Filing for divorce or being served with divorce papers from a New Jersey family law attorney or from your spouse can just, I don't know, hit you right in the gut. Knowing that your marriage is about to be over or in other cases, the marriage is over but you still did not expect that day to come, the day the lawyers and/or the courts get involved. It is easier for some than others and for most, it is just plain hard. Being married is part of your identity. The spouse, the kids, the home, the marital lifestyle that you and your spouse enjoyed regardless if it was lavish or just your run of the mill, blue collar-middle class divorce. In reality, most of us are middle class, most of us drive the kids everywhere, cook the meals, clean the clothes, clean the house, you name it, America's parents do it all today. I can say when I travel to Italy to see my family, the parents are not runnning around, working numerous jobs and running from one sport to the next, they are not. In America, we are and it is exhausting. This on top of the cost of living and other everyday stress, has made it much harder to stay married. Sometimes, one parent just had enough and leaves. Nevertheless, as a divorce attorney in one of the most expensive areas in America (New Jersey), divorce is part of reality and divorce is expensive. I will briefly discuss what not to do when you file for divorce or when you receive divorce papers. These tips are my opinion and I have a million other opinions with regard to family time and divorce, but today I will focus on three important tips to help you.
1. IT IS YOUR DIVORCE
It seems obvious but it is your divorce. Just like it should have been your marriage, your divorce is yours as well. The reason I am writing to you about that your divorce is in fact yours is that you should make the decisions. You should decide: which attorney you want, you should decide: what you want from your divorce, you should figure out what you can live with and what you cannot live with. Now is not the time to have others fuel the fire, have others make promises to you that they cannot keep even if they have nothing but the best intentions. Now is not the time to worry about what if? Or, maybe I can change or maybe he can change? You have the power to control your divorce (within reason) and you should make the decisions that you will have to live with for years to come, nobody else.
2. EMOTIONALLY DISCONNECT FROM THE DIVORCE/YOUR SPOUSE
I know this sounds easier than it is but it is so important to focus on what you want at the end of the divorce and stay with that plan. Stay away from your spouse in the sense that you need to keep a clear mind and reconnecting with your spouse by way of a kiss, long talks, sex, etc will only hurt your divorce. Permitting someone to pierce your emotional boundary will permit them to try to take control and/or keep running all over you to obtain what they want, not what you want. Keep your distance and stay the course so thay you can obtain the most favorable divorce you can.
3. DO NOT TRUST ANYONE BUT YOUR LAWYER
Sometimes you are only free when you let go. Let go. Let go and let your attorney help you create a plan so that you can not only survive the divorce but also get what you are entitled to and if not, more, trust your lawyer. The more you listen to others, listen to other lawyers (who want your business), the lawyer on the otherside, the lawyer down the block, your best friend, etc, do not tell everyone everything, keep a tight knit group but only trust your attorney. When you are about to tell someone a critical fact about you, your marriage, etc,. act as if that fact will appear in tomorrow's newspaper. If it will be in the paper tomorrow, would you still tell that person? Would you still tell that person the same thing who will then report it the way they want to? That person can be called to testify, your attorney cannot be called to testify.
4. TRY TO BE CIVIL WITH YOUR SPOUSE
Being as civil as possible with your spouse, despite a divorce looming or pending, is the best "strategy" you can take. Fighting during the divorce, whether you live together or not, will only make matters worse. I have done cases where the parties truly hated each other during the case but with some advice from me, I helped the parties move ahead and usually, believe it or not, when people are civil, they work well together after the divorce is done (when children are involved).
While these are only three quick tips, these tips are useful and can help prevent major problems. If you or a loved one has filed for divorce or are seeking to file for divorce, contact our Jersey City office today on 973-337-9643 to schedule a confidential phone or in person meeting with one of our highly esteemed attorneys.
----Santo V. Artusa, Jr., Esq