No one wants to get involved in a prolonged, messy divorce, but there are situations where fighting for your rights requires going to trial. For example, cases involving sensitive situations such as domestic violence or drug abuse often involve spouses who are not on speaking terms. There are also many cases where spouses attempt mediation, but fail to come to an agreement on certain key issues.
If you feel that litigation is your only choice, you should take immediate measures to build the strongest case possible. A good place to start is by researching divorce laws and court procedures on sites such as the New Jersey Courts website at www.iudiciary.state.ni.us/. You should also take advantage of the resources at your superior court, which may include a self-help center with reference materials on divorce. In addition, each court has an ombudsman, who you can speak to about divorce-related court programs and services. Since you will be obtaining lots of materials and information from the courts, it's a good idea to keep yourself organized with notebooks and folders.
The principle of organization should also be applied to any evidence that you plan on presenting in court. Your evidence may include substantial amounts of emails, receipts, phone records and bank statements, which should all be kept in a neat and orderly fashion. If you plan on presenting witnesses, create a chart with their names, contact information, and notes on how they are relevant to your case.
During this time, you should be speaking to a family law attorney to ensure that you are in full compliance with the law. Evidence such as emails and social media chat logs, for example, may not be admissible if they were obtained through your spouse's cell phone or personal computer. This may be seen as a violation of his or her privacy rights, in addition to being a state and/or federal computer crime. These charges carry serious legal penalties, so you will definitely want to consult an attorney before submitting them to the court. Along with legal advice, your attorney can help you collect key evidence that your spouse refuses to hand over. This is especially important if you suspect your spouse of hiding assets in order to cheat you out of property or domestic support payments. In this case, you may need an attorney to file a subpoena for specific financial documents in order to verify your suspicions.
To find out more about how an attorney can boost your case, please speak with the family law attorneys of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. While you are allowed to represent yourself in a divorce proceeding, the New Jersey Courts highly recommend that you retain legal representation. You should, at the very least, find out about your rights and options before making decisions that could end up hurting you and you children. Our attorneys look forward to advising you of all our available services during a free initial consultation.