New Jersey and New York Divorce and Family Law Attorneys
Is your family in crisis due to divorce, infidelity, domestic violence, or a child custody battle?
Family is everything. And every family is unique. No two situations are alike.
In the midst of a divorce or separation, the walls of your home can become like a battlefield. War rages in the kitchen and the living room. And in the hours apart, the advice given by family and friends, while well-intentioned, often is confusing and conflicting.
You are afraid to give up on the marriage, but just as afraid of letting a bad situation get even worse. If you have made it this far, you may well believe that the marriage is beyond repair. Or your spouse may have already filed for divorce against you. You do not know what your legal options look like, how long divorce proceedings will take, or what to expect. You have heard a lot of horror stories from friends and relatives who have gone through divorce. You wonder what your life will be like after divorce? And what about the effect the battle with your spouse is having on your children?
Misery loves company and divorce has a way of going hand-in-hand with job loss, business failure, IRS debt, bankruptcy and medical problems. Certainly, divorce is one of those “storms of life” which blind sides you and levels you, no matter how much warning you may have that the marriage is on shaky ground.
In the “storms of life” we all need a guide to see us through to safety. At Fazzio Law Offices, we are compassionate guides who can help you with the legal ramifications of divorce, advise you of your options, give you a clear lay of the land, and provide you the tools to weather the storm. We work with each individual and each family to come up with a unique solution that fits their needs.
Aggressive, Compassionate, and Practical – Caring About Your Situation, and Your Finances
I understand what it is like to be in the middle of a contentious divorce, though I have not been divorced myself. Divorce has a way of cutting to the core of your identity, dredging up the past, and shattering your spirits like few other events in life. And like a pebble dropped in a pond, the effects of divorce ripple outward and involve many, with children being affected most profoundly of all.
Of paramount importance is this simple truth – Divorce cannot heal the wounds of marital infidelity, lost love, unmet expectations, lack of appreciation, or emotional abuse – and it cannot right past wrongs. But, divorce can re-open these wounds and if used improperly, it can lead to new ones. It is said that two wrongs do not make a right. If you go into a divorce hoping for revenge, vindication, punishment, one-upmanship or torture, you are making a common but fatal mistake. And it may backfire.
When my parents grew apart and their 35-year marriage neared its end, I was already a practicing attorney. Even though all of their children were grown, my parents, like many divorcing spouses, started by resorting to a warlike unearthing of past grievances and a scorched earth campaign in which each side sought to best the other in Court. Tens of thousands of dollars were spent in the opening shots, before the Judge had even become involved.
Recognizing that not every dispute is best resolved through an intense legal battle, I fired my parent’s attorneys and mediated a resolution. I asked each of my parents what the three most important issues were that each of them wanted addressed in the divorce. Then I made a list of other less important and secondary demands.
Surprisingly, my father agreed with my mother’s two most important demands and my mother agreed with my father’s two most important demands. They agreed on about 70% of the issues in the divorce, yet through the distrust and fury that divorce provokes, they were prepared to fight to the death over the remaining 30%, that didn’t matter much to either of them. And neither side knew what the other side wanted until I laid it out for them. Much of the anger and confusion dissipated simply by providing some transparency about the other side’s position. Truth to tell, both were so ready for battle, and so worked up, that I am not entirely sure they had thought about what either of them cared about the most in the divorce until I forced them to think it through.
It could have taken 6 months and a hundred thousand dollars to reach this point. Of the three most important demands on each side, half of the demands were non-monetary. I was able to settle the divorce in less than a week and work out a Separation Agreement that both could live with and were willing to live up to.
Not every situation can be resolved amicably. Many cases need to be fought out in Court. But, it is important to have an attorney that will pursue the approach that is best for you, and who will not litigate unnecessarily or fan the flames of discord purposelessly, when less costly diplomacy and negotiation options are available.
Today there are a multitude of forums and services for divorcing spouses. From mediators to collaborative divorce counselors to financial planners. We are familiar with these options and will work hard to educate you on all options that may fit your situation.
Finances Are Often Cited as the Leading Cause of Divorce
In an article by Ron Leiber of the New York Times in 2009, he pointed out that the odds are high that an unsuccessful marriage ended in divorce predominantly because of financial problems. The studies are numerous and the anecdotal evidence is strong that finances roil many otherwise prosperous pairings, and rip apart many once happy families.
Whether finances expose intrinsic weakness in a marital union, whether finances are a convenient low-hanging fruit to go after when arguments unfold, or whether finances actually cause discord and dissent that ruin relationships – is unclear. Causes and effects, symptoms and maladies – these are notoriously difficult to untangle and differentiate. But, one thing is certain. Where financial problems rear their head and boil over into disagreement, divorce is often not far off.
Indeed, fighting over finances is a key predictor of divorce. Statistically, fighting over finances is the most predictive of all metrics that have been measured for predicting divorce. According to a 2009 study by Jeffrey Dew at the Utah State University, one of the best indicators of marital discord is what he terms "financial disagreements." Couples who "disagree about finances once a week" are over 30 percent more likely to divorce than couples that "disagreeabout finances a few times a month." Do you disagree about finances once a week? See, Catherine Rampell, “Money Fights Predict Divorce Rates,” New York Times (Dec. 7, 2009), available at, http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/07/money-fights-predict-divorce-rates/?_r=0. See also, https://ncsu.edu/ffci/publications/2008/v13-n1-2008-spring/Washburn-Christensen.php.
It is no wonder that the financial puzzle that a divorce presents is tremendously stressful. The financial issues are almost as complex and difficult to handle as the emotional upheaval of learning to live as an individual again instead of as a part of a couple. Handling these financial issues is integral to a successful transition to independent lives.
Negotiating financial issues can touch a nerve and open old wounds. For this reason, you need a level-headed financial advocate, as well as a legal advocate, and a legal team that recognizes the need for sound financial planning throughout the divorce process.
At Fazzio Law Offices we have expertise dealing with varied financial problems. Because of this, we can assist you in unique ways in addressing the root cause of the problem. We can help you with tax, mortgage, foreclosure, medical and debt problems that run parallel to the actual divorce proceedings.
Finances Can Create Unique Challenges Post-Divorce
According to one Pew Research Center report, divorces are near historic highs, but marriages are also near historic lows, with just 26% of twentysomethings marrying today, as compared with 68% in the 1960s. The latest Census Bureau data shows that 36.2% of divorced men had annual incomes over $75,000, whereas 29.9% of divorced women had incomes between $25,000 and $40,000.
It is said that money can’t buy you love, but lack of money certainly drives a wedge between spouses, and can be an even thornier problem after divorce, with many women still struggling to earn as much as their former spouses post-divorce.
Being an Example for Your Children
When a divorce is inevitable and children are involved, it is important that both parents stay true to their consciences. That means standing up for your children’s best interests and putting them before your own. That means acquitting yourself honorably throughout the proceedings and sparing your children as much as possible from bad behavior and emotional damage on your part and your spouse’s part, while simultaneously treating your children with honesty and not hiding what is going on. It also means taking care of yourself.
And part of living up to the example you aspire to is surrounding yourself with the right professionals. At Fazzio Law Offices, we want to be a key member of your team and be your guide through the divorce process.
CALL TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
Give us a call today at (201) 529-8024.