Divorce, also known as “dissolution of marriage” in New Jersey, can be filed by either partner in a marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership. The requirement to file for divorce in New Jersey is that at least one partner in the couple lives in New Jersey and has done so for at least one year.
At 8.2%, New Jersey had the second-lowest divorce rate in the United States at the end of 2017. By 2019, there were 2.5 divorces per thousand inhabitants in New Jersey. The decision to file for divorce is a difficult one, and it is recommended that you schedule a divorce lawyer consultation before commencing divorce proceedings, so you know exactly what to expect throughout the process.
The following are important questions to ask a divorce lawyer to ensure you’re hiring the right person for this pivotal role.
Questions to Ask a Divorce Lawyer: What to Ask During Your Initial Divorce Consultation
1. Attorney Experience
In your initial divorce consultation, the first question you should ask is what experience the attorney has had with divorce cases in the past. Do they have experience with the kinds of circumstances your divorce entails? Can they offer references from previous clients?
What kind of communication can your attorney promise you, how often will they be in touch with you, and what means will be used to communicate? The more complex your case, the more you will have to discuss with your lawyer, so these are essential questions to ensure the means of communication will be convenient for you.
3. Attorney-Client Relationship
The attorney-client relationship is essential and privileged at all stages of the divorce process, meaning that it supersedes communication with your spouse or others. Your attorney must be able to explain to you what attorney-client privilege entails, so you feel comfortable.
You must be able to ask and receive truthful answers regarding which attorney at the firm will be working on your case and representing you in court. Larger law firms often have different people working on various aspects of the case, so make sure you are satisfied with your representation.
How much will your divorce cost? Your attorney should be able to provide you with an estimate based on the details of your case. An exact quote is usually impossible, but they should be able to provide you with a range to expect. Ask about the attorney’s hourly rate and how they bill. Also, inquire about how to minimize your costs. A reputable lawyer will put your best interests first.
6. Reasonable Expectations
What outcome can you reasonably expect based on the specific circumstances of your divorce? An attorney cannot give you a definitive response, but the less complex your case, the more predictable the outcome.
Divorces can be time-consuming and may take over your life at a time when you just want to move on. Ask how long your divorce process is expected to take based on the specifics of your case.
If you have children, ask about the type of custody agreement you are interested in and have your attorney explain the different types of custody, such as physical and legal.
9. Child or Spousal Support
This depends on whether you expect to receive either type of support or if you’ll be the payor (the parent paying support). Ask your lawyer to explain which category you fall into and why.
Ask how your personal information will be safeguarded and ensure that you will always have access to all your files for future reference.
Experienced New Jersey Divorce Attorneys Are Here For You
Every person’s situation is different, but you should always ask insightful questions in an initial divorce consultation to determine if the attorney you’re speaking with is a good fit for your needs. Contact Lyons & Associates, P.C., New Jersey Family Law and Divorce Lawyers, for a free consultation today if you are considering a divorce.