Carolann M. Aschoff, P.C.

New Jersey Family Law Blog

How parents can work together to raise their children

When two adults in New Jersey decide that they no longer want to stay married to each other, they have the option to end their relationship. However, they don't have the option of ending the relationship that they have with their children. Therefore, they may have to work together to ensure that their kids are cared for and are given whatever they need to grow into healthy adults.

It isn't uncommon for a noncustodial parent to make child support payments to the custodial parent. It is also possible that an individual will have to make alimony payments to a former spouse. The exact amount of an alimony payment may be decided either through a negotiated divorce settlement or a ruling made by a judge. It is generally in an individual's interest to create a deal without a judge's help.

Your spouse could be hiding assets during the divorce

You have dozens of things to worry about during divorce, most of which are probably running through your head all at the same time. Maybe you are concerned that you will not get alimony or that your soon-to-be ex-spouse might disagree with what you believe are your child's best interests. In the middle of all this, you could be overlooking a very important question. What if your spouse is hiding assets?

Chances are that if you are divorcing, the trust you once had with your spouse is long gone. Although you may trust the divorce process itself, you cannot rely on him or her to provide the correct information. This is true even if you think your spouse is not capable of doing such a thing.

How women can divorce-proof their business

Women in New Jersey who own their own business may be frightened at the prospect of losing part or all of it in a divorce. If the business experiences growth during the marriage, it could be considered to be marital property. This means that it would be subject to division in the divorce. Women may wonder what they can do to protect their business in case they get divorced in the future.

The best time for a woman to divorce-proof her business is before she gets married. A prenuptial agreement is a written legal agreement between two individuals who will be getting married. It is an effective protective measure because it sets forth what would be separate property in case the couple decided to divorce in the future. In order for the agreement to be legally binding, it needs to be executed before witnesses in a voluntary way. Full financial disclosure is essential.

Why some couples may want to consider a prenup

Some people in New Jersey may want to consider a prenuptial agreement before getting married. A prenup describes how finances will be handled in case of divorce. It may specify that one spouse will not request alimony, and it can outline what property will remain separate even if this is different from how such property is normally handled during a divorce.

As an example, one person entering the marriage might own a home. Usually, property that a person brings into a marriage is considered separate property. However, if the property is mingled with marital funds, it might become joint property in the eyes of the legal system. This could be the case if the person uses income earned during the marriage to pay the mortgage or do renovations since this income may be classified as joint property. A prenup could specify that any increase in property value remains separate property even if it is funded by joint property.

Divorce financial specialists and the divorce process

A divorce specialist may be helpful to some couples or individuals in New Jersey. This is a professional who has a background in areas specific to divorce, such as how to divide complex investments and the details associated with closely held business interests or private equity holdings. This knowledge can complement that of other professionals, such as an attorney and a financial advisor.

With couples, a divorce financial specialist can help during mediation or a collaborative divorce. One way a divorce financial specialist can be particularly helpful is in helping a couple determine how they should divide the home, one of the most difficult issues in a divorce. If a couple is unable to reach an agreement on a settlement, a divorce financial specialist can give expert testimony if necessary, discussing such topics as business valuation and forensic accounting.

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.

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