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Why shouldn’t I handle my own divorce? Why do I need an attorney?

New Jersey Divorce Lawyers

Divorce is a highly emotional and stressful situation. On top of that, most divorces have multiple issues, moving parts and facets to it that a person not experienced in law will overlook. This can lead to both short and long term negative, devastating results. If you and your spouse are looking to reduce costs and can work together reasonably well, then an uncontested divorce would be the best direction to go in. However, it is still highly recommended to retain an experienced, New Jersey divorce attorney to make sure all avenues are pursued, all documents and agreements are properly filled out and filed and to be a legal advocate for you in the courtroom.

Look at it this way: would you perform surgery on yourself or would you leave it to the hands of an expert? We have seen too many people have to pay a lot of money to fix a problem that could have been easily avoided if they had a good divorce lawyer. The judge will likely not help you with all of the different issues in your case. If you put through a bad or incomplete settlement, you may not find out about it until it is too late. Don’t risk a potential nightmare. Remember, just because you hire a divorce lawyer does not mean that your case has to get expensive or complicated.

The Law Offices of Jef Henninger, Esq., use our expert divorce lawyers to assist you throughout the process while not breaking the bank and keeping your rights protected. Schedule a free initial consultation with our law firm by calling one of our Middlesex County divorce attorneys at 732-773-2768 today!

An oral agreement is not worth the paper its printed on

I know a lot of people who have never have to go to court.  In fact, some unmarried parents who are no longer together have never been to court to deal with the issues associated with their children.  For most of them, they never have to as they can communicate like adults and rely on oral agreements.  However, these oral agreements can really blow up in your face.  When it comes to major issues such as custody, child support and college expenses, paying a few hundred dollars to have an attorney make the agreement ironclad may be money well spent.

Consider the case of Tracy L who I represented a few years ago.  She had a five year old child with a man that she never married.  When they split, she took custody and they worked out oral agreements on everything.  Years passed and they never stepped foot in a courtroom.  However, a major dispute occurred and the father refused to return the child when his scheduled visitation ended.  My client called the police and when they asked for the court order that granted her custody, she had nothing to show them.  As a result, they couldn’t help her.  Both parties filed emergent motions and spent a lot of money on attorneys.  Sometimes possession really is nine-tenths of the law as the court didn’t see a problem with the father keeping the child for another week until the parties can show up to court with their attorneys.  At court, I knew that we had to get the child back that day or we would lose him forever.  Even though the judge initially said that she would give the child to the father, I was able to get the judge to change her mind and give the child back to my client.  We returned to court about a month later for the full custody hearing and, as expected, the judge stayed with her initial ruling. 

Of course, my client could have avoided a ton of stress and a ton of money if she had just hired an attorney to work out a consent order that was filed with the court.  While the father could have still made a push for custody, he would have faced an uphill battle.  In addition, the police would have likely enforced the order.  Call me anytime if you would like to have me draft a consent order for you.

Divorce advice from a non-lawyer is no advice at all

Yesterday, my client told me that his friend advised him to etc, etc in connection with his divorce.  With all due respect to his friend, the advice he gave him was horrible.  Why his friend, who is not an attorney, let alone a New Jersey divorce attorney, would give him any advice is beyond me.  What’s even worse is that my client was ready to follow that advice because his friend, who has gone through a divorce, seems like an expert.

I don’t care who the person is, if the person is not a divorce lawyer in the state in which you are getting divorced, the advice should be taken with all of the salt in the world.  In other words, do not rely upon it.  Instead, pick up the phone and call a good divorce lawyer and get advice from him or her.

Taking divorce advice from your spouse may be a bad idea

This may sound crazy to some people, but I have had clients tell me that they are taking divorce from their soon to be ex-spouse.  Most of the time, this advice involves whether or not either of them should hire an attorney.  I sometimes feel like a broken record but I see too many people that went to court without a good divorce lawyer only to suffer the consequences for many years.  To save a few thousand dollars now, some will spend tens of thousands years later as a result of the mistakes that were made and/or to correct the mistakes that were made.

After you get divorced, you have to be your own person so I think you should start now.  If your spouse wants to go at it alone, let him or her but don’t follow that advice.  Why does your spouse really care about what you do with your money?  Chances are, your spouse may not want to take advantage of you by getting you to sign a settlement agreement that forces you to give up important rights and a lot of money.  I’ve seen it plenty of times.  Don’t make that mistake.

Not all divorce attorneys can handle domestic violence accusations

A new client that hired me this week told me  about his divorce which took years.  During the divorce, his wife filed domestic violence charges against him.  His divorce lawyer either did not have the experience to deal with the criminal charges or didn’t want to.  From what he told me, it seems like both.  This is a very common problem that I see all of the time.

Some lawyers are afraid to admit that they are over their head.  If I don’t know how to do something, I’d rather not not put my client at risk.  Instead, I will either work with another lawyer that has the experience with the law at issue or I will just refer that part of the case out for that lawyer to handle.  I also think some lawyers want to get every dollar that is coming out of the client’s pocket.  I don’t do that.

At my firm, we handle family law and criminal law and we handle both very well.  Domestic violence, in my opinion, is a combination of criminal law and family law and only a lawyer that is knowledgeable in both should handle these cases.  If you find yourself in a domestic violence situation on either side, don’t get caught with an attorney that can only handle half the case.  Otherwise, you may be regretting the consequences for years to come.