New Jersey’s areas of family and matrimonial law can be complex. Therefore, it is critical to choose the legal representation that meets your personal needs during this trying and often emotional time.
A Family Lawyer Can Explain the Grounds for a New Jersey Divorce
An experienced family attorney details and explains the benefits of choosing to dissolve a marriage contingent based on a legally recognized ‘fault or ground.’
First, note that New Jersey operates as a no-fault divorce state. This means that after a minimum of an 18-month separation caused by irreconcilable differences, a divorce can be granted.
Grounds for divorce may impact the ultimate determination as to the amount of spousal support. It is also possible for an experienced family lawyer to discover if a marriage/ceremonial defect may offer an annulment rather than a divorce.
The New Jersey divorce process starts with the Complaint for Divorce. This document is filed with the state’s family court in the appropriate county. The purpose of the Complaint for Divorce is to provide, in writing, those reasons you believe warrant the dissolution of your marriage. This may include one of the following acceptable grounds to break the bond of matrimony –
- Addiction or Habitual Drug/Drunkenness
- Constructive Desertion
- Deviant Sexual Behavior
- Extreme Mental Or Physical Cruelty
- Institutionalization For Mental Illness
Providing Objective Guidance
Even if a divorce can be amicable, the process of divorce will always conjure up overwhelming and often confusing emotions. At a time when you tend to be emotionally fragile, an experienced family lawyer can help explain the various, often complex aspects that must be considered at the dissolution of a marriage.
During the stress and angst created by a divorce, the last thing someone needs is to be overburdened by mountains of paperwork, financial analysis, and complicated legal statutes. As an experienced family lawyer Carrie Schultz can help you navigate the pertinent aspects of the process. A family lawyer can also help keep communications among the parties both professional and effective.
Accounting for Marital Assets
Although a few states align with the concept of community property (where all joint Property is split evenly), New Jersey is not one. New Jersey is considered a state that follows an equitable (what is deemed fair and just) distribution of assets by a New Jersey.
The Garden State defines marital Property – as real Property and personal Property that either spouse legally acquired during the duration of the marriage. It may, for example, include real estate, pensions, automobiles/boats, rental properties, stocks/bonds, as well as debts.
Note that this doesn’t automatically mean marital assets are split down the middle. It means that the court will consider many factors when making its final determination. These factors may include, in part –
- The duration of the marriage.
- The age and emotional/physical health of the spouses.
- The value of the Property under consideration.
- The income of each spouse, where applicable.
- The tax consequences of the property division.
- Each person’s contributions (of all types) to the marriage and the marital estate.
- The current standard of living each is accustomed to.
- The economic circumstances of each spouse.
- Written agreements that may impact the final decision include a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
Specific Property that either spouse currently owns may be excluded as non-marital Property or exempt Property. Four types of assets are generally considered non-marital or separate Property –
- Assets acquired prior to the marriage.
- Assets acquired after filing for a divorce.
- Assets that are delineated in a postnuptial or prenuptial agreement.
- Assets acquired by inheritance or gift.
Determining Spousal Support
An experienced family lawyer can help determine spousal support eligibility for either party. Various and complex implications relate to spousal support – especially for marriages that last a decade more. Certain factors may even impact social security years later.
Spousal support (a.k.a., alimony) is one of the most intricate divorce issues to resolve, and it typically has an emotionally charged backdrop before negotiations begin. In New Jersey, many statutory factors impact the amount, the type of spousal support awarded, and the duration of spousal support. A few of these factors include –
- Each spouse’s previous, current, and potential earnings ability.
- The marriage length.
- The needs of the dependent spouse.
- The ability for the paying spouse to pay.
- Age & health of each, among many others.
Developing a Custody Plan
Child custody can also be a challenge to negotiate during a divorce. A qualified family lawyer can help ensure you fight for a favorable outcome in the best interests of your child or children. There are several techniques, including mediation or, if necessary, litigation.
Child support issues arise as a result of the final custody plan. While both parents/guardians have an obligation to financially support their dependent children, a noncustodial parent typically pays this financial support to the custodial parent.
An Attorney Can Help in Cases of Potential Parent Alienation
Divorce is stressful for every family member. It is not uncommon for divorcing parents to experience resentment or anger towards the other spouse. But a parent CAN NOT forget that each parent is an integral part of the child, and the child is not divorcing anyone! Parental alienation is when a parent proactively sabotages the relationship between the child and the other parent. In a game with no winners, the child becomes a pawn in a power struggle.
To ensure you understand every protection proffered by New Jersey’s divorce law, the greatest tactic to follow is to retain an experienced family lawyer.