The Road To an Ocean County Divorce Can Be a Bumpy Ride

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.