New Jersey Divorce & Legal Separation
Deciding to end a marriage in divorce is never an easy choice. To make matters worse, concerns over property and finances can increase emotional stress and make the process more difficult. If you and your spouse have children together, the impact of divorce or separation on them is an added layer of concern. The experienced divorce lawyers of Himelman & Himelman Law Firm can help guide you through this difficult time and through the tricky path of the NJ divorce process. Making yourself knowledgeable about divorce and legal separation can ease some of the anxiety and make the process easier to deal with.
Understanding the Different Types of Divorce in NJ
If you have decided that getting a divorce is the best course of action for you and your family, understanding the divorce process in NJ is important. There are different routes and options available to you with a divorce in New Jersey:
- Uncontested Divorce
- Contested Divorce
- Divorce Mediation
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Other options
Whether you expect a quick and relatively pain-free uncontested divorce or a highly contested one, it never hurts to speak with an experienced divorce attorney. Consulting with a knowledgeable family law and divorce attorney early on in the decision making process is key. They can help you to understand all of the legal options and alternatives that are available to you during this time.
In the State of New Jersey the terms “alimony”, “spousal support”, and “spousal maintenance ” are interchangeable and all refer to the same thing. Alimony is an amount of money that one spouse pays to another during the divorce proceedings and/or for a period of time after the divorce is finalized. New Jersey courts award alimony in an effort to help balance the financial consequences and impact of the divorce itself. The goal of alimony is to prevent either member of the divorcing couple from experiencing a severe drop in their standard of living. There is no universal calculator or one size fits all approach in awarding alimony in NJ. Each time alimony is awarded it requires an analysis of the unique factors and circumstances related to the divorcing couple. Our attorneys are experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to analyzing alimony cases. They can help you determine whether an alimony award is likely in your case, as well as the probable type, amount and duration of the alimony.
During the course of any marriage you acquire assets and debt. This is typically one of the most hotly contested issues between divorcing spouses in NJ. New Jersey law requires that all property, assets and debt accumulated during the marriage be equitably divided between spouses upon dissolution or divorce. It is important to note that the term equitably does not mean equally. The NJ courts consider a long list of factors when equitably dividing assets and debts among divorcing spouses. Assets include all financial and real estate holdings, as well as things like pensions, IRA’s, 401K’s and other retirement funds. One of the benefits of working with an experienced NJ divorce lawyer is that they can help you determine all of the assets and debt that may be subject to equitable distribution by the NJ court system. They can help give you a clear understanding of how the courts may divide them, and also help draft a property settlement agreement or marital settlement agreement to equitably distribute those assets and debts.
Even if you have already finalized your divorce or dissolution of marriage, civil union or domestic partnership, you may have post judgment legal issues and requirements to deal with. Post divorce issues can arise where one spouse is not fulfilling the court ordered terms of a final judgement of divorce or settlement. Perhaps one or both spouses believes that an order or agreement is in need of modification. Issues of this nature are covered under what is known as post divorce proceedings or issues. Orders and agreements that were appropriate during the divorce proceedings, may no longer fit your circumstances after time has passed.
Common post judgement divorce proceedings and matters can include:
- Enforcement of child support and child custody
- Enforcement of alimony awards
- Modification of custody, child support orders and/or alimony
- Issues regarding termination of child support and/or alimony
- Issues regarding college education costs
If you are facing post divorce proceedings or issues, you do not have to face them alone. Our attorneys are standing by to answer any questions you may have and make the post judgement divorce process as easy as possible.
Additional NJ Divorce & Legal Separation Information
There really is no such thing as “legal separation” in New Jersey, however parties may decide to enter into a marital settlement agreement. This helps resolve all financial and property issues prior to proceeding with a divorce.
Annulment of Marriage
Annulment in NJ is a legal procedure that in effect declares the marriage null and void from it’s inception. While similar in concept to a divorce, an annulment is a distinct and unique process and there are circumstances that must be met to qualify for an annulment. In annulments marital property rules do not apply, and you will not be eligible for an alimony award in most cases. Decisions related to child custody and support can also be impacted based on whether a marriage ends in divorce or annulment.
Estate Planning Issues & Matters
Getting a divorce in NJ is a significant process which requires the evaluation and updating of estate planning. Things like trusts, insurance policies, powers of attorney and wills must all be reviewed and updated at the time of divorce.
Divorce mediation in the State of New Jersey allows for an alternative to litigated divorce. Mediation is viewed as a viable alternative dispute resolution mechanism to the NJ court system. Through mediation you and your spouse determine the outcome of all of the pertinent issues without allowing a NJ judge to make the final decision in your case. Although you do not need a lawyer for mediation, it is strongly advised that you retain legal counsel. A mediator cannot give legal advice to either party during the mediation process as it is a conflict of interest. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you make informed decisions regarding your unique circumstances.