Today, Your Legal Corner will discuss “Tips to decrease the cost of divorce.”
It seems each week there is news of another Hollywood marriage coming to an end. Recently, fans of the TV show “The Voice” learned that two stars of the show, Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani were an item after divorcing from their respective spouses. While celebrities can afford to spend big bucks on their divorce, most people rather spend their money on things other than lawyers.
Divorce can be an unexpected event. The end of a marriage may leave both spouses feeling angry, bitter and looking for revenge. Importantly, the more turbulent your divorce, the more likely you’ll see your hard earned money being spent on lawyer fees. However, there are many steps you can take to minimize the financial impact of divorce.
It is extremely important to do your homework when meeting with your lawyer. Make sure you have all personal data about yourself and your children including dates of birth, addresses, social security numbers and all health information. You should also have all marital information including when and where you were married along with any prenuptial agreements.
Your attorney will want to know about your financial situation including your assets and liabilities, financial accounts and employment information. Importantly, in order to determine whether something is marital property, your attorney will need to know when the property was acquired.
The more issues that can be resolved between the parties, the less that has to be litigated by the lawyers. If you have children together, can you decide on a plan to share custody and visitation time? You know your schedule better than the court so it makes sense to attempt to resolve these issues on your own.
How about personal property? Can you reach an agreement regarding who gets what personal property? Resolving or narrowing these issues can significantly reduce the amount you may need to pay your lawyer.
If you are unable to resolve certain issues on your own, there is still an opportunity to resolve issues without going to court. New Jersey court system provides for economic mediation such as equitable distribution and support.
Mediators have gone through court-approved training and are required to contribute the first two hours including preparation time at no cost to the parties. Mediation allows the party to create their own agreement and all the proceedings are confidential.
The most important consideration in any divorce situation is to be realistic. You need to realize that no litigant ever gets everything they want. Be reasonable and do not blame your lawyer or the court for giving you a “raw deal.” The more cooperative and honest you are with your lawyer, the more likely you will be able to amicably resolve your divorce and move on with your life.
After all, while it may be interesting hearing about the latest celebrity divorce, the goal of any divorce is to simply allow the parties to move forward with the next chapter in their lives!
Till next time, God bless, keep smiling, when Your Legal Corner, will discuss “What you should know about the Legalization of Marijuana.”
Victoria M. Dalton is an attorney with the law offices of Hoffman DiMuzio.
Send questions, or comments to Victoria at [email protected] Or call 856-845-8243.
Please note that Your Legal Corner was created to provide educational articles about the law and is not legal advice. Click here to view other YLC articles.