Your marital union ruptured, and your spouse moved out of the house. You tried several sessions of therapy, hoping to salvage your marriage. However, the “temporary” fix from that experience did not last. You think long and hard about your next steps, considering your children, your emotional state and your financial state.
It is time to file for divorce. Since you have no experience with this subject, you wonder what to do as you have many questions. You ask friends about divorce, read books about the subject, and just hope that your children will not be affected too much by what has happened. Besides divorce, you wonder about child custody matters, too.
Get a legal ally, determine best interests of children
When filing for divorce in New Jersey, it is important to understand what will happen and what you will need to do. The to-do list includes:
- Contact an experienced family law attorney. It is not recommended to go this alone with a “do-it-yourself” divorce. Get references, ask questions and find an ally, who will lead you toward resolution.
- File your divorce complaint in the county court where you reside. This becomes the official record and start of a pending divorce.
- Serve divorce papers to your estranged spouse. Typically, people hire process servers, who often deliver the documents at night-time.
- Appear at any initial legal proceedings. This likely takes place in the county courthouse where you filed for divorce.
- Work with an attorney and choose the path you hope will provide the best solution. Pursuing mediation is a good step and may take a couple of sessions with different mediators. Here is where you want to hammer out agreements regarding finances, child support, child custody, spousal support and more. Mediation should take less time and is much less costly than going to trial.
- Child custody matters must become a priority. You, your estranged spouse and your respective attorneys must determine what is in the best interest of the child. Working on custody arrangements and visitation is a crucial part of a divorce plan. Will it include sole custody or joint custody? Child custody and child support are closely related and require great attention.
You must understand the importance of protecting yourself and your children. Ensuring an equitable financial settlement and an agreeable child custody arrangement are among the issues addressed in divorce cases. And they represent some of the most important dealings, too.
Don’t wait to get started
Contacting an attorney early on can help you to get organized from the start. At the McGuire, Aziz & Associates, attorney Michael McGuire represents clients throughout New Jersey. Contact the Freehold office online or by calling 732-704-7331 to schedule a free initial consultation.