A divorce is very emotional, but you will need to focus on how the bills will be paid. The costs of a marital lifestyle can be much different than the reasonable needs of the parties and family after a divorce and creation of two households.
The adjustments that have to be made can be handled more efficiently with a clear picture of how much the joint marital expenses are and what estimated future expenses will be.
In New Jersey, the Courts require each party to the divorce to file a Case Information Statement listing the joint monthly expenses and current expenses. This form is an excellent tool since it helps identify numerous costs that someone may not think of but are costs. You can get a copy at www.judiciary.state.nj.us/forms.htm, Family Part Case Information Statement. To properly complete a CIS, you have to collect records of what your daily and weekly expenses are and arrive at a monthly figure for each.
It is necessary to determine estimates of expenses you will incur on separation if the parties still reside together. For example, if you will be renting an apartment; one should get rental estimates. Since spouses are no longer covered under a medical insurance policy after the divorce, the cost of medical coverage should be fully investigated.
A method of getting accurate figures is to review records of daily and weekly payments you made for at least a year before the time the Case Information Statement is to be submitted. You need your bank statements, canceled checks, credit card statements, and your credit report. You need to keep records as to cash payments that you make. The more accurate the information, the less confusion and time it can take to resolve the case.
Tanya N. Helfand, Esq. concentrates in Family Law, she is a Certified Matrimonial Attorney and mediator. The firm welcomes your questions and inquiries at [email protected] Everything is confidential. This article is not legal advice. Please consult an attorney.