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Marlton Family Law Blog

Is divorce mediation right for you?

Thousands of New Jersey residents go through the divorce process each year. Although no one enters into a marriage with expectations that a divorce may be necessary at some point in the future, the reality is that divorce is fairly common. In many cases, there is no one to blame; it would just be better for everyone involved if the marriage came to an end. If you are still able to maintain a somewhat decent relationship with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, divorce mediation may be an option to help get you through the divorce process a bit more smoothly.

So, is divorce mediation right for you? Well, this option can be the right approach to divorce in many different situations. Every divorce will have a different set of facts, but most have the same issues that need to be decided: alimony; child support; child custody; prenuptial agreements; and property division. For some couples, litigating every issue in court is a necessity. However, divorce mediation can be an option for those couples who, while their marriage might be ending, their relationship is not in complete breakdown; they can still talk to each other.

Elderly people weigh the consequences of "gray divorce"

Like most major decisions in life, divorce comes with "pros" and "cons" to consider. For instance, couples with minor children will want to consider how the divorce will affect the lives of their children, particularly when it comes to different child custody arrangements. Or, those who have prenuptial agreements will likely want to consider what their financial situation will be in post-divorce life. Depending on the situation, the factors to weigh in this decision can be daunting.

A recent report noted how elderly people who are weighing the consequences of a so-called "gray divorce" may want to approach this issue. Our readers may have seen news reports about how the rate of divorce for older Americans is on the rise. In fact, the recent report noted that the divorce rates for people over the age of 50 has doubled in the last 28 years. Like all other couples, elderly people will need to think about the impact a divorce will have on their lives, and the lives of others.

The basics about prenuptial agreements

Most of our readers in New Jersey know that prenuptial agreements - or "prenups" - are agreements that couples enter into prior to marriage to come to terms on potential issues if the marriage ends in divorce. Many people probably think, "That's not very romantic." And, just before a wedding, it probably isn't. However, these agreements can be negotiated and signed months prior to a marriage. There are some basics about prenuptial agreements that New Jersey residents should know.

For starters, the main focus of prenuptial agreements is usually money-related. Both assets and debts can be addressed in a prenuptial agreement. And, oftentimes these agreements are negotiated when one person in the couple is significantly better situated than the other. For instance, perhaps one person has wealth that has been passed down through family generations, while the other is saddled with thousands of dollars in student loan debt. In such a situation, a prenup could be negotiated to state that certain assets will not be co-mingled during the marriage or thought of a community property during a divorce, and could also state that each person's debts accrued prior to the marriage will stay separate as well.

What do New Jersey courts consider when determining alimony?

Alimony is a part of many divorce cases throughout the country, but each state has its own rules as to how this financial obligation is awarded, for how long and to which spouse. So, what do New Jersey courts consider when determining alimony in a divorce case?

Well, for starters, it is important to realize that courts will first determine which type of alimony is needed: rehabilitative or permanent. Permanent alimony, obviously, means that any award of alimony will not be terminated without court intervention. However, rehabilitative alimony can be terminated based on certain conditions. Typically, rehabilitative alimony is intended to allow the spouse who is receiving alimony to "get back on their feet" financially.

Texting and divorce

In recent years, the divorce rate in New Jersey has decreased substantially. In fact, the state actually has the third lowest divorce rate in the country as of 2017. 

Although the divorce rate has gone down, one aspect of it that has increased is the prevalence of text messages serving as evidence. Many attorneys have begun to subpoena text messages because they serve as evidence to influence factors such as alimony and child support. 

Matt Lauer's high asset divorce case could be coming to an end

Celebrity divorces always seem to make the news, and there always seem to be a number of them going on at the same time. Right now, one of the most heavily-covered high asset divorces is the one that Matt Lauer is involved in with his wife.

By now, many of our readers in New Jersey know the background of how Lauer's relationship with his wife broke down. Lauer was the subject of allegations of lurid sexually-related conduct at his former workplace, national news network NBC. In November of last year, he was fired based on the allegations. To date, Lauer has not re-entered any type of news-related employment, and has been dealing with his divorce case.

How your life will change going through a high asset divorce

Thousands of divorce cases go through the New Jersey court system every year. However, not all of those cases involve high asset divorces, in which the couple going through the divorce has accumulated quite a bit of assets throughout the course of the marriage. In a high asset divorce, your life will change both during and after the case is over.

Unfortunately, the stakes can seem higher for couples who have valuable assets and who are going through a divorce. There may be more to split up in the property division part of the divorce than just savings accounts and retirement accounts. High asset divorces can involve business interests, stocks and bonds, artwork and multiple properties, just to name a few examples. As you progress through the divorce process, it may become necessary to part ways with assets that you had previously invested your heart and soul into, such as a family business.

The legal requirements to pursue a divorce in New Jersey

For many years the rate of divorces in America was rising. As a result, most people began to think that they could just get a divorce whenever and wherever they wanted. However, in New Jersey, like all other states, there are certain legal requirements that must be met in order for a couple to pursue a divorce filing.

For starters, for individuals to file for divorce in New Jersey, at least one of the two people in the marriage must be a New Jersey resident. After that, if the couple wants to pursue a "no-fault" divorce - meaning that the couple does not need to point to any specific cause for the divorce other than that their differences are irreconcilable, the couple must be separated for a minimum of 18 months prior to filing for divorce.

What can you expect in property division with a divorce?

Going through a divorce can be a trying time for any New Jersey resident. There are a litany of issues to address in the divorce process, including child support and child custody in many cases, as well as alimony. But, for many people, the most important part of the process will be property division.

So, what can New Jersey residents expect in the property division process with a divorce? Well, for starters, it is important to realize that there is more than just property at play in this process. Debt will be divided between the divorcing couple as well. And, since New Jersey is an "equitable division" state when it comes to property and debt division, that doesn't always mean that each spouse will get exactly half of the property or half of the debt.

Considerations for choosing a divorce mediator

Although this blog has discussed under what circumstances divorce mediation can be a good option, an equally important consideration for Marlton, New Jersey, residents is who to choose as a mediator.

While there are plenty of divorce mediators and child custody mediators out there who are legally qualified to help couples resolve a dispute, not all of them are equal in terms of ability and experience. Moreover, some mediators may be better suited for particular types of cases, while other mediators may be more appropriate when the facts of a case are different.

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Marlton, NJ 08053

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