How to Prepare for a Divorce
Divorce is difficult, but coping with this life-changing event can be made easier if you adequately prepare for it ahead of time. This means taking steps to protect both your emotional and financial interests. Consulting with a divorce lawyer from our Roseland, Bridgewater, or Bergen offices may help if your divorce is contentious or you and your spouse are unable to come to terms on asset distribution, custody, and other matters. Whatever route you choose to take, the below guidelines can help you prepare for your divorce. Though these recommendations are not all-encompassing and should not be taken as legal counsel, they may prove helpful to you and act as a map of sorts as you navigate the next few months of your life. If you would like to speak with a divorce lawyer, we invite you to contact the law firm of Snyder Sarno D'Aniello Maceri & da Costa LLC today.
Gather Paperwork Related to Finances
Having a thorough grasp of the household finances is extremely important in a divorce, as it provides you with leverage and allows you to make decisions based on actual information rather than assumption. Whether you are in charge of household finances or not, it is important that you get copies or originals of all recent financial documents pertaining to expenses, income, investments, taxes, and other finances. These may include:
- Bank statements
- Credit card statements
- Investment account statements
- Retirement account statements
- Mortgage statements
- Property tax statements
- Loan application statements
- Tax returns (ideally, copies of at least the last five years)
During a divorce proceeding, it may be difficult to obtain copies of these documents if you don't already have them in place. These documents can prove invaluable during negotiations involving the distribution of finances, as well as those relating to alimony, child support, and other matters. A divorce lawyer from one of our New Jersey offices can go over these documents with you in person and outline a course of action.
Start Saving Your Own Funds
If you and your spouse have decided that divorce is the only option for you, we highly recommend that you start putting your own funds into savings. Taking this step will allow you to have liquid funds on hand should you require a divorce lawyer or have other divorce-related expenses, and it is the first step to becoming financially independent following your divorce. If you are not in charge of household finances or have become dependent on your spouse's income, you need to take steps to gain financial independence. Though asset distribution, alimony, and child support can help you financially, you must not depend on these as there is no way to guarantee that the monies awarded will be sufficient or even that you will be awarded them in the first place. By setting aside money now, you provide yourself with a better chance of making it through the divorce with some financial stability.
Review and Decide on the Type of Divorce
Not all divorces require a divorce lawyer. At our New Jersey offices, we are happy to provide counsel and guidance should you feel it's necessary, but for some couples, no legal counsel is needed. To determine whether you or your spouse needs a divorce lawyer, you should first consider which type of divorce is right for you. Understanding the type of divorce you are undergoing can help you prepare for it, both mentally and financially. Divorce can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. Understanding this can make the divorce process much easier to bear; divorce is an emotional burden that can be made even more difficult if it poses a financial burden as well. There are a wide variety of legal divorce options, including:
- Pro-Se - acting as your own representation before a court; perfect for couples with little to no assets and no children.
- Legal separation - state-recognized separation, legally distinct from divorce.
- Mediation - an option for couples who are unable to come to terms on various issues, but have no reason to go to court.
- Collaborative - ideal for couples who are seeking an amicable split and fair distribution of assets.
- Traditional - typically the most costly option as legal counsel and representation are often necessary in order to protect your interests.
If your divorce is contentious, you should consider soliciting the services of a divorce lawyer. At our offices, we represent clients from throughout New Jersey in matters involving divorce, child custody, alimony, property division, and other domestic issues. We can help ensure that your rights are protected and your interests are represented in court.
Solicit Counsel from Experts
If you are undergoing divorce, you likely will benefit from some type of professional counsel, even if you and your partner don't require the representation of a divorce lawyer. For couples who are undergoing mediation or a collaborative divorce, seeking help from certified financial planners and divorce financial analysts can prove greatly beneficial. As mentioned above, having financial records on hand during these consultations can help you, your financial planner, and your spouse determine the distribution of assets as well as matters such as alimony. Seeking the services of a certified divorce financial professional can save you time and money, as well as help ensure that asset distribution is equitable. Even in the event that your divorce is amicable, you likely will have many questions regarding finances - certified financial planners can help answer these questions. Should you require legal counsel, however, a divorce lawyer from one of our offices can help.
"I was involved in a VERY complicated and tumultuous child custody, divorce, domestic violence case for two full years. I was fortunate enough to be represented by one of the top matrimonial teams in the state of NJ, and the outcome in my case exceeded my every expectation." - Former Client"Paul personally stood by my side and represented me throughout my injury case. Whether it was business at hand, advice, or a late night phone call to help me understand what was going on; he never took a step back towards helping me. I knew that I could call on him at any time . My case was very successful and I attribute that to Paul's dedication . He even came to me during a snow storm when I could not make it to his office. I certainly would recommend him to anyone." - Former Client