Family law matters may concern some of the most important issues in the lives of New Jersey residents, such as divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, and the division of assets in a high-value marital estate. Because of their long-lasting consequences, they are best handled with the assistance of a capable divorce attorney who can guide individuals in Monmouth County and the surrounding areas through the process. At Goldstein Law Group, we are dedicated to helping you protect your rights and pursue a favorable resolution of any contested issues.
There a number of grounds on which divorce may be granted in New Jersey. The most common reason for dissolving a marriage is irreconcilable differences, which is available because New Jersey is a “no-fault” state. Couples pursuing this type of divorce do not need to show that either of them engaged in misconduct that caused the marriage to fail. Either you or your spouse must have lived in New Jersey for at least a year, the irreconcilable differences must have existed for a period of at least six (6) months prior to the filing of the divorce complaint, and you must file for divorce in the county where at least one of you lives.Effect of Divorce on Property in New Jersey
New Jersey follows principles of equitable division. The court will try to divide marital property equitably and fairly, but this does not necessarily mean an even split. The court will examine the length of the marriage, the parties' economic circumstances, and their lifestyle during the marriage. Separate property that is inherited or obtained by gifts during the marriage, and property acquired before the divorce, is not divided, but remains the separate property of the spouse who first received it. There are certain exceptions to this general rule which can arise if the parties comingle those gifted or inherited assets, or they utilize other marital funds in connection with the inherited asset(s).
In addition to dividing the marital estate, a New Jersey court may order one spouse to pay the other temporary or permanent alimony or spousal support. As with property division, the court will consider the spouses' earning capacity, employability, education, and whether either of the spouses needs further training or education to be able to be self-supporting. The court may also look at whether either spouse gave up work to stay at home with minor children. After divorce proceedings are over, the court still retains the power to modify an alimony order if one or both spouses' circumstances change.
Children of New Jersey parents must be financially supported until they are emancipated. This event of emancipation can occur at different times. It can occur when a child reaches the age of majority in New Jersey, which is 18 years old or graduation from high school, whichever happens later. In many cases, spouses do not make the same amount of money. Child support is calculated using the combined income of the parents, as well as the parents' individual earning ability and the children's ages. Other factors enter into a child support award which, in most cases, will be governed by the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. The parenting and custody schedule (the number of overnights spent with each parent) impacts the amount of the support, as does the cost of medical insurance for the child, as well as many other factors.Parenting Time
As in other states, it is easier for a New Jersey court if parents jointly agree upon a parenting plan related to custody and visitation. Often, however, parents cannot agree on a child's best interest. The court may need to step in and determine an appropriate parenting plan. Every situation is determined individually, but in general the judge will presume that children benefit from keeping frequent and continuing contact with both parents and having both parents involved with child rearing.
The court will make its decisions based on the child's best interests, including the parents' ability to communicate, cooperate, and address the child's needs. The court will look at the stability of each home and the child's relationship with each parent.
New Jersey grandparents have the right to apply to the court for an order to compel visitation if a parent denies a grandparent the right to visit a grandchild. A grandparent must show the court that visitation is in the best interest of the child by a preponderance of the evidence. The focus is on what could harm the child, not what is in the grandparent's interests. The harm alleged will have to be particular, not just a general allegation of harm.Consult a Middlesex County Attorney for Your Family Law Needs
At Goldstein Law Group, our family law lawyers are devoted to helping individuals in Middlesex County and beyond who are dissolving a marriage. We understand how challenging it can be to handle divorce, legal separation, parenting arrangements, and other contentious situations with former family members. Our main office is located in Old Bridge, and we have a satellite office in Freehold, New Jersey. We have served individuals from Manalapan, Rumson, and East Brunswick, among other communities. You can contact us at 732-967-6777 or via our online form.