Tag: Toms River NJ Divorce Attorney

Paying For Your Ocean or Monmouth County Divorce

Paths to Paying For Your Ocean or Monmouth County DivorceThere are many questions that can arise when contemplating a divorce. Child custody, child support, equitable distribution of assets and alimony are but a few. However, one of the most common factors that keep people in unhappy marriages is the belief that they simply can’t afford to enter into the divorce process.  The truth is that there are many avenues that can be taken to pay for a divorce. A critical look into your finances may reveal that divorce may be the best economic path in the long run.

The Bronzino Law Firm LLC, has represented clients in divorces in communities across New Jersey including Asbury Park, Neptune, Wall, Manasquan, Point Pleasant, Brick, Jackson, Sea Girt, and across Monmouth and Ocean Counties. We understand that divorce is complicated. We provide effective and personalized legal solutions, at aggressive rates, with a client-centered approach.

Contact our Brick or Sea Girt offices today by calling 732-812-3102 for a free and confidential consultation regarding your case.

Paying for Your Ocean County Divorce

Paying for a divorce is not as complicated as it may seem on its surface.  There are many sources of income that can be used to gain your independence through the divorce process.

  • Savings.  Funds in a joint account or a separate account can be used to pay counsel fees.  It is important to remember that any funds you use will still be subject to equitable distribution in the divorce.  It is common for both spouses to use savings to pay for their counsel fees. Commonly spouses agree to split the accounts and each party can use their share for their own counsel fees.
  • Credit Cards.  Depending on how much credit you have available credit cards are a convenient way to finance your divorce.  Though not the most desirable way due to interest charges, the entire cost of many divorces is paid for using credit cards.  The reasoning is that if you are going to get a share of assets, such as equity from the house or other investments that you can liquidate at the resolution of the divorce, you will be able to pay off the credit cards later.
  • Home equity loan or line of credit.  It is common for homeowners to have an open line of credit or funds from a home equity loan.  However you must remember that any funds you use against the home will be considered later in the overall context of equitable distribution.  If the house is in your spouse’s name it is possible to make an application to the court obligating your spouse to open a line of credit for your legal costs.
  • Investments.  Investment accounts such as mutual funds, brokerage accounts, stock or bonds, can be liquidated, or partially liquidated, to get cash.  It is normal these types of accounts to also have a cash component so you may already have cash available.  If these accounts are in your spouse’s name, you can receive a court order obligating your spouse to liquidate the account to distribute to both of you to use for counsel fees.
  • Retirement Accounts.  A 401(k), IRA, Roth IRA, or similar account, can be liquidated for cash.  However there are taxes and usually substantial penalties that may apply. It is advisable to consult your accountant or financial adviser if you are concerned about penalties.
  • Pension.  Although you cannot cash out a pension like you can a 401(k) or IRA, often times you can take a loan against it.  There are restrictions on how much you can borrow and how you pay it back. Your financial adviser is usually able to provide you with the information about how this can be done.
  • Whole Life Insurance.  A whole life insurance policy, may have equity that you can cash out or borrow against.
  • Personal Loan.  You can apply for a loan at a bank or borrow funds from a friend or family member.
  • Divorce loans.  There are many loan options available through banks and some of which are specifically provided for divorce litigation.

Financial Benefits of Divorce in Monmouth County

When contemplating the overall cost of divorce it is important to look not just the what you will be paying but what benefits you will be granted.  These include but are not limited to:

  • Easier budgeting and greater control over money. Fights over money and financial priorities are one of the most common factors leading up to divorce.
  • Early access to a retirement fund, penalty-free. A divorce is one of the very few times a person can take money out of a retirement account early and not pay an early withdrawal penalty.
  • More college financial aid for the kids. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid only requires financial information from the custodial parent rather than both parents. This may translate to greater awards of financial aid.
  • Social Security perks for older divorcees. Divorced spouses may be eligible to file for Social Security spousal benefits at retirement if you were married to your spouse for at least 10 years.
  • Opportunity to reset financial priorities. Finance experts say the opportunity to rethink priorities and start fresh can be a positive.

Contact our Experienced Toms River Divorce Attorneys Today

The divorce attorneys of the Bronzino Law Firm, LLC have extensive experience guiding and representing clients through all kinds of divorce and family law matters in towns including Toms River, Brick, Ocean, Point Pleasant, Red Bank, and across both Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Since opening our doors our firm has believed in aggressively and zealously representing our clients and using every possible legal tool to help them realize the best post-divorce life possible. 

For a free and confidential consultation, please contact us online or through our Brick and Sea Girt offices by dialing (732) 812-3102 today.

Some Dos & Don’t Dos on Your Journey to Monmouth County Divorce

Divorce can be like a bumpy road with ups and downs
Divorce can have its ups and downs

Divorce? It’s just a bunch of legal paperwork and then we’re free!, right?
No, not exactly, here are some things to keep in mind.

Typically, divorce in Ocean County certainly requires lawyers, courts, a judge, money and lots of documents and signatures. Most divorces that end up in extensive litigation (with higher costs) share a common feature.  It’s the fact that separating spouses often think that they DON’T have choices when they do –and they ARE making them!

Friendly and Amicable Divorce

Saves you time and money

To make the best choices, focus on the big picture for the long term. You and your soon-to-be ex-spouse do have the option to decide to divorce without blame. You can agree ahead of time to consistently negotiate in good faith, with respect and mutual consideration. (The alternative is to fight; so don’t.)

You can map out this journey so that you’ll know where you’re heading. An essential navigation skill you both will need is the ability to negotiate. If you don’t consider yourself to be a strong negotiator, your insurance will be an experienced attorney who will negotiate on your (and your children’s) behalf.

3 negotiation skills are key in Monmouth County divorce

  1. Sincerely listening to your soon-to-be ex and your lawyer will help you to understand and deal with difficult problems.
  2. Work on building genuine rapport and peace with your ex.
  3. Reduce misunderstandings (or misinterpretation) of intent by keeping an open mind. Steer towards mutually beneficial solutions is a key part of effective negotiation.
Couple working together for aimicable divorce settlement
Work together for mutually acceptable divorce solutions

Both of you can drive towards a friendly separation by putting the needs of your children and the family first.

There aren’t many rules of the road as far as determining who gets what or who pays who what in a Monmouth County divorce. Nonetheless, there are some standard “Dos” and “Don’ts” to keep in mind as you drive your divorce.

 

Divorce Settlement in Brick NJ: “Dos” and “Don’ts” as you proceed to a divorce settlement

Green light means Do!

Dos 

  • Again, know where you are going: understand the legal process by working with your attorney. Simply being aware of the basic process and how it applies to your situation, with your specific complications, will help you choose the path that is going to work best for you (and stay on it!).
  • Always place the needs of your child(ren) first. Collaborate to create a parenting plan that will help you be good co-parents for the rest of your children’s’ lives.
  • Be organized because the more organized you are, the better the quality your negotiations (and resulting settlement agreement) will be.
  • Know your expenses; make a budget. This will provide a working framework for many of the issues that need to be negotiated.
  • Get support that’s neutral, maybe a family therapist to deal with the high level of emotions. Your lawyer can recommend professional services.
  • Be realistic about what you or your spouse can afford and plan accordingly. How secure is your job and your spouse’s job? Can you afford to keep and maintain the house? Will you both need to move? If so, what about the kid’s school? Who gets to claim the kids on tax returns? What are the expenses that each spouse can agree to reduce or eliminate? Answer these questions together and your solutions will be stronger and more likely to succeed long term.
  • When the decisions concern the child(ren), decide on possible options and invite your child(ren) to tell you their preferences (especially teenagers).
  • Do Your Research. Don’t assume or make decisions on what happened to a friend or family member. If you do, you will likely find yourself at situation-destinations that aren’t in anyone’s best interests, or worse, are dead ends.

Red traffic light means Don't Do

Don’t Dos

  • Be careful about what and who you text or post. Every type of electronic communication and social media have can leave a digital trail. That means Facebook, Tweets, E-mails, text messages, photos/videos and every type of electronic transmission in-between. Any of them could end up as evidence reflecting on your character and fitness to parent. Status updates, online photo albums, profile pages, comments, etc. can all be used as evidence to contradict statements previously made and to help prove infidelity, mishandling of assets, emotional instability, alcohol/drug use, etc.
  • When you do begin to date, remember that child custody decisions are based on the child’s best interest. If a parent is spending a disproportionate amount of time with (or money on) the new love interest, especially infringing upon quality time with the child(ren), a judge may take a new look at the relationship and reassess the quality of the new boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Online dating sites are intended to facilitate “getting back in the game,” but they can also be detrimental to divorce settlements and custody negotiations. Don’t lie or be loose with the truth. Making a profile sound better or different than what it actually is, can take you to a different custody or alimony destination. Social media sites play an increasingly larger role in the courtroom these days.
  • Be respectful, resist any temptation to snoop. Privacy laws are changing, but most prohibit the intentional interception of wire, electronic or oral communication (recording or “wiretapping”). A few years ago, a Michigan man was up against felony charges after he accessed his wife’s g-mail account to discover her extra marital affair. Your attorney can explain what is and isn’t allowed in New Jersey to stay vigilant.
  • Shopping can be a form of feel-good therapy for some people. However, resist the urge to shop while you are on the road to divorce. Increasing your debt is not a good plan, nor is getting revenge by spending (legally considered “dissipating”) marital assets. Until your divorce is final and you have a working financial plan (so you know how much money you can safely spend), be thrifty.

Taken individually, any one of these mistakes might redirect the direction of a divorce plan; and any combination of several of them, could substantially detour and influence the divorce and custody settlements. Couples who successfully put their differences aside for the benefit of their children will keep divorce costs in check–both emotional and financial costs.

The route to divorce is a road of many decisions

There will be many divorce decisions along the way

Let’s face it, while divorce is about ending one life journey, the route to divorce is a seemingly endless road of decisions about separation, division of assets and assigning responsibilities.

Many of these will affect you and your child(ren) far into the future, so choose an attorney who you feel can guide you through your proceedings, prepare you for divorce negotiations and assist you to set the foundation for your future.

For a free and confidential consultation regarding  your divorce journey, contact us online, or through our Sea Girt, NJ office at 732-812-3102.

Peter Bronzino, Esq. has the extensive experience guiding clients through the divorce process to reach equitable settlements in towns across Ocean and Monmouth County, including  Sea Girt, Brick, Toms River, Point Pleasant, Wall, Spring Lake, Jackson and Howell.

 

Ocean County NJ Divorce AttorneyOne of the most commonly asked question by our Ocean and Monmouth County divorce clients is how much we think their divorce will cost. Understandably, this is a very real concern for many people beginning the divorce process, but unfortunately there is no easy answer to this question.

Unlike personal injury law, in which attorneys frequently work on a “contingency fee” basis, NJ Court Rules prevent divorce attorneys from doing the same. This means that your Ocean County divorce lawyer will instead need to charge you based on the time they spend helping you to resolve your divorce.

Since time is the primary determining factor when it comes to how much your divorce will cost, this article will discuss the different elements of your divorce which will determine how long it will take to resolve, by which you may be able to make a rough estimate for how long you can expect your divorce to take, and how much you may be able to expect your divorce to cost.

Spring Lake, NJ Divorce Lawyer and “Your Family’s Assets and Finances”

One of the most important factors when it comes to your divorce’s timeline is the complexity of your family’s assets and finances. Things like family owned businesses or private business enterprises are extremely complex financial entities, and the law requires that these assets be fully and accurately valued, and then divided in a fair manner (known legally as ‘equitable distribution’). The more complex the assets, the more work will need to be done as part of this two-part equitable distribution process, and this includes everything from homes, properties, debt, and even retirement funds such as a 401k.

You and your Spring Lake divorce lawyer will need to determine exactly how much the business, property, or other asset is worth, and then further determine whether or not you and your spouse want to divide different parts of the business or asset in question, or whether one of you wishes to retain complete ownership of the business, property, or asset, and what that party will need to offer in exchange for this sole ownership.

The bottom line, the more complex your family’s assets, the more time it will take to value, and later divide, those same assets.

Point Pleasant, NJ Divorce Attorney and “The Reasonableness of Your Positions”

Another important determining factor is that of you and your spouse’s positions and desired outcomes, and the reasonableness of those positions and desired outcomes. In simpler terms, if your spouse and their divorce attorney’s original bargaining positions are such that agreeing to them would be extremely unfair to you, either in the short-term or in the long-term, it can take a longer time to ultimately reach fairer agreements than if they had taken a more reasonable position from the get-go.

Conversely, if your own positions are something that your spouse simply cannot agree to, the same considerations would apply. In short, the initial positions and desires of you and your spouse, and their reasonableness and fairness to the other party will go a long way in determining how long it will take to resolve divorce issues like child custody, child support, alimony, and the division of assets.

Monmouth County, NJ Divorce Lawyer and “Negotiation versus Litigation”

Divorce agreements like child custody, child support, alimony, and marital asset division all have the potential to be negotiated outside of a court room, without requiring court intervention to make final decisions in any of these areas.

However, anytime you are unable to find acceptable resolutions to these issues through negotiation, you, your Monmouth County divorce lawyer, your spouse, and their divorce attorney will need to present all of the facts (as each side sees them) to a judge, and also present evidence arguing for a certain position or resolution to these issues to the judge. Not only can these things take time to actually do, you will also have to wait for open court dates in order for these positions and findings to be presented to a judge, and this process can easily last months.

The more you and your spouse are able to negotiate the various issues related to your final divorce settlement agreement, rather than having to rely on a judge to decide them for you, the quicker your divorce will be resolved.

Toms River, NJ Divorce Attorney and “Good Faith Actions and Willingness to Cooperate”

Finally, and perhaps most importantly of all, the good faith conduct of you and your spouse and your willingness to cooperate and find fair middle-ground solutions for the various aspects of your divorce aspect agreement will go a long way in determining how long your divorce takes to resolve. This ties in to our section above regarding how successful your negotiations are, and to what extent court intervention is required, but also goes much deeper than this particular aspect.

As sad as it is to say, many individuals purposely try to hide assets, or try to hide the full value of certain assets in order to obtain more favorable agreements in areas like child support, alimony, and especially, the division of assets. This is known as “acting in bad faith”, whereas acting in “good faith” would mean each party willingly shares full and accurate financial information, and doesn’t purposely try to find advantages by obscuring, hiding, or otherwise manipulating the facts.

However, if you and your spouse share the goal of quickly and efficiently resolving your divorce, and acting in a good faith manner towards one another, this kind of attitude can prevent many of the conflicts and necessary legal actions (such as compelling one party to fully disclose specific financial information) that can arise during the divorce process. The more you and your spouse cooperate and act in good faith, the quicker your divorce can be ultimately resolved.

Contact An Ocean County Divorce Attorney Today

The bottom line is that any attorney who gives you an exact price for your divorce at the outset of the process is taking the risk that the divorce will take longer to resolve than they originally expected, leaving them in the position of essentially “working for free”. Not only is this a risk to the attorney who charges a flat fee, it is a risk to the person who hires that attorney, as chances are once that initial fee has been “worked”, you will no longer really be getting the full and effective legal representation that you deserve during your divorce process. Instead, most divorce attorneys will charge an upfront “retainer fee”, and then either subtract or add to this fee once your divorce has been resolved and it is clear exactly how much time it took.

At Bronzino Law Firm, we have extensive experience helping clients to fairly, effectively, and efficiently resolve their divorce and its related issues of child custody, child support, alimony, and martial asset division in towns across Ocean County and Monmouth County, including Spring Lake, Toms River, Point Pleasant, Middletown, Sea Girt, Brick, Jackson, and Howell.

Attorney Peter Bronzino strongly believes in working closely with each of his clients, and believes that by listening closely to their unique needs and concerns in whatever legal matter they are facing, he can more effectively work to find resolutions which accurately reflect those same needs and concerns. And while we cannot tell you exactly how much your divorce will cost, we can tell you that the smaller size of our law firm allows us to charge our clients fair and reasonable rates for our services, and further allows us to provide attentive service to each and every one of our clients.

To speak with our office and Peter Bronzino today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your divorce and any specific needs or concerns you may have regarding the many issues associated with any divorce, and how exactly we can help you to resolve them, please contact us online, or through our Brick, NJ office at (732) 812-3102.