Blog Archives

The different types of alimony in New Jersey.

New Jersey Alimony Attorneys

Since there are many different circumstances regarding a divorce case, the same goes for the types of alimony that one may be eligible for. With the numerous kinds of alimony that one can file for, you need to make sure the type of alimony you do request is the best one for your unique situation. For instance, a permanent alimony is usually best for long-term marriages and is as the name says, permanent usually after the divorce is settled. But there is also a pendente lite alimony, which is a temporary financial award that is usually handled during the divorce process. As you may have noticed, some alimony types are for during the divorce case and some are for after. Because of this, you can even combine alimony types to make sure you are supported financially during this tough time.

With the various types of alimony, all not being mentioned here, it is critical to have a seasoned New Jersey alimony lawyer on your side. The Law Offices of Jef Henninger, Esq., has a team of lawyers with divorce and family law experience, and will fight to secure your financial future. Contact our Monmouth County law firm for a free initial consultation at 732-773-2768.

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.

Look for an attorney that discusses ways to save money

The other attorney in one of my new divorce cases really made me  laugh.  My client has little assets, a ton of liabilities and a business that has been getting hit hard in this economy.  However, it seems like the other side has convinced this attorney that my client has a ton of money.  As a result, he charged a huge retainer and has already done a ton of work on the case before my client even had a chance to file an Answer.  Besides a ton of unnecessary information in the Complaint itself, he filed a motion and sent out a ton of subpoenas right away.  Of course, he made no attempt to try to resolve this case with my client.  There was also no reason why he couldn’t wait until the normal discovery process got under way to get the documents he requested.

I’ve dealt with this guy before and in my opinion, this is the typical situation where the attorney took a big retainer is attempting to blow through it as soon as possible so he can get more.  As soon as the money runs out, I am sure the attorney will pack up shop and head out.  If he does stay on the case and continues to run up a bill, he’ll probably sue his client to get the money.  Its really sad because it gives the rest of us a bad name.

If you really want to buy your attorney a new fancy car, go ahead and find one of these attorneys.  If you want to save money, look for an attorney that gives you options including options to save you money.  For example, one of my other divorce clients wanted to file for adultery.  I explained to him that there was nothing for him to accomplish and that it could cost him about another $200 just to file it that way but that I would do whatever he wanted.  He realized that it didn’t make any sense to do that so he opted for the cheaper alternative.  That’s what I do with all of my clients.  If your attorney does not help you save money, chances are, you will be wasting a lot of it.

Your attorney’s fancy office could cost you

I like to go to other attorney’s offices and compare them to mine, especially the big firms.  As the owner of my own firm, I know where every cent goes.  So, when I’m at someone else’s office, I like to add up the cost of setting up and running that office.  Sometimes, I’m blown away by how fancy and exotic these offices are.  I also don’t understand the point.  Maybe if you are in a big city and you have major corporations as clients, you need to impress them, but for the average client, does it really matter?  My office is nice and modern but fancy?  Hardly.  I also don’t drive a fancy card.  Its not that I don’t have the money, its just that I don’t see the point.

Lets say I spend $100,000 on a really fancy office space.  Does that make me a better attorney?  Does a jury, a judge or the other attorney care?  Will they even know?  Not at all.  So, why should you care what your attorney does with their money?  In my opinion, this should be a major issue because you are paying for your attorney’s overhead.  As attorneys, we do not have products to sell; only time.  The more overhead we have, the more time we have to bill.  When you run out of time to sell, you sell your time for more money.  In other words, you raise your hourly rates. 

My costs are razor thin.  I run a very efficient office and I have 8 office locations in New Jersey.  However, I have hunted for value as if my life depends on it.  As a result, of keeping my costs low, I probably have better margins than almost any other attorney.  Thus, I can also keep my hourly rates low.  In turn, I can be more accessible to other people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford me if my rate was $100 more per hour.  So, when you go to an attorney’s office and you are impressed by all the glitzy (and unnecessary) furniture and accessories, keep in mind that you paid for it!

Stay in touch with your divorce lawyer

So many people just want the divorce over right away and who can blame them?  However, I’ve had several clients that just went MIA on me.  There’s no one explanation for it as every one of them had something different to say.  I try to work as efficiently as possible on all of my cases but this is hampered when I cannot reach my client.

As a result of not being able to reach the client, an attorney has to waste time trying to get a hold of a client.  When the other side calls, the conversations are less productive because the client’s position on several issues may be unknown.  This all creates extra work that the client pays for.  In addition, the longer a case drags on, the more expensive the case can get with regard to house hold bills, credit cards and other expenses that would cease had the case been settled earlier.

So, keep in touch with your divorce lawyer at all times.  If you change your number, let your lawyer know.  If you are going on vacation, tell your lawyer ahead of time.  Also be sure to check your mail every day.

Jef Henninger, Esq is a New Jersey divorce lawyer that can represent you in any court in New Jersey, including Morris County, Warren County and Sussex County.  If you are ready to divorce different in New Jersey, call us today.

Divide small property on your own

Thankfully, I rarely get involved in dividing furniture and silverware.  I say thankfully because it would be such a waste of my client’s time and money for me to get involved.  When it comes to house hold items, courts generally put a minimal value on everything.  Thus, you will most likely upset the judge by complaining about a division of furniture.  This could be tough because you probably paid good money for the items in your house.  As always, I suggest you discuss these issues with your divorce attorney but you should work out the division of most of the small items on your own. 

Here are some tips:

1.  First decide what belongs to you,  what belongs to your spouse and what belongs to you both of you.  Family heirlooms, pre-marital assets and hobby specific items such as golf clubs are usually pretty easy to decide.  If you are the husband, what are you really going to do with her craft supplies?  Likewise, as a wife, do you really want the neon NY Jets clock? 

2.  Now that there are three piles of items, create some lists and each spouse should have a copy.   Going forward, we are only talking about marital property since that is the only class of items that are in dispute.

3.  Is there anything that is truly personal to one of you even though it is technically a marital asset?  If your spouse really has an attachment to something, fighting with him/her over that item is not going to make things any easier.   Giving in a little could help  you in the long run.

4.  Examine the post-divorce living arrangements.  If you are both moving into a new place, you each need forks, plates, couches, etc.  However, if someone is moving in with a friend, family member or will otherwise have a furnished place, then those items are unnecessary.  Thus, the spouse moving into a furnished place may want to give up furnishings like couches and tables for more luxary items such as the big screen TV.

5.  Do not worry that the lists are not 100% even.  No one says it has to be.  You want to be comfortable and you should want your soon to be ex-spouse to be comfortable as well.  Even if you don’t care about your spouse’s comfort level at this point, remember that this is not a competition.

6.  Sell items on Craigslist.  Remember that if you are both moving out, you both have to get all of that stuff to two other places.  Are you really going to use all of it?  If neither of you are really fond of the sofa but it is in good condition, try putting it on Craigslist.  It will  cost you nothing and any sale will put money in both of your pockets.

7.  Reduce the final lists into an agreement and have both parties sign it.  While it doesn’t need to become a part of your property settlement agreement (PSA), you should still have some type of record as to  who got what.  If items are thrown out, include those too in another list. 

8.  Once the lists are drawn up, speak to your attorney again to see if he or she wants the lists to attach to the PSA or the divorce file. 

If you are ready to divorce different, call Jef Henninger today.  He can represent clients in any court in New Jersey including Essex, Hudson and Bergen County.

Keep your emotions in check to keep legal fees down

 Money hungry attorney love nothing more than an emotional divorce client with money. This is because when we are emotional, we do not think like normal, rationale people. Instead of worrying about what is best for your post-divorce life and/or what is best for your children, the fight between you and your spouse becomes paramount. As a result, you have your attorney fighting anything and everything.

For example, after a rather drawn out divorce case, I was walking into the court room to put through a settlement when the other attorney mentioned that she wanted my client to pay an additional $500 for something. This completely set off my client and he wanted to blow up the entire settlement. I had to talk him off the ledge so to speak to save the settlement because he was so furious. I told him that I refused to let him pay me thousands to fight over hundreds. That was about five years ago. Today, he still uses my firm.

I tell my clients that a divorce is like the dissolution of a business, especially when there is no issue with child custody. Thus, you have to decide what issues are truly important so that you can determine how you will spend your money and energy. Always remember that the more you fight, the more you pay. Don’t get me wrong, fighting is not a bad thing when the issue is truly important. But fighting over every little thing will send your legal fees through the roof. Thus, at the end of the case, what have you really won?

I advise my clients that it doesn’t matter that their spouse will get a little more. You don’t have to “win” or get back at them. The goal in a divorce case is to divide assets and liabilities in a fair way that allows you to start your new life in the best possible situation. If you spend a fortune on an attorney to fight over nonsense, then you will have less to start your post-divorce life with. Don’t get me wrong, there may be plenty of issues where you will have to spend a small fortune to get what you want. Whats important is that you make a truly rationale decision that the issue in dispute is worth your money and energy. Of course, it helps to have an attorney that will put your best interests over his or her financial interests.

If you are thinking about divorce in New Jersey and you are ready to divorce different, call me today.  I can represent you in any court in New Jersey including Ocean County, Monmouth County and Middlesex County.