ABC’s of Divorce
March 14, 2016
Here are some of the basic questions that are asked about divorce.
Q: Can I get a divorce even if my spouse does not agree?
A: Yes. You do not need the consent of your spouse to get a divorce.
Q: How long does it take to get a divorce?
A: That depends on whether you and your spouse can reach agreement on the issues of custody, distribution of assets and debts and support. In mediation, these issues are often resolved in 3-5 sessions over a few months. In a litigated divorce, it may take more than a year for a court to address your issues.
Q: How much does a divorce cost?
A: Again, it depends. Litigated divorces are the most expensive as your attorney will spend much more time on formal discovery (exchange of documents), court appearances and perhaps a trial. At a rate that averages between $300 to $400 or more per hour for an experienced family law attorney, the fees grow quickly. Mediation and Collaborative divorce are more amicable, take fewer hours and cost less.
Q: Can I represent myself?
A: The court system can be difficult to negotiate on your own. Getting advice from an experienced family law attorney at the outset will help you decide if you can do it yourself or will need professional help. The forms for filing a Complaint are online (njcourtsonline) but the forms are the least of it. Knowing what to ask for and how to negotiate a reasonable settlement are skills honed by attorneys after much practice and experience.
Q: Am I entitled to alimony? Will I have to pay alimony?
A: The answer depends on the facts of your case — how long have you been married; how much does each party earn; how old are each of you; what is the marital lifestyle; can you support yourself without help from your spouse; are there children; does either party have health issues; what is your earning potential. Alimony is often the thorniest issue to resolve.
For more answers to basic questions, stay tuned for the next installment.
For more information about mediation and Collaborative Divorce, contact Risa A. Kleiner, Esq. at 609.951.2222 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.