Tag Archives: case information statement nj
Clients are often surprised how much paperwork is involved in a divorce. Although as a family law attorney you are used to the CIS, NJ divorcing couples are often overwhelmed by this huge and detailed form. You can use software to help you complete the form more quickly and easily, but you also need to be prepared to lead your clients through the dark forest of CIS preparation.
Educating Your Clients
Try to think back to the first time you completed the New Jersey CIS. It never seemed to end. You filled out page after page of figures, made more difficult by clients who don’t really know how much they spend on food every month and who’s idea of balancing their bank accounts is “I can’t be out of money; I still have checks left”.
Today you know the CIS is a key aspect of a New Jersey divorce, but to your clients it’s just a ridiculous piece of government paperwork. It’s often a good idea to explain to a new client what the CIS is and why it is so important to the divorce negotiation. After all, if the client doesn’t take the form seriously then you can’t trust the information provided.
Streamlining The Process
Modern CIS preparation is much easier due to affordable and easy to use Case Information Statement software. Enter information on income, expenses, assets and more and have the program automatically fill in the form. Prepare multiple support worksheets in a matter of minutes, finding the ideal agreement for your client. Generate other forms from the same data so you don’t have to enter any information twice.
Software can also make things easier for your client. Easy Soft’s Case Information Statement software includes an optional cloud application that allows your clients to enter financial information through a secure online portal. They can start out providing easily accessed information, like income or mortgage payment, right away. Then after they have a chance to track spending, they can provide other information such as food costs. Filling out the form piecemeal can make it less intimidating.
Like all of Easy Soft’s attorney practice management software, CIS is backed by 25 years of experience providing software solutions to the legal industry. Try it risk-free for 30 days. If you aren’t satisfied with the software then we will provide a full refund.
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.
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.
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.
New Jersey family law attorneys don’t just plug a few numbers into a form and mail it off. Firms may handle dozens of divorces at the same time and some of these cases may drag on for months. You need legal practice management software that not only helps you complete the Case Information Statement (NJ) but also helps you manage the information associated with the case. Easy Soft’s CIS software includes several useful tools found on the Case Management tab of the Case Data section.
Discovery Log – The respective counsels in a divorce case will need to exchange documents. It is important to track this information to be sure all important information has been sent and received in a timely fashion. You can verify you have received all relevant documentation before completing the Case Information Statement and can be sure to meet any discovery requests you’ve received from the other attorney. The Discovery Log isn’t just a list of forms and deadlines however. With so many documents being electronic nowadays, you can link the discovery log entry to the actual document making it easy to view as needed. Track both sent and received documents by document type, party name, document name, deadline, receipt date and more.
Calendar – Track your schedule with this easy utility. You can note appointments with clients, other attorneys, court dates or any other scheduled function. In addition to noting the event, date and time you can also specify the priority (Low, Normal or Critical) and whether or not the appointment is billable time. Set up reminders to alert you to upcoming events. Reminders could range from a notification a few minutes before an appointment to a warning of an upcoming tax deadline in a few months.
Tasks – One divorce is a collection of a thousand small tasks. Overlooking even one of these can affect the outcome of the case. Create a to-do list not just for yourself but also for subordinates. Enter the task, due date and priority. Update tasks with status and completion percentages so you can see at a glance how much remains to be done on a specific case.
Case Notes – There is so much more information in a divorce case that what appears on the New Jersey CIS form. Add free-form notes here, tagged with date and priority, to help to manage information associated with a case. These notes are internal and won’t appear on any forms or letters generated by the software.
If you use the cloud version of Easy Soft’s Case Information Statement software you have access to these tools and all the function of the product from anywhere. Download a demo to discover even more time-saving features.
The initial client interview is, of course, an important step in preparing a divorce case in New Jersey. Attorneys need to gather a great deal of information not only to handle the case successfully but also to complete the needed state forms, specifically the Case Information Statement (NJ).
Nowadays traditional interview method is, to be blunt, a waste of the attorney’s time. The lawyer serves as little more than a stenographer, copying down what the client says or entering information from financial statements onto the NJ CIS form. Some of the routine tasks might be turned over to a paralegal but even then you have a skilled worker who’s doing nothing but data entry. Wouldn’t it be great if the client could enter the information directly?
“What?” you exclaim in horror. “You want me to give the client access to my Case Information Statement software?” Yes, but only in a very controlled fashion by means of a tool called CISlite.
CISlite is a Microsoft Word document a lawyer can email to the client. The client fills out the form, providing everything from the full names of the spouses and children in the divorce to detailed financial information. The client then emails the completed form back and the attorney imports the information into the software, which in turn populates the New Jersey CIS form.
The client performs a sort of self-interview. The case information ends up in the attorney’s files without giving the client direct access to the software. Practice employees can use their time more effectively and it keeps the client busy with a useful task. This doesn’t eliminate the need for a client interview but it does shorten and simplify the process.
CISlite is a valuable tool when used with the desktop version of the legal office software, but it really shines in partnership with the cloud version. Attorneys can send and receive the form, and then import the data into the case file without needing to be chained to an office. Family law attorneys have the flexibility to meet with clients, judges and opposing attorneys anywhere and still have full access to the tools needed to provide counseling to couples divorcing in New Jersey.
Bring your practice to a new level of efficiency by using modern digital tools designed specifically for the needs of the legal profession.