Divorce and Protecting Your Interests in a Divorce

Professional Attorneys for New Jersey Divorce Cases

The best time to consult a family law attorney if you are considering a divorce is as soon as the possibility of divorce becomes real. Consulting a divorce lawyer does not mean that you have decided irrevocably to dissolve your marriage. It does mean that you are thinking ahead and doing everything you can to protect yourself during a challenging time.

The divorce attorneys at Schwartz Barkin & Mitchell provide highly professional and protective legal representation to men and women throughout Northern New Jersey. Our law firm, located in Union, is well-respected in the New Jersey legal community for our responsible approach to providing legal counsel in divorce and other family law cases. Our attorneys have more than 170 years of combined relevant legal experience, and they are talented individuals who bring compassion and energy to their work.

Our divorce lawyers are proven litigators with extensive experience handling divorce trials in New Jersey's family law courts. However, when litigation is not the best option, our advocates are skillful negotiators who can represent clients at mediation sessions as well.

No-Fault and Fault Based Divorce in New Jersey

In New Jersey, a divorce may proceed on either no-fault or fault grounds. With a no-fault divorce, the spouses must first live separately with no intention to reconcile for 18 months. During the 18-month separation period, the spouses can negotiate a separation agreement to govern issues relating to child support, child custody, spousal support and division of marital property until the divorce is final.

Because of the lengthy separation period required for a no-fault divorce, some couples choose to file the divorce complaint on fault grounds. Two relatively popular fault grounds for divorce in New Jersey are adultery and extreme cruelty. Interestingly, "extreme cruelty" does not have to entail physical or mental abuse. Other fault grounds for divorce in New Jersey are:

  • Desertion of 12 months or more
  • Addiction
  • Institutionalization
  • Imprisonment
  • Deviant sexual conduct

The fault-based grounds for dissolution of a civil union are similar to those for a divorce.

Planning Ahead for Divorce and Your Post-Divorce Life

If you are considering divorce or legal separation, it is wise to seek legal advice as early as possible. There are steps you can take to protect yourself, in case divorce does become a certainty, without committing yourself to ending your marriage. Engaging in divorce planning is especially important for spouses who have significant assets or complex family or financial relationships.

Divorce planning sessions can also educate you as to steps that you should take immediately once the plan to divorce becomes final. These steps can help protect your children and your property and include actions like:

  • Taking physical possession of the assets you want to use during the separation period
  • Freezing or closing joint accounts to protect your credit rating
  • Negotiating a separation agreement to make interim provisions about property, money and children
  • Filing a lis pendens on any property you or your spouse own, to prevent sale of the property during the divorce period

At Schwartz Barkin & Mitchell, we take pride in providing full-service support and legal counsel during divorce cases. To consult one of our experienced divorce attorneys, call 908-688-1644 or send us an e-mail.