All relationships are complex, and spouses often decide that they would both benefit from being apart. Dissolving a marriage is equally complex and should only be undertaken with the help of a Westwood divorce lawyer from a leading law firm. When you choose a law firm and meet with an attorney, he will guide you through the following steps of starting the divorce process.

filing-for-divorceFamiliarize Yourself with New Jersey Divorce Law

Any resident couple in Hackensack, Westwood, or other cities in Bergen County can be granted divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. As your divorce lawyer will explain, divorce may also be granted if a couple has lived apart for 18 months or if one spouse is abusive, commits adultery, uses drugs, or becomes imprisoned. If your spouse has needed the services of a DUI attorney or run afoul of the law, the next step may be to seek the counsel of a divorce lawyer.

Organize Your Financial Records and Accounts

Spousal support and child support may be ordered to ensure that one spouse does not suffer financially following the divorce. If the spouses’ incomes show considerable disparity, one may need to pay the other. Most law firms suggest that you organize your financial records so that you’ll be prepared to meet with your lawyer. You will also want to set a financial foundation for non-married life, which means establishing separate checking, savings, and credit card accounts that only you can access. Your lawyer may instruct you to withdraw some joint funds or to set aside a certain amount for attorneys’ fees.

Inventory Your Personal Property

New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, so Hackensack lawyers will attempt to divide marital property as fairly as possible. Marital property is property acquired during the marriage and may include homes, cars, and other valuable items. Property that you owned before the marriage, or items or money that was gifted solely to you by a third party, should be considered separate property. In general, divorce lawyers consider the wife’s engagement ring to be separate property, whereas items gifted from one spouse to the other are marital property. Division of property is complicated, so you should rely on your attorney’s guidance.