When people in New Jersey contemplate filing for divorce, they often are stressed and anxious about an uncertain future. Because the divorce process means fundamental changes to the most intimate and basic aspects of people’s lives, they often are too preoccupied and apprehensive about the divorce process to consider how to properly plan and prepare for divorce. However, there are key steps that those contemplating divorce should take to protect their interests. Our New Jersey divorce attorneys at the Micklin Law Group have provided five crucial tactics for divorce planning.
1. Gather Financial Records and Documents
Once your spouse discovers that you are planning for divorce, your spouse may try to cut off your access to financial information to avoid equitable distribution issues. Tax returns, pay stubs, business records, profit and loss statements, 401K Statements, insurance policies and other documents may conveniently disappear. If you slowly make copies of these records, you will be in a much better position to anticipate approaches to the distribution of the marital estate and to prepare an appropriate position regarding alimony and child support. Other documents that you may want to copy so that you can share them with a New Jersey divorce lawyer include title documents, mortgage statements, vehicle registrations, evidence of lifestyle and similar evidence that may provide insight into the standard of living during the marriage or provide information about the value and encumbrances associated with assets and liabilities.
2. Discuss Your Situation with a New Jersey Divorce Attorney
The most important part of preparing for a divorce is coordinating your actions with an experienced New Jersey divorce lawyer. There is no “uniform divorce strategy” because every divorce involves its own issues so the appropriate approach must be customized to the unique facts of your divorce. When you discuss the case with your divorce attorney, your marital dissolution attorney will discuss custody and visitation, alimony, child support, distribution of assets and other issues to determine your priorities. These discussions will provide a foundation for building an appropriate divorce strategy.
3. Protecting Assets and Access to Funds
If you secure ownership documents like title records, you can prevent assets from being wasted, dissipated or hidden by your spouse. If you do not take steps to protect your access to financial resources, you may find that your spouse suddenly raids bank accounts or cuts off your access to monthly household income. When you discuss the case with your New Jersey divorce lawyer, you can talk about moving some portion of funds in accounts into a separate bank account so that you have funds to cover living expenses and to get your divorce started. However, you should rely on legal advice when employing this type of tactic because if it is not done correctly it can create problems later.
4. Remain in the Family Home If Possible
Many couples discuss one party moving out of the family home because it is too difficult to reside under the same roof when a marriage deteriorates. If you are the spouse that remains in the residence, you may have an advantage in the divorce. If you are the lower wage earner your spouse may even be ordered to make the mortgage payments. This will depend on your relative incomes. The other important reason to remain in the family home is to ensure that you do not have your access to your kids cut off by a vindictive spouse.
5. Prepare to Negotiate an Amicable Outcome
While the tactics above will prepare you for the potential of a high conflict contested divorce, this is rarely the type of divorce that will be in your interest. Scorched earth style divorce cases promotes increased stress for both spouses, raises financial costs associated with marital dissolution and provides a more contentious environment for your kids. The more reasonable and amicable your divorce, the better it will genuinely be for both spouses and the children. Our New Jersey family law firm can help you develop positions that are reasonable and consistent with your goals and objectives to negotiate a marital settlement agreement.