Planning to File for Divorce in the New Year?
By Snyder & Sarno on January 10, 2014
Traditionally, the coming of the New Year has been a time for making changes in our lives. Perhaps because of this, many times the New Year brings with it an influx of divorces. If you plan on filing for divorce in the New Year, then here are some of the many things that you should do and consider:
1. Speak with a New Jersey Divorce Lawyer
The New Jersey divorce process is complicated and emotionally stressful. Working with a New Jersey divorce lawyer will help ease your stress and will assist you in obtaining a divorce with terms that are the most favorable to you. Your divorce lawyer will be able to help you through determining child custody, parenting time, child support, alimony, property division, and every other issue that accompanies a New Jersey divorce.
2. Think About What Kind of Custody Arrangement You Will Seek
There are two types of custody: legal and physical custody. Legal custody determines which parent will make the major decisions in the child’s life, like where the child will go to school. Physical custody determines who the child will live with. There are also two types of custody arrangements: joint and sole custody. Joint custody means that both parents share custody of the child; whereas sole custody means one parent has custody of the child. The type of custody arrangement in your divorce can be any combination of joint legal, joint physical, sole legal, and sole physical custody of the child. Thus, you and your spouse could have joint legal custody, but you could have sole physical custody. Or, you could have sole legal and sole physical custody of the child, or any other combination. Whichever parent does not have custody will generally be granted parenting time, and a visitation schedule will need to be established.
3. Prepare Financially
Since issues of child support, alimony, and property division may be decided in your New Jersey divorce, you should compile all of your financial information, including, but not limited to, your most recent tax returns, pay stubs, mortgage statements, and account statements. If you and your spouse have a prenuptial agreement, you should include that in your compilation of financial documents, as many of its provisions could end up governing the financial issues in your divorce. This will assist you and your attorney in determining what you will be seeking for purposes of financial support, like child support and alimony.
4. Be Aware of What You Could Be Awarded As Well As What You Could Be Ordered to Pay
In a New Jersey divorce, all marital property will be divided equitably, but not necessary equally. This is called equitable distribution. Property that has been acquired by either you or your spouse during the marriage, other than by gift or inheritance, is marital property and is fair game to be divided between you and your spouse. Additionally, an award of alimony may be ordered. Alimony is provided to a spouse that was financially dependent on the other during the marriage.
5. Think About Your Cause of Action
In New Jersey, your divorce complaint can seek a divorce based on the fault of your spouse, or it can seek a no-fault divorce. Where a fault-based divorce requires you to prove that your spouse was at fault, a no-fault divorce is less of a burden to prove. There are two causes of action for a no-fault divorce in New Jersey: being separated for a period of eighteen months, or having irreconcilable differences between you and your spouse for a period of six months.
6. Consider Whether You Will Pursue Mediation or Litigation
Litigation is very time consuming and can be costly depending on how long and complicated your divorce is. Frequently during litigation, emotions run high and there is a great deal of tension between the parties. Mediation can be a less costly, less stressful alternative to litigation. It allows the parties to negotiate openly and more freely. However, mediation requires the parties to be able to cooperate and come to a consensus on the issues involved in the divorce, so that is something you must consider when deciding whether to utilize the mediation process.
As you can see, there are many legal issues involved in a New Jersey divorce and a lot of decisions to be made. If you are considering filing for a divorce, please contact the experienced New Jersey divorce lawyers at Snyder & Sarno at (973) 274-5200.
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