Answering Your Inquiries About Divorce
Q. What is the most common ground for divorce in New Jersey?
A. Most people utilize the cause of action known as irreconcilable differences. This means that the parties have experienced significant differences that are so great and beyond resolution, which have caused the breakdown of the marriage for a period of six months. Further, it is at least one of the parties’ position that the marriage should be dissolved and that there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation. If this cause of action is utilized, there is no need to prove that one party or the other was at fault.
Q. How is child support calculated?
A. Most people have income levels which fall within the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. The Guidelines set forth a methodology for determining support. By utilizing the chart and reading the comments, each party’s obligation for child support can be established. In those cases where the income level exceeds the Guidelines, the court can look to other factors over and above the Guideline amount as set forth in a statute.
Q. Is alimony calculated the same way?
A. No. The criteria used to establish alimony is set forth in N.J. S.A. 2A:34-23b which include such items, among others, as the length of the marriage, the health of the parties, the standard of living established during the marriage, the parties educational background, and the earning capacity of the parties.
Q. If alimony is warranted, how long is alimony payable?
A. It depends on the unique factors of each case. There are various types of alimony including open durational alimony, limited duration alimony, rehabilitative alimony, and reimbursement alimony.
Q. Is all property, both real and personal, equally divided in a divorce?
A. Oftentimes, the circumstances of the marriage result in an equal division of property. However, if property was acquired before marriage, gifted, or obtained as a result of a bequest, it may be exempt from equitable distribution. There are also other situations where the circumstances of the marriage may dictate other than an equal division of assets.
Q. How long does it take to get a divorce?
A. The length of time required to process a divorce is directly related to the ability of the parties to reach an agreement. If the parties have reached an agreement prior to filing the Complaint, the divorce can be accomplished within a matter of a few months. If the parties cannot agree, and the case goes to trial, depending on the county in which the case is venued, the case may not reach trial for up to a year.
Q. How much does a divorce cost?
A. There is no set amount to process a contested divorce case. Most experienced divorce attorneys have a retainer and are paid an hourly rate based on their skill level and experience. It is often worthwhile to interview prospective counsel because you need to be sure that there is a good attorney-client relationship.