One of the most challenging situations that any individual can face in their life is a divorce proceeding. It is common for unpleasant emotions and acrimony to cloud a spouse's judgment during this sensitive time, and it may help to have an objective but compassionate counselor and advocate on your side. At Goldstein Law Group, our New Jersey divorce lawyers and family law attorneys serve individuals in Monmouth County and beyond who are seeking a divorce or dealing with related issues, such as child custody conflicts, parental relocation, property division and business valuation, and alimony. The partners at our firm have over 90 years of collective legal experience.
In addition to our family law practice, the founding partner of the Goldstein Law Group, Mark Goldstein, Esq. has been providing legal services for almost three decades in the areas of commercial law, defense for criminal offenses like DUI arrests and drug crimes, estate planning, real estate, and general civil litigation. Our main office is located in Old Bridge, New Jersey located midway between the Middlesex County Superior Court in New Brunswick, New Jersey and the Monmouth County Superior Court in Freehold, New Jersey. We have a second office located in Freehold, New Jersey, within minutes of the Monmouth County Superior Court.
There are several grounds for dissolving a marriage in New Jersey. Courts will grant a divorce when spouses have irreconcilable differences that are not able to be resolved. They also permit a divorce to be granted when spouses have lived apart for at least 18 months. These are the common “no fault” grounds you may have heard of. In addition, there are other recognized grounds for divorce which carry a degree of fault; These include such grounds as adultery, desertion for over a year, imprisonment for more than 18 months, deviant sexual behavior, alcohol or drug abuse, or extreme cruelty. As a general rule, you or your spouse must have resided in New Jersey for at least one year before filing a complaint for divorce. Unlike some states that have a "cooling off period," there is no waiting period specified in this state, and a judge can enter a divorce decree after a court hearing.
An issue that arises in most divorce proceedings, whether or not there are children involved, is how to divide marital property. This consists of any assets that spouses acquire during a marriage, whereas separate property is not subject to division and stays solely the property of the spouse who acquired it. New Jersey courts follow principles of equitable distribution. As a divorce attorney in New Jersey can explain, this means that the court will try to divide marital property fairly, but not necessarily equally. Equitable division entails looking at the length of the marriage, the spouses' economic circumstances, and their individual contributions of income and property to the marriage. Also under consideration will be the lifestyle the couple maintained during the marriage.
In some cases, based on financial need, a Monmouth County or Middlesex County court orders a spouse to pay alimony to the other spouse. As with property division, the court will look at the standard of living during the marriage, but it will also consider earning capacity and whether a spouse needs more education or job training to become self-supporting. Whether one spouse has stayed home or sacrificed his or her career to take care of minor children will be taken into account as well. Alimony orders can be modified if a spouse's circumstances are altered in the future. These changes can include an increase or a decrease in the income of the dependent or supporting spouse.
Particularly challenging concerns may arise in connection with a divorcing couple's children. Parents are required to financially support their children until they are emancipated. Emancipation can occur when a child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever comes later or, it can continue until a child graduates college or a trade school. In New Jersey, courts calculate child support based on the parents' income by applying the New Jersey child support guidelines which generally applies to cases where the parties’ aggregate net income (after taxes) does not exceed $3600 per week. If the parties combined net incomes are greater than this $3600 per week threshold, the guidelines would apply up to the maximum award for the $3600 per week and the court would have to conduct a hearing to determine how much additional child support may be payable in excess of this maximum amount based upon the children’s needs that might not be met with the maximum amount. In such a case, the court will consider the child's needs, and parental age and health. The parents may also have to pay for the child's health insurance and educational costs based upon their ability to pay. A parent’s ability to contribute towards the child’s health insurance and daycare expense is usually tied into the incomes of the parties and the ratio of each parent’s income to each other. Like alimony, child support can be modified later to account for changed circumstances.
Child custody orders in New Jersey are based primarily upon a standard known as the best interest of the child. Parents are encouraged to come to an agreement about what the child custody arrangement should be, but if they cannot, the court will evaluate the child's physical, emotional, and educational needs and determine to what extent the parents can cooperate and communicate about meeting these needs. The court will decide whether one parent should have primary custody of the child and how much time each parent should have. Child custody orders can be altered when evidence shows that they should change to meet the child's best interests.Explore Your Options with a Divorce Lawyer in New Jersey
At Goldstein Law Group, we are passionately committed to serving residents of Middlesex County and the surrounding area. Our New Jersey divorce attorneys hold ourselves to a standard of the strictest personal and professional ethics. We proudly serve individuals from Ocean County, Freehold, Rumson, and Red Bank, among other communities. You can contact us at 732-967-6777 or by completing our online form to set up an appointment.