Carolann M. Aschoff, P.C.
201-793-7739Jersey City & Bayonne
973-200-4892West Caldwell

Jersey City Family Law Blog

Divorce: How valid is your prenuptial agreement?

Many New Jersey couples sign prenuptial agreements to ensure the interests of both spouses will be protected if the marriage should end. The typical purpose is to specify the division of property in the event of a divorce in a manner that differs from the process prescribed by state laws. However, for such an agreement to be valid, specific legal requirements must be met.

One of the requirements might be for both spouses to be represented by their respective independent legal counsels. Agreements must be in writing and signed by both parties, and not on the eve of the marriage. The court would want to see that both parties had sufficient time to consider the contents of the contract before signing it. Furthermore, any sign of coercion or pressuring one spouse into signing might lead to the agreement being declared invalid by the court.

Stalking a reality for some going through divorce

A study done five years ago showed that stalking is much more prevalent than what many may think. Figures indicated that 1.5 percent of Unites States adults have been victims of stalkers. The statistics drastically increase to 3.3 percent for divorced or separated people. While this is not a new phenomenon, cheap electronic gadgets and apps on cellphones make it very easy to keep tabs on someone.

New Jersey divorcees should take cognizance of the fact that their ex, or soon to be ex, may be keeping tabs on them without their knowledge. Couples are able to spy on one another by using GPS trackers and/or spyware on phones and computers. According to divorce lawyers, many people use these devices to keep control or find evidence needed for their divorce.

Preparing for a divorce? A few pointers

When a marriage has entered troubled waters, there is always that one final straw that breaks the camel's back. A working theory among lawyers is that a last holiday or vacation together is often this final straw. Interestingly a study taking data from divorce filings during the last 15 years has shown that in the United States, there are drastic increases in the number of people filing for divorce in March and August – after the winter holidays and summer vacation.

New Jersey clients who have just come to the realization that the end of their marriage is inevitable after the recent winter holiday may benefit from a few pointers while preparing for their appointment with a divorce lawyer. While all financial information may only be available later in the month, it is a good idea to start getting everything together, including pay slips, credit card statements and bank statements.  It can also be helpful if a credit report of both spouses can be presented as it makes it easy to see what debts each party has.

Getting to know the language of divorce

Let's be honest -- learning a new language is never an easy thing to do, even if it is not a foreign language, but just a language attach to a specific aspect of life. A good example is the language of social media used so freely and confidently by younger generations in New Jersey, while many older people are at a compete loss when reading things like "LOL," "gr8t," etc. People in the midst of a divorce may find themselves feeling exactly the same, because divorce also has a language of its own.

There is little doubt that the end of a marriage can be seen as a challenge and stressful, especially as it involves a lot of unknowns. One way to decrease stress may be to become familiar with the jargon used by the people in the know. A good starting point may be to figure out who is the respondent and who is the petitioner.

Reasons for divorce are more common than you think

It turns out, nothing brings people together like divorce. That is, the reasons people report for separating from a partner are pretty similar, and they fall into several distinct categories. While the specifics of the breakup may vary from person to person, the underlying reasons tend to be the same.

You may be wondering, why do people get divorced? Am I different than other people when it comes to my break up? Don't let divorce get you down because as it turns out, you probably have a lot more in common with the rest of society than you think.

Child custody -- litigation as a last resort

Negotiation is often one of the best ways for parties to reach a mutually agreeable resolution to a problem. This is especially true in child custody issues. Most parents in the midst of a divorce dread the possibility of litigation to decide issues surrounding the custody of the children born from the marriage.

Unfortunately, it may not always be possible for New Jersey parents to reach an agreement through negotiation or some form of alternative dispute resolution. Litigation may be the only way to settle the dispute. In such cases, the parties involved may benefit from following a few guidelines. Firstly, like in most aspects of life, education is the key to understanding the proceedings involved, the relevant state laws and current trends.

Impacts of financial decisions made during divorce

When it comes to financial matters, keeping a cool head is imperative. This is particularly true in divorce, which is often an emotionally draining process. One can easily become too emotionally caught up and forget that the financial decisions made may impact much more that a monthly budget.

Assets acquired during a marriage have to be divided on an equitable basis in New Jersey, but finding the best way to do so can be a very difficult process. Some decisions necessary to make may be more difficult than others. One such a decision relates to the house. An easy decision is to sell the house and divide the profits, but this is only possible if one does not have to sell at a loss. Should one spouse prefer to keep the family home, an option is to buy the other person out at the current value exists.

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.

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