Blog Archives

What is an alternative dispute resolution (ADR)?

New Jersey Alternative Dispute Resolution Attorneys

An alternative dispute resolution is when a dispute is settled outside of the courtroom. This is what you hear when people say that the case was “settled out of court.” When it comes to New Jersey divorce cases, the most common ways an alternative dispute resolution is reached is through mediation, negotiation or arbitration. If you and your spouse can reach a settlement through alternative dispute resolution, you both can receive benefits from it, such as lower legal costs, control of the process, confidence and even settlements being resolved quicker.

At the Law Offices of Jef Henninger, Esq., our seasoned NJ alternative dispute resolution lawyers will explore your divorce case and see if an alternative dispute resolution is in your best interest. If it doesn’t work out, our law firm can also handle the traditional litigation needed for a divorce. Reach out to our New Brunswick divorce lawyers by calling 732-773-2768 and use our free initial consultation to start work on your divorce case today!

What you can expect to encounter during the divorce.

Experienced NJ Divorce Attorneys

When you are thinking about getting a divorce in New Jersey, it is only normal to want to know what you may be stepping into. In order to help you get a grasp of what is entailed in a divorce case, this post will go through the general steps you encounter during a divorce. Please keep in mind, however, that each divorce case is unique and your divorce may not follow these steps completely. This is just a general overview of what most divorce cases go through. Be sure to reach out to an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney to discuss the details of your specific divorce case.

The first step is the complaint for divorce form being filled out and submitted. This is when either you or your spouse send a request to a New Jersey court for a judgment of divorce. In order to do this, you must submit a Confidential Litigant Information Sheet which will give the court information about your identity, the grounds for the divorce like adultery, separation, extreme cruelty, etc., and an Affidavit of Insurance Coverage form which will go over your existing insurances like auto, homeowner, and other types of insurance. Once that has been all filed, your divorce case will be given a docket number and either you or your spouse, depending on which one of you filed the Complaint For Divorce form, will receive the divorce papers.

The next step will be what is known as discovery. Discovery is where both you and your spouse will give each other the information needed in order to proceed forward with the divorce. Some of the things you may be asked to exchange are credit card statements or business records. There may even be some written questions and a case information statement that will need to be completed. This will go over the couple’s monthly budgets, liabilities and various other financial information. A deposition may also be asked during this time. A deposition is a verbal, recorded conversation that is taken under oath that can be used in court. While this is all going on, your divorce attorney should be trying to reach a settlement to help possibly keep the divorce out of court.

If a settlement is not reached by a certain date which is scheduled by the court, an early settlement panel will be arranged. You and your attorney will need to be present in front of this panel and they will go over the issues that may be preventing you from reaching a settlement. The panel will give suggestions on how to reach a settlement and if both parties are satisfied, the divorce can be granted at that very moment. However, if there are still issues not resolved, then an economic mediator will need to be selected.

If the economic mediation still does not produce a settlement, a settlement conference will be held. These intensive conferences are held all day and both you and your spouse and both your attorneys will need to return to court to do this. This is considered the last option available to help reach resolution with your divorce without it going to trial. But, if there is still no resolution or settlement made after this conference, then the divorce case will go to trial. Once in trial, the judge will hear both sides and will make the final decision and finalize your divorce.

As you can see, having an experienced, professional New Jersey divorce lawyer during this process is a good investment. At the Law Offices of Jef Henninger, Esq., our aggressive divorce lawyers walk with you through these steps, and fight to reach a settlement that meets your goals and needs. And, if the case does go to trial, we utilize our decades of divorce law experience to protect your rights. Schedule a free initial consultation with our law firm today at 732-773-2768 and see what steps are needed for your unique divorce case and what our Passaic County divorce attorneys can do to help you.

Understanding alimony in New Jersey.

New Jersey Alimony Lawyers

If you are looking to receive money from your spouse either during and/or after a divorce, then you are looking for alimony. Alimony, also known as spousal maintenance or support, is calculated using a variety of formulas and is usually put into play to help eliminate any unfair economic strain that would arise from the divorce. Alimony also tries to have both parties live comparably to the lifestyle they had while they were married. Otherwise, the divorce can leave one of the parties with a huge financial disadvantage. In order to properly calculate alimony, there are numerous factors that are analyzed like income, age, education of you and your spouse, parental responsibilities to any children and length of marriage, just to name a few.

Regardless of the factors, you should hire a seasoned New Jersey alimony attorney to make sure all financial needs are met. At the Law Offices of Jef Henninger, Esq., our team of professional, tenacious alimony attorneys can see if you are eligible for alimony, and if so, fight aggressively for your financial goals. Speak with one of our Paterson family law attorneys with our free initial consultation at 732-773-2768.

Understanding the difference between a divorce and an annulment?

New Jersey Annulment Attorneys

A New Jersey annulment is a lot like a divorce, but it actually makes it seem that the marriage never happened. Some couples prefer an annulment over a conventional divorce for social or religious reasons. It could also be due to a financial reason, as it is much harder for alimony to be awarded if it is an annulment over a divorce. However, to be eligible for an annulment a fraud or misrepresentation of some kind must of occurred during the marriage. For example, if incest occurred, concealing impotence, conducting bigamy, or threat of physical violence to get married are all situations that are eligible for annulment. Most cases that are eligible for annulments are marriages that are very short in time and where there are not that many assets to be distributed. But, that doesn’t mean assets are not distributed in annulment cases. Even though it is harder for alimony to be achieved, it doesn’t mean it is impossible.

Regardless of the situation, speaking to an experienced New Jersey annulment lawyer is in your best interest. In the state of New Jersey, the court has the authority to make decisions like if it were a divorce, like with alimony and child custody. At the Law Offices of Jef Henninger, Esq., our highly skilled annulment lawyers take your case very seriously and will be aggressive in your defense in court. If you are considering an annulment in New Jersey, contact our law firm at 732-773-2768 and receive a free initial consultation from one of our Bloomfield divorce lawyers!

How are the division of debts and assets calculated?

New Jersey Equitable Distribution Attorneys

Just like with alimony and child support calculations, the division of any debts or assets from a marriage are analyzed against various factors. Some of these factors include any prenuptial or post-nuptial agreements involved, income of you and your spouse, education backgrounds, length of absence from the workforce, parental responsibilities, age of both parties, duration of the marriage, and overall health of both parties. Once these mentioned factors, as well as a few others, are determined, then the assets and debts can be distributed amongst you and your spouse. Final determination of the distribution of assets and debts can be reached through arbitration, mediation, negotiation or by the judge if the divorce has reached trial. However, disputes can arise and become a hurdle in your divorce case.

At the Law Offices of Jef Henninger, Esq., our professional New Jersey equitable distribution lawyers will protect your needs and have experience in working through complex distribution cases. Call our law offices any time, even on nights and weekends, at 732-773-2768 to receive a free initial consultation with one of our Union County divorce lawyers.

Hiring a divorce lawyer does not mean that the case must be difficult and expensive

I’ve met many people that are concerned that if they hire an attorney, they must enter into complex, difficult, expensive and lengthy litigation that will start off with accusing their spouse of every horrible thing imaginable. This cannot be farther from the truth.

A good divorce attorney can work to resolve your case quickly and without great expense to either you or your spouse.  Hopefully, this blog has made that rather clear which is its purpose.  As the client, you are the boss and you should be able to direct your divorce lawyer as to what you want him or her to do.  So, if you want your divorce lawyer to be a bull dog, he or she will do that.  If you want your lawyer to act as a type of mediator, he or she should do that as well.

The problem is when the lawyer doesn’t want to listen to you.  This is rather common. Thus, when selecting a good divorce lawyer, you need to make sure that the lawyer will work for you and not against you.  I tell my clients that right up front so they don’t have to ask.

Your spouse cannot keep all of the money from you

Another big issue I run into with clients is their fear that they cannot afford an attorney because the other spouse has all of the money.  For the most part, everyone has access to the same pool of funds.  If your spouse refuses to provide money to you but you know that there are funds in a bank account that can be used to pay for an attorney and other expenses, an attorney can file a motion to have the court order the other spouse to provide the money. 

Normally, this order is subject to final allocation which means that you may have to pay that money back or have it credited to the spouse.  For example, if there is a savings account with $20,000 and a court ordered $5000 of that to be given to you as part of the divorce, you may only get another $5000 of the original $20,000 as part of the final settlement.  Of course, you could also get your original half, or $10,000 and your spouse is left with only $5000.  It all depends on the facts of the case and how you want to settle.  The important thing is that just because your spouse gave you the money now, does not mean that he or she will not get it back in some form.

Your spouse cannot leave you with all of the bills

A few days ago, a client told me about her concern that her husband would move out of the house and leave her with all of the bills if she filed for divorce.  She was very happy to hear that, in general, your spouse cannot abandon you and have you pay all of the bills.  Of course, every case is different and only a divorce attorney can explain how this would work in your situation.

Keep in mind that your spouse is free to move out at any time.  Whether or not you should move out should only be determined after speaking with a divorce attorney as you could really set yourself up for disaster.  Your spouse has a duty to maintain the status quo.  Thus, if your spouse paid for all or part of the bills, he or she cannot force you to pay them or refuse to pay them and have the house go into foreclosure, utilities be turned off, etc.  If your spouse did not contribute anything, it may be difficult to force him or her to start now, especially if they have no money.  Again, I am speaking in general terms so please see a lawyer before doing anything.

A letter fom a lawyer should get the job done.  However, if that fails or if there is an emergency, your lawyer will file a motion with the court.