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Cherry Hill Family Legal Blog

Property division in divorce is akin to a business transaction

Deciding to end a marriage is seldom a decision that is made lightly. People enter a marriage in New Jersey with the hope that they are embarking on the beginning of a lifetime relationship. Sadly, this is not always the case as relationships mature and people sometimes grow apart. Once the decision has been reached that the marriage is unsalvageable, the task of property division begins.

When there are no children involved, this can prove to be a simpler undertaking, but it is important to understand what is at stake and how property is viewed by the court. New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, which means that the court will look at what is fair and equitable as opposed to community property states where a 50/50 split is often considered the norm. Who owns the asset is typically not relevant as marital property is considered as jointly held, and the court's goal is to arrive at a fair and equitable distribution.

Job loss can complicate a divorce

Contemplating the dissolution of a marriage is one of the most stressful tasks people can take on. One enters a marriage in New Jersey thinking it's forever, and when it's not, the stress and emotional toll can be overwhelming. If children are involved a divorce can become even more complicated as one struggles to figure out the financial arrangements regarding child support and spousal support.

Other wrenches can get thrown into the mix. One of the most devastating might be the loss of a job. How a court will look at a job loss can be determined by the nature of it. If one loses a job because of a massive reorganization or layoff that affected many people, the court will most likely take this into consideration.

How will I know it is time to end my marriage?

You have been through tough times with your spouse. Perhaps those struggles made your marriage stronger for a while, or maybe they caused even more resentment between you. It is not unusual for couples to have moments or even years during their marriage when they contemplate divorce. Those who stick it out can find common ground with their spouses, or they may feel they have wasted the best years of their lives.

How do you know if divorce is the best option for you? Divorce is certainly not something to take lightly. It often means financial setbacks and struggles. Even in unhappy marriages, a divorce can be emotionally traumatizing. If you have children, you also must consider how a breakup will affect them. Nevertheless, remaining in a stale or miserable marriage may not be in your best interests, and you may be looking for signs that the time is right to end it.

Divorce and claiming dependents under the new tax law

Divorce is never easy and it is far more difficult and can be far more complex when there are children involved in New Jersey. One area that is affected as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 is the ability to claim children as dependents on one's tax returns. There are several items one should be aware of if considering a divorce.

The exemption for dependents was eliminated under the new law, but there are still benefits to be realized from claiming a child as a dependent. Principal among these are earned income credit and a child tax credit. Only one parent can claim an exemption, which can complicate the issue when parents share joint custody, as is now so often the case.

Divorce and the military

It is no secret that being married in the military can be a challenge. With long separations caused by multiple tours of duty a relationship can be difficult to maintain in New Jersey and elsewhere in the country. However, a recent study by the Department of Defense shows that the rate of divorce among the military has been very slowly declining.

There appears to be a greater impact on the marital status of women in the military. The study showed that only 740 female marine officers were married in 2018. While fewer women in the military marry, more of them get divorced. The data showed that the divorce rate for women was more than double that for men. In 2018, 6.3% of military women who were married filed for divorce while only 2.6% of military men filed for divorce in the same time period.

Divorce and children's feelings

People in New Jersey get married, start a family and plan to live happily ever after. Sadly, in about 50% of cases this may not happen. At some point divorce may enter the picture and cause major disruption and anguish within the family. This is particularly true when young children are involved.

Children are very perceptive beings where their parents are concerned. A family is a unit and has a cultural rhythm all its own. Children can pick up on interruptions or changes to that culture that can be brought on by an impending divorce. They may suffer distress without understanding where it's coming from. Such distress may result in stomach aches or unexplained crying jags.

Should parents who stay home get more during divorce?

While small pockets of individuals may disagree, the consensus in New Jersey and across the United States is that the contributions of a mother have great value. The work of a mother does not bring extra income to a family, which is why the decision for the woman to stay home with the children is often a difficult one that takes planning and sacrifice. However, no matter how much value society places on motherhood, when parents divorce, it may not be easy for a mom who leaves the workforce to obtain a fair share of marital assets.

Over 25% of U.S. mothers opt to stay home -- compared to 7% of men -- including nearly 10% of all women with advanced degrees. When a mom leaves the workforce to raise children, she may also quietly contribute to her spouse's ability to advance his career. However, a recent survey showed that men tend to believe divorcing fathers who work are entitled to a larger portion during asset division than their stay-at-home spouses.

Designing a parenting plan to help your family thrive

Despite your divorce, you and your future former spouse remain parents forever. As such, you may want to make sure that you do everything in your power to help your family thrive in the future.

The first step for many New Jersey families is creating a good parenting plan. What you include in it could create a foundation for the future you envision for your children and your family.

Financial implications of divorce can be complex

The outcome of a marriage breaking up has an impact on every aspect of one's life in New Jersey. The largest impact may be a financial one. There are steps that can be taken to prepare for the financial effects of a divorce. The more one plans for life after divorce the better prepared one may be to handle any surprises that may arise.

One step that a person can take is to do some long-term planning. What are one's goals for life following divorce? Is a career change part of the picture? That can be a scary undertaking, but approaching it with a plan and a definite goal in mind can ease the process. Consider the financial implications of going back to school or other required training as this can become a consideration in the divorce settlement.

Relocation with children after divorce can be complex

Divorce itself can be difficult and complicated, and this is typically made more so when children are involved. Parents may work out custody agreements independent of the court, but if they cannot decide the court will step in. and make the decision for them. Once a custody agreement is established in New Jersey that is not necessarily the last word. While one parent may have primary or even full custody, there are implications if that parent needs or wishes to relocate. Potential issues with relocation are not necessarily limited to a move out of state.

A move out of town or out of state that will significantly impact the current custody arrangements will most likely require the agreement of the noncustodial parent and the court and should be settled well ahead of any planned move. If a parent desires to relocate for a job, it may be a good idea to settle any issues regarding a custody order before any final plans are made. Otherwise, the other parent or the court could potentially throw a wrench in one's plans.

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