Going through divorce means big changes for both parties. Daily life changes drastically, new lifestyles must be built, and assets must be divided. It takes a lot of planning and careful consideration in order to protect yourself and your fair share of your assets in divorce. There are many tricky things to divide up from homes and vehicles to bank accounts and retirement plans. Tricky or not, retirement plans are often one of the largest assets that couples have to divide in divorce and are therefore extremely important. In order to make sure that you are getting your fair share you’ll need to have a deep understanding of what you are legally entitled to as well as probably hire a qualified attorney to help you sort the matter out.
A divorce is never an easy situation to find oneself in; and many times proceedings can seem like they continue forever before they come to an end. A NJ family attorney can help couples file a collaborative divorce which is a new alternative to the traditional process. Collaborative divorce law allows the spouses to work with attorneys who will help them negotiate the terms of a divorce in a much friendlier and peaceful environment. Each spouse will hire a collaborative attorney who will assist them and advise them in negotiating the terms of a settlement agreement. After the two spouses meet with their individual attorneys, the four parties will meet together to discuss the terms of the divorce and try to reach an agreement. If a collaborative divorce cannot be reached the proceedings must go on to the court system. In these cases the collaborative attorney cannot represent their client in the court proceedings. The goal of a collaborative divorce is to peacefully settle all the terms of the divorce through a series of negotiations. A successful collaborative divorce will end with both parties agreeing on all the aspects of the divorce.
Many times all that is discussed is the lawyer-client relationship as it relates to confidentiality. However, attorney-attorney confidentiality is just as important. A NJ attorney has the ethical duty of not disclosing information that is related to the representation of his client. Confidentiality is in effect at all times for the attorney, not just when they are facing legal demands for client information.
It is imperative in any professional position that clear communication be established, but even more so for the attorney. If a NJ Attorney desires to have a successful practice good communication skills are essential. They must be able to effectively communicate on many levels with associates, other legal professionals, vendors, staff, partners and of course with their clientele. When a lawyer can communicate effectively they will demonstrate more confidence which can lead to increased clientele. In order to build a rapport between the client and lawyer good communication is essential. Rule 1.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct pertains to communication which occurs between the client and the lawyer.
The Rules of Professional Conduct cover many different topics as they pertain to lawyers and how they handle their profession. Section 1.1 deals with the lawyer’s competency. The two sections contained under competency explain that lawyers must handle legal matters ethically; they cannot neglect a matter which has been entrusted to them in any way that constitutes gross negligence. Lawyers must be competent in their handling of legal matters in general such that they do not show evidence of patterns of neglect.
Every New Jersey attorney is required to handle all their professional legal matters according to the Rules of Professional Conduct. The RPC outlines how lawyers are to conduct themselves in an ethical manner. Following these rules of conduct can help protect clients from lawyer’s unethical practices but they are also in place to provide protection for lawyers. Rule 7.3 offers the guidelines by which lawyers should handle personal contact with their clients or prospective clients. Lawyers must be allowed to initiate contact with clients but only for obtaining employment, however, there are certain requirements which must be met. An attorney cannot accept a client if they know that the individual is trying to obtain the lawyer’s services in a way that is prohibited by RPC Rule 7.3.
The NJ attorney is bound by the Rules of Professional Conduct as they are outlined to provide protection for both the client and the legal professional. Lawyers must conduct all of their business in an ethical and honest way. Some of the rules contain wording which states either “shall” or “shall not”; while other portions use the kinder terms, “may” or “may not.” The rules which state a lawyer “may” or “may not” participate in a specific action are largely left up to the attorney’s professional and personal discretion. However, those Rules of Professional Conduct which state specifically that a lawyer “shall” or “shall not” participate in a specified action or activity can bear repercussions for the lawyer if they are not followed.
Couples who file for divorce in New Jersey have the option of a no-fault or a fault-based divorce. In a no-fault divorce the parties agree that there are irreconcilable differences which simply means they lack the ability to get along any further and there’s not a chance that they will be able to work it out and get back together. Spouses seeking a no-fault divorce are not required to find fault with the other party or point to something bad which led up to the divorce. A no-fault divorce can be a simpler process and can be easier on the children who are involved.
In many areas of the United States the steps for filing for a divorce are very similar with very few differences. Some states even provide kits for uncontested divorces which can be filled out and submitted to the court clerk without the use of a family law attorney. But in most cases it is better to have a family law attorney on hand to help the couple work through the various and unique circumstances they may be facing. One thing that many people neglect is the court jurisdiction where the petition for divorce is to be filed. Most of the time the state or county has regulations regarding residency that must be met before a divorce is filed. Most have a minimum period of residency that must be fulfilled before the court will have the jurisdiction to even hear the case.
When a couple presents themselves as husband and wife and cohabitates for a substantial period of time they can be deemed married without the issuance of a marriage license or a ceremony. Usually the couple dwells together for at least a year and are in an agreement to become married at a later date. Every state does not recognize or permit common law marriages. However, in most cases if a couple becomes “married” by common law in another state sister states will recognize it as a marital situation.