Our unique E-Divorce service in New Jersey is making it easier for unhappy couples to end their marriage and move on with their lives even with the COVID-19 lockdown. But as is the case in any divorce, there are things that a couple working their way towards an amicable end to their marriage need to do as part of preparing to E-Divorce online.
The list parallels what anybody beginning the divorce process needs to do. Here are five of the key things the family law attorneys at Micklin Law Group will need from a couple in order to help them complete their E-Divorce filing in New Jersey.
1 – Assemble your financial data.
This includes a detailed list of assets you own such as a home or car, money in bank accounts or retirement funds such as an IRA or 401(k) plans, and details of any mutual finds or stocks you might own outside of a retirement plan.
You also will need to prepare a list of outstanding debts such as the balance on a mortgage or car loans, personal lines of credit, outstanding credit card balances, money you may have borrowed from parents or friends, and any other IOU’s that you might have.
You also will need to assemble copies of your tax returns for the past three years regardless of whether you filed jointly or separately. While you are doing this, make a list of any benefits you’re still receiving from employers including life insurance benefits along with any policies either of you have bought on your own.
2 – Decide how you’ll split assets and liabilities.
This can be tricky, but there are ways to navigate some tough decisions. For example, if you own a home or condo and do not have children, many couples agree to sell the residence and split the money left over after the mortgage is paid off. If there are children and it is financially feasible, they usually agree that the custodial parent will stay in the house, selling it and dividing the proceeds when the youngest child graduates from high school or heads off to their post-secondary education.
In some ways, dividing debt may be relatively easy. If, for example, a couple has two cars, they can each assume responsibility for the loan or lease on the car they drive. The same thing can be done with credit card balances if the husband and wife each have their own; for purchases made for the home or the entire family, split it in half.
This also is a good time to open separate bank accounts if you’ve only had a joint account. But don’t move a substantial amount of money into it until after both the husband and wife have agreed on the financial split for their divorce.
3 – Resolve issues regarding children.
The most equitable approach is for the mother and father to decide to be co-parents. This would give both parents an equal say in how the kids are raised, their schooling and healthcare, and other matters that involve rearing a family. It may also eliminate the need to negotiate child support payments since the children will be spending equal time with both mom and dad. If the children are in their teens, consider doing what judges often do: Ask them with which parent they would prefer to live.
If for any reason it’s not practical to have children divide their time equally, they two things become necessary for filing a successful E-Divorce online:
- Work out a schedule for when the kids will be with the non-custodial parent
- Determine how much child support the non-custodial parent will pay each month. With so many people being laid off or having their hours or salaries cut, it is possible to agree that the non-custodial parent will pay X now and then pay Y after stay-at-home orders are lifted and people are working full-time again.
4 – Find a place to live.
Finding a new home or apartment isn’t as easy as before the pandemic, but many realtors and property owners are scheduling virtual “open houses” or tours of places that are available.
As part of dividing the marital assets, talk about who’ll keep the comfy chair in front of the TV and who gets the dishes. This way each person will know what they’ll need to buy to furnish and equip their new place.
Start by sorting what items each of you brought into the marriage including things a parent may have given as a wedding gift; that person is entitled to take it along now that the relationship is over. Don’t get bogged down squabbling about who gets the duvet or dish towels; it will sidetrack the process.
Speaking frankly as a family law attorney who has practiced for more than 20 years, I can tell you it won’t matter in the long run. Your goal is to end the marriage as amicably, easily, cheaply and simply as possible. This isn’t the time to “win” an argument over the wine glasses.
5 – Stay off social media.
This is one of the first things we tell all clients. An offhand comment on Facebook or Twitter meant as a joke can bring the E-Divorce online filing process in New Jersey to a screeching halt if your soon-to-be-ex sees it and gets angry, feels humiliated or is embarrassed.
Along this line, change the passwords on your phones and other devices as well as email and social media accounts. Snooping in his or her email, phone, tablet, or computer will work against you and may be considered as invasion of privacy under New Jersey law. It also goes against the spirit of an amicable E-Divorce.
We’re Here to Help You Through Your E-Divorce
As we’ve written at our FAQ page explaining our online E-Divorce service in New Jersey, the process is intended for couples who can agree on all aspects of their divorce without having to use attorneys to negotiate the details.
The E-Divorce attorneys in New Jersey are in touch with each other and the court as well as client files thanks to our electronic infrastructure. If you are a divorced man or father in New Jersey and wonder whether E-Divorce is right for you, we can meet with you in our Virtual Law Office or we can discuss your situation by phone at either 973.562.0100 in Nutley or, in Montclair, at 862.245.4620.
To schedule an appointment, please request a day/time here.