Got a Family Law Question? Answer it Jersey Style
Bari Weinberger's family law books are written for everyday people in New JerseyBy Amy White | Reviewed by Canaan Suitt, J.D. | Last updated on June 14, 2023 Featuring practical insights from contributing attorney Bari Zell Weinberger
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New Jersey family lawyer Bari Weinberger is the first to admit she’s no gadget geek. When she has a tech question, one quick web search is all it takes for her to find the info she needs to tell a gig from a GIF. But she noticed that for her potential clients, there was no go-to resource available that could translate legalese into language that makes sense. So she created one.
“I’ve been writing all of my career for judges and other lawyers,” says Weinberger, founder of the law firm Weinberger Law Group, which operates in five counties and is preparing to open an office in a sixth.
“I really enjoy writing, but I wanted to take a stab at writing for everybody; creating something in a more understandable, everyday language that helps people feel more empowered and less out of control and scared about their legal matters, and help them make more sound decisions.”
Explaining Family Law
Her series of consumer-friendly books, Family Law Jersey Style, are written for anyone in New Jersey facing a legal problem at any stage of the process—not necessarily someone who already has a family law attorney.
“This is for anyone who wants to pick up a book and read something about their very real situations that are not ‘above’ them,” she says. “In the day and age when research is our first stab at understanding something, there was no ‘legalese decoder’ online. Even though I’m not a doctor, I am a researcher—I can go online and find enough resources to understand difficult medical language and terms.”
She approached her work with a simple goal: “Talk naturally,” she says with a laugh. “People just want to hear it straight.”
Of course, not everything in family law in Jersey is always straight. Weinberger says there aren’t always cut-and-dry answers to common questions you might have about family law.
She says the two questions she hears most often have to do with divorce cases and custody disputes: how long the divorce process will take, and how sole child custody can be gained.
“You might not know that of the three types of custody in New Jersey—sole, joint legal, and shared legal and physical custody—that joint legal is the most common; and sole custody is the least,” Weinberger says. “And as far as the length of time it takes to divorce, I typically tell people it can take as long as the least-reasonable person in the room. You create your own fate, in a way, with regard to how long things can take to progress.”
Jersey Style, available on Amazon as an e-book or paperback, includes practical tips and Q&As for divorcing couples concerning uncontested divorce, property division, alimony, military divorce, alternate dispute resolution, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, child custody, and child support.
“Writing the series was the easiest decision I ever made,” Weinberger says. “I want to continue to write for the ‘24/7’ person, to my heart’s content.”
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