Start Every Divorce Case as If You Are Going to Trial in New Jersey By Santo Artusa on April 10, 2020

If you are going to file for divorce, like war, start the case fully prepared. Expect the best but always prepare the for worse. Be ready to go all the way when involved in litigation. This blog quickly goes over the importance of being prepared for all aspects of divorce and family law litigation in New Jersey.

Filing for divorce is often a difficult decision. Many people want a divorce and they just want it over and done with. If life or the law was that easy, people can represent themselves. In the real world, you need a divorce lawyer that is skilled in understanding the rules and procedures of family court. The rules and procedures are difficult to understand unless you practice divorce and family law on a frequent basis, I do, as do the attorneys that work with me. This blog is about the importance of following the court rules and preparing your case as if the case will go to trial. The reason it is important to prepare that way is so that you can truly negotiate from a position of strength. Knowing that you can handle a trial and knowing what evidence you can rely on. In short, if you cannot settle your divorce case, you will go to trial. At trial you can do better, worse or about the same as if you resolved your case by way of agreement. In Court, the Court staff and Judges want you to settle. It is their belief that you will have a better deal if you make the deal yourself instead of a family court judge that is busier than you can imagine. However, sometimes you must go to trial. Family law trials can take days or even months. You must be prepared, you must submit documentation, memorandum, exhibits, a witness list, and other related documents that will prove your case. Family Court Trials in Hudson County are conducted by: Judge Schillari-Rich, Judge Christine Vanek, Judge Nesle Rodriguez and Judge Maureen Mantineo. 

At trial, you may have to resolve all issues before the Judge or you may agree on some issues and need the Judge to simply address the remaining issues at hand. For example, you may agree on joint legal custody but do not agree on parenting time. You may agree on child support, but do not agree with alimony. When I am retained, I begin to prepare for trial unless the parties do not have any issues and are ready to sign simple documentation. For the rest of us, the case will require the exchange of discovery (relevant documentation that can be used at trial and/or to negotiate). The parties can be compelled to attend a deposition where one attorney can ask you questions about the facts of the case and the issues in dispute. Again, preparation at all levels of a divorce case can make it easier for you if you have to go to trial and easier for you to negotiate. 

My team and I are experienced in family law and divorce matters that are heard in the New Jersey Family Courts. I usually advise my clients against going to trial but in some situations, the parties cannot settle the whole case and a trial must be conducted. If you are seeking to file for divorce or must answer a divorce complaint, contact my leag team in our Jersey City office on 973-337-9643 for a confidential meeting with me to see how we can help you today and move forward.


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Santo V. Artusa, Jr.

Santo V. Artusa, Jr.

Since 2009, Mr. Artusa has dedicated his career to representing clients in and near Jersey City in family law and criminal cases. He is a skilled negotiator and litigator who has received a range of prestigious recognitions, including:

  • The National Trial Lawyers Top 100
  • Avvo 10.0 Superb Rating
  • Client Distinction Award 2015

For more information about our legal services, contact our office online or call (973) 337-9643 today.

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