While nobody truly wins in a divorce, cases that go to trial must be ruled in favor of one party over another. It's hard to know how a judge will rule in any particular case, but it's fair to say that there are less "absolutes" in a divorce litigation compared to a criminal trial. Unlike criminal cases, divorce proceedings involve unique circumstances that are specific to each couple's marriage. In addition, these cases involve extremely sensitive issues that will affect the children, as well as the parents for many years to come.
Your chances of winning a case depend on numerous factors that may or may not be within your control. You can, however, build the strongest case possible by using the following strategies:
- Research the laws.
Even if you think you have a solid case, make sure to research the laws pertaining to your specific issue. One of the best sources on New Jersey's divorce laws is the Legal Services of New Jersey website at https://www.lsni.org/. You should also go to the New Jersey Courts website at http://www.judiciarv.state.ni.us/ to find out about the procedures used at your superior county court. Knowing the state's laws and court procedures will give you valuable insight into your spouse's rights, as well as your own. This information is critical to arguing an effective divorce case.
- Have realistic expectations.
Regardless of what you want or deserve, the judge is more likely to side with you if you have realistic expectations. This means taking an honest look at your finances and lifestyle, as well as your spouse's. If you are seeking alimony, for example, do not ask for more than what your spouse can reasonably afford — even if you are entitled to ask for more. You should also examine your own earning potential, which the court considers when determining domestic support payments. Balancing out all the relevant factors will help you to make a rational choice.
- Think long and hard before filing an appeal.
Many people assume that they can file an appeal if they're not happy with the judge's verdict. The truth is, you will have to show compelling reason for the court to reopen your case. There are many reasons that can be considered, but proving them to the court's satisfaction is incredibly difficult. As a general rule, appeals should not be a part of your divorce trial strategy. However, if you believe that you do have a right to appeal, confirm your beliefs with an experienced divorce trial attorney.
- Work with a family law attorney.
Legal representation is critical when fighting for your rights on important issues such as custody and child support. If you are considering divorce litigation, please schedule a free consultation with the family law attorneys of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. With decades of trial experience in the New Jersey family courts, our lawyers are sure to be the most effective part of your divorce trial strategy.