Whether you were expecting to be served with divorce papers, or it came out of nowhere, totally blindsiding you, you may be left wondering what on earth you should do now. In fact, your future as well as the future of your children will be forever affected by the final decree of divorce. Possibly the most important thing to remember is that you must carefully consider the long-term effects of each and every decision you make during this time—this means no hasty decisions, just because you are (understandably) anxious to be done with the divorce and get back to your life. A divorce is simply not a situation where a quick decision is likely to ever have a good result.
What if you are unexpectedly served with divorce papers?
If you are the party filing for divorce, you are at least a few steps ahead of your spouse, if he or she is not expecting the divorce. If you are the spouse who finds yourself being unexpectedly served with divorce papers, the first thing to remember is not to panic. Contact an experienced divorce attorney from the Williams Law Group as quickly as possible, and you can rest assured your divorce will be handled in a manner which results in the very best outcome for you and your children. You may have received a Summons as well as a Petition for Divorce, and there may be additional legal papers as well. Read through them carefully, then pass them on to your attorney.
We understand that going through a divorce is almost always filled with at least some level of uncertainty, anxiety, and stress, and can include anger, bitterness, and frustration as well. The attorneys at the Williams Law Group will assist you in figuring out the myriad of things that will need attending to, including temporary child custody and support and living arrangements until the final decisions are made. It is also good to remember that even divorces which begin as uncontested can quickly turn into an ugly, contested divorce, so take nothing for granted, and make sure you relay every bit of necessary information to your New Jersey divorce attorney. The following areas are among those your skilled attorney from the Williams Law Group can assist you with:
The Williams Law Group will be with you from the very beginning of your divorce, and we will remain with you through the divorce, and even on to any modifications which may be necessary. Matrimonial law is our specialty; we will ensure your legal rights are protected, creating the very best legal strategy for your situation. We are both skilled negotiators and aggressive litigators, when necessary. While we will work hard to settle your case without the necessity of going to trial, we are never hesitant or unprepared to step inside a courtroom. We will keep you informed of what is happening in your divorce, throughout the process, and we will carefully help you consider all your options. LEARN MORE >
Divorce Mediation and other Alternative Dispute Resolutions
Alternative Dispute Resolution in the form of mediation, arbitration or a collaborative divorce are all options you may consider during your divorce. Ongoing disputes regarding child support, child custody, and asset division can often benefit from Alternative Dispute Resolution, although if your divorce is already shaping up to be especially contentious, ADR may not work for you and your spouse. With mediation and collaborative family law, you and your spouse, along with your respective attorneys hammer out the big decisions, rather than having a judge make those decisions. Arbitration is more structured, and more similar to a trial, and is rarely used in divorces, although it can be. The majority of out-of-court divorce settlements require some level of court approval. LEARN MORE >
At the Williams Law Group, we are fully aware of the reasons a marriage may be deemed void, and we can help you attain a marriage annulment in the most expeditious manner. There are a number of reasons for a marriage annulment in the state of New Jersey. If minors are married prior to the age of 18, then want to annul the marriage, we can handle all the necessary paperwork. Mental issues, impotence, drug abuse, or certain other issues you were unaware of prior to the marriage could be grounds for annulment as could fraud, incest, and bigamy. Violence and physical abuse are also grounds to have a marriage annulled in the state of New Jersey. LEARN MORE >
Like the division of assets, alimony is often both complex and contentious, yet can have an enormous impact on the financial future of both spouses. The state of New Jersey recognizes Temporary Alimony, Open Durational Alimony, Rehabilitative Alimony, Limited Duration Alimony and Reimbursement Alimony. If you are entitled to alimony, the type you will receive will depend on the duration of your marriage and your specific circumstances. The judge in your case will make a decision based on many things, including the need and ability to pay of both spouses, the marital standard of living established, the earning capacity of both spouses, the health (physical and emotional) and actual need of both parties, parental responsibilities, and many other factors. The Williams Law Group attorneys will fight on your behalf for a fair award of alimony. LEARN MORE >
Like alimony, asset division can be contentious. New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, rather than a community property state. Community property states divide everything right down the middle, while equitable distribution states divide things fairly—with a goal of dividing the assets roughly equally unless one spouse has engaged in the dissipation of marital assets. A fair asset division cannot be accomplished unless both spouses have been honest about the assets involved. LEARN MORE >
If a couple has a business together, asset division becomes much more complex. How the business is divided will depend on many different things, primarily whether one spouse had the business prior to the marriage, and the contributions by both spouses to the business. That said, even if one spouse primarily runs the business, but the other takes care of the children and the household, then they may be equally entitled to a part of the business. LEARN MORE >
Executive compensation is another complex area of divorce. Some employees receive executive compensation in the form of stock options, bonuses, deferred compensation, restricted stock and stock purchase plans. The value of each of these must be carefully calculated before division. A forensic accountant may be required for business valuations as well as the division of executive compensation. LEARN MORE >
In today’s society, the vast majority of us have at least some debt, whether automobile debt, a mortgage, student loan debt or credit card debt—or a combination of those. How your debt will be allocated during the divorce will depend on the nature of the debt—i.e., is the debt shared, brought to the marriage, or accrued individually—as well as the asset division. The goal of the court will be to make the asset and debt division equitable, based on the specific facts of your case. LEARN MORE >
Parents may worry the very most about their children during a divorce—after all, there are few things more important than your children’s safety, happiness, and stability. Child custody can be complex—and frustrating when there is no agreement between you and your ex. While the law considers the rights of both parents to be equal, the court will weigh a number of issues when reaching a custody decision. The attorneys at the Williams Law Group are highly experienced in child custody issues and can help you successfully navigate the process. There are two forms of custody in New Jersey—legal and physical. Legal custody refers to the parent’s right to make major decisions for the child, including religious decisions, educational decisions, and medical decisions. Physical custody refers to the parent the child primarily lives with, while the other has visitation rights. The law presumes it is in the child’s best interest to have frequent, continued contact with both parents unless evidence is presented to the contrary. LEARN MORE >
In 1968, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act came into being, and by 1981 every state had adopted the Act. The UCCJEA was designed to discourage interstate kidnapping of children by non-custodial parents. Once jurisdiction is established in a child custody case in the state of New Jersey, that order is protected from modification in another state so long as the original state retains jurisdiction over the case. LEARN MORE >
Visitation will be determined during the child custody portion of your divorce; visitation refers to the time the non-custodial parent will spend with the child when the other parent has been granted sole physical custody. New Jersey courts prefer to use the term “parenting time,” rather than visitation, as a means of emphasizing the fact that the non-custodial parent has a more important parenting role than just “visiting” with his or her child. LEARN MORE >
Having a grandparent or grandparents in their life almost always enriches the life of a child. Grandparents may ask a court for visitation rights during a custody case, as a means of staying involved in their grandchild’s life. New Jersey, like all other states has statutes which address the rights of grandparents. The purpose of the statute is to strike a balance between the rights of the parents and the child’s best interests, in remaining in contact with their grandparents. The judge will consider many factors when awarding grandparent visitation. LEARN MORE >
At the Williams Law Group, we do not just walk away once your divorce is final. We understand that the orders in your divorce decree may need some enforcement along the way or that you may require a modification of a specific order. Whether you need assistance enforcing child support, child custody, alimony, or any other order of the court, our attorneys can help. LEARN MORE >
Circumstances in life can change quickly, and when those circumstances change, you may need to alter or modify a court order from your divorce. If you are paying alimony or child support and you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may need to temporarily modify the amounts you are ordered to pay. Or, if you are the receiving spouse, and you complete your education and obtain a well-paying job, it could be necessary to revisit the alimony and child support issues. You might also be in a better position for custody or additional visitation than you were at the time of the divorce. If so, our attorneys can help you obtain a modification of your court order. LEARN MORE >
Although child support is largely a product of a specific formula—all the necessary numbers are plugged in to determine which parent will pay and how much the parent will pay—there are certain variables that an attorney from the Williams Law Group can help you with. In short, the payment of child support in the state of New Jersey reflects the continuous duty of both parents to financially support their children until those children reach the age of majority or until a court orders otherwise. LEARN MORE >
Interstate Child Support
It could be necessary to utilize the assistance of the child support agency in another state to establish, enforce or modify a child support order. Child support agencies across the nation use a very structured set of rules to determine which orders from which state are valid. The interstate process allows the establishment of child support orders, enforcement orders and even collection of current and unpaid support from absent parents across the state.
Domestic violence is a serious issue, which causes serious effects to those who are victims. Domestic violence and the resulting restraining orders can affect the rights and obligations of spouses during divorce litigation. The judge will consider the testimony of the alleged victim, determining whether sufficient evidence exists to issue a Temporary Restraining order. A domestic violence restraining order will result in the removal of the defendant from the marital residence, which, in turn, can cause financial hardship and disadvantages during settlement negotiations and divorce proceedings. LEARN MORE >
New Jersey premarital agreements are also known as prenuptial or post-nuptial agreements and are contracts made between spouses. The prenuptial agreement becomes effective at the time of the marriage, while the post-nuptial agreement is usually entered into at some point later in the marriage. The purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to define rights and obligations regarding financial issues prior to the marriage. A prenuptial agreement can save significant emotional and financial expenses should the marriage come to an end. The attorneys at the Williams Law Group can prepare a prenuptial agreement on your behalf or can help you determine whether your current agreement is enforceable.
Guardianship is usually used in cases where an individual with developmental disabilities has reached the legal age of majority. When the parents are no longer legally able to make decisions on behalf of the individual, parents may want to consider guardianship as an option. When appointed as guardian, the parent will act on behalf of the individual, helping them make good decisions for their future, and assisting with financial affairs. LEARN MORE >
There are a number of reasons a person might want to change his or her name. A name change could be requested during a divorce, a child might want to take a step-parent’s name, or a person may simply decide they no longer want to be known by the name appearing on their birth certificate. An attorney from the Williams Law Group can help you complete your desired name change, with the least amount of problems.
The attorneys at the Williams Law group deal with the legalities of divorce every single day and are extremely knowledgeable regarding New Jersey divorce law. When you begin reading through your divorce papers, you may think you are reading a foreign language, however to our educated, skilled, experienced attorneys, it is business as usual. There is no chance of a missed deadline in your divorce—which could lead to dire consequences—when you have an attorney from the Williams Law Group on board.
We understand that this is an emotional time for you, and we will always have compassion for your situation while helping you obtain the very best outcome possible. Contact the Williams Law Group today for exemplary legal representation during your divorce. Call (908) 810-1083 for a comprehensive consultation.