5 Important Questions Your Divorce Attorney Should Answer

Before hiring a divorce attorney, it is important to ask questions to better understand the process. Going over other important factors such as the amount of time it will take, the costs involved, and what happens in the event that the proceeding does not go according to plan can also help the process.

Questions to ask your divorce attorney

How long will it take?

Though divorce proceedings obviously vary, the typical divorce proceeding will last between 4 and 18 months. Throughout this time, court appearances usually number in the range between 5 and 10. In addition to these official court appearances, a couple of case management conferences are also likely.

Case management conferences are, like they sound, scheduling conferences where the court reviews the submitted documents, determines what actions still must occur to complete the case, determines what information must be exchanged, when to return to court, etc. 

How is child support going to be calculated? 

To calculate child support, New Jersey uses set guidelines. This calculation evaluates the parents’ respective incomes, combines them, and produces a child support amount that the non-custodial parent will give to the parent with primary custody. The calculation uses factors such as, how many nights the child(ren) may sleep at the other’s residence, who primarily pays for medical care, extenuating other expenses and special needs.

Is financial assistance possible? 

New Jersey has no rule for alimony. While the law indicates that if a marriage is less than 20 years, alimony cannot be longer than the length of the marriage. Usually, courts impose alimony for about 50-75% of the length of the marriage. Realistically, alimony will usually not be the exact length of the marriage, but it is possible depending on the specific circumstances of the case.

Sometimes, while the divorce is still pending, courts will sometimes require temporary support from one spouse to the other. Courts will impose this order depending on the relationship. For example, if one spouse stays at home, the court will usually allow the situation to continue, instead of requiring the stay-at-home spouse to get a job and pay for the divorce proceeding by him or herself.

However, even if the court does order financial support during the divorce proceeding, alimony following the divorce proceeding is not guaranteed.

What to do if the other spouse will not answer? 

After either spouse is served with papers, the court will usually provide the serving party with 35 days. If the spouse served with papers does not answer in 35 days, the court will not accept any of their answers moving forward. To preserve the opportunity to file an answer, certain papers will have to be filed to notify the court what relief is being sought before the final hearing. 

What happens if the divorce cannot be resolved amicably? 

As a preliminary matter, most divorces do not proceed to trial. In fact, less than 1 percent of divorces in New Jersey actually proceed to trial, which means that if they do, it is because the case involves complicated legal issues and both sides unwilling to compromise.

In the event that a trial does occur, it will usually occur over the course of a few days depending on the complexity of the issues involved.   


Fortunately, divorce proceedings usually do not proceed to trial, unless the divorce is particularly contentious and the parties are unwilling to compromise. In general, the divorce proceeding will usually last between 4 months to a year and a half, with financial assistance during and after the proceeding dependent on a variety of factors such as the previous relationship, financial stability, and children involved.  

Call us at (732) 449-0449 for more information from Anthony J. Cafaro, P.C. or to schedule a consultation in our office in Sea Girt.

NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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