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What You Should Consider When Hiring a Lawyer in New Jersey

When you are hiring a lawyer in New Jersey, there are several factors to consider.

Whether you are looking for representation during a business dispute or help with an injury claim, there are many reasons you might need a reputable lawyer in your area.

Hiring a lawyer is a very important choice you will make in your life and it can have a significant impact on the outcome of your claim and the quality of your life.

This isn’t a process to rush, so take your time to discover some of the most important aspects of hiring a lawyer in the New Jersey area you trust implicitly.

Watch Video Summary:

You Should Consider Their Areas of Expertise

If you have a specific legal query, you want to make sure that your chosen lawyer in New Jersey specializes in your area.

Let’s say you are looking to get into real estate; you will want to find an attorney in New Jersey that can help you with a variety of real estate transactions and issues.

Whether you are purchasing your first property or figuring out a problematic real estate deal, you need a New Jersey lawyer that will pay careful attention to your case.

Understanding their areas of expertise will help you figure out whether they are the right fit for your case.

How Much Experience Do The Prospective Lawyers Have?

You also need to consider how much experience your chosen lawyer has. If you are facing a complicated case, you don’t want a lawyer new to the field.

You need an experienced lawyer in New Jersey, who has a good track record. Look at their credentials and see how long they have been working in the industry for.

There are some fantastic lawyers in New Jersey who haven’t been practicing for long, but you need to choose someone you feel confident in.

Do They Have High Success Rates?

When you are looking for a reputable lawyer in New Jersey, you want to make sure they have a proven track record of success.

Remember that not every lawyer will have a 100% rate of success, but look for one that is as high as possible.

It is all about you and you want to make sure you get the best legal representation as possible. If this lawyer has helped clients in a similar situation to you in the past, it is likely that they will do the same for you.

Check if they have a history of being a strong and loyal advocate for their clients and you should be safe with your final choice.

Check Out Their Previous Client Reviews

One way to check out their track record is to look at previous testimonials from their clients.

Spend some time researching the firm and look for positive and negative reviews on their services so you'll get opinions from different perspectives.

Make sure you read the details on all the review to make sure you have a well-rounded view of the lawyer in New Jersey.

Make Sure They Fit Within Your Individual Budget

Hiring a lawyer in New Jersey is an expense that won’t come lightly to many people. Therefore, you need to consider legal representation that fits within your individual budget.

The cost of changing lawyers halfway through the process is much more damaging, so spend some time making the right decision the first time.

Ask the firm whether there are any additional costs you should know about. Similarly, there might be cases where you need not pay at all.

In many personal injury lawyer cases, they work on a contingency basis, meaning you don't have to pay unless you get a settlement.

Be Sure to Make a Good Connection With Them

Ultimately, you will spend a considerable amount of time with your chosen lawyer in New Jersey.

This means you need to connect with them on a personal level and make sure they understand you and your case.

They need to get to know the emotional and physical impacts to you so they do everything they can to fight your corner.

Are You Happy for Them to Represent You?

Remember that the lawyer you choose in New Jersey will serve as a representative for you.

If there are any reasons you wouldn’t be happy for them to be your spokesperson, you need to make a different choice.

You deserve to have complete control over the lawyer you choose, so don’t allow the firm to dictate which lawyer in New Jersey you get.

After an initial meeting, you should be able to request that specific person rather than another lawyer from the firm.

Do Your Research on a First-Hand Basis

You should be cautious of referral services online because they might not give you an accurate representation of the lawyer in New Jersey.

Work with a real-life lawyer who is genuinely knowledgeable in their field of work. Referral service websites often have no legal background and won’t be of much help to you.

Do your own research and make sure the lawyer in New Jersey has access to all the resources and information they need to support you in your case.

Consider these pointers when you are looking for a lawyer in New Jersey. Only the best of the best will support and protect you in the way you need.

Donnelly Warner can provide you with a variety of legal services, so explore our website and see if we can be of any help to you.

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When You Need an NJ Family Lawyer

When you hear "family lawyer", what first comes to mind?

For most, they will think about divorce. That is correct, at least partially.

While divorce is one of the most difficult chapters that people will encounter during their lives, it's not the only component of family legal representation.

In this post, we will highlight other common cases that will require an NJ family lawyer.

Video summary here:


While we've already touched on divorce law (and more details will come in the next section), let's kick things off with a more positive topic, marriage.

Marriage, matrimony or wedlock, is a legal union between spouses.

Under the marriage umbrella, included are civil unions and domestic partnerships.

A civil union is a legally recognized union of a same-sex couple, while a domestic partnership is a relationship with two unmarried individuals who live together.

One of the major components of marriage that an NJ family lawyer can help with are prenuptial agreements, commonly referred to as a prenup.

prenup is signed before marriage to settle financial matters prior to unforeseen life events such as death or divorce.

Prenups are not just for the super wealthy and celebrities - anyone who has personal assets, liabilities or property might consider a prenup.

Some items included in a prenup are:

  • Debt protection
  • Family heirloom, business, or inheritance protection
  • Estate plan and will protection
  • Alimony after divorce


Now we're back to where we started.

Divorce is the termination of a marriage.

During divorce proceedings, the court will determine the equitable, or fair, distribution of property, assets and debts.

This property includes your home, personal effects, financial assets and other items of value.

As mentioned above, a prenup helps avoid some of these future problems, but many couples are against prenuptial agreements as they feel it sets the marriage up for failure.

Where a prenup is not in place and tempers are flaring, mediation with your New Jersey family lawyers would be beneficial to avoid leaving it up to the court to decide.

This is where you, your spouse, and both parties legal representatives meet with a neutral third party to help resolve any open issues.

Settlements through mediation are often less expensive than going to going to court, which is why they are a good option.

In divorce, there are three additional situations where an NJ family lawyer would be necessary. They are:

Post-judgment reduction or increase in alimony and child support payments

Alimony is an amount of money ordered by the court to be paid to a spouse following a separation or divorce.

Child support is a continued periodic payment made from one partner to another to financially to benefit a child following the termination of a marriage.

After a divorce case is complete, a spouse may move to reduce or increase alimony or child support payments.

If that is the situation, a New Jersey family lawyer can help defend your case.

Child custody and visitation

Child custody is having the legal authority to decide on your child's medical care and education.

Two primary types of child custody are sole and joint custody.

Sole custody means that one parent has the authority to make every decision pertaining to the child.

Joint custody means that both parents share the decision making authority for their child.

There's also the physical vs. legal custody component.

Legal custody means that both parents can make legal decisions, while physical custody allows a child to live with a parent, but the parent has no legal decision making power.

Siblings, half-siblings, and grandparents can also request visitation rights. This is also common for parents who weren't awarded any custodial rights, but want to spend time with their child.

In visitation disputes, it is up to the court to determine what is in the "best interests of the child".


An annulment is a legal procedure that declares a marriage void.

You can seek marriage annulment for several reasons including underage marriages, misrepresentation and bigamy.

There are two types of annulments, civil and religious.

Civil annulments legally end your marital status, while religious annulments are granted by a church or religious organization.

Domestic violence, child abuse and restraining orders.

Sometimes, marital relations get ugly.

This comes in various forms including domestic violence, child abuse and restraining orders.

Domestic, or intimate partner violence, is a pattern of behaviors that one partner uses over another to maintain power or control.

Violence can come in a physical, sexual or psychological capacity.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of domestic violence, it's important to talk with a New Jersey family lawyer to ensure those responsible are held accountable.

Child abuse can also result from physical, verbal or sexual harm, and you should not be afraid to take legal action against perpetrators.

In situations where a perpetrator continues to harass an adult or child, you can have a restraining order issued.

This blocks the abuser from contacting or engaging with the victim. If the offender violates the terms, you can bring them to court with an NJ family lawyer and prosecute them accordingly.

Special cases

There are countless other special cases for a New Jersey family attorney.

This list includes, but is not limited to:

  • Adoptions - Legally taking ownership of another parent's child and raising as their own.
  • Surrogacy - An arrangement where a woman agrees to get pregnant and birth a child for parents unable to conceive on their own.
  • LGBT - There are special laws that apply to members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community, particularly in marriage and discrimination.
  • Military - Members of the military are subject to a unique set of family laws.
  • Juvenile law - Pertains to legal matters related to minors, often status offenses, delinquency, emancipation and adjudication.
  • Paternity - For cases where the biological parents of a child are in question.
  • Guardianship - A legal tool that determines a person who has authority over another person, often in children, seniors and developmentally disabled adults.


Family law cases are difficult for individuals and their entire families, both emotionally and financially.

Our firm has extensive experience in family law. As NJ family lawyers, our goal is to help minimize stress and uncertainty by keeping you informed about your case and the legal process.

We hope you find the information in this article helpful!

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Dividing a Divorce List of Assets & Liabilities

Are you and your spouse thinking of getting a divorce?

Divorce is one of the most difficult chapters that people may encounter in their lives, and it can get much more complicated than you might initially think.

You’ve built a life with this person, some longer than others, and you likely have many shared assets and liabilities.

While it might be easy to decide you don’t want to live together anymore, it becomes difficult to determine who gets what.

Couples who can agree to split assets fairly and evenly often experience a much smoother transition.

Unfortuantely, it’s rarely that easy to do amicably.

In this article, we’ll first dive into some factors that the court will consider when dividing your property.

Then we’ll provide divorce list of assets and liabilities you must make sure are factored in so nothing gets overlooked.

Dividing Property: Court Considerations

While many cases are settled without a trial through property division agreements, often with bitter spouses it’s not that simple.

In divorce cases, the court has a long list of criteria it weighs to fairly divide marital property, otherwise known as equitable distribution.

This list includes, but is not limited to:

  • Marriage length
  • Spouse age and health
  • Property value and income
  • Standard of living
  • Economic circumstances
  • Spousal earning capacity and contributions - includes education, experience, time off, job search, child custody
  • Homemaker contributions
  • Property settlement agreements
  • Tax implications
  • Trust requirements for medical or educational costs for children or spouse
  • Career goal deferment to benefit the marriage

Divorce List of Assets & Liabilities

Now that you know what the court will look out for, it’s time to know what you need to be prepared for in your own specific case.

As your case progresses, your divorce attorney will request a list of all marital assets and liabilities.

Here’s a divorce list of assets we commonly see couples disputing during a divorce settlement:

Real Estate Assets

Any stationary property or land you own falls under real estate assets.

These will commonly include:

  • Marital homestead
  • Vacation homes
  • Business property
  • Rental property
  • Undeveloped land
  • Timeshares

When it comes to these types of properties, it’s also important to come prepared with the following information about them:

  • Purchase dates
  • Purchase price
  • Down payment amount
  • Down payment source
  • Monthly payment amount
  • Tax and insurance amount paid
  • Open mortgage balances
  • Property fair market value

Financial Assets

There are surely several financial assets you and your spouse have accumulated together over the years.

These usually become huge points of contention during divorce settlements.

Here’s a list of some common financial assets to split:

  • Bank Accounts
  • Credit Cards
  • Debt
  • Taxes
  • Pension Funds
  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Trusts
  • 401(k)
  • IRAs
  • Social Security
  • Retirement
  • Mutual Funds
  • Annuities
  • Alimony
  • Certificates of Deposit
  • Life insurance
  • Other insurance policies

A few of the above assets will require more details.

Make sure you have as much information as possible in the following instances so there are no surprises:

Insurance policies

  • Name of provider
  • Policy #
  • Face and cash value of the policy or policies
  • Name of person/item insured
  • Outstanding loans against the policy
  • Outstanding payment amounts
  • Reason for loan
  • Date of loan

Bank Accounts

  • Bank name and address
  • Account type and number
  • Current balance
  • Names on account
  • Date opened

Pension Funds (401k, 403(b), military retirement, etc)

  • Plan name
  • Contributions and co-contributions made
  • Percent vested in the plan and years until vested
  • Lump sum and monthly payments collectible now
  • Monthly payments availability date

Stocks, Bonds, IRAs, Mutual Funds

  • Name and number
  • Purchase price
  • Face and market value
  • Current Total

Certificates of Deposit

  • Maturity date
  • Face amount
  • C.D. location
  • Interest

Business Assets

If you or your spouse own or share a business, you must divide those assets too.

Types of businesses and involved assets can include:

  • Sole proprietorships
  • Partnerships
  • Professional practice
  • Professional degree
  • Creditors
  • Education
  • Patents, copyrights and trademarks

As you should know by now, the more detail you have the better.

Some business information to have handy is as follows:

  • Acquisition date
  • Business name
  • Business start date
  • Is it incorporated?
  • Shares owned (if public)
  • Number of employees
  • Business net worth
  • Last tax year and quarter profit/loss
  • Business books location

Personal Property

While the big-ticket items such as real estate, financial and business assets are a major point of contention for some, for others it comes down to the personal, and more sentimental items.

Here are some commonly disputed personal property assets:

  • Furniture and Appliances
  • Tools
  • Sports Equipment
  • Art
  • Collectibles
  • Antiques
  • China
  • Home decorations
  • Firearms
  • Computers
  • Jewelry
  • Clothing
  • Motor vehicles
  • Boats

Separate Property

When it comes to your divorce list of assets, separate property is property owned prior to marriage or after divorce is filed.

While there are a lot of grey areas in these cases, separate property can include:

  • Gifts received from anyone (except the spouse) during the marriage or an inheritance
  • Income received from separate property
  • Property and debts designed as separate in a legal contract
  • Personal injury awards


As you can now see, there are many factors to consider when going through a divorce.

With so many shared assets, this can be one of the most difficult components of a divorce.

It is our goal to minimize the stress and uncertainty by keeping our clients informed about their case as well as the entire divorce process.

That’s why we put together the above divorce list of assets to help guide you through the process.

We believe it is important for our clients to understand what to expect.

If you have more questions about the divorce process, visit our website.