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Tag Archives: Case Information Statement
Many divorcing spouses in New Jersey ask themselves, “Do I need a divorce lawyer?” As a family law attorney yourself you know the answer is yes. Even if the split is amicable and the couple agrees on everything, completing the Case Information Statement NJ state law requires is a nightmare. An experienced attorney simplifies this process. However what if one or both of the spouses doesn’t have the financial resources necessary to hire a lawyer?
I Can’t Afford an Attorney
If a couple is already struggling then the financial burden of a divorce will make the situation worse, and adding attorney fees on top of that may just bring the financial house of cards crashing down. Some may attempt to complete the Case Information Statement themselves but there are few people who have the patience and experience to complete this form quickly and accurately.
Divorcing spouses might turn to pro bono legal services but there are far more people in need than there are available attorneys. In many cases these services can only offer advice on Case Information Statement preparation but can’t offer actual representation.
This is even worse when one spouse can afford an attorney but the other can’t. What are the chances the final agreement is going to be fair?
Lower your Costs Without Lowering Your Profits
As much as you might sympathize, you have a business to run. You have bills to pay and a family to support. You can’t give your services away for free but maybe there’s a way you can lower your rates. If you can learn to work more efficiently, then your costs are lower and you can charge less while still maintaining a positive profit margin.
A surprising number of family law attorneys are still doing divorces the old fashioned way — by hand. That wastes time and resources. New Jersey family law software allows you to complete the paperwork faster and more accurately. With less of your time being spent on each case you can lower your rates. You take more cases each day so your total revenue is the same. Your lower rate allows a wider range of clients to afford your services.
Even if you are a one-person firm, you need to be using attorney practice management software to run a more efficient practice. Download a demo of Easy Soft’s Case Information Statement software and discover how much more quickly — and affordability — you can give your clients the help they need.
The May 27, 2013 edition of Time Magazine has a very interesting article entitled, “The End of Alimony”. The article doesn’t talk about the end of all alimony but rather the end of permanent alimony. It points to a recent Massachusettslaw that eliminates permanent alimony and instead pays alimony for a period of time based on the length of the marriage. This law has triggered a nationwide discussion on alimony reform, including New Jerseybill A3909 that might affect Case Information Statement preparation.
The Time article presented both sides of the argument. In favor of alimony they pointed out that some spouses–and in our society this mostly means “wives”–give up their careers to stay home and care for the kids. After a divorce it’s not easy for these people to simply jump back in the workforce. Years of not working means they don’t have the skills, and despite laws prohibiting age discrimination it’s still a lot harder to start a career in your 40s or 50s than in your 20s.
The rebuttal is that alimony might be necessary but not permanent alimony. Give these people a few years to retrain but then expect the exes to get out and become independent. Even if they can’t get the same jobs they had before, they can still become self-sufficient. They also talk about how much of a burden permanent alimony is on the second wife, who ends up using her income to pay her new husband’s commitment to his first wife.
Our description a huge oversimplification of the issue but we have limited space. I suggest you go read the article yourself. It’s really quite fascinating.
So what is Easy Soft’s position? Pardon me while I chuckle politely and say, “No comment.” We are software developers and this is a discussion for lawyers, politicians and angry exes. We are not going to wade into the contentious issue.
However we are watching the issue with interest. If A3909 passes, will it change the Case Information Statement? We don’t know but we are prepared to modify our NJ family law software to meet the changes. This is true of all of our divorce planning software titles. We make sure to stay on top of the changes in each state so you know you are working with the latest rules and regulations regarding property division, alimony and child support.
This sort of attention to detail is a key element in our philosophy towards law practice management software. Laws change and software has to change with it. If you are not already an Easy Soft customer, try our products risk-free for 30 days to discover how committed we are serving the needs of the modern legal practice.
The practice of law keeps the paper industry in business. Well, not so much anymore since practices use so many electronic records, but the industry certainly generates an enormous number of documents. The most common of these, of course, is the mighty Case Information Statement but in addition to the CIS NJ family law attorney generate dozens or even hundreds of other forms.
If you have to generate these forms manually then you have the opportunity to make embarrassing typos. It’s amazing how all the spellchecking and manual proofreading in the world still manages to miss that one error that can make your practice look foolish or even jeopardize a case.
To some extent you can get around this by using pre-designed forms. All you have to do is fill in the blank on a word processing document or PDF file and the rest of the text is generated automatically. However manual data entry still creates the opportunity for mistakes.
This is why we created the FamilyDocs module for our Case Information Statement software. This add-on gives our users access to over 130 documents such as retainer agreements, business letters and responsive pleadings. All documents are published by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education so you know they are accurate, professional, and customized to New Jersey legal practices.
These documents are designed to pull data from NJ divorce software case files so you don’t have to enter information twice. This saves time as well as minimizes the chance of data entry errors. The module includes its own spellchecker so you don’t have to run the letters through third-party software for verification.
You aren’t limited to our forms. Modify any of the documents included or create your own. Generate forms customized to the needs of your particular practice, and then distribute them to everyone on the team so your firm puts out consistent and professional-looking correspondence.
Automation, simplification and error reduction are three key components to all Easy Soft legal practice management software. Visit our website to review our entire line of products including real estate software, family law and general legal software.
Although the waters of divorce are well charted, family law attorneys know they need to keep a careful discovery journal along the way. Since divorces are so contentious, the discovery process is essential to presenting a judge with an accurate picture of marital assets. In addition to using software to help complete the Case Information Statement NJ family law attorneys can use the tool to track the discovery process.
Careful discovery documentation can be more important than the actual documents being requested. Let’s say you request a document and the opposing attorney does not produce it in a timely manner. When you show the judge the discovery motion, backed by data from your NJ divorce software discovery log, then the opposing attorney’s case becomes weaker.
For the same reason, you need to stay on top of discovery requests to avoid hurting your own client’s case. For example you probably know that if you receive an “admissions of fact” and don’t return the document within 30 days, then that will be considered by the court to be a tacit admission that the statements are all true. “Oops I forgot” isn’t going to go over well with the judge.
Tracking discovery by hand in a single divorce case can be a paperwork nightmare. It’s easy to overlook one request or not aggressively pursue requests to the opposing attorney, and that means you can’t present the best case possible for your client. Multiply that by a dozen simultaneous divorce cases and it’s nearly impossible to keep up without using New Jersey matrimonial software.
Easy Soft’s Case Information Statement software includes an integrated discovery log. You can easily track requests made and received by your practice, each request categorized by case, document type, request date and more. Unlike a paper log, you can link each discovery entry with the actual electronic document stored on your computer or your practice’s network.
An attorney must work diligently to produce the best case possible for a client. In today’s fast-paced, information-heavy world that is impossible without high quality legal practice management software. Don’t work at a disadvantage. Incorporate the latest electronic technology into your law practice right away.
Divorces often turn ugly, and the two things the couple fights about the most are children and money. Child support involves both so can be the biggest stumbling block in a settlement. New Jersey family law attorneys on both sides put a lot of effort into Case Information Statement preparation to be sure the child support determined is fair.
However it’s often not over after the first decision. Changes in either parent’s life can require a new Case Information Statement to reflect the current financial reality and a judge can rule that child support needs to be raised or lowered. Loss of income is one of the most common reasons for the noncustodial parent to request a reduction in child support payments.
In a typical job, the parent has little control over income. However, self-employed parents will sometimes attempt to manipulate the system by deliberately lowering the number of clients or projects taken, thus reducing income. The parent shows up in court claiming poverty, asks for a reduction in child support, and then takes more jobs in the future.
But what if the reduction in income is real?
This strategy is so common that family law judges view reduced self-employment skeptically. Nevertheless industries change, economies fall, and hard-working business owners find themselves unable to generate as much revenue as before. The burden of proof falls on the self-employed parent which is why it is so important for attorneys to carefully document everything that appears on the New Jersey CIS.
Family law attorneys use New Jersey matrimonial software to do more than simply complete the CIS. They can link documents proving their client’s entire industry has been in a slump. They can present multiple support scenarios to find the support situation that is not only fair to the client but in the children’s best interest–and it is easy to forget that in the end it’s about the kids and not the parents.
In theory, self-employed parents are supposed to be treated the same as traditionally-employed parents. In reality, they often aren’t. That may not be fair but it is the truth, and a family law attorney has to be prepared to prove beyond doubt that a client’s reduction in income is unintentional. Use law practice management software to gather and organize the information you will need to best represent your client’s interests.
Alimony in divorces is, in theory, fair to both parties. However the amount calculated is based on a snapshot of both parties’ financial situation. Using a Case Information Statement, NJ courts look at the incomes and assets of the spouses to determine an alimony amount. What if circumstances change?
First of all, not just any change will lead to a modification of alimony. In the past New Jersey courts have reduce alimony in cases of decreased income, retirement, illness or the payee’s cohabitation with another partner. It has to be a life change that would affect either the payor’s ability to pay or the payee’s need for support. However listing a reduced income in a New Jersey CIS is only the start of the process.
Is the change permanent? Retirement is likely to be considered permanent as would some kind of long-term disability that affects the payor’s ability to work. Is unemployment? As a rule, no, you can find another job, but if the payor can demonstrate a permanent downturn in that person’s professional industry then it could be considered a permanent change. Even the term “permanent” is a relative phrase. After all marriage is considered permanent in the eyes of the law, but there are a lot of divorce attorneys out there who know permanent doesn’t always mean forever.
Is the change involuntary? Some payors will quit their jobs or under-employ themselves in hopes of reducing alimony only to find the judge rules against them. Judges know about these attempts to deliberately manipulate the system and will not rule in favor of an alimony change just because of a reduced salary on a Case Information Statement.
Has the payor made an attempt to remedy the situation? For example an out of work spouse must show evidence of an active job search. Sitting home and collecting unemployment while watching game shows on TV is not grounds to reduce alimony.
Alimony reduction is difficult. The burden of proof lies on the paying spouse and judges tend to need very strong evidence in addition to the New Jersey CIS form to grant the reduction.
New Jersey family law attorneys need every advantage to get an alimony reduction for a client, and that means using the latest generation of NJ family law software. Contact Easy Soft to find out more about how our products not only simplify your practice but give you the best chance to help your clients get what they deserve.