The Progressive NJ Divorce Lawyer
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As NJ divorce attorneys, we are trained to be advocates in the process known as "adversarial. Many of us self-selected into the legal profession partly because our underlying personality and temperament traits are geared toward advocacy. Similarly, lawyers "the good ones" are typically quite inquisitive. Their questioning techniques, however, often take on the tone of cross-examination.

We can all stand to improve the way we practice the non-adversarial, settlement-oriented part of our profession by paying attention to the way we employ the principles of advocacy and inquiry.

Advocacy is stating one’s views. Examples of advocacy include: sharing how you’re feeling; describing what you’re thinking; stating a judgment; pushing for a particular course of action, decision or outcome; and making demands.

Inquiry is asking a genuine question. By asking real questions, information is truly sought. Rhetorical or leading questions are a kind of advocacy in disguise. We’ve all observed journalists and other questioners with not-so-hidden agendas pose inquiries such as, "Isn’t it true that your administration’s domestic fiscal policy has done a disservice to the elderly?" Another loaded style of pseudo question-asking might go something like, "Some people (not me, of course) might say that you handled yourself rather poorly in the first two debates. How would you respond to such criticism?"

In any discussion or conference we are engaged in, we can be high or low on advocacy. The same can be said for inquiry. Regardless of whether our advocacy and inquiry levels are high or low at a given instance, we can come across positively or negatively, depending upon our style, intent and often habit.

For instance, if we are operating from a high advocacy, low inquiry perspective, we come across quite positively if we are truly explaining our point of view. Cramming our viewpoint down the other party’s throat, conversely, is a destructive tendency. It should be mentioned that high advocacy/low inquiry results in one way communication, even if both people are engaged in it. It can be useful for giving information, but doesn't enhance understanding of diverse perspectives or build commitment to a specific course of action. Advocacy that imposes the proponent’s views on others usually creates either compliance or resistance.

On the other hand, If we are geared up in the inquiry department, but toning down the advocacy, we can conduct meaningful, non-threatening information gathering interviews, or we can find ourselves falling into interrogation mode; a natural tendency for many NJ divorce lawyers. High inquiry/low advocacy results in one way communication in a different sense in that the inquirer refrains from stating his or her views or beliefs. While it can be quite useful for finding out information, it can create difficulties when the inquirer has a hidden agenda, or is really using the questioning process as a device to get the other person to "discover" what the inquirer already thinks is right, or both.

There are certainly times when keeping both advocacy and inquiry levels to minimum is the way to proceed. This is what we’re doing well when we are observing or listening attentively. The flip side in this realm is withdrawal. We’ve all observed this in four-way settlement conferences when a sore topic is being discussed, with one spouse preaching from the soapbox while the other checks out mentally and glazes over. Low inquiry/low advocacy also flows in one direction: Participants watch, but contribute relatively little. This approach is ideally employed when being a tacit observer is useful, but it can create difficulties when participants withhold their views on key issues.

Finally, in the context of energetic sessions when we are high in both advocacy and inquiry departments, mutual learning or appreciation of each other’s viewpoints is the objective. High advocacy/high inquiry fosters two way communication and learning. I state my views and I inquire into yours; I invite you to state your views and inquire into mine. We must be careful, particularly in the context of settlement talks, not to over-work the process. When excessive communications generate too much information density, participants become worn-out, irritable and confused or overwhelmed. Positive energy is a great thing, but it’s also important to keep dialogues down to a manageable pace. Participants need time for things to sink-in. Managing the pace of high advocacy, high inquiry discussion is also indispensable when taking into account the differences between introverted and extraverted (not a spelling error, but rather the Jungian term) personality types. While extraverts often relish high pace, high energy dialogue, introverts often find them quite distracting, if not frankly annoying.

Balancing advocacy with inquiry is necessary. Taken alone, however, the balancing process is not enough to promote a positive meeting of the minds. In order for this to occur, the quality of advocacy and inquiry is also vital. For example, "That’s a really moronic comment. How long did it take you to come up with that one?" is both a statement and a question, but it doesn’t encourage negotiated problem solving. Ideally, our use of advocacy should involve providing information to others and explaining exactly how we moved from observing or collecting this information to our view of the situation. Competent use of inquiry entails honestly seeking others’ views, probing how they arrived at them, and encouraging them to challenge our perspective. Balancing high quality advocacy with high quality inquiry makes significant breakthroughs possible.

A DOZEN PRACTICE TIPS

If we assume that we are obviously right and that our job is to get others to realize what we already know, we will be unable to promote either agreement on a specific issue or ultimate settlement. Accordingly, we are well advised to:

1) Assume from the onset that we may be missing things that others see, and seeing things that others miss. If we begin with this assumption, the result is that we will listen more intelligently and inquire more genuinely without downplaying our own views.

2) Assume that others are acting in ways that make sense to them and that they are motivated to act with integrity. (This advice applies, regardless of whether you believe another to be Demon Seed or the reincarnation of Mother Theresa of Calcutta.)

3) Attempt to understand what leads to behavior that we find problematic. Are others caught-up in dilemmas? Are we contributing to any problems?

4) Help others to understand or appreciate our viewpoints and how we think about them by giving examples of the underlying data we select. Go on to state the meaning that we find in the examples, and explaining the steps in our thinking to others.

5) Describe our understanding of the other’s reasoning.

6) If we notice negative consequences to what others may be doing, identify the consequences without attributing any intent on their part to create those consequences. Distinguish between intent and impact; between motive and outcome.

7) When choosing to disclose our emotions, we must endeavor to do so without implying that the other person is primarily responsible for creating our emotional reactions. Remember also Eleanor Roosevelt’s observation that no one can make us feel inferior without our permission.

8) Find out how others see the situation by asking them to give examples of the information they selected from which they necessarily drew the inferences which lead to their conclusions. Ask them to explain the steps in their thinking.

9) Ask for help in finding out what we may be missing by encouraging others to identify possible gaps or errors in our thinking.

10) When we have difficulty with how others are acting, ask them to explain what has prompted them to act as they have done, in a tone that suggests they may have a reasonable answer.

11) Inquire into others’ feelings and emotions, but don’t ask, "What’s your problem?" or "Why do you get so worked up?" Say, instead, "You appear to be sad about something, am I right? Do you feel comfortable talking about it?"

12) Ask for help in exploring whether we are unknowingly contributing to the problem. Quite often, well-intended action on our part is problematic for others.

These tips have been extraordinarily helpful to many, both in their work and private lives. I hope that you will find them helpful.


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PASSION Ration cited in Divorce
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The Passion Ration

The last straw to finalize divorce proceedings in a marriage is when adultery is committed. I would say the hurt is unbearable for the loving partner who has been betrayed. Innocent Parties like the children and family members automatically become involved to take their share of the heartache when a marriage collapses.

Many couples manage to salvage what is left of their relationship and carry on regardless fighting a lost cause. It is not easy to put your feelings and emotions on hold. Emotions are a powerful force that comes back with vengeance filling you with anger and in some cases hate.

All the respect and trust has gone leaving that once happy relationship a farce. They say you forgive and forget. Sorry having none of it, forgive yes forget no, mental scarring does not heal.

So much suffering is caused by a one night stand or affairs that normally do not last long after the guilty party has lost everything. Ask your self is it worth it.

I do not condone such behaviour where a man or woman strays outside the Marital Home to seek pleasure; only in some cases there are reasons why partners go down this road seeking comfort elsewhere.

May be the adulterer is not the guilty one. What of the spouse who decides to ration the passion in the bedroom leaving the partner no choice but to have his or her needs fulfilled outside the marriage.

You need to think twice before making a one sided decision about when you want to play or not play ball in the bedroom. Excuse the pun, but the ball is in your court to put back the missing link that is causing your marriage and partner to suffer.

They say true love never runs smooth, and if that being the case then for a little happiness give me the rough with the smooth any day.

If you have a problem regarding being bored in the bedroom, talk it over with your partner.

Rekindling a relationship is a made a lot easier if both parties participate in trying to understand why such actions were taken in the first place. Talking it through may help you both realize that the marriage is worth saving.

Counselling is out there for couples struggling to come to terms with the fact the marriage is over. Consider the children's feelings throughout any divorce proceedings, they will need time to adapt to having there whole life turned around.

Abide by your marriage vows, if out of spite you decide to sleep alone in the master bedroom then accept the fact that the guilty part is the Betrayer not the Strayer.

Divorce and Lawyers
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Do I need a lawyer?

Check out the following circumstances to make sure whether you need to have a lawyer or not.

• You and your spouse have been wed for at least 5 years
• You and your spouse have kids.
• Either you or your spouse is the breadwinner while the other may have difficulty getting on his/her own two feet financially speaking, once the divorce is finalized.
• You or your spouse has come upon inheritance while married to one another.
• Either you or your spouse is in debt.


Where can I get a divorce lawyer?

There are a many ways to get a divorce lawyer. Also try asking your marriage counselor or therapist for a referral. Of course you may ask your relatives or friends as well. Other lawyers can recommend those attorneys which specialize in divorce also.

It is also possible if you may even go straight to the courthouse to check out if a particular divorce lawyer strikes your fancy. No matter where you look, may it be in the yellow pages or in directories on-line, you should assess their credentials.


Meeting a lawyer for consultation

After finding a promising lawyer, the next step would be to meet him/her for consultation. If he/she is hard to reach then this may be a sign that you may have a hard time getting in contact with him/her once you hire him/her as your divorce lawyer. Find out how much he/she may charge for consultation. What exactly is his/her specialization? It’s important that he/she specializes in divorce, for you to have the best representation. You wouldn’t want a gynecologist dealing with your heart disease would you? Of course you’d seek the help of a cardiologist and with legal matters it goes the same. Seek the help of a divorce attorney for divorce concerns.


What you ought to know after consultation with a divorce lawyer

The first time you meet with a divorce lawyer may be one of the few times that you are the one who gets to do most of the asking. Make the most of it. Find out everything you need to know in order to make the right choice of attorney. After speaking with a lawyer, make sure you’ve discussed the following matters:

• Length of practice
• Case specialization
• Divorce trial experience
• Experience in negotiation for settlements
• Familiarity with divorce mediators
• Custody dispute experience
• Familiarity with tax issues of divorce
• Familiarity with your particular situation/context
• Projected period of time for your case
• Projected outcome for your case
• Schedule and methods of contacting him/her
• Fee (Including specifics, like if travel time is included)
• Manner of billing

Cheap Divorce
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Cheap divorce is possible if you are fully aware of all the possible expenses involved. And keep an eye on them. It may require double the effort and attention to try and keep your expenses down to a minimum. But if it really is your main goal and aim it will be worth the try. Try to put your focus on the variables like certain legal representation or the cost of different divorce kits or divorce form packages. Cutting costs here and there can save you money in the big picture.

The actual cost of divorce may range, from context to context. The total number of hours spent on the case and your lawyer’s rate will determine the amount due. To keep track of costs, you must be aware of the Retainer Agreement. Different lawyers vary in their rates for particular duties. Make sure to check out the ranges and choose your attorney accordingly. The hourly rates of these associates or paralegals will be less than their seniors and this can result in a reduction of overall legal costs.

You will have to scout around for a lawyer. By doing this, you will be able to figure out what the prevailing professional rate is. Once you have points for comparison, you may then further investigate those rates which are significantly lower than the rest.

To save you some time, it would be good to ask your friends or relatives for recommendations.

When you have chosen an attorney that offers a lower rate, it’s important to inform him/her that you seriously want to cut down on your costs.

In a do-it-yourself divorce isn’t just about filing papers by yourself, you have got to discuss the terms of the divorce with the other party. Make sure that the both of you can reach a decision regarding the division of property. If you do decide on a do-it-yourself divorce, you will have to acquire the needed forms from on-line or a store in order to file the papers.

Representing yourself in court is your right. But it follows that you will abide by the rules like an attorney would. Remember, whatever you may know of court cases from televisio may not exactly be what’s proper or correct. If you are considering representing yourself in court for your divorce, there are a number of things you must know.

A divorce kit contains guidelines for pursuing a divorce in a certain state, as well as forms that you may simply fill in and present to the court. Most of these kits are marketed with the concept of fast and trouble-free outcomes. These divorce kits are easily found on the internet, but they may be available in certain publication stores.
A divorce kit may offer the advantages of a quick divorce but it requires careful follow-through.

Online divorce forms may be grouped according to kind or by state because of the specific requirements that may vary from state to state. They may also come in packages depending on your state and the context of your divorce.

Forms from generic legal books, may easily become rejected by the court if specific requirements of the state you reside in are not addressed. Also, online divorce forms can be updated much easier and quicker than those found in legal self-help references. You can be assured of updated divorce forms and material.

By searching for free divorce forms and papers on the internet, you can get a head start on the separation between you and your spouse. Checking out any free divorce forms and papers that you may have access to over the internet gives you a chance to understand precisely what may be required during the process of divorce. Just going over the sample forms over the internet can provide you with the knowledge you need in order to familiarize yourself with the necessary procedures in order to finalize a divorce.

The Plain Truth about Marriage and Divorce
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When two people are in love, all that seems to occupy their thoughts is the desire to share the rest of their lives together. This romantic notions often lead to the altar, and eventually to having children. Marriage is traditionally considered a bond bound in heaven, a contract between two people who commit to stay together “...through thick and thin, through sickness and in health.”

Having their own family becomes the next greatest blessing that may even be seen as more joyous than the actual wedding. As a family, they share life together, with all it joys, sorrows, and everything in between. The enjoyment of each other's company becomes the hallmark of their family.

But due to unfortunate events, some marriages do not last forever. Some fairy tales do not end with “happily ever after.” It is a fact that many couples do have differences that later turn out to be irreconcilable. Rather than endlessly be stuck in marital discord, some feuding couples see separation, annulment, or divorce as the only solution to end their fractured relationship.

Many marriages end up in divorce because when two people get married, they do so without thinking of the enormous responsibilities and challenges that come with the marital contract. The sheer number of drive-in marriage booths in Las Vegas clearly point out the rather low regard people place in the institution of marriage. How would you like an Elvis impersonator officiate in exchanging your vows? Many people actually got married that way in Vegas. Britney Spears married her old friend from school, and after less than forty eight hours, she got divorced. Other reasons for the high number of separation and divorce include cases of adultery or concubinage.

Naturally, separation and divorce brings untold anxiety not only upon the marriage partners, but often, more so on the children. Having a divorce can be both unpredictable and scary, for completing this whole process means the destruction of the whole foundation of the family ---not to mention the staggering costs of alimony and child support. Anxiety is present in divorce discussions, since the couple are not in good terms. A marital crisis is a family tragedy that would require years of emotional healing, if only to regain the self-esteem and stability of every person in the family.

Perhaps even more that the two involved in the marriage, the ones who need emotional healing the most are the children. Children are the least prepared to face serious emotional and psychological trauma. Parents with divorced parents are almost stricken with anxiety. The stress is often seen in their poor performance in school and melancholic behavior at home. With low self-esteem, many teenagers from broken homes resort to drugs and join gangs to find a “substitute” home or family. In any case, emotional healing is crucial if children are to be prepared or rehabilitated from the emotional scars that were brought about by their parents' failed marriage. While keeping the marriage partnership intact may be the ideal, sometimes the avenue of divorce is taken by couples to prevent their children from becoming “collateral damage” in a situation where parents are constantly fighting.

Joint Custody in Divorce
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There had been a growing trend, in Ontario, in family and divorce law, over the last few years, for family courts to order joint custody of children. The hope, by some, was that the parenting skills of the parties could be improved with awards of joint custody. The recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision of Kaplanis v. Kaplanis, has tried to put this trend into perspective.

In this decision, the parties were married in 1998 and separated in January 2002. The parties had a daughter who was born in October 2001. At trial, the father requested joint custody and the mother opposed the application, stating that the parties could not communicate without screaming at each other. The trial judge granted the parties joint custody and the mother appealed the order. The appeal court set aside the order of joint custody and the mother was granted sole custody.

The Appeal Court held that, for an award of joint custody to be granted, there must be some evidence that demonstrates, that despite the parent’s own strong conflict with each other, the parties can and have cooperated and communicated appropriately with one another. In this case there was evidence to the contrary, there was no expert evidence to help the trial judge determine how a joint custody order would advance the child’s emotional and psychological needs and the child was too young to communicate her own wishes.

Approximately the same time this case was decided, the Ontario Court of Appeal also ruled on the case of Ladisa v. Ladisa, where the appeal court upheld the trial judge’s order of joint custody. In this case the trial judge had the benefit of hearing the evidence of the Children’s Lawyer who presented the children’s wishes and who recommended joint custody. It was held that the trial judge had heard evidence from third parties with respect to cooperation and appropriate communication between the parties. The trial judge also looked at the history of co-parenting during the marriage and that despite their intense conflict, the parties could and had effectively communicated with each other and placed the interests of their children ahead their own, when required.

To summarize, in Ontario joint custody cases, it would appear that the courts will now be looking more closely for evidence from third party and expert witnesses, which can demonstrate that the parties can and have cooperated and communicated appropriately and have been able to put aside their own differences and conflict, for the benefit of the children. The lack of historical cooperation and appropriate communication between the parties will greatly limit the success of a joint custody application. The assumption by some, that the granting of joint custody will improve the parenting skills of the parties, will not be a sufficient reason on it’s own to grant joint custody, in the absence of existing good cooperation and communication between the parties.

How To Choose A Divorce Lawyer In Toronto
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Choosing a Divorce Lawyer or a Family Lawyer in large urban centers such as Toronto, Thornhill, Markham, Richmond Hill and Vaughan, can be very challenging due to the large amount of divorce lawyers and family lawyers practicing in these areas in Ontario.

Experienced divorce lawyers and family lawyers can help you through a very stressful time in your life and also help you avoid very costly financial and emotional mistakes. Very difficult and life altering decisions must be made, affecting many personal and important issues, such as child custody, child access or visitation, joint custody, child support, spousal support, property division, debt division, equalization of net family properties, the matrimonial home, separation agreements, among many others. Choosing the right divorce and family lawyer is the key to obtaining the best results in your divorce.

You and your children’s rights and well being may be affected for many years in the future. Divorce and family laws are full of many legal technicalities and are frequently subject to legal interpretation and your divorce lawyer or family lawyer must be experienced in these areas. Issues of child custody and child support can profoundly affect your children’s ongoing development.

If you or your spouse is considering divorce proceedings, it is essential that you consult a divorce and family lawyer to find out your rights and obligations. Do not sign anything or take any action that can affect you or your children’s rights, without getting proper legal advice from a qualified family and divorce lawyer.

Hiring the right divorce and family lawyer requires more work than simply looking through your local yellow pages. You can start your search for a divorce and family lawyer by talking to friends and family and asking for referrals. Contact your real estate or business lawyer for a referral to a family and divorce lawyer. There are many other ways to find divorce and family lawyers as well. When you have found some, Google the divorce and family lawyers’ names and read any articles they may have written.

Family and divorce lawyers should be chosen on the basis of their experience and years of practice. Does the divorce lawyer specialize in, or primarily handle, divorce, child custody, child access or visitation, joint custody, child support, spousal support, property division, debt division, equalization of net family properties, the matrimonial home, separation agreements and all other related family and divorce law issues. Lawyers who also practice business law, real estate, criminal law etc. are generalists and do not specialize in divorce and family law.

When you meet with a family and divorce lawyer, ask questions but, prepare your questions in advance – how is child custody, child access or visitation decided, what is joint custody or shared custody, how much will you receive or will you have to pay for child support and for how long, how does spousal support work, how will your property be divided and what is included, what happens to your home, who pays for your debts and loans, how much will it cost, what steps are involved in the process, how long will it take – can you settle or do you have to go to Court, what is a Separation Agreement -

Ask what the lawyer’s philosophy is about negotiating a settlement or litigating (going to court should be a last resort).

The family and divorce lawyer should be explaining all this and much more to you at your first meeting. Make sure the divorce and family lawyer you choose, answers your questions and makes you feel that you and your case is important and not just another number. Your lawyer should not talk to you in legalize but in plain ordinary language so that you understand exactly what is going on and what will happen in the future. You must choose a lawyer who you feel comfortable with and with whom you can trust to reveal your personal and confidential information and someone who will not make you feel foolish or uncomfortable for asking questions about things you do not understand.

Your divorce and family lawyer should be compassionate and understanding due to the emotional issues involved. Many divorce and family lawyers have gone through their own personal divorces and have experienced your situation personally as well as professionally and may be in a better position to empathize with you and understand exactly how you are feeling and how they can help you better.

Credit Card Debt after Divorce
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It is true that marriages are made in heaven. But everything falls flat on their butt once a marriage hits the rocks. Every bit of reconciliation fails and divorce seems to be the only way out. If everything – both financial and other aspects - is settled before parting ways, then we can say - all is well that ends well. But if the separation is not so amicable and there is some sourness left somewhere in terms of an unsettled financial debt, things can turn both ugly and complex.

One such difficult situation arises when one of the partners incur a credit card debt, and the credit card debt after divorce assumes the form of a Damocles sword in the form of collection people, constantly nagging either of the ex-spouses to settle the due. The situation is a bit tricky here because whether the person who incurred the debt or the other ex-spouse has the real responsibility of making the payment is still not defined clearly by the law. The situation gets more complex when it comes to joint accounts. But let us see the credit card debt after divorce now.

Credit Card debt after divorce – mostly in joint credit cards – is generally seen by the creditors as the joint responsibility of the couple. Actually the spouse who didn’t incur the amount is not liable to pay, but the credit card company may seek payment from both the parties as they care only about the money due to them. What settlement had been reached after divorce is of little interest to these people.

One may feel that closing out credit card accounts (joint) is a solution to all these problems. If you have a responsible spouse, well this will work. But the fact is that the account does not cancel itself until somebody makes the payment. Also, after divorce, it is legally not practical to divide the debts. Hence these are some practical solution, from best to worst.

- Sell any joint asset (say, home) and pay the debt and close the account. It is a classic example of killing two birds with a stone.

- Separate credit cards can be a better option in such a situation. After applying, get the dues transferred into individual cards, divided according to your own logic or the way you spent.

- In this regard, if one of the spouses is not qualified to get a card, get one of the relatives to cosign the card before transferring the share of balance.

But, rather than being through this ordeal, the best option is to get yourself everything settled before divorce. It is always a pain to go behind all these joint issues when you are about to start a new life. Take Care!

Advice From A Divorce Attorney?
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I believe that divorce is one of the biggest epidemics in our current society that isn't being recognized or treated as such. As a marriage and family therapist, of course divorce is something that I am passionate about because it is something that I am spending my life to fight against. I am not ignorant enough to believe that I will see all cases of divorce end during my lifetime, nor am I ignorant enough to believe that all divorce cases even should be prevented. I am, however, perhaps ignorant in my belief that it is crazy for people considering divorce to get advice from a divorce attorney.

Now, most of you are thinking I'm crazy. Who would go to a divorce attorney for advice about their failing marraige? Many people, unfortunately. I had no idea until I began working with marriages and families in crisis just how many individuals and even couples were seeking refuge and advice with their divorce attorney.

I was overwhelmed by my new knowledge for one primary reason. Have people considering getting a divorce forgotten that a divorce attorney is the very last person who will be concerned with them repairing a broken marriage? A divorce attorney makes a living helping married people get divorced while getting as many benefits from the divorce as possible. So why would any nearly-divorced person go to a divorce attorney in hopes of fixing their marraige? Beats me.

My advice to anyone struggling in their marriage is to make an appointment to visit a professional counselor or a marriage and family therapist. The core reason why I suggest this is because in general, counselors and therapists are people who deeply want to see marriages and families restored rather than torn apart. If I am looking for someone to help me fix my car, then it is far wiser to get help from an individual who actually believes that cars can be fixed, right? Of course. The same is true with marriage. Do not go for help to someone who believes that marriages should end easily and for any reason at all. Go instead to a professional who is trained in giving you wisdom about ways to make your relationship work.

A divorce attorney is great for people who are sure that divorce is the option they are choosing. If, however, you are still unsure of your options and if you are still hoping for healing in your marriage, then a divorce attorney is the last person you should see.

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