Before commencing the divorce process in New Jersey, it is important to understand the costs involved. The divorce process can proceed in many ways. The way the divorce proceeds can have a significant impact on the costs involved. A divorce in New Jersey can proceed on an uncontested basis which in all likely hood will mean that the costs involved will be significantly less than they would otherwise be in a litigated proceeding. Before retaining your divorce lawyer, it is essential to review the fee structure with the lawyer. Divorce lawyers will recommend that you hire an attorney practising family law to assist you with your divorce. A law firm with family law experience will be able to inform you about the relevant New Jersey divorce laws and provide you with proper legal advice.
Your Uncontested Divorce Cost
In an uncontested divorce, the parties can work out all their differences by mutual agreement. Uncontested divorces are typically common when the parties first engage in the divorce mediation process. Uncontested divorces can occur if both parties have open communication lines and instruct the respective attorneys of their desire to proceed amicably. An uncontested divorce can cost as little as a few thousand dollars.
Divorce lawyers get paid on an hourly basis. Therefore, the lawyer's amount of time working on your case will directly correlate to how much it costs. Divorce lawyers bill for time spent on legal research, writing letters, preparing certifications and briefs to be submitted to the court, telephone calls, and responding to emails.
Preparing for an Uncontested Divorce in NJ
In an uncontested divorce proceeding, the divorce lawyer will assist you by preparing all the necessary documents required to file the divorce complaint properly. These documents include various affidavits, litigant information sheets, and the complaint itself. Typically, the preparation of these documents takes one to two hours. In addition to preparing the documents required for filing, the divorce lawyer will also prepare your marital settlement agreement.
The marital settlement agreement is the document that contains all the agreed-upon terms of your divorce. The marital settlement agreement can be well more than twenty pages depending on the complexity of your case. It can take a lawyer anywhere from a few hours to many hours to prepare this document. In addition to the above time expenditures, a person filing for divorce will also have to pay specific filing fees to file the complaint with the court. The filing fees in New Jersey are approximately $325.00. Suppose everything proceeds smoothly on an uncontested basis. In that case, it is conceivable that a divorce may cost around $2500.
Your Contested Divorce Cost
In a contested divorce proceeding, the cost associated with the processing od the divorce will be higher. Suppose issues such as child custody, child support, and alimony are in dispute. In that case, the lawyer will have to expend more time on your file, increasing the total cost. Attorney's fees can get to be quite expensive in acrimonious divorces. Contested divorces in New Jersey are typically managed somewhat effectively by the court system. The courts typically require couples going through a contested divorce to attend mediation on a few occasions during the process. A good mediator may resolve the differences between the parties, thereby limiting the attorney's fees for both sides. Most divorces that start on a contested basis usually end up settling before trial. Suppose your divorce starts contested but resolves itself short of trial. In that case, you could expect to incur legal fees of anywhere from $5,000 to 10,000 dollars.
How To Select a Contested Divorce Attorney in NJ?
When interviewing an attorney, you must thoroughly understand the attorney's billing practices before hiring the attorney. It would help if you inquired about the attorney's retainer requirements and the hourly rate billed. The attorney/client relationship is significant and crucial to your comfort level with the divorce process. You may want to interview more than one attorney before deciding who will represent you through this process.
The divorce and family lawyers at the Villani and Deluca law firm have over 100 years of combined experience in helping New Jersey residents obtain affordable divorces. The family lawyers at Villani and Deluca all offer a free initial consultation. Should you have any questions about the cost of a divorce in New Jersey, please call today.