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Regardless of the circumstances involved, getting divorced is never an easy process. While there are steps that spouses can—and generally should—take to ensure that the process is as smooth as possible, the complexity of the issues involved means that navigating the process successfully requires the advice and representation of an experienced Millville divorce lawyer.
At Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A., we take a comprehensive and cost-conscious approach to the divorce process. We understand that you are approaching divorce out of necessity, and we know that you want the process to be over as quickly and inexpensively as possible. When you hire one of our Millville divorce lawyers, you can expect your lawyer to handle your divorce
efficiently and focus on favorably resolving all issues while avoiding unnecessary disputes that have the potential to lead to litigation.
When approaching the divorce process, there is a lot you need to know. No two divorces are alike, and in fact, one divorce can be very different from another. From the outset, there are critical decisions you will need to make with the advice of an experienced divorce lawyer. For example:
Under New Jersey law, spouses in Millville have the option to choose between filing for a fault-based or no-fault divorce. For many spouses, however, filing for a fault-based divorce only offers limited benefits, which won’t necessarily outweigh the benefits of the relatively streamlined no-fault divorce process. The grounds for pursuing a fault-based divorce in Millville include:
● Extreme physical or mental cruelty
● Institutionalization or imprisonment
In contrast, to file for a no-fault divorce in Millville, a spouse must only demonstrate that either:
● There has been a breakdown of the marriage lasting at least six months and resulting in irreconcilable differences; or,
● The spouses have lived separate and apart for at least 18 months and there is no
Reasonable expectation that they will return to cohabitation. Most of our clients file for a no-fault divorce. This is certainly the easier route, and it avoids the
need to prove that your spouse has engaged in conduct constituting “fault” under New Jersey’s divorce laws. So often, filing for a fault-based divorce can lead to private matters becoming very public, and it can also lead to combative disputes that seemingly take over all aspects of the divorce. In contrast, when filing for a no-fault divorce in Millville, pleading “irreconcilable differences” is a fairly straightforward process, and making a no-fault filing will often facilitate
amicable and good-faith settlement negotiations.
The concept of settlement is fundamental to the divorce process. Even if both spouses are 100% in agreement regarding the terms of their divorce (referred to as an “uncontested divorce”), they will still need to enter into a settlement agreement that makes the terms of their divorce legally binding. In “contested divorces,” when the spouses disagree on one or more issues, the primary focus of the divorce process will be on negotiating terms to which both spouses can agree.
Even when spouses are prepared to pursue an uncontested divorce, it is still very important for each spouse to have his or her own legal representation. Frequently, spouses overlook issues when working to come to terms on their own. This isn’t a shortcoming but rather a product of the complexity of the divorce process. An experienced Millville divorce lawyer can help ensure that
you have thoughtfully considered all issues, and your lawyer can draft an appropriate settlement agreement which he or she can then submit for court approval.
Regardless of whether you pursue a fault-based or no-fault divorce or whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, there are several key issues you will need to address during the process. The seven most important issues during the divorce process include:
Divorcing spouses in Millville must divide their marital assets according to New Jersey’s equitable distribution law. This law requires consideration of several different factors when deciding what is fair (or “equitable”) in light of the circumstances of the spouses’ divorce. Some examples of these factors include:
● The duration of the marriage
● The standard of living established during the marriage
● The spouses’ respective contributions to the marriage
● The spouses’ respective ages and health conditions
● The spouses’ anticipated economic circumstances post-divorce
Crucially, the requirement for divorcing spouses to divide their property only applies to “marital assets.” Assets that either spouse brought into the marriage will be considered “separate assets” in most cases, and they will not be subject to division. Assets can qualify as “separate” in various other circumstances as well.
Along with dividing their marital assets, divorcing spouses in Millville must also divide their marital debts. Here, the same basic equitable distribution rules apply. Just as divorcing spouses must carefully identify their marital assets, they must also assemble a comprehensive list of their marital debts. Common marital debts include:
● Mortgages and home equity lines of credit
● Car loans
● Credit card debt
● Student loan debt
● Medical debt
For spouses with minor children, establishing child custody rights is perhaps the most important aspect of the divorce process. This involves developing a parenting plan that meets the spouses’ individual needs while ultimately focusing on the best interests of their children.
Parents in Millville have a variety of options when it comes to establishing a parenting time plan during the divorce process. While traditional custody-and-visitation arrangements remain fairly common, more contemporary options such as co-parenting and bird’s nest custody are also growing in popularity.
Divorcing parents who have minor children must also address child support. In New Jersey, both parents have an obligation to provide financial support for their unemancipated children regardless of their marital status. In most cases, establishing the parents’ financial obligations involves applying New Jersey’s Child Support Guidelines, though departures from the Guidelines will be necessary for some circumstances.
While establishing spousal support is not mandatory, divorcing spouses will be entitled to this support (also referred to as alimony) in many cases. Similar to property division, there are a variety of factors that divorcing spouses must consider when crafting an appropriate alimony award. Our Millville divorce lawyers have significant experience negotiating favorable alimony awards for both paying and receiving spouses.
Generally speaking, college tuition and expenses do not fall under the umbrella of child support in New Jersey. As a result, divorcing parents will typically need to address these costs separately during the divorce process. There are various mechanisms for ensuring that both spouses continue contributing to their children’s college savings after their divorce, and our lawyers have significant experience guiding clients through this process.
Finally, a key focus in any divorce should be avoiding post-divorce complications. This is most easily achieved through a comprehensive and detail-oriented approach to the divorce process. While it is always possible for unexpected issues to arise, by thoroughly addressing all relevant issues, divorcing spouses can significantly mitigate the risk of facing disputes down the line.
The amount of time it takes to finalize a divorce depends on the circumstances involved. If both spouses are generally on the same page and willing to negotiate in good faith, they can generally expect the process to be over in a matter of months. However, if divorce litigation is necessary, the process could take a year or longer.
If you are contemplating a divorce, there are several reasons to put an experienced lawyer on your side. Some of the ways a Millville divorce lawyer can help you include:
● Preparing and filing all necessary legal documents
● Making sure you don’t overlook any important issues
● Helping you thoroughly evaluate your options
● Helping keep the divorce process amicable and negotiating a mutually agreeable resolution
● Advising you on if (and when) it makes sense to take your divorce to court
Divorce mediation is a highly effective tool that spouses can use to resolve conflicts during the divorce process. If you think you could benefit from mediation, your lawyer can communicate with your spouse’s lawyer to try to make this happen.
To start the divorce process in Millville, you will want to schedule an initial consultation with a local divorce lawyer. Your lawyer will explain everything you need to know, guide you through your next steps, and help you begin making informed decisions about your divorce.
If you want to speak with a divorce lawyer in Millville, we invite you to get in touch. Please call 877-435-6371 or tell us how we can reach you online to schedule a confidential consultation.
Don’t let your rights be jeopardized.