Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What do I look for in selecting an attorney for a family law action?
  2. Are not all family law practitioners the same?
  3. How long does a divorce take?
  4. What does a divorce cost?
  5. Matrimonial Property in New Jersey is divided 50/50, isn't it?
  6. How can I expedite my case?
  7. Can we both use the same attorney?
  8. Can I get a divorce in New Jersey if I now live out-of-state?
  9. Are attorneys' fees deductible on my income tax return?

What do I look for in selecting an attorney in a family law action?

Many things.  The attorney considered should be well-practiced in this area.  With family law changing on a weekly basis you need an attorney up-to-date and versed in the complexities of the practice.  Mr. Rittley has been concentrating in this area for over a decade.  He is a member of the American Bar Association-Family Law Section, New Jersey State Bar Association Family Practice Section, and Hunterdon County Bar Association Family Practice Committee. He is also a master of the Central New Jersey Inns of Court and a Court-assigned Matrimonial Early Settlement Panelist.

Since 1999, Mr. Rittley has been rated by his peers as "BV®" with Martindale-Hubble Bar Register (B=High to Very High Legal Abilities and V=Very High General Ethical Standards).

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BV® is a trademark of Reed Elsevier Properties, Inc.

Are not all family law practitioners the same?

Unfortunately no.  Based on information provided by clients previously represented by other firms, while at these firms, they felt they as if they were only a number being passed from attorney to attorney.  At our Firm, we deal with you on a one-on-one basis. We are sensitive to the emotional aspects of family law proceedings and our staff is trained to assist you through this difficult time.  We are dedicated to preserving your hard-earned assets and obtaining a fair result for you.  We specifically limit the number of cases accepted so we can provide a high degree of service.

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How long does a divorce take ?

This varies based on which county the action is filed as well as the same factors addressed in the following section.  We have represented clients where their divorce action took a couple months to others which continued on for years. Many clients we have the case settled before a divorce complaint is even filed.  At our firm, we present you with choices which could shorten the time period of your divorce (understanding you may have to forego an issue or two to expedite your case).

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What does a divorce cost?

This is the biggest unknown as it depends on four obvious factors: (1) the reasonableness of your spouse, (2) the reasonableness and advice of his/her attorney, (3) the number of disputed/resolved issues of the marriage, and (4) your reasonableness on those same issues.  With this in mind, a divorce is not necessarily expensive.  However, out of these four factors, you can only control one, the rest are unknowns.  Sometimes the spouse that appeared reasonable is not and the apparent resolved issues become disputed.  These all factor alter the cost of the divorce.

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Matrimonial Property in New Jersey is 50/50, isn't it?

No! New Jersey is an equitable distribution state.  Distribution of the marital assets (and debt) is awarded based on fairness--so either party can receive more than 50% of any asset(s) or debt.

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What can I do to expedite my case?

Based on our experience, we have prepared a list of the 51 most important documents to facilitate a thorough review and to put your case on the fast track.  The more prepared you are, the better armed we are to seek the result you wish.

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Can we both use the same attorney?

No!  As you and your spouse are divorcing, you both have opposing interests.  Though you may wish to resolve the matter amicably, any attorney in this situation would have a conflict of interest which cannot be resolved and it would be considered an ethical violation should an attorney undertake dual representation in this instance. 

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Can I get a divorce in New Jersey if I now live out-of-state?

Maybe.  As long as you lived in New Jersey the required amount of time and during the time the basis for the divorce occurred, and as long as you cannot get a divorce in your current state (usually there is a one-year waiting period), an action may be available to you in New Jersey.

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Are my attorneys' fees deductible on my income tax return?

To some degree, Yes.  You are entitled to claim itemized deduction(s) for attorneys' fees incurred for: (1) securing and collecting alimony payments; (2) the determination, collection, or refund of any tax; and (3) advice on the tax consequences of matters involved in your divorce proceeding.  For more information, see IRS Reg. § 1.212-1(a)(1) and Rev. Rul. 72-545. 1972-2 CB 179 or speak with a tax accountant.  Our firm will setup your account to track and report the tax aspects, however it must be setup at the start of our representation and there is a separate fee for this type of reporting.

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Revised: October 18, 2009 .

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Last modified: April 11, 2010 02:35 PM