As a seasoned lawyer, I always have had great sympathy for my clients. However, after I went through my own divorce a few years ago, I began to truly empathize with my clients. In fact, I feel my skills as a New Jersey divorce attorney were actually elevated and enhanced. Furthermore, I find that I connect with my clients even more so as I now have a full understanding of the personal trauma that a divorce causes on so many levels. So what is the most intelligent way to approach a New Jersey divorce? Let’s explore.
Now, when I was staring at my divorce straight in the eye, I knew the first thing I had to do was to create a “divorce team.” First and foremost, my family and friends ran to my aid and gave me much needed emotional support. Then, I met with other professionals who I felt could provide me with information that would help minimize the damages of this life-altering event.
Obviously, I consulted with a number of New Jersey divorce law firms in order to begin to get “my ducks in a row.” Clearly I would advise any individual considering a divorce to do the exact same thing. Following, please find a list of other professionals who you or a loved one may want to have part of their “divorce team.”
Simply put, children first.
Children must be protected at all costs. If you have children and are considering a divorce, quite candidly I consider this to be a “no brainer.” It is a great idea to consult with a child psychologist who can provide you with essential advice as to how to best insulate your child from the divorce process. Additionally, this professional can give you the heads up as to “warning signs” which would signal that your child is being adversely affected by the divorce. Under such an egregious and serious circumstance, it might be wise for your child to attend therapy as the divorce is proceeding and even afterwards, if necessary.
A Real Estate Agent
For most families, the marital home is one of, if not the greatest asset of the marriage. Thus, it is a good idea to have a real estate agent visit your home and provide you with a Comparative Marketing Analysis so you have a sound idea as to the value of your home. This is necessary for planning for the future after the divorce has been finalized. Can you keep the house and buy-out your spouse or does the home need to be sold? This is the first step in making such crucial decisions.
An Accountant and/or a Financial Planner
Simply put, become an expert on your own finances.
In virtually any New Jersey divorce, it is essential to consult with financial experts. For instance, if your spouse is self-employed, you may want an accountant to review the business tax returns in order to find any “hidden” income. If you cannot gain access to these tax returns, your only other option is to proceed with the divorce so your attorney may obtain these records.
A financial planner can be essential for reducing the financial snafus that lie ahead. On one hand, you may need help understanding what your financial needs will be as after your divorce and how to create a budget that will allow you to survive and then hopefully thrive in your post-divorce life. Furthermore, they can help you see that, with proper planning, you can create a situation wherein you will be financially secure once the divorce is said and done.
It is frequent, especially in a New Jersey divorce with a great amount of assets, that I work in tandem with my client’s accountant and financial planner in order to provide our client with the best financial advice possible.
A Private Investigator
This is a touchy subject. Throughout my nearly 20 years as a New Jersey divorce attorney, very rarely have I recommended that a client to hire a private investigator. Usually, the topic at hand is adultery and the proof is already there, ranging from cell phones to flat out catching the spouse in bed with their paramour (this is fancy for new boyfriend or girlfriend). Unless it is really important to my client for personal reasons, I do not recommend spending money on something that we already know to be true.
The only times I recommend that my client hire a private investigator is when there is a strong suspicion that the other spouse is spending significant money on their paramour. I recently had a case wherein the private investigator discovered that my client’s husband had recently bought his new girlfriend a house, with cash! In this case, hiring the private investigator was money well spent.
Simply put, take care of yourself.
While it is hard to describe, there is something so unnatural about a divorce that it can be even more emotionally devastating than the loss of a loved one. When facing a divorce, it is crucial to take care of yourself. How else can you be at your best while protecting your children and making other immense, major life decisions?
I also find that while the support of family and friends are imperative, a therapist not only has the training to help nonetheless makes observations that may elude those who love you the most. In other words, while the therapist is “on your side,” they also have the ability to “call you out” when you are going down the wrong path and get you back on track.
Consistent with the theme of this blog, my office also believes in the “team” system. To wit, if there is a question on any of my firm’s cases, all four lawyers at my firm convene and discuss the issue (or issues) involved. All told, our client then has approximately 50 years of legal experience studying and analyzing your case.