Divorce cases shouldn't be about winning or losing, but if you're headed for court, you know that the judge can only rule in favor of one party. Whether you are the complainant or the respondent, you're probably wondering what your chances are in court. This question is hard to answer, since divorce issues are decided on a case-by-case basis, depending on each couple's unique circumstances. You may have also heard stories from family and friends who have dealt with biased judges and vindictive spouses, who constantly used delay tactics to prolong the divorce proceedings.
It's true that there are no guarantees when it comes to a divorce settlement, but the family courts are not as arbitrary as you may have been led to believe. Yes, the statutes do leave room for interpretation, but there are clear protocols that both spouses must follow, including legal grounds for filing a motion, as well as having evidence to back up their claims. Spouses also have strict requirements and deadlines for submitting court required documentation. As for judges, they are humans like the rest of us, and do have some level of preconceived notions that may influence their interpretation of the law. However, they cannot show bias against you because of factors such as race, gender, or sexuality. In addition, they must thoroughly back up their rulings with current statutes and legal precedents.
The truth is, a winnable case is based on solid grounds, compelling evidence and experienced legal representation. While New Jersey law allows to represent yourself in a divorce, it is highly recommended that you at least consult an attorney throughout the process. It's in your best interest, however, to let your attorney represent you at the hearings. Even if you think you have an open-and-shut case, lack of legal knowledge, court procedures and ability to connect with the judges can easily lead to an unfavorable settlement. Although you have the option the appeal, the Appellate Division almost always upholds a judge's ruling unless you can show a clear violation of the law or court protocol In this case, you will definitely need an attorney, so you may as well work with one in the first place.
Remember — there's no harm in just speaking to an attorney about your case. Most divorce lawyers offer free consultations, where you can find out about your rights and options. They will also let you know right away if they feel that your case does not stand a good chance in court. However, an experienced family law attorney would have had success with a wide range of divorce cases that were similar to yours. Furthermore, the decision to work with an attorney is yours, just as it's ultimately your decision to take your case to trial. The family law attorneys of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. would be happy to review your case during a free initial consultation, thereby helping you make the best decision for you and your family.