For many New Jersey divorces, spouses can enter into written agreements without going to court. Then, all a court needs to do is to legally dissolve the marriage.
These agreements, typically called Marital Settlement Agreements, outline terms dealing with child custody and parenting time, alimony or spousal support, and how the marital assets and debts will be divided.
Likewise, legal fees in reaching agreements out of court are generally a fraction of those where a court decides the issues.
Below are 3 powerful ways to take charge of your divorce and save time, money, and stress, while paving the way for successful co-parenting of your children.
1. Talk to your spouse.
It’s very common for divorcing spouses to become caught up in the emotional conflict that often comes with divorce.
But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way if you have a plan in place.
And if you have children, it’s important to keep in mind that you will be tied to your spouse for the rest of your life through your children.
Therefore, when you want to divorce, you should tell your spouse carefully to gain his or her cooperation in reaching an agreement out of court.
All too often, when spouses avoid each other, one or both end up hiring the kind of lawyer who will aggressively take the case to court. This only drives up costs and emotional turmoil.
So, the key is to get your spouse on board with reaching a Marital Settlement Agreement out of court and using settlement-oriented lawyers.
For instance, in my firm, we map out a strategic plan with clients and what it takes to achieve a successful Marital Settlement Agreement with the other spouse.
Clients can also take advantage of personal coaching and tips of what to say, how to say it and when. Some tips are included in this post.
It’s also very important to suggest to your spouse that you each get legal advice. Be selective about each choosing settlement oriented lawyers to consult with.
2. Lay the groundwork for the outcome you want.
It’s a good idea to start by listing all assets and debts acquired during the marriage by either or both of you. Include values and balances. For anything you don’t know, obtain copies of financial documents. Here is a checklist of significant divorce documents you should obtain.
3. Be selective when consulting with lawyers.
Make plans for you and your spouse to each consult with a settlement-oriented family law attorney. Make sure to learn how to best resolve the issues out of court.
For instance, our clients receive a “packet” of materials that lays the foundation for the Marital Settlement Agreement, which includes custody and parenting time schedules, financial worksheets, and referrals to additional professionals as needed.
It’s also important to work with a competent divorce and family lawyer to make sure you don’t overlook significant provisions that could result in costly court intervention after the divorce.
In addition, there are certain things where the fairness of divorce agreements is largely determined by New Jersey law.
These include amounts and duration of alimony, and how certain types of assets are distributed, like retirement plans, premarital assets, inheritances, businesses, and lawsuit settlement proceeds.
It’s also a good idea to consult with your financial advisor to find out how much money you’ll need to meet your expenses after the divorce and save enough for retirement.
4. Agree on the terms.
Decide what you want to achieve in a divorce agreement before negotiating with your spouse. Identify what matters most to each of you. For example, it might be important for you to have a certain amount of funds in retirement, while your spouse feels strongly about keeping the marital home.
Likewise, by you and your spouse each having a settlement-oriented family law attorney, the Marital Settlement Agreement can be drafted and finalized before you even go to court to finalize the divorce.
Please call or click here to schedule a personalized consultation and receive substantive legal advice and a customized strategy for your divorce or separation.
“The best way to predict your future is to create it.”
― Abraham Lincoln