Articles Posted in Divorce

Divorces can be expensive. You are splitting up your assets, and probably splitting a two-income home in half (or having to provide for two households at the least). You think you and your spouse can pretty much agree to anything, so you decide to file for divorce without consulting or hiring a lawyer in order to avoid the attorney’s fees. While people do this quite frequently, there are some massive, and incredibly expensive, pitfalls that can await you if you attempt to go it alone (or in legal-speak, pro se). The following is a list of reasons on why you should not file a divorce in NJ without a lawyer.

  • It could get expensive. I know you think that if you do not hire an attorney, you will avoid those expensive attorney’s fees. That is true. However, you should think of these fees as an investment. Doing property division on your own can be difficult, especially if your estate is particularly large or complex. Dividing up real property requires multiple documents and transactions. Trying to divide up your retirement uses multiple laws and procedures. Mishandling distribution of your retirement account can actually cost you huge fees or tax penalties that a lawyer would know to avoid. And these are just the property issues.
  • You could mess up your custody case. Even if you and your spouse agree to a custody arrangement that is fair, if you mislabel the agreement as shared custody instead of joint legal custody, this could have huge negative repercussions for you, resulting in a loss of parental rights in some respects. It is difficult and costly to modify orders after they are entered, and having a lawyer will make sure to catch any errors or misunderstandings before they become final. Lawyers can also give you advice on how to prepare your case for custody – including what not to do. Many parties think that talking to their children about the case, especially if they are older, is a good idea. A lawyer would guide you that it’s usually not a good idea – and if you want your child to state a preference as to who they would like to live with, a lawyer would be able to get this evidence in front of a judge through better venues than you speaking to your child. The opposing side could convince the court that you are trying to sway the child to like you more.

Divorce is a painful experience that nobody wants to face, but there are ways to make the process easier on yourself. As you go through your divorce in NJ, remember these six keys that can help hold you together during this emotionally challenging time.

Get healthy.

Don’t allow yourself to ignore your physical health during your divorce. It can be tempting to retire to the sofa with a carton of ice cream, but you owe it to yourself to fight the urge. You can help yourself tremendously by eating right, getting plenty of sleep and keeping up with a regular exercise routine.

Pull in your friends. 

Now is not the time to isolate yourself. Turn to your best friends, your family or anyone else who is part of your support group. Make plans to meet friends for dinner or shopping, or just ask someone to come over and hang out. You need to spend time with people who lift you up.

Keep kids a priority.

It’s important to remember that children are not always open and clear about their feelings. If you have children, you need to spend plenty of time making sure that they are okay. Divorce in NJ can hurt kids if it’s not handled properly, and sometimes kids hide their fears and anxieties. If you can, get your kids into a counseling program just to make sure they aren’t suffering. Continue reading

Even an amicable divorce can be stressful; people feel like failures, and there’s a sense of deep sadness. Less agreeable divorces bring added pain as couples sink into negativity, blaming each other for conflict. Staying calm, or learning how to move back into a relaxed state when you’re upset, can make splitting up bearable.

Recognize the origin of your pain

You can’t heal negative emotions unless you understand where they originate. During a NJ divorce, people imagine their anxiety stems from the other person involved. They rarely see they create stress and trauma with their thoughts. There’s no denying your spouse might have done and said things that made you want them out of your life. However, the way you deal with feelings, and those you encourage to arise, is up to you.

You contribute to painful emotions when you justify why you need a divorce. Negative thoughts involving blame ruin any chance of positivity and leave you reeling. Recognize your spouse isn’t making you entertain thoughts that leave you depressed. It’s time to take back the power to create the emotions you want. Continue reading

If you are faced with getting a divorce, your life isn’t over yet. It’s just filled with a lot of different tasks that need to be handled if you are to get on with your life with as little stress as possible. In addition to all of the paperwork that needs to be filed, finding a new place to live, figuring out who gets which assets, and changing your contact information, you’ll need to settle up the debts that you hold jointly as well as those you are individually responsible to pay. An attorney can assist you in coming up with a good plan to do so or you can attempt to figure it out on your own. Here are a few ideas to help get you started.

Dividing the Debt According to Personal Responsibility

If your divorce is amicable, you shouldn’t experience any difficulty when you divide up your marital debts. Each spouse can simply take responsibility for personal debts, and the jointly held balances can be split down the middle. If the accounts are held individually, this strategy is easy to implement. Otherwise, cash transfers from one spouse to the other might need to take place.

If the divorce isn’t a friendly one, you might have more difficulty arranging this particular strategy, especially if some of the accounts are jointly held. For example, you might not want to pay for the $800 TV that your spouse purchased using a shared credit card. It’s important to create a list of all debts so that you don’t lose track of any of them. You can even make three lists: one for you, one for your spouse, and one for the two of you together.

Trading Off the Debt

If one spouse has greater means to pay off the debts, such as a higher income level, you might want to consider trading off the debt in exchange for a higher percentage of assets. For example, the spouse who has a larger salary agrees to accept responsibility for certain debts in exchange for jointly owned assets. Continue reading

Divorce is never an easy subject. In the best of circumstances, a lot of decisions must be made for a successful dissolution. In the worst cases, it may become an ongoing battle with neither party willing to give in. In every situation, an experienced Bergen County divorce attorney can make the difference.

Why Choose Peter Van Aulen

Peter Van Aulen has been a Bergen County divorce attorney for more than 23 years, serving Bergen County and surrounding areas. During his years dedicated to family law, he has been part of many situations revolving around divorce and child custody issues.

His Record

Mr. Van Aulen has handled child custody cases as part of divorce for both men and women. He has obtained restraining orders for victims of domestic abuse. In addition, he has represented those falsely accused of the crime. Continue reading

The dissolution of a marriage is stressful enough, that is why it is important to choose one of the best divorce lawyers in NJ to handle your divorce case. Your divorce lawyer should be qualified, experienced, and reasonable.

NJ Divorce Lawyer Qualifications

At the most basic level, the person you choose to represent you in a divorce case needs to be qualified as a lawyer. All lawyers must be licensed to practice law in the state of New Jersey. In order to be licensed, a lawyer must graduate from a law school that is accredited by the American Bar Association, pass a professional responsibility exam, pass the New Jersey Bar Exam, and receive a Certification of Character.

New Jersey Divorce Lawyer Experience

There are tens of thousands of lawyers in New Jersey, how do you know which one to choose? While some lawyers have a general law practice, meaning that they handle multiple types of legal cases, many lawyers tend to specialize in a particular area of the law and devote their law practice to that type of case. Divorces cases, sometimes called matrimonial cases, fall under the umbrella term of family law. Choosing an experienced matrimonial attorney to handle your divorce case makes good sense, and asking the attorney you are considering about their experience handling divorce cases is a must. Continue reading

A divorce settlement agreement, also referred to as a ‘marital settlement agreement’ or ‘property settlement agreement’, is a legal document specifying the terms of a divorce. The agreement reduces to writing all of the issues the divorcing couple has agreed to. By entering into a settlement agreement in a New Jersey divorce case, the parties avoid a lengthy and costly trial.

What Issues Does A New Jersey Divorce Settlement Agreement Cover?

Most of the issues relating to a divorce can be settled in a Divorce Settlement Agreement.

  • Child Custody
  • Child Support
  • Parenting Time and Visitation
  • Alimony
  • Division of Assets

Includes:

  • Division of debt and credit, household items, property, and valuables

I Don’t Want To Compromise! Why Not Go To Trial?

Compromising with a former spouse is difficult, as any divorced person knows. But compromising often leaves both parties in a better position than fighting out all of their issues in court. Many issues relating to money, property, and children can be resolved through the settlement process. Going to court is a lengthy and costly process that many divorcing couples wish to avoid. Often the reason a party wishes to go to trial is money related, but the cost of going to trial is usually much more expensive than settling. Not satisfied that a settlement is in your best interest? Make sure you speak with a matrimonial attorney to determine whether trial is the right move in your particular case. Continue reading

New Jersey Laws Against Discrimination (LAD) do not limit protection of employees to the mere marital status of being single or married, but also protect employees from discrimination based upon other marital statuses. The June, 2016 Supreme Court of New Jersey decision in Smith v. Millville Rescue Squad took the opportunity presented in the case to identify and implement the legislative intent of the LAD by defining the scope and boundaries of the Act insofar as the term “marital status,” not previously defined in the Act or in case law.

The Court held that “marital status” was inclusive of “employees who have declared that they will marry, have separated from their spouse, have initiated divorce proceedings or have obtained a divorce. Thus, any employee in any of these enumerated statuses, as well as single and married, are afforded protection against discrimination in employment..

The facts reported in the case are as follows: Robert Smith was a certified EMT and paramedic in the employ of Millville Rescue Squad (MRS) for 17 years. He was terminated in February, 2006 from the position of Director of Operations. His superior, CEO of MRS, John Redden, was aco-defendant in the case. Mr. Smith’s wife, mother-in-law and her two sisters were also employed by MRS in various positions. Continue reading

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A divorce causes drastic changes in your life because you are suddenly alone. You may have children, friends, and other family members who love and encourage you, but it is not the same as it is with a spouse. Morning coffee becomes just a routine, you watch movies with a bowl of ice cream, and those early morning conversations are now between you and the cat. Things are different, and loneliness can become commonplace. The first year is the hardest because it is a new experience.

Do You Really Miss Your Ex?

Most people miss the experiences they had with their former spouse. When you have been part of a relationship for years, it is difficult when it ends. Perhaps you went out for dinner and a movie twice a month, bowled with friends, enjoyed camping, solved crossword puzzles over coffee, and went for evening walks. The activities you shared are what you miss; if you and your spouse were compatible, you would not have divorced. Remember, if you enjoyed going out to dinner and a movie when you were married, you will still enjoy the experience with friends. Everything you did with your former spouse is still fun for you to do with friends, a date, or by yourself. If you feel lonely at night, it is because you have been used to having another person to talk to or watch a television show with. Invite a friend over or consider getting a roommate.

Holidays And Special Occasions

There are some days when loneliness hits you harder. You and your spouse may have created your own traditions for birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. You thought they would last a lifetime, but they no longer matter. Start new traditions for every day that is important to you. Don’t allow yourself to slip into an emotional funk because your former spouse didn’t acknowledge your birthday. Unless you have children, you will probably never hear from your former spouse again Continue reading

Although the credit bureaus do not consider divorce one of the many factors that contribute to an individual’s creditworthiness, expecting to come through a divorce with your credit unscathed simply isn’t realistic. Your individual financial behavior, the types of debt you and your spouse carry and the amount of joint debt you both owe affects your credit scores long after the divorce is final.

Closing Joint Accounts

It isn’t uncommon for married couples to hold joint accounts. One of the first financial decisions most divorcing couples must make is whether or not to close their joint accounts. While closing a joint bank account doesn’t have a clear credit impact, closing a joint credit card often damages both individuals’ credit scores.

Your credit utilization ratio–the percentage of debt you carry on a credit card as measured against that card’s credit limit–has a significant effect on your credit rating. When you close a joint credit card, you lose the available credit remaining on that card. This increases your credit utilization ratio and, in turn, adversely affects both your credit scores and those of your spouse. Continue reading

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Peter Van Aulen was selected to the 2016 and 2017 Super Lawyers list. The Super Lawyers list is issued by Thomson Reuters. A description of the selection methodology can be found at http://www.superlawyers.com/about/selection_process.html. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

Peter Van Aulen has received a rating by Martindale Hubbell. A description of the rating methodology can be found at http://www.martindale.com/Products_and_Services/Peer_Review/Methodology.aspx. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

Peter Van Aulen is certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a Matrimonial Attorney.

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