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Cherry Hill Family Legal Blog

New Jersey courts follow equitable property division principle

One of the most challenging aspects of ending a marriage is figuring out how to handle the distribution of assets. Property division can especially be difficult for couples with high-value assets or large volumes of assets. However, an applied understanding of this process may help divorcing parties to approach this aspect of divorce with greater confidence. Here is a look at how property division is handled in New Jersey family law courts.

New Jersey is an equitable distribution state. This means that marital assets -- assets obtained during the marriage -- must be split in a reasonable and fair manner during the divorce process. Based on this principle, marital assets may not be split 50/50; instead, one party may end up receiving a larger percentage of assets than the other one does.

Divorce process begins with filing a divorce petition

The process of getting divorced can no doubt be challenging from a financial and emotional perspective. However, it can be just as complicated from a legal standpoint, starting with the filing of the petition. Here is a rundown on how to approach a divorce petition during the divorce process in New Jersey.

All individuals who are interested in getting divorced must start the process by completing divorce petitions. They must file these petitions in their county courts in the states in which they reside. However, an attorney can help with filling out this paperwork.

Keeping the family home is a common divorce mistake

Getting divorced in New Jersey can certainly be emotionally challenging. However, it can also be financially difficult, and unfortunately, the wrong moves can have long-term repercussions. Here is a look at one commonly made financial mistake to avoid during an upcoming divorce proceeding: keeping the family home.

The reality is, it can be detrimental for a divorcing spouse to keep the house. Divorcing parties may want to keep the home because they have spent years pouring both sweat equity and money into the home. In addition, they may have reared their children in that home.

Here's how you can make co-parenting work

Even when divorce is the best solution to an unhappy marriage, parents still have challenges to overcome afterward. This is especially true for parents just like you who choose to share joint custody. Co-parenting is a lot different compared to past norms when only one parent -- usually the mom -- took on the majority of parenting duties.

You will need to keep several different things in mind as you move forward in your co-parenting journey. Some approaches are the same for virtually all custody arrangements, like not speaking badly about your ex in front of your child. Others are unique to the co-parenting experience.

Tips may help with saving money during divorce

Dealing with the monetary aspect of marital dissolution can no doubt be challenging. Not only must divorcing individuals tackle asset distribution, but they also have to adjust to single incomes following the divorce. However, a couple of tips may make handling finances easier, following divorce in New Jersey.

For starters, individuals who are getting divorced would be wise to develop budgets that reflect their new realities. Sticking to a new budget may understandably be difficult. Still, budgets provide clear pictures regarding where people are spending their money, and this information may encourage them to be more prudent in their spending.

Divorce in the 21st century has changed

While divorce in general is on the decline, a significant number of marriages still don't last in New Jersey. Common perceptions of what life after divorce might look like have also changed. Child custody arrangements, the advent of collaborative and mediated divorce settlements and the idea of conscious uncoupling popularized by certain celebrities have all contributed to a new perception of divorce in the 21st century.

It used to be that very young children were thought to be better off spending the majority of their time with their mothers and the courts tended to favor maternal custody for this reason. With the advent of dual income households and more gender neutrality in general, this belief has gone by the wayside. It is now widely understood that a relationship with both parents is in the best interest of the child and joint custody is becoming the norm.

Planning for future property division before marriage

January is recognized in some legal circles as divorce month because many see an increase in divorce filings in New Jersey during that month. This is sometimes attributed to the idea of starting over with a clean slate. February is regarded in some circles as engagement month due to the preponderance of engagements that occur around Valentine's Day. When a person is contemplating getting married, it may not be thought of as the time to consider future property division in the event of a divorce.

While the overall divorce rate may be on the decline, a significant number of marriages still end in divorce. Before marriage may be a good time for a person to consider protecting one's assets. A prenuptial agreement gives one the opportunity to determine how assets may be divided in the event of a divorce. This can include how wealth amassed during the marriage will be distributed.

Information can be key to successful property division

Most people get married with little thought that they might one day get divorced. But when divorce does become a reality, there are many financial considerations to be made regarding property division in New Jersey. New Jersey is an equitable distribution state which means the court will focus on ordering a fair and equitable distribution of marital property, though not necessarily a 50/50 split.

There are steps a person should take in preparing for the separation and divorce process and for life post-divorce. It is important to have current financial information on all accounts held jointly and individually. In addition to assets, debts and liabilities such as credit cards, car payments, student loans and mortgages need to included. The more accurate the information, the more likely a fair and comprehensive divorce settlement can be achieved. Taking a look at expenses and planning for them post-divorce can help to prepare for life following the divorce.

Divorce: Is your ex trying to turn your kids against you?

Maybe you and your former spouse have always argued about your children. In fact, it might have played a big part in your decision to divorce. Then again, perhaps, child-related issues were not all that relevant to the breakdown in your marriage, but you've encountered obstacles since then regarding child custody. You likely assumed that your spouse would be willing to cooperate and compromise to develop a peaceful co-parenting plan in a New Jersey court.

It might not have taken long for you to realize that things weren't going to go as smoothly as you'd initially hoped. You might have a court order in place with detailed instructions of child custody and visitation plus other important issues regarding your children. If your spouse refuses to adhere to the terms, serious problems can arise, especially if you believe a parental alienation plot is at hand.

Alimony is a complicated aspect of divorce

In the event of a divorce in New Jersey, there are many issues that need to be resolved before a marriage is legally dissolved. One of these issues pertains to spousal support, also known as alimony. Alimony is the money paid by one spouse, typically the higher earning one, to the lesser or non-earning spouse. The issue of alimony is one that must be resolved before a divorce can be finalized.

There are two main questions that arise around alimony. How much will it be for, and for how long must it be paid? The amount may be dependent on several factors, such as the actual and potential income of the recipient. If a person is younger and has many working years ahead of him or her, the amount may be set lower than someone who is nearing retirement age. One of the ideas behind alimony is that the person receiving it should be able to maintain the lifestyle that was enjoyed during the marriage.

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