Pitfalls of Handling Your Divorce Without an Attorney

woman lacerating photo of young couple in quarrel over dark background

The process of divorce can be costly, depending on the issues you and your spouse need to resolve.  In order to save costs, you may be tempted to work out the terms of your divorce without the assistance of an attorney.  By law, you do have the right to pro se representation (representing yourself) if you and your spouse are able to work out the terms of your divorce on your own.  The New Jersey Courts system allows pro se litigants to download applications and obtain information about filing procedures from their website at http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/prose/.  However, a Divorce Without an Attorney could be a costly mistake. The state site advises that the information provided is “not legal advice”, and to contact a lawyer if you have further questions.  This recommendation is especially valid in the case of divorce, which involves many personal factors that are specific to your marriage and family.  For example, the division of marital property can be incredibly complicated if you own investment accounts, businesses or contribute to a retirement plan.  Although New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, there are specific rules governing the division of certain assets, as well as specific rules for what constitutes as “marital” versus “separate” properties.  An experienced Ocean County divorce attorney can ensure that both you and your spouse are in compliance with these laws by studying your business records and financial documents.  Your attorney may even come across assets that you were not aware of, such as investment properties or foreign bank accounts.  Such discoveries can lead to other important revelations, such as debts and tax liabilities for which you may be held responsible in the future.

What Can A Ocean County Divorce Lawyer Help You With?

In addition to advising you of legal technicalities, a lawyer will fight for your interests on critical issues such as child custody and alimony, should you and your spouse hit an impasse in the negotiations process.  While you may be able to work out these differences through mediation, the mediator is legally bound to remain neutral.  Thus, any questions about whether or not a mediator’s recommendation is in your best interest will still need to be referred to an attorney.  The divorce process can also lead to unanticipated feelings of resentment and mistrust between you and your spouse, in which case you will definitely need an attorney to represent your interests.  Filing without a lawyer also leaves you vulnerable to making critical errors which can delay the divorce process, thereby costing you more money.  Even uncontested, no-fault divorces require the filing of a divorce complaint, comprised of numerous forms such as the “Filing Letter to the Court”, “Certification of Insurance” and “Family Part Case Information Statement”.  There is a tremendous amount of legal jargon used in these forms, which most people have trouble figuring out on their own.  Without a full understanding of the instructions and disclosures, you are likely to submit erroneous or incomplete information that can cause your application to be rejected.

Reach Out To A Ocean County Divorce Attorney

If you are considering obtaining a divorce and you reside in Ocean County, please consider speaking with the family law attorneys of Villani & DeLuca during a free, no-obligation consultation.  Our Ocean County divorce attorneys will advise you of your rights and discuss the legal issues that are relevant to your specific circumstances.   They will also discuss all the available options for divorce, including litigation alternatives such as mediation and collaborative divorce.  These alternatives allow spouses to work out a divorce agreement on their own, with assistance from a neutral third party member.  In most cases, couples are able to resolve their divorce without the stress and costs associated with a traditional divorce hearing.  Call (732) 965-3350 to schedule a free consultation!