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

What can justify petitions for spousal support modification?

When spousal support is agreed upon or ordered by a New Jersey court in a divorce, it does not mean that such an order is set in stone. Circumstances change and modifications may be necessary. In anticipation, a spousal support agreement can include a clause for cost of living and inflation escalations at predetermined intervals. Without such clauses, the court can be petitioned to increase the amount received, lower the amount paid or to terminate it altogether.

Temporary hardships may justify petitions for modifications in court; however, sufficient proof of substantial changes in circumstances will be required. Reasons for requesting modifications may include periodic changes in the laws, or significant increases in the incomes of recipients or decreases in the salaries of payers may suffice. If the recipient decides to enter into a romantic cohabitation relationship, the payer may ask for the support amount may be lowered or terminated. Also, increases are sometimes allowed to accommodate the cost of living increases.

Prenuptial agreement or not? Divorce is not planned, but happens

While planning a wedding, the last thing on one's mind is the possibility of the marriage not working out. While difficult to imagine, things may go wrong and that is why it may be prudent to consider a prenuptial agreement. In case of divorce, a prenuptial agreement assists in smoothing the way forward.

There is little doubt that divorce can be expensive, whether in New Jersey or elsewhere. It is also true that in this time, the emotional turmoil often makes cooperation and reasonable conversation next to impossible. During such times the benefits of pre- and postnuptial agreements become clear.

Child custody: Securing the child's best interests

Most people want what is best for their children and will do a lot to ensure that this happens. When a couple decides to part ways, the children are often caught in the middle.  The fact is that in many divorces, child custody and support are among the more difficult issues to deal with. Let's be honest - there is a lot at stake!

Our New Jersey firm has had ample experience in resolving these sensitive matters, helping to make sure that the children are not caught in the middle. We can assist in helping parties meet in the middle and find solutions. It is important for parents to realize that there are a variety of options available to ensure the protection of their children's best interests as well as the parents' rights.

Division of assets in a divorce: Court or no court?

It is sometimes estimated that in the United States, there is only a 50 percent chance of a first marriage to survive while second marriages only have a 40 percent chance of succeeding. Though some may quibble about the numbers, it is clear that divorce rates are high. Many New Jersey couples may find themselves having to make decisions about who gets what as they prepare to go their separate ways.

Some couples may make the decision to turn to the courts to assist in the division of assets. Others may try to negotiate a settlement between themselves with the help of their respective attorneys. It may be prudent to take note of a number of important aspects to consider when the decision is made to settle out of court.

Marital risk factors: Is your relationship headed for divorce?

Just like every person is different, so is every marriage. No matter what the state of the relationship, no one besides you and your spouse – not experts, not friends or relatives – can decide whether ending your marriage is the right decision. However, if you're already experiencing doubts as to whether your relationship is working, marriage experts have determined that there are several factors indicative of a higher likelihood of divorce.

These divorce risk factors obviously don't cause divorce or even necessarily indicate that your marriage is in trouble. Marital experts have simply found a correlation between them and a couple's increased likelihood of ending their marriage. Read on to see whether your marriage is at a higher risk and whether there's anything you can do about it.

Children and divorce: What is the best for all?

The majority of New Jersey parents may want what is best for their children. Some decisions touching the lives of children are easy to make, but others may be a lot more difficult. One such difficult decision to make is whether to divorce or stay together for the sake of the children.

There is little doubt that when parents split up all the family members are influenced by the decision. Before deciding if divorce will be the best option for the family and particularly the children, one should perhaps contemplate a number of things. It is important to ask oneself if the marriage can be saved.

Child support -- providing financial stability to your child

Financially supporting a child regardless of where he or she lives or with whom might seem like a no-brainer, but it can be an incredibly complex legal matter. Many parents must deal with child support matters during other stressful periods of life, such as divorce or during serious life changes.

Custodial parents can receive child support payments from their non-custodial exes even if they never married. In some instances, parents who share 50/50 custody might still have a child support plan, especially if one parent greatly out earns the other.

Practical tips to make the divorce process easier

Divorce is rarely easy for any New Jersey resident to get through. One of the more difficult matters to settle relates to finances. It is, however, something that has to be done before each of the partners can start their new lives.

Marriage typically means that the lives of two individuals becomes completely entwined, emotionally and financially. Untangling one finances may take a long time, particularly if the process is not handled smartly. That is why it is important to consider the practicality of decisions made.

Making sure assets are protected in case of divorce

Couples planning to get married hardly want to think about the possibility that their marriage may not work out. Unfortunately, the fact that 45 percent of all marriages end in divorce is a clear indication that it may be prudent to address finances with a soon-to-be spouse. While many New Jersey couples may feel that, by discussing finances, they seem to not believe their marriage will survive, this is not really the case.

In most cases, a prenup is the first way that comes to mind to protect assets, but there are other ways that assets can be protected. One way to protect assets is to keep separate any money both spouses had before the marriage, while joint accounts can be opened after the wedding. Secondly, it is important to keep property in individual spouses' names. Any major payments made toward the property, including taxes, should be paid by the person in whose name the property is.

How to secure the best possible divorce settlement?

The decision to end a marriage is not only difficult emotionally, but also requires many tough decisions. New Jersey couples in the midst of a divorce may benefit from taking note of some important aspects to consider when negotiating a settlement agreement. No matter what the circumstances, one should never negate the importance of safeguarding one's financial security.

It is important for both parties to reach an agreement on how certain important financial matters will be handled. These important matters may include:

  • health insurance concerns
  • division of retirement plans
  • costs of tertiary studies
  • disposition of the marital home
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