Life goes on after divorce. Maybe your ex meets and becomes involved in a new romantic relationship.
But you’re still paying alimony. And you might have heard about “cohabitation” and how it means your alimony payments should stop. So, you might think it’s probably a good idea to meet with a lawyer. But you don’t want to open up a can of worms and shell out piles of money to fight it out in court. So, what should you do?
True, under New Jersey law, if your former spouse “cohabits,” in other words, becomes involved in an intimate personal relationship with another adult, alimony could potentially terminate.
But not without a new court order. To get a court order terminating alimony, you essentially have two choices – to file a motion with the Court, or to reach an agreement with your ex in a “consent order.”
A consent order is a legal document drafted by attorneys without ever going to court. The consent order is typically signed by both parties and their attorneys, submitted to the court and entered as a binding order. Generally, the binding agreement, or “consent order” is the far better way to go. Not only could it save you thousands on lawyer fees, you can avoid the prolonged stress of not knowing how a judge will decide.
By the same token, in over 20 years of practicing only family law, I’ve found that filing post-divorce motions are generally cost-prohibitive. In other words, both former spouses often pay tens of thousands of dollars to lawyers only to end up no better off financially, and often worse.
So, it’s important to enlist a settlement focused lawyer with extensive knowledge and experience in divorce and family law. Your lawyer should also be a skilled negotiator committed to advancing your interests and goals in the most productive cost-effective way possible. By the same token, your lawyer should tell you the costs and benefits of filing a court motion so you can make an informed decision.
After all, you don’t need to be blindly led into filing a court motion, only to get sticker shock when you get your lawyer’s bill after unexpectedly getting your a-s kicked in court.
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