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Cherry Hill Family Legal Blog

Can I still afford to retire if I file for divorce?

The idea of growing old and gray together may seem idyllic, but it is not always a reality. Like many other couples in New Jersey, you may have reached a point in your marriage where you are no longer happy and have not been for some time. However, what should you do if you are nearing retirement?

Divorce does come with a financial impact, but that should not discourage those who need to end their marriages from seeking one. With careful planning, attention to detail and an eye on the final goal, most people can come out of the other side of divorce with a solid financial foundation.

Talking property distribution need not wait until divorce

Marriage is the beginning of an exciting adventure undertaken by two people in New Jersey with the usual intention of remaining together for life. Although the divorce rate is believed to be declining, the possibility does exist. While no one wants to begin a marriage worrying that a divorce may result, there are steps that can be taken to protect oneself in the event of property distribution that may happen down the road. These steps can also promote openness and honesty regarding property and finances. Financial disagreements can cause issues that may lead to a divorce.

Prenuptial agreements are seen by some as evidence that one party doesn't trust the other. In reality, the agreements may be able to reinforce that trust as each person's finances will be fully disclosed in the process. A prenup can also be looked at as a will of sorts. It determines how property will be handled in the event of the death of the marriage.

Successful co-parenting can follow a divorce

Ending a marriage is seldom easy and can be particularly difficult when children are involved. One of the more challenging issues to resolve can be that of parenting roles following a divorce in New Jersey. Parents may wish to both be an active part of their children's lives but may have difficulty seeing the possibility of that because of differences with a partner. Co-parenting is becoming a popular option, and while celebrities do not often serve as role models, there are some who are modeling co-parenting methods that others can aspire to.

Channing Tatum, a popular actor, and his wife recently split. They have a five year-old daughter together and agreed to co-parent so that they could both remain actively involved in her life. They are facing the challenge realistically and are showing by example that it can be done.

Factors considered by Courts in Awarding Alimony

21FB56C3-E86C-4BF3-9BBB-CEBF665F4705.jpegIn determining whether alimony is necessary, and in determining the nature, amount, duration and manner of payment of alimony, the court must consider numerous factors including the parties' earnings and earning capacities, income sources, mental and physical conditions, contributions to the earning power of the other, educations, standard of living during the marriage, the contribution of a spouse as homemaker and the duration of the marriage.Anderson v. Anderson, 822 A.2d 824, 830-31 (Pa.Super.2003)

Definition of Child Abuse

New Jersey defines child abuse as the act of repeatedly hitting a child with a closed fist, with sufficient force to leave bruises still visible more than a day later.  N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.21(c)(4)(b)[.]" The DYFS (now known as DCPP) Policy and Procedures Manual, defines "child abuse" as physical injury "due to a parent's/caregiver's action or inaction that was neither necessary nor justified, neither reasonable nor appropriate." The Manual further states that "a single incident may be enough to indicate abuse and corporal punishment is defined as `any punishment inflicted on the body.'"  Where one parent has committed an act of abuse upon a child that is often a key factor in a custody case. In those situations, Division records should be requested via Motion for an in camera review by the court.  #divorce #childsupport #childcustody #alimony #garneslaw BF0AA17B-F437-47AF-8F65-D43D88F62793.jpeg

Imputation of Income for Calculation of Child Support

C9B45D2B-7B08-4C28-8E58-44D9B10DB357.jpegNew Jersey Courts are authorized to impute income for the purpose of determining child support when a parent is found to be voluntarily unemployed or underemployed without cause. See Caplan v. Caplan,182 N.J. 250, 268-70, 864 A.2d 1108 (2005) (stating parent's ability to earn income, or "his [or her] human capital," should be "theoretically activated for the purpose of evaluating his [or her] support obligation" and the amount of income that "should be imputed to him [or her]"). "`In treating the matter of support, our courts have always looked beyond the [parent's] claims of limited resources and economic opportunity. They have gone far to compel a parent to do what in equity and good conscience should be done for [the] children.'" Lynn v. Lynn, 165 N.J.Super. 328, 341, 398 A.2d 141 (App. Div.) (quoting Mowery v. Mowery, 38 N.J.Super. 92, 102, 118 A.2d 49 (App.Div. 1955), certif. denied, 20 N.J. 307, 119 A.2d 791 (1956)), certif. denied, 81 N.J. 52, 404 A.2d 1152 (1979). Thus, a "`court has every right to appraise realistically [a] defendant's potential earning power,'" ibid. (quoting Mowery, supra, 38 N.J.Super. at 102, 118 A.2d 49), and examine "potential earning capacity" rather than actual income, when imputing the ability to pay support. Halliwell v. Halliwell, 326 N.J.Super. 442, 448, 741 A.2d 638 (App. Div.1999).

Child Support Beyond Age 23

 N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.67(a)(1) sets the age of 19 for termination of child support unless, among other things, a different date is ordered by the court, "which shall not extend beyond the date the child reaches the age of 23.  A court, however, can order continued financial support after a child's 23rd birthday in exceptional circumstances such as where a child has a physical or mental disability.  85503015-D1D7-4869-9C7D-F7BD3433F5BB.jpeg

Dealing with inherited property in a divorce

Your spouse is not entitled to receive any property that you acquire during the marriage by way of gift or inheritance. N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23. Premarital property which was owned at the time of the marriage also remains separate and cannot be claimed by your spouse. Painter v. Painter, 65 N.J. 196, 214 (1974). In order for your spouse not to receive these assets, they must not be commingled with other "marital" assets during the marriage. will picture.jpg

Failure to pay child support can hurt a child

It is widely known that children can suffer the consequences of a divorce. All too often, these consequences are the result of a failure of one parent to pay child support. There can be legitimate reasons for an inability to pay, and if something occurs that would enable the parent to pay child support, the funds should be forthcoming.

In one recent case, a woman's ex-husband's mother passed away, and there was a child support judgement against the ex. The ex-husband stood to inherit money from his mother's estate. According to New Jersey law, if there is an outstanding child support judgement, the judgement should be satisfied to the fullest extent possible before funds are dispersed to the beneficiary.

Establishing a credit rating can ease transition to divorce

As adults in New Jersey, people accumulate a myriad of important information that is stored in databases and is important for obtaining jobs, bank loans and any number of other aspects of life. Few pieces of information are as important as one's credit rating. A married couple will frequently establish a solid credit rating through the establishment of credit via mortgages, credit cards or car loans. Many, if not all, of these may be held as joint accounts. If a couple decide to divorce, one partner may be left without a credit rating in his or her own name.

If a person is considering a divorce, there are steps that he or she can take to ease the transition in what can be a very difficult time. Establishing credit in one's own name is a good start to establishing an independent credit rating. It can also provide a line of credit that may be needed to bridge a short-term cash need.

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