What is the Cost of a Divorce in NJ?
As a divorce lawyer in NJ, Many wonder and ask about the cost of a divorce in New Jersey and or why is it so expensive or can it be so expensive to get a divorce in New Jersey and many other states. You may not want to think of it this way but like battles and war, they can not cost much if a treaty is made before the first shots or soon after or if its prolonged with back and forth fighting, it will cost quite a bit. So a Divorce can be expensive or it cost relatively little in legal fees and costs.
So Really Why Can a Divorce Cost So Much If We Both Want A Divorce?
Believe it or not, knowing that you both want a divorce is the easy part. It is not an easy decision but with regard to the law and procedure that is the easy part. So the cause of action can be easiest to determine and claim in the divorce, such as irreconcilable differences. The harder part is seeking specific relief and the time that can entail.
What makes a divorce cost more than you think (again at times), is really about what you are fighting for or seeking and how fast you can get or try to get to that goal.
So for example, you want sole legal custody of your children and a child custody battle ensues. Your spouse wants sole or joint. How does this get resolved? We do not agree on parenting time, what do I do? It gets resolved either by mediation and if that fails, through discovery and settlement proposals and then a trial if all else fails. You need to prove your case, your spouse may be unreasonable, may need to possibly hire experts and have many trial dates. Before the trial dates, you will have spent countless hours litigating this, trying to settle, going to court and so on. All of that costs.
Remember this!!!! Every Time Your Spouse Makes a Demand or Makes Attempts to Hurt Your Case, We have to Fire Back! It's not just about what you want, we have to work on defending claims even if frivolous. Some aggressive lawyers make more work than what work needs to be done and this causes higher costs.
I Do Not Want To Go To Trial, Must I? No but you would have to settle on terms you may not like.
If there is a trial the New Jersey Superior Court for the divorce or family law issues, will it be before a Jury?
What Steps in the Divorce Process in New Jersey Help in Trying to Settle a Case?
- Early Settlement Panels
- Parenting Time Mediation
- Economic Mediation
- Intensive Settlement Conferences
- Believe it or not, trial preparation and preparing for trial throughout the case. Trial preparation really makes you understand the strengths of your case and what you should settle for or not.
What Happens If My Spouse Can Outspend Me on Lawyer Fees Which May Force Me to Settle?
Early in the case, your divorce lawyer should seek a litigation fund to be created and used for both parties to have access to equal money for the divorce case.
What if my spouse uses delay tactics to frustrate me? What can the family division do?
Your divorce attorney must be aggressive with motions and seek penalties, fines/monetary damages, counsel fees for violating court orders and schedules.
Do I have to wait until the case is over for me to get alimony? I need money now!?
No, your lawyer can file a motion for pendente lite support which addresses your immediate needs now, such as alimony/alimony payments, child support, parenting time, lawyer fees, real estate appraisals, house sales, investment property concerns, assets and financial account holds, retirement asset liquidation and freezes, etc.
What if the court orders our home or a property appraised and I do not agree on the estimate?
You can seek to have another or multiple appraisals. Appraisals are not guaranteed values.
What Are Typical Hourly Rates For Divorce Lawyers in New Jersey?
$300-$500 per hour. Can be more or less but many fall in this range. My hourly rate is $400 per hour.
So, the cost of a divorce in New Jersey can be as low as $2000 for a quick uncontested case where all parties sign and no issues are present to $50,000 to well over $100,000 for a highly litigated case. The key to a "successful" divorce is to think long term and not on the short term costs. When done correctly, even an expensive short term divorce will save you much more than you paid in the future from more legal fees and headaches. If you are going to do it, do it right the first time and cover all bases.
If you have a divorce case and seek to file for divorce in New Jersey or have been served, contact our Jersey City office on (201) 228-9815 for a free consultation.