IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU KNOW YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS
Are you considering separating from your spouse or do you want to file for a divorce? Do you have financial concerns? Do you have minor children that you want to see more but they are being kept from you? Do you wonder what you can and can not ask for in a divorce situation? It is imperative that you have correct information and fully understand your legal rights. I am continuously astounded by the number of clients who come in with wrong information or a distorted perception of their legal rights in the context of a separation and/or divorce. Perhaps they are believing what their angry spouse is telling them. Or perhaps they are believing what a friend is telling them. The most troubling misperceptions involve financial concerns and issues involving custody and parenting time of minor children.
I am concerned for the woman, married for many years, who believes her husband when he says that if she leaves him she will never see a penny.
Or the client that believes that their spouse has no right to a portion of a pension or 401K.
Or the client who does not appreciate that they have a right to funds in the “joint” account.
Or the man who believes his wife when she says that he can only see their children every other weekend.
Or the parent that takes ownership to the children (i.e. these are MY children) and refuses to acknowledge that the other parent has a right to be involved in the children’s lives.
The examples can go on and on.
The bottom line is this -- with few exceptions, in every marriage there are issues to be addressed and it is important that you understand your legal rights. If children are involved, it is critical that you understand their rights too so that they are protected. The law in New Jersey strongly supports the position that both parents be involved in the lives of the children. The children are not “hers” or “his” - they are the children of the mother AND the father. It is never wise to argue before the Court that the children are “yours” as that will lead you down a troubled path with the Judge.
There is a Children’s Bill of Rights (see below) that you need to know, understand and strive to follow in order to guard against having the innocent child being caught in the middle of conflict between his/her parents.
Another popular misconception is that you can go to a lawyer AFTER you go to court and an Order is entered - and have the lawyer “FIX IT”. The time to speak with a lawyer is BEFORE you go into court. You need to know what your rights are and how to present your case to the Judge before you go into court because once an Order is entered it is difficult, and sometimes impossible, for that Order to be changed.
People ask if you NEED to hire a lawyer in a divorce or custody situation. Technically you can handle the matter yourself, but if you want to properly protect yourself and your rights, it is advisable that you speak with a lawyer who can explain those rights to you.
If you have questions or need legal assistance - please contact me to discuss your rights and responsibilities.
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