Jessie Frees of WMTR 1250 AM Radio Station’s host of Ask The Expert interviewed Jeralyn Lawrence. This is Part I of a five part series of transcripts from the radio interview with Jeralyn.
Ask The Expert Host Jessie Frees of WMTR 1250 AM Radio Station Interview with Divorce and Family Law Attorney Jeralyn Lawrence – Part I
Jess: Hello, I’m “Ask the Expert” host Jessie Frees. Welcome to “Ask The Expert” on WMTR 1250 AM a station streaming live on wmtram.com and talkstreamlive.com.
I’m Jessie Frees, Julie Briggs and I host the award-winning “Your New Jersey Connection” and “Ask the Expert” the longest running ahead of the curve talk shows on the station.
Every year, millions of people divorce and the number is growing. Half of all American marriages end in divorce. Yet, the entire process continues to be baffling for so many. Divorce is a traumatic experience for anyone to go through and can be difficult, both emotionally and legally.
Joining me this morning, Jeralyn Lawrence, the managing member and founder of Lawrence Law – Divorce and Family Attorneys in Watchung, New Jersey.
Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a matrimonial law attorney, She represents clients with matrimonial and family law needs including divorce litigation, mediation and arbitration, custody and child support, property settlement, and more.
Jeralyn is the president of the New Jersey State Bar Association and president immediate past president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers – New Jersey Chapter, and Board member of the Robert Wood Johnson Somerset Healthcare Board of Trustees. She was elected by the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey. She received the Carol Murphy award among many other numerous awards.
Jeralyn received New Jersey’s “Professional Lawyers of the Year” award and was honored by the New Jersey Business as one of New Jersey’s best 50 women in business awards.
Jeralyn was named a finalist for the lawyer of the year in both 2015 and 2019. Jeralyn is also one of New Jersey’s “Super Lawyers” in family law. She has been named one of the 10 best attorneys in the state of New Jersey.
Her honors could go on and on, but it would take up the entire show.
Jeralyn received her J D Summa cum laude graduated second in her class from Seton hall, university, school of law, and her B.A. from Cain University, it’s a pleasure to have you on the show this morning, Jeralyn Lawrence.
Jeralyn: Thank you, Jesse. Thank you for that wonderful introduction.
Jess: Well, you certainly deserve it.
Jeralyn, how important is it in seeking a divorce lawyer, someone who has a masterful command in New Jersey state family law as you do?
Jeralyn: It’s critically important. The first hour that a client spends with me, the initial consultation is probably our most important time together.
During that initial meeting, we talk about what their goals are, and what their wishes are. I also ask all my clients where do they want to be in a year? This way we can map out and try to strategize to try to get them to a better place.
It’s important, to work with somebody that specializes in divorce and family law.
In the old days, you would have attorneys that were jacks of all trades and masters of none. Our practice and the law in general, have evolved where most lawyers are specializing in an area and becoming good at that one practice area.
This is true for divorce and family law as well. A divorce can touch so many other areas of the law, it can touch real estate. It can touch corporation and bankruptcy work. It can touch immigration; it can touch taxation and trusts. You need somebody that is specializing in that craft, paying a lot of attention daily to trends and what’s happening so that you can make sure you get the best settlement and the best resolution.
Jess: There are so many questions to ask you. I don’t even know where to begin, but Jeralyn, what would you say is the leading cause of divorce in the United States today?
Jeralyn: Everything that you’ve always heard Jessie about the leading causes of divorce rings true. It certainly starts with a lack of communication. The inability for partners to be able to talk and discuss things that are going on in the marriage and things that are happening in their lives that are making them upset, often leading to bitterness and resentment. Infidelity is also still up there as a leading cause of divorce.
Jess: What is the current divorce rate? Do you have any ideas about the statistics of divorce in the United States today?
Jeralyn: Exactly what you said in your introduction was accurate. It’s still around half of the first marriages are ending in divorce. With second marriages thereafter the percentage goes a little bit higher.
Jess: Betty White, who just passed away was in her third marriage. Her ideal marriage.
Jeralyn: I didn’t even know she was married three times. I just remember reading, I think when she passed away, her assistant reported that her last words I think were her current husband’s name. So, I didn’t realize she was married before that.
But in my world, Jesse, I don’t count how many times you’re married, you know, to me that’s the more the merrier as long as you’re happy.
Jess: Very good advice. What is the current divorce rate in the United States today? And what are the legal grounds for divorce in New Jersey, Jeralyn?
Jeralyn: Top one right now is what’s called irreconcilable differences. This was a big change in the law that I was involved in, with many of my colleagues when I first started practicing family law.
The number one cause of action was something called extreme cruelty. As divorce practitioners, we forced our clients to give us a list of all of the horrible things that their spouse had done to them because we needed to be able to file extreme cruelty.
Eventually, divorce lawyers around the states said this is cruel to make people do this to their spouse and then ask them to be good co-parents. What we did is worked with the legislature to change the grounds for divorce and we added what’s called irreconcilable differences. It’s just a kinder, gentler way to divorce.
In your complaint, you’re simply pleading that:
- There have been irreconcilable differences.
- That they’ve been occurring for more than six months.
- That there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.
We don’t need to now put forth, everyone’s dirty laundry in that complaint about divorce (Which is a public record as to why you want a divorce).
You can now simply say we have differences we can’t seem to fix them; they’ve been going on for more than six months and there’s no prospect for reconciliation. That’s the number one ground that people are using when they file a divorce.
If I have to file under extreme cruelty or adultery or some other fault-based ground, it tells me there’s a lot more going on in the case. There could be extreme acts of domestic violence. There are just other things going on If I would need to choose that cause of action. But 99% of the time we’re filing under the kinder gentler one, the no-fault irreconcilable difference.
Jess: I’ve heard from a lot of people that the way you conduct divorce is in such a kind way. You get to the bottom of the main causes, with great help in the whole advancement of the divorce.
Consult a New Jersey Family Lawyer
Divorce is a challenging emotional time. There is never a good time for a divorce. Schedule a consultation with one of our New Jersey family law attorneys who all specialize in divorce and family law at 908-645-1000 to learn how we can guide you through the emotional journey of divorce and related matters to a desired outcome and better place.