Family Law FAQ
What Are The Legal Grounds For Divorce?
There are eight grounds for divorce in New Jersey. The most popular path is “no-fault” — based on irreconcilable differences or separation. You can also file for divorce based on fault. Fault-based grounds include adultery, cruelty, desertion, addiction to drugs or alcohol, imprisonment, institutionalization for mental illness and sexual misconduct.
How Is Property Divided During Divorce?
In New Jersey, property is divided based on the principle of “equitable division.” This does not mean property is divided equally, it means it is divided based on what is “fair.” The courts look at a long list of factors when making this determination. However, it is important to note that only marital property will be divided. If you owned property before you got married, or received gifts or inheritances while you were married, that property may be safe from division.
Am I Entitled To Alimony, Or Will I Have To Pay Alimony?
Alimony is not always awarded during divorce. Courts look at each spouse’s finances, earning ability, job history and contributions to the marriage when deciding whether alimony will be given. Even where alimony is awarded, it is often limited in duration.
How Long Will My Divorce Take?
The time it takes to complete the divorce process is different for everyone. It depends on how complex your divorce is and how easily you and your spouse agree on issues. If minor children are involved and custody is disputed, or if you have complex properties — like a business — that need to be divided, the process will be longer.
What Types Of Custody Arrangements Are Available?
There are two types of custody in New Jersey: legal and physical.
Legal custody concerns your decision-making powers as a parent surrounding your children’s health, education and general welfare.
Physical custody concerns where your children live and how much time you spend with them. Physical custody arrangements take many different forms, including everything from one parent having sole physical custody to parents sharing time equally and everything in between.
I Am An Unmarried Father, Do I Have Any Rights?
Yes, you have the same rights as married fathers. However, you will need to legally establish paternity before you can enforce these rights.
Can I Change My Existing Custody Or Child Support Order?
You can modify existing custody arrangements and child support orders when there is a significant change in circumstances. For example, if you lost your job, you can petition for a reduction in child support. Or, if your child has started spending most nights at your home, you can ask for a change in custody.
Do I Need An Attorney?
You are not required to have a lawyer during family law disputes. However, the decisions a judge makes are legal orders. If you do not agree with the outcome, you are still legally bound to follow them. When important things like your finances and your children are at stake, it is in your best interests to work with an experienced attorney who knows the law and can make sure your interests are protected.
How Do I Get Started?
Located in Bergen County, we handle family law cases throughout Northern New Jersey.