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Divorce & Family Law FAQ

Answers From a Bergen County Divorce Lawyer

Family law is not always black and white and can be confusing and complicated. It is for this reason that our attorneys want to provide you with as much knowledge as possible so that you can understand your legal options. Below are common questions that our Bergen County divorce attorneys have fielded. If you have further questions that are unique to your circumstances, give us a call to discuss them with our team.

Below, find answers to any questions you may have with the following:

Divorce

What Are My Options for Divorce?

Divorce may not be the only option for you and your spouse. Annulment, for instance, is a process that treats the marriage as though it had never happened and may be a better option for couples who have not been married long. Additionally, legal separation is an option for couples who want to live apart but do not want to officially end their marriage.

How Long Does the Process Last?

The process is unique for every case. The length of time that a divorce can last depends upon the ability of you and your spouse to cooperate and collaborate, as well as the effectiveness of your attorney. Uncontested divorces, or divorces in which couples can agree on all terms without trial, typically last significantly less time than contested ones.

What Happens to Property and Children Before a Divorce Is Finalized?

You can file for temporary orders to decide who gets what during a divorce process and to ensure that your children maintain stability throughout the proceedings. The judge will issue a final order upon closure of the divorce that will supersede all temporary orders.

Property Division

How Does the Court Divide Property and Assets?

In New Jersey, any assets and debts that you and your spouse acquired throughout your divorce are considered to be marital property and will be divided in accordance with the state’s equitable division laws. Essentially, this means that a judge will take each individual’s financial standing, health, and special needs into consideration and divide property according to what is fair, which may not always be equal.

Alimony

How Is Alimony Determined?

Spousal support is intended to ensure that no individual suffers a significant decrease to their standard of living after a divorce is finalized. Alimony will be awarded according to the needs and income of each spouse, particularly if one spouse’s age or health hinders their ability to earn a living.

How Long Do Alimony Payments Have to Be Made?

Alimony payments will end when the court order contract specifies. However, should one party die or the recipient spouse remarry, payments will end. However, if the paying spouse dies, the recipient spouse may have a claim to a portion of his or her estate.

Child Custody

How Is Child Custody Determined?

When considering child custody arrangements, judges tend to favor arrangements that prioritize the best interest of the children involved. What this means is that, although you and your spouse may not get along, you may need to share equal custody so that your child can build and maintain relationships with both of you. However, certain factors, such as abuse, health, or location, may influence the judge to award custody to one parent over the other.

What Are the Types of Custody?

When considering custody arrangements, there are multiple ways that it can be awarded. Custody is first classified by physical and legal custody; physical refers to the time spent with each parent and legal refers to the authority to make important decisions regarding education, healthcare, and finances. Custody is then awarded as either a joint or sole arrangement, which means that parents either share time and decision-making authority, or it is solely awarded to one parent.

Child Support

Am I Obligated to Pay Child Support?

Parents are legally responsible for the care and well-being of their children. Child support is a system that ensures that a child receive support from both parents, regardless of custodial arrangement. Typically, child support payments are only made when one parent has sole custody by the non-custodial parent. However, in some cases, one parent may be required to pay child support to the other in a joint custody arrangement if he or she does not have the means or income to maintain the child’s standard of living.

How Much Do I have to Pay?

The amount of child support that will be required depends upon your own income and assets as well as the income and assets of the recipient parent. Additional factors such as the child’s health, education, and special needs may contribute to the amount of child support that is ordered.

When Do Child Support Payments End?

Generally, the obligation to pay child support expires when the children reach the age of 18. However, this is not always automatic. If the child emancipates before the age of 18, support will no longer be required, or if he or she is still a full-time high school student after the age of 18, the child support order may still be in effect.

Modifications

Can I Change the Terms of a Court Order?

If circumstances change as time moves forward, you may find yourself no longer able to comply with the terms of an order. It is for this reason that you can file for modifications of orders so that you can change the required custody or support orders to better reflect your current circumstances.

Have More Questions?

At Sherwood & Johnson, LLC , we are dedicated to guiding you through the divorce process with sound legal counsel. We will promptly answer your questions and address your concerns.

Schedule your free consultation with our team for the quality, compassionate, and knowledgeable representation that you and your family deserve.