Carolann M. Aschoff, P.C.
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Jersey City Family Law Blog

Types of spousal support: what to expect

The end of a relationship can be emotionally taxing, especially when it is the end of years of married life. Apart from the emotional aspect, New Jersey residents in the midst of a divorce may become overwhelmed with the intricacies of the process. This is especially true when it comes to spousal support.

Spousal support refers to a fixed monthly amount paid by one party to the other in cases of divorce or legal separation. The main aim is to enable the receiver to pay monthly living expenses. The circumstances surrounding the divorce will determine the type of alimony awarded.   

Most common reasons why people get a divorce

Newly wed New Jersey couples will most probably all profess to aim at making their marriages last, but staying married is no easy matter. When different people are asked why they are getting a divorce, the reasons are often the same. The question is -- what are these reasons?

A recent study has shown that approximately two out of every 10 marriages end due to infidelity, by either one or both partners. However, it has also been shown that, in the majority of cases, there was a deeper reason for the partners cheating, ranging from anger and resentment to different interests or sexual appetites. A second common reason for divorce is how physically attractive partners consider one another.

Potential strategies to choose the right divorce lawyer

The right divorce counsel can make a major difference for your post-married life. Undergoing a divorce can be trying, and you will likely want to have a support team that can address all of your concerns and guide you through the many complexities involved in the process. For most, a major part of the support team is their lawyer.

Once the divorce is settled, the terms regarding child custody, child support, alimony and property division are fixed. Under certain circumstances in New Jersey, you can ask for a review or modification of the terms of the court order, but there are no guarantees. The decisions you make now could have lasting effects on your family and your finances, so most people hope to choose the right lawyer for them the first time. Some experts have gathered a few strategies to help you pick.

The basics of child custody in New Jersey

Most, if not all, parents want what is best for their children. The same holds true for parents involved in divorce proceedings, and that is why understanding child custody matters are so important. New Jersey parents who are in the midst of a divorce and have children under 18 years of age can benefit from knowing what is meant when custody matters are discussed by lawyers.

Custody is defined as the responsibility legally placed on a parent to care for and to be in control of a child younger than 18. Custody may be awarded by a court to both parents or only to one parent. Legally custody can be divided in two types, namely legal custody, which refers to the right to take decisions about important matters pertaining to one's child, and physical custody, referring to the physical daily care of the child.  

Sign that may point to a rocky road to divorce

Marriage is a partnership people mostly believe will last a lifetime. That is why it is no easy decision to ask ones partner for a divorce. In some case, both partners can come to an agreement that they have grown apart and that splitting up may be the best thing for all involved, but this is not always the case.

For some people in New Jersey, the prospect of an amicable divorce may not be in the cards. There are times where one spouse actively opposes the idea of a divorce. In fact, there are a number of telltale signs of the possibility of a less than amicable divorce process, which may act a warning signals.

Which payments qualify as spousal support?

When getting divorced in New Jersey, a family court judge will order the division of marital property, allocate child custody, parenting time and more. Alternatively, a couple can sit down and negotiate agreements that fit their circumstances. However, making important financial decisions about spousal support and other matters without understanding the tax implications could bring some unpleasant post-divorce surprises.

Spousal support can start during the separation period and continue after the divorce is finalized. Not all payments made by one spouse to the other qualify as spousal support. To be regarded as alimony, spouses must file separate tax returns, and payments must be in the form of cash, money orders or checks. Furthermore, the payments must be made under a divorce decree, written separation agreement or a separate court order for maintenance, and it must be specified as spousal support or alimony.

Child custody: Tips to help children cope

Most people do not want to hurt their children and do everything possible for their benefit. Unfortunately, when New Jersey parents decide to divorce children are affected negatively in some way or another. This is why it is important to ensure that the child custody arrangements focus on protecting the best interests of the children involved.

Divorce can disrupt the lives of the children involved, especially when relocation is in the cards. Parents disagreeing about custody or related manners may make children feel responsible for the problems their parents are confronting. Making children feel secure can lessen the negative effects of divorce. Here are a few mays to help ensure children feel secure in the midst of a divorce.

Mediation: an alternative to court battles

Admittedly, the idea of taking someone to court can be exciting. You imagine the stunning arguments, the visceral testimonies, the thundering gavel bang of justice, but going to court can also be frustrating, lengthy and costly for both parties. In some cases, it truly is the best option, but most of the time individuals should exhaust preliminary options before deciding to head off to court.

This is where mediation can prove to be invaluable for you and the other party. In fact, in some states, it is a required first step before undergoing a divorce case. In other places, it is an option. Nevertheless, if you are hopeful to resolve any divorce issues with more informal discussions, it may be a good option for dissolving your marriage.

What happens to an inheritance in case of divorce?

An inheritance does not form part of the joint property of a married couple. Therefore, in simplistic terms, it would mean that, in case of a divorce, a person's inheritance will not be seen as communal marital property. Legally, an inheritance belongs to the recipient, if it is kept separate from a couple's other assets in New Jersey.

To the same extent, any future inheritance may also not be included in the calculation of the joint assets of the divorcees. On this topic, courts have determined that a person is entitled to make changes to the stipulations contained in a testament at any time. Money or property is not an asset until it has been received by the heir or heiress.

Child custody and child support: Strategies to make it work

Parents generally want what is best for their children. This wish of parents does not change after a divorce. Non-custodial parents may feel that their child custody agreements do not allow them enough opportunities to have a positive impact on the lives of their children.

A New Jersey parent responsible for child support payments may find it comforting to know that making regular, timely payments is one way to have a positive effect on the lives of his or her children. While there is little doubt that regular payments ensure security for a child, it may be problematic for the parent making the payments. Fortunately, there are a few strategies available to help.

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