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Marlton Family Law Blog

Our firm has decades of experience handling alimony disputes

As we recently discussed on the blog, there are many types of alimony that can be awarded during the course of divorce. Depending on your circumstances, you may choose to aggressively seek a particular type of alimony that best meets your financial needs. On the other hand, you may be concerned about the financial obligation thrust upon you in the event that your soon-to-be ex-spouse is awarded alimony. Both positions are understandable. In many instances couples are able to negotiate a resolution that is fair to both parties, but sometimes they aren't. Regardless of how the matter ends up resolving, it is important that you consider having a strong legal ally on your side to help you advocate for your best interests.

Many people who are going through divorce want to simply rush through it so that they can move on with their lives. This tactic can lead an individual down the path of least resistance, which usually works against them and what they want out of marriage dissolution. A skilled attorney can help fight these battles for you, whether at the negotiation table or in the courtroom.

Some common contributors to divorce

Although some reports indicate that the divorce rate is declining, it still feels like divorce is more prevalent than ever. In fact, statistics show that nearly half of all marriages end in divorce. The average length of a marriage prior to divorce is seven years, which has held steady over the last several decades. Those who choose to dissolve their marriages have to confront challenging legal issues, including property division, child custody, and alimony. Before getting to that point, though, it may be helpful to understand why divorce occurs in the first place, as this can give a divorcing individual perspective and insight into the process and how best to approach.

There are some common themes when you look at the reasons behind divorce filings. Money issues, for example, can play a big role in marriage dissolution. Oftentimes one party to a marriage feels like the other is acting irresponsibly with marital funds, whether due to overspending or poor investing. In other situations, one party to a marriage may become resentful of the other party because he or she feels like the other party is not adequately contributing to the family's financial well-being.

Tips to deal with the emotional aspects of divorce

Divorce can take a toll on just about every aspect of your life. Financially, of course, one's marriage dissolution will probably leave them with less income and fewer assets with which to build a new life. Yet, most New Jersey residents who seek out marriage dissolution do so because their happiness is more important than money. But for others, the emotional toll caused by divorce is significant. It is common for individuals to feel a variety of emotions throughout the process, including anger, sadness, confusion, and frustration.

As trying as these emotional upheavals can be, there are steps that people can take to help provide a sense of stability. To start, individuals going through a divorce can allow themselves to feel the way they feel without guilt or shame. It's okay to be upset or sad, or both at the same time. However, one also needs to find a way to take care of them, both physically and emotionally. This may mean avoiding power struggles with the spouse, taking time to explore the things you love in life, and establishing routines filled with positivity.

There are multiple types of alimony in New Jersey

There are a number of divorce legal issues that can reshape your post-divorce life. Child custody, of course, is a big one, but no other legal issues may affect your financial health more than alimony. Those who are successfully able to seek alimony, the payments they receive from their former spouse, can use them maintain a certain standard of living by securing a new residence and items of personal property, and it can assist them as they train to enter the workforce. Those who are required to pay alimony, on the other hand, can see their financial stability rocked. This is why it is critical for all parties involved to understand the legalities that are applicable to alimony and how to utilize them to their advantage.

While most people who are dealing with alimony are concerned about the monthly payment amount, these individuals should not overlook the term of those payments. Under New Jersey law, alimony may be effectuated in a number of ways. Rehabilitative alimony, for example, is meant to last only as long as it takes for a receiving party to take the steps necessary to achieve an appropriate earning capacity.

Mediation may help your divorce go smoother

When two people decide to end a marriage, it may begin a long and arduous process to separate everything. During the divorce process, tension and emotions may run high, making every decision that much more difficult to get through.

New Jersey couples who go through the divorce process may want to avoid court by engaging in mediation. This alternative to court can not only help couples reach an agreement on the terms and conditions of their divorce, but it may do so with less fighting and distress. Consider some of the benefits of this route versus divorce court.

Things to consider before engaging in property division

There's no doubt that the property division process can shape your post-divorce life. Depending on the outcome of the process, you can be left feeling like you got a fair shake out of your marriage dissolution or you end up feeling cheated. There are many things you can do to better ensure that you achieve an equitable distribution of marital assets, though, which we'll touch on briefly here.

To start, it is often beneficial to develop a post-divorce budget. Many people find it tough to transition from a two-income household to a single income household, especially because many expenses, such as utilities, won't be split. Also, many newly divorced people find that they have immediate needs, such as a new vehicle or a security deposit or down payment on a home, which can quickly eat into any savings. By starting with this budget, an individual can better assess where he or she needs to be after the property division process is completed.

What brutal divorce tactics should you watch out for?

It may be a sad reality, but divorce often brings out the worst in people. Those who have been emotionally or financially hurt can lash out, making resolution of important marriage dissolution issues seemingly impossible. This can make the divorce process longer and costlier than it needs to be. This isn't to say that legal matters that can't be agreed to shouldn't be aggressively litigated, but our New Jersey readers may want to be aware of some particularly brutal divorce tactics and how to protect themselves from them.

There are a number of underhanded ways that a soon-to-be ex-spouse can seek to derail an individual's finances and day-to-day life. One common tactic is to drain jointly held bank accounts. This can leave individuals scrambling to find a way to make ends meet, which can be challenging as they struggle to find a way through the property division process. Another strategy that some use is to rack up astounding amounts of debt on joint credit cards, then seek an agreement from the other party whereby they acquiesce to taking on current debt without knowing about the recent charges.

Property division and the family home

Many New Jersey families build a lifetime of memories in their familial home. This can make it difficult to part ways with the residence when a divorce occurs, especially when children are involved because one or both parents may be concerned about how a move will affect the children's well-being. Therefore, oftentimes, the parties to a divorce will fight over who will keep the home, usually due to their sentimental ties to it. But does it always make sense to fight for the family residence during the property division process? Maybe not.

The obvious reason is costs. Since property division in New Jersey focuses on dividing assets in an equitable, or fair, way, one party to the divorce typically must buy the other one out in order to keep the family home. This can be an expensive proposition, even if other assets are foregone. Even if an individual can come up with the money, they need to consider ongoing costs associated with their current home. Maintenance and repairs, as well as taxes, can be difficult when being paid from one income, especially when an individual is used to having a second income to help cover those costs.

Child custody and the character and fitness evaluation

While the financial ramifications of divorce can be significant, many New Jersey couples find themselves more concerned about something more important: their children. After all, the outcome of a child custody dispute can lay the framework for an individual's relationship with his or her child post-divorce. When a divorce is contentious, this could mean that one's ability to even visit with his or her child may be threatened. This is why it is usually of critical importance that New Jersey residents who are facing child custody disputes consider seeking legal guidance.

One tactic a divorce attorney may recommend in these cases is an evaluation of each parent's ability to adequately care for the children in question. A court may order these evaluations as part of an investigation into parental fitness following failed attempts at mediation. The investigation may include an assessment of each parent's character, financial stability, ability to pay alimony and child support, and home environment. Each parent's criminal record may be checked, and the relationship between the children and any individuals who are residing in each parent's household will be considered.

Separate bank accounts don't always avoid property division

Marriage isn't a one-size fits all arrangement. These relationships can take various forms, and what works for one Marlton couple may not work for another. That is why the relational expectations and the way finances are handled may differ significantly between baby boomer and millennial couples. One study highlights those differences. It found that many millennial couples are ditching jointly held bank accounts in favor of individual accounts.

The statistics may be surprising to some. The study found that 28% of millennials are choosing to forego joint bank accounts, which is twice as many as those in generation X and the baby boomer generation. There might be a number of reasons for this shift in marital finances. To begin, thank to technology millennials have numerous options available to them for easy money transfers. This makes splitting bills much easier. Perhaps another factor playing into this shift is the fact that many millennials saw how challenging it could be to divide joint accounts when their parents divorced. Therefore, they may see separate accounts as an easier way to protect their financial interests in the event that divorce occurs.

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Weinberg, Kaplan & Smith, P.A.
8000 Sagemore Drive, Suite 8301
Marlton, NJ 08053

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Phone: 856-375-1586
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