Carolann M. Aschoff, P.C.

New Jersey Family Law Blog

Your ex does not have a right to alienate you from your children

Divorce is an adult issue; however, if you're a parent who is navigating proceedings or preparing to file a petition in a New Jersey court, you no doubt would agree that it is a decision that greatly affects children. Even so, you hopefully also know that you can build a strong support network from the start, and that children are generally highly adaptable and resilient, as long as they know their parents love them and will be by their side to help them cope with major life changes.

Things can get really messy rather quickly if there is contention between you and your ex. It's common for spouses to feel some negativity toward each other in such circumstances; otherwise, they would likely want to stay married. If your former spouse carries that negativity over into your children's lives, it can become a serious problem, especially if you fall victim to a parental alienation scheme.

Preventing financial disagreements with proper planning

Perhaps one of the most common subjects of disagreements for many couples in New Jersey is how to utilize and manage finances. In many instances, ongoing disagreements over how things should be done may lead to a divorce. If people have experienced divorce from their spouse with financial discrepancies being the underlying cause, they may be looking for advice on how to avoid those types of tensions in future relationships. 

One consideration that people may take is to consolidate all of their debt into one loan that can be responsibly and consistently paid over time. Couples should also be transparent in discussing their financial history including what their credit score is and why it is what it is. They should make goals together for ways they can improve their financial stability and wealth over time including realistic goals for how they will improve current weaknesses. 

Mediation may save you money during divorce

Divorcing in New Jersey is a painful process. It can also be a lot more expensive than a couple first realizes. Not only can they lose a lot of their shared possessions during the split, but they may also need to pay for legal fees, quiet titles, moving and refinancing loans. Mediation may not save a couple money on all of these expenses. Still, there are some ways that it helps to reduce the overall financial burden.

To save money through mediation, USA Today recommends getting a head start on the divorce process. Couples may start by listing their expectations of what they intend to get out of mediation. They may also decide what is the least amount they would settle for from the negotiation process. It is important for them to remember that both people may need to sacrifice some of what they built together, regardless of economic disparities between the two.

How do you keep a child custody agreement functional?

When you and your spouse choose to get a divorce in New Jersey, it is going to take some time to agree upon a child custody arrangement that will provide support and consistency to your children without creating too much stress for either parent. Establishing boundaries, clarifying responsibilities and leaving room open for modifications in the future are all imperative parts of creating an agreement that will be rewarding for everyone involved. 

Once an agreement is solidified and it appears to be working appropriately for both you and your spouse, you may be wondering how to maintain the consistency that you have going right now. One suggestion provided by is that you review how things are going every so often. Evaluate if the arrangement is working for your children and allowing them to continue to build positive and long-lasting relationships with both of their parents. Assess if the arrangement is allowing you to continue parenting without compromising your ability to maintain a job. 

Negotiating pet custody during divorce

Many New Jersey couples treat their pets as part of the family, which may lead to complications during a divorce. When a couple decides to split up, it may not be clear who should get custody of the pets. While the letter of the law may view a pet as property in terms of asset division, the reality of the situation may be more like a child custody battle in terms of the emotions involved.

FindLaw states that New Jersey is not a "community property" state. This means that when a court decides on divorce terms, the goal is to split assets equitably, rather than to divide everything exactly in half (as would happen in a community property state). For most property, such as furniture and real estate, a court may focus mostly on its financial worth.

Deciding who will receive child custody involves multiple steps

The process of getting divorced can feel like an emotional roller coaster, especially when young children are involved. You may naturally worry about who will end up getting custody of the children and how the children will feel about the new arrangement.

Because deciding child custody can be an emotional process, who gets custody of the children can be a challenging choice to make in many divorce cases. Here is a rundown on how child custody cases are generally handled in New Jersey.

Is nesting a good post-divorce living arrangement?

There are numerous issues you and your spouse need to discuss during the divorce process in New Jersey, including what to do with your house and where your children will live. These decisions are often complex, requiring you to consider your immediate and long-term finances as well as what is best for your children. You may think that the only solution is to have one of you stay in the house while the other one moves out. However, a different living arrangement called nesting may provide unique benefits for you, your ex-spouse and your children.

An NBC article describes the relatively new practice of nesting that some people choose after a divorce. In this situation, your children stay in the family home all the time while you and your spouse alternate living there with them. You may share the rent for an apartment where you each live when you are not with your children. You and your ex-spouse may rotate every week or every few weeks. This arrangement may allow your children to feel more secure at home and maintain closer relationships with both you and your ex-spouse.

Gaming disorder may contribute to divorce

It is often challenging to identify all the actions, decisions and feelings that contribute to the end of a marriage. While infidelity and financial arguments are frequent causes, these are not the only things that may contribute to a divorce. Addiction to video games, also known as gaming disorder, may be a cause of divorce. However, it is also possible to treat gaming disorders. Before a couple files for divorce in New Jersey, it may be helpful to determine if gaming addiction is a factor.

One of the most recent video games to cause marriage issues is "Fortnite." According to CNBC, over 200 United Kingdom couples in 2018 listed a spouse's addiction to the online game as a factor in the decision to file for divorce. Although the 200 couples who cited gaming addiction as a factor only represent a fraction of the overall divorce statistics, this number is still important in that it indicates gaming addiction may have consequences as severe as more common issues such as alcoholism and drug usage.

How do you create a parenting plan?

If you and your spouse decide to divorce, it may be time-consuming to reach an agreement on child custody. There are several essential issues that you may need to decide on, including where the child will live and how visitations will work. In New Jersey, you may be able to settle custody issues with minimal court time if you and your spouse are able to agree to terms on your own. If that is not a possibility, you may need to file a custody complaint in court to establish or modify a custody order. In either case, one of the key elements of a custody agreement is a parenting plan.

If you and your spouse create a parenting plan through informal negotiations with each other, you may simply need to submit it to the court for final approval. You may also use mediation to reach an agreement. The end result of your discussions should be a clear and thorough parenting plan that describes how you and your ex-spouse intend to care for your child.

Dividing the spoils after a divorce

New Jersey is one of the most expensive U.S. states to live in. It comes as no surprise then when couples fight over the assets they have acquired together during a marriage. According to CNBC, millennials are not only marrying later, but showing a greater propensity toward maintaining separate assets. About 28% of married millennials do not have a joint bank account. This more than doubles how many Gen Xers and Baby Boomers keep their bank accounts separate after marriage.

One proposed reason for this is that millennials have witnessed difficulties with separating assets during a divorce. Even so, professionals warn that owning property separately may not protect some assets from being counted as jointly owned during a divorce. This may happen when couples live in a community property state, which does not include New Jersey. Even so, one spouse may move to one of these states, such as California or Nevada, and then file for divorce there. Those courts may then hold jurisdiction over the divorce and therefore the marriage assets.

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