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New Jersey Family Law Blog

Finances and divorcing women

New Jersey women who are thinking about getting a divorce should be aware that one aspect of their lives likely to be negatively impacted is their finances. Forty-six percent of the divorced women who participated in a survey reported experiencing financial surprises as a result of their marriage coming to an end.

The survey questioned 1,785 women regarding divorce and finances. The respondents included those for whom divorce was on the horizon, women in the middle of the divorce process and women who were already divorced. Twenty-two percent of the women surveyed were 55 years old or older, and the majority of these women were already divorced.

A responsible conversation: The prenuptial agreement

Upon marriage, no couple believes their romance will end in divorce. Beginning the conversation of signing prenuptial agreements may prove uncomfortable, but the document itself saves many couples from lost assets and confusion in the event of a divorce.

Negative connotations surround signing a prenuptial agreement because some believe it implies a divorce inclination before marriage. Yet a prenuptial agreement may suggest independence and responsibility over individual assets. As long as couples discuss the arrangement as a positive element of marriage preparation, their lives begin on the same financial page.

Solving money problems that can lead to marital breakdowns

It is an unfortunate fact that many people in New Jersey will end up divorcing. One of the biggest reasons why marriages fail is money problems. There are several different money issues that may lead to divorce as well as ways that people can solve them.

One common problem that can lead to marriages breaking down is poor communication about finances. Couples may be able to avoid this problem by scheduling regular discussions with each other about their finances. The discussions should be honest and include shared financial goals. Another problem that can contribute to divorce is not having any savings. People who do not have a cushion saved up may be unable to weather difficult times such as job loss or medical emergencies. People can solve this problem by transferring a small percentage of income from every paycheck into a savings account until they have a reserve of three to six months of income.

Tips for creating an effective parenting plan

Parents know their children's schedules better than anyone else. When a New Jersey couple splits up, however, the most effective way for children to maintain a relationship with both parents is by following a visitation plan. In divorce, this plan could be presented to the court and become a part of the divorce decree. Making significant changes to it might require returning to court. There are some things parents should consider when setting up a schedule for their children after one parent moves out of the family home.

Both parents should consider how the schedule they create might affect their children. Instead of making a plan that's convenient for the adults, parents should put themselves in the child's shoes. To create a schedule that's in the best interests of the child, both parents may need to make some sacrifices. As the child grows, parents should be flexible. It may be much easier to schedule parenting time for a toddler than an active preteen.

How tax law changes can affect divorce

When people in New Jersey decide to divorce, there are a range of financial considerations to keep in mind. Tax law changes could significantly impact when people decide to finalize the end of their marriage. Individuals concerned about these changes may find it advantageous to finalize their divorce in 2018 before the new tax rules begin with the new year on January 1, 2019.

Perhaps the most well-known change to tax laws that impacts divorce concerns alimony and spousal support, especially for wealthy couples in a higher tax bracket. At present, spousal support payments are tax-deductible for the paying spouse, often allowing them a tax savings of up to 50 percent of the total cost of their support payments. In addition, the recipient spouse pays taxes on the income in their own, generally lower, tax bracket. This enables the payments to be directed toward an IRA for retirement.

Parental Alienation: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's Custody Battle

Celebrities Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie appeared in the news last week as their child custody battle continues. The newest development in their court case is a court order stating that Angelina is in danger of losing custody if the children's relationship with Brad does not improve. Based on the children's deteriorating relationship with their father, it appears that Angelina may be taking part in behavior known as parental alienation.

Myths surrounding non-custodial parents

In some cases, New Jersey residents who are non-custodial parents may be looked down upon due to a number of myths surrounding separated or divorced parents. However, many of these myths are false as non-custodial parents can still share legal custody, have extensive visitation rights and provide financial support for their children. The myths can be devastating for non-custodial parents who are actively working to remain in their children's lives.

One of the main myths often heard is that all non-custodial parents are deadbeats. While there certainly are parents who do not pay the child support that they owe, there are many other non-custodial parents who make it their priority to ensure that their children have everything they need. Furthermore, many non-custodial parents still remain active in their children's day-to-day lives.

I'm getting divorced... so what does this mean in terms of finances?

Many married couples settle into a regular routine. One spouse will pay the bills and the other will take care of other items on the "to do" list. The result of this arrangement is that, more often than not, one spouse is more familiar with the marital finances and assets than the other spouse. Marital bliss renders this a non-issue and the arrangement is fine ... until things are no longer blissful.

What happens to child support when situations change?

New Jersey parents who pay or receive child support might, over the years, find that the amount of child support paid or received needs to change. The circumstances that lead to this include the children's changing needs, medical issues or income changes due to unemployment or a change in employment.

Struggling over child support payments is a common issue as only 45.3 percent of the 7,256,000 custodial parents who were granted child support received the full amount awarded. For parents who pay child support, the change in circumstances might result in not paying the full amount and then owing back pay. However, there are legal steps that parents can take to request a change in amount.

The impact child support has on public aid

When a couple with children divorces, it can be difficult for the lower-income parent to make ends meet. Child support is used as a means of assistance in this situation. A parent can petition for support directly from the other parent, or they may go on public assistance and the New Jersey government will do everything in its power to collect from the payer. The government does this to ensure the child has what they need without putting undue burden on taxpayers.

Public assistance for divorced parents provides money for things like daycare, food stamps and housing. In some cases, the parent who must pay child support is the one seeking assistance. Because aid is based on income, it can be difficult for some parents to quality, but it's not impossible. A wide range of financial circumstances are taken into account when making these legal decisions.

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