feel that your spouse has violated the terms of the prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, it’s important to have an attorney discuss with you how this will impact your strategy for crafting a divorce agreement.
4. You want to avoid costly mistakes and delays
You might think that certain terms that you and your spouse are talking about seem fair and reasonable, but if you aren’t careful, you could end up foregoing things you might not know you were entitled to. Many people don’t know all of the nuances of the laws in the state of New Jersey, never mind how they impact finances, child custody, and other aspects of a divorce settlement.
A knowledgeable family law attorney can help you navigate the legal system so that you avoid making decisions that could harm you or your children in the future. A lawyer can also assist with effective negotiation or zealous litigation as necessary, so you can rest assured that your rights are protected.
5. Finances are a concern
The divorce process can easily become overwhelming when financial concerns are introduced. If any of the following situations apply to you, we recommend consulting a family law attorney:
- One person owns their own business
- You have many marital assets or debts
- One party is requesting alimony
- Child support is necessary
- You have a child with special needs
You will also need professional legal counsel if you and your spouse have a high net worth. All of your high-value marital assets and liabilities must be valued and distributed appropriately, including:
- Businesses and professional practices
- Expensive personal property
- High-end jewelry
- Real estate
- Valuable arts and collectibles
In any of these scenarios, specific disclosures and documents are necessary to distribute marital assets equitably. Knowing which pieces of sensitive information to track down and where to send them can be daunting.
Working with a family law attorney who is familiar with financial documents, high-net-worth statements, and more can help you streamline this process and advocate for a settlement that protects your financial future.
6. You don’t know where to start
The court system can be complicated and COVID-19 compounded that in many ways, including how the court does business. For example, some documents may now be filed electronically and some court appearances are now virtual.
An experienced divorce attorney can be a great asset because they ensure that you follow all of the proper procedures, include accurate documentation, and uphold the court’s rules throughout the entire divorce process. Their extensive knowledge of case law can also be an asset, since tackling legal research alone can seem daunting.
7. You’re future-focused
Sometimes, the stress of the divorce process makes it feel never-ending. Rest assured, though, it will end. Consulting an experienced divorce attorney means that you’ll be well prepared for what comes after your divorce has been finalized.
At Jacobs Berger, we focus on developing creative solutions that lay a strong foundation for your future in the weeks, months, and years after a divorce. You don’t have to figure out the legal process alone! Contact our team to coordinate your strategy planning session.