FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ’s):
Although every case is fact-sensitive, this webpage is created to address how Carl Taylor Law generally addresses certain issues and to provide some information specifically about the general court process for a New Jersey divorce.
Q. How long will it take to be divorced?
A. The average divorce in the two counties where I primarily practice (Hunterdon County and Somerset County) is approximately one year. The actual range may be as little as one or two months to upwards of three or even four years. There are a number of factors that affect how long it takes to finalize a divorce, including whether the parties pursue mediation or litigation, the complexity of the case, the reasonableness of the parties and counsel in negotiating, and the desire in the parties to bring the matter to a close.
Q. What are the legal fees involved in getting divorced?
A. I, like most new jersey divorce attorneys, bill by the hour. For the reasons mentioned above, it is therefore impossible to provide clients with a cost as it will range on how long it takes to get divorce and more specifically by the amount of hours of legal work performed. The cost can therefore range from low four digits to low six-figures, although the range for most divorces is more likely between $5,000 and $25,000. I endeavor to work efficiently for my clients to provide encompassing advice while avoiding an overly burdensome cost. Generally I will seek at least a $5,000.00 retainer for a contested divorce. For motions or uncontested divorces the retainer amount will generally be less.
Q. What are Your Responsibilities while the Divorce is Pending?
A. Essentially both parties are required, while the divorce is pending (known as the pendente lite phase of litigation) to maintain the “marital status quo.” This means maintaining insurance, not encumbering or dissipating marital assets or incurring inappropriate marital debt, paying certain regular expenses, and the like. Parenting time and access to children should also maintain the status quo of the marriage.
Q. What if an Act of Domestic Violence Occurs?
You should immediately contact your local police department or the court and file a temporary restraining order.
Q. Will I be Entitled to Custody and Parenting Time?
A. In most instances, courts favor joint legal custody. There is even a movement towards joint physical custody. Joint legal custody involves the ability to make important decisions in a child’s life and physical custody addresses who will more often be providing daily care to the child. These cases are particularly fact-sensitive, but courts almost always favor parenting time for both parents unless same would be detrimental to the best interests of the parties’ child.
Q. How is Child Support Calculated?
A. New Jersey utilizes “Child Support Guidelines,” a type of algorithm that provides a weekly child support obligation based on various factors including the incomes (imputed or real) of the parties, the amount of overnights each parent exercises with the children, the number of children, and the children’s age.
Q. How Do I Know if I am Entitled to Alimony or if I have an Alimony Obligation?
A. Unlike with child support, New Jersey has yet (although this could change given certain pending legislation) to enact alimony guidelines. Accordingly, Court’s address a number of factors such as the length of the marriage, the income potential of each party, the parties’ ages, and the like in determining whether alimony is appropriate and if so, whether the alimony should be permanent, term, rehabilitative, or reimbursement. As stated above, alimony may also be provided “pendente lite.”
Q. Why should I Choose Carl Taylor Law, LLC for my Divorce?
A. Because Carl will work with you to assess your goals and help provide closure so you can move forward with your life. Because Carl is familiar with the local courts as he focuses not only on narrow areas of the law, but also limits his practice almost entirely to Hunterdon County and Somerset County (with an office located in Flemington close to the courthouse). As Carl’s attorney profile indicates, Carl is a former Somerset County law clerk, is a former trustee of the Somerset County Bar Association and Bar Foundation, is a member of the Hunterdon and Somerset bar associations, and has been published multiple times in the New Jersey Law Journal on the subject of family law. Carl also volunteers his time to the local community. Click here to learn more about the Client-First experience at Carl Taylor Law, LLC. Click here to download the free Carl Taylor E-Book, New Jersey Divorce Law: The Path Forward to learn much more about New Jersey divorces.
Q. How Can I Get Started?
A. Contact the firm at 908-237-3096 or call my cell phone at 908-528-3665 to schedule an initial consultation ($250.00 cost, an initial consultation will run approximately two (2) hours, a fee will be applied to the first invoice if retained). Thereafter, you can fill out the divorce and family law intake form on this website and provide them prior to the meeting or at the initial consultation. Below is additional information regarding what to expect at an initial consultation:
New Jersey Divorce: Initial Consultations
A divorce initial consultation is very important. Generally, it is the first time an attorney and a prospective client meet one another. It is important for both parties to be prepared for the meeting and determine if a successful working relationship is possible. Some clients find the initial consultation stressful, so I wanted to address the nature of an initial consultation with my firm.
What to Bring to the Divorce Initial Consultation?
There are certain intake procedures and forms that my firm utilizes prior to meeting with a client. The more information I receive prior to the initial consultation, then the better prepared I can be to provide preliminary advice on how to proceed. Although I am not formally retained until a retainer agreement is signed by both parties, I do like to provide clients with general information as well as more specific pieces of information such as likely alimony and child support ranges. I often email the intake forms to prospective clients but the forms are also available for download on our firm’s website (under main website navigation).
It is helpful if a prospective client can provide a copy of the filled-out intake form, along with tax returns, prior court orders, and any other relevant documentation prior to the initial consultation. If that is not possible, it is helpful to arrive to the meeting 10-15 minutes early so I can review the information prior to the meeting.
What Types of Questions Will You Be Asked as the Divorce Initial Consultation?
Similar to most doctor’s offices, I like to begin with asking basic information such as a prospective client’s contact information, date of birth, date of marriage, etc. Then, I generally will ask the prospective client why they are meeting with me. It is important to air out the marital issues so that we can later focus on more technical information gathering. Has the prospective client attempted marriage counseling? Is their marriage salvageable? Has their spouse already retained an attorney or filed formal divorce proceedings? These are all important questions that will be asked.
From there, I will generally ask a series of questions in hopes of learning the parties’ financial situation. New Jersey is a “no-fault” divorce state, so financial considerations are, along with child custody, the heart of New Jersey divorce law. Some of the areas I will address with a client include:
- Both parties income/employment.
- The status of their children.
- Possible custody issues.
- Real property such as the marital home.
- Bank accounts.
- Investment accounts.
- Retirement accounts or pensions.
- College costs.
- Premarital, gifted, personal injury, or inherited property.
- Life insurance.
- Health insurance.
- Automobiles, vehicles, boats.
- Stock options.
- Profit sharing plans.
Once these important topics (and other such topics) are discussed, I will then be able to provide the potential client with some prospective on where their case may be heading. I will discuss alternate dispute resolution options with the client. If litigation is the likely outcome, I will provide some insight into how the case will likely turn out. I will also point prospective clients to my NJ Divorce Overview (available for free on this website), which also explains the process.
Initial consultations end with a question/answer session and information on the next steps if a prospective client wishes to become a client. Likely costs, attorneys fees, and the retainer amount will also be discussed at this time.
By focusing on the goals of the client and meshing those goals with the facts of the case and the relevant law, a tailored strategy can be crafted from early in a case to reach the desired outcome or goals.
Your New Jersey Divorce Lawyer:
If you’re considering a New Jersey divorce or Family Law action contact me to discuss your options. You can schedule an initial consultation by calling my office at 908-237-3096 or by scheduling your own divorce consultation online by clicking here.