When you are thinking about filing for divorce in New Jersey, you may be unsure about whether you are making the right decision. For most people considering a divorce, the possibility of dissolving the marriage has been imminent for quite some time. However, it can be difficult to make the final decision to actually move forward with the divorce process. There are many reasons that people delay filing for divorce, from concerns about whether it is really the right decision to worries about children or finances. Yet waiting too long to file for divorce can sometimes end up hurting you more in the long run. 

The dedicated New Jersey divorce attorneys at Hoagland, Longo, Moran, Dunst & Doukas, LLP want to be sure that you understand how waiting too long to file for divorce can have its limitations. The following is a list of the top five reasons not to delay filing for divorce.

1. Your Spouse May Become Eligible for Alimony

There are many married couples who both work full-time jobs, and many have jobs that pay nearly equal amounts. However, if you wait too long to file for divorce, your spouse could end up moving into a lesser paying job, losing a job altogether, or becoming disabled at which point it could become necessary for you to make alimony payments. Under New Jersey alimony law, one of the many factors considered in determining if alimony is appropriate is whether a party is earning less than the other party. In determining whether one spouse is eligible for alimony, the court looks at a number of factors, including but not limited to:

  • Duration of the marriage;
  • Age and health of the parties;
  • Standard of living established during the marriage; and
  • Earning capacities of both parties.

By filing for divorce sooner rather than later, depending on the circumstances you can possibly minimize your risk of paying alimony and reduce the duration of alimony payments.

2. Communication with Your Spouse Can Further Deteriorate for Purposes of Co-Parenting

If you have minor children from your marriage, it will be important to maintain contact with your spouse (the child’s other parent) after the divorce. However, as an article in Psych Central explains, the longer you remain in an unhappy or difficult marriage, the more problematic co-parenting can be.  Consider attending co-parenting counseling in order to improve communication for the sake of your children.

3. Property Can Increase or Decrease in Value

Under New Jersey law, all marital property is divided according to the law of equitable distribution. If you delay your divorce, marital property either may increase in such a way that you must sell it and divide the profits (instead of being able to retain it by way of a buyout of the other party’s interest), or certain marital property may decrease in value.

4. Certain Property May Be Classified as “Marital” and Subject to Division

Typically, once you file for divorce, any property you acquire no longer will be classified as “marital property” and thus it will not be subject to distribution. However, if you delay your divorce filing, a significant piece of property that you acquire could end up being classified as marital property whereas it could have been classified as separate property if you had filed for divorce in a timely manner.  Similarly, if your spouse has a habit of going on spending sprees and racking up credit card debt, if that debt is incurred during the marriage, you may be responsible for having to pay it.

5. Deterioration of Relationship Can Make Negotiations Difficult or Impossible

As we mentioned above, the longer you remain in a problematic marriage, the higher the likelihood that the relationship with your spouse further deteriorates. When two people remain in an unhappy marriage for too long, many issues can become contentious—and those issues often are ones that the parties may have been willing to negotiate about before they became bitter and frustrated with the other party.  Similarly, if you’ve moved on and your spouse sees that you’re happier without them, that may create an emotional hurdle for settlement.

Contact a New Jersey Divorce Attorney

Do you need assistance with a divorce filing or are you not sure how to proceed? Don’t feel that a consultation with any attorney means your marriage is officially over, in fact, sometimes seeing a divorce lawyer can save your marriage.  An experienced New Jersey divorce lawyer can help you consider your options. Contact Jessica Mazur at jmazur@hoaglandlongo.com or call 732-545-4717 today for more information.