Meeting a Divorce Attorney
If you are considering meeting a divorce attorney, you may be wondering what to expect. Here is what you need to know before you call to schedule a free consultation.
Meeting a Divorce Attorney | First Consultation
When you make your initial appointment, the more documents you can bring, the better. Try to bring:
- Two or three years of tax returns.
- Pay stubs.
- Information to aid in estimating the family budget.
- Information on debts, credit card statements, mortgages, student loans, etc.
The more information you can bring to a first consultation, the sooner you’ll be able to predict and start planning for the possible outcomes of your case.
Meeting a Divorce Attorney | First Steps
- The first step in the divorce process is a case management conference – it sets a schedule for the process. This could be done in person, with the two attorneys and the judge, or it could be done by consent, meaning the two attorneys would work on a written schedule, get it signed by both parties, and send it to the judge for approval.
- Next is the discovery phase, which is an exchange of financial information. Often clients are surprised by “hidden” bank accounts and assets.
- New Jersey law requires couples pursuing a divorce to attend an early settlement panel, where both sides present a reasonable settlement for review by the other party. You can negotiate here. Your attorney will also advise you about the pros and cons of the settlement offered, and advise you about the likelihood of winning your case with your particular judge, in the event that you do go to trial.
- If you are unsuccessful in settling, you will be required to attend economic mediation. Part of this process will be free of charge, but part will cost you additional money.
- If you do not reach an agreement in economic mediation, your case will go to trial.
Meeting a Divorce Attorney | Going to Court
It’s totally understandable that you might want to keep your divorce out of the court. A trial means more time, money, and energy spent. In New Jersey, 98% of divorces settle out of court. This doesn’t mean that you should be afraid to go to court, but you should understand the benefits of settling – beyond the time, money, and energy saved. If you come to an agreement outside of the court, you have a greater say in the outcome: you and your spouse decide together how to divide your assets and how to provide for your children.
If you are interested in meeting a divorce attorney, please call our office today to get a free consultation with our New Jersey divorce attorney Tanya Freeman.