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Florham Park New Jersey Family Law Blog

Dealing with child support obligations after a job loss

A job loss is one of the most stressful events that people can experience. Often, people lose their jobs through no fault of their own. It can be devastating nonetheless -- emotionally and financially.

Unless you're getting a generous severance package, you're going to start feeling that financial pain almost immediately. If you're paying child and/or spousal support, it's essential to take some action right away so that you aren't in violation of the support agreement or court order.

Negotiating your parenting plan as a recovering alcoholic

If you're a divorcing parent who has struggled with substance abuse, you're not alone. It's one of the most common reasons that people divorce.

If you and your spouse are in the process of drafting a parenting plan, it's essential to remember that even if you've gotten sober, your spouse (and maybe your children) may not fully trust your ability to be a good parent. Your co-parent may want to take certain precautions, like requiring you to use an alcohol monitoring system if drinking has been the problem.

What to consider before going to court

When New Jersey couples decide to end their marriage and seek a divorce, there are different paths they might take. While each divorce case is unique, in the end, couples will either reach a settlement during the process or end up going to trial.

Deciding to go to trial to finalize a divorce involves several factors that must be considered. First, there is the consideration of time since a process involving a trial can last months longer than a divorce that ends with a settlement reached by both parties. Money is another concern as going to court involves additional fees for court appearances, filing costs and lawyer costs. Each court appearance, for example, will mean spending additional time with lawyers, and this time will incur a cost. Settling a divorce in court can also have a psychological cost because it can create added stress during an already tense period. Going to court often means having to meet with the lawyers at a moment's notice when preparing for appearances, taking time off work to attend those appearances and leaving the results up to the court, therefore losing even more control over the outcome.

Achieving peace of mind during a stressful and emotional time

Going through the end of a marriage can be an emotional process and the outcome of the situation could have a lingering impact on your life. If you face a similar life change, there could be a variety of issues for you to address and a multitude of difficult choices to make concerning your future.

As you navigate your way through the stressful waters of dissolving a marriage, you may begin to have concerns about how the process could affect your mental well-being. Although finding ways to promote a more peaceful mindset could help protect this aspect of your life, it might not always be such an easy task.

Continuous disputes between spouses can be harmful in a divorce

For New Jersey couples who are getting a divorce, there is often acrimony. Lingering issues between the spouses can make the process more difficult than it needs to be. Despite the temptation to make negative comments to and about the spouse during divorce, there are several reasons why this should be avoided.

Although making pointed statements might feel like an emotional release, there are benefits to not doing so. The end of a marriage is inherently stressful. These stressors can be reduced if the parties are agreeable to negotiation. Having courtesy, respect and understanding can be a solid foundation to a successful resolution. Property division can be contentious, and starting fights at inopportune times such as when the other person is at work will worsen tensions. Any public squabble will complicate the case and could also be used in court proceedings.

Study looks at claims of parental alienation, abuse

Some New Jersey parents may be familiar with the term "parental alienation". First described by a child psychiatrist in the 1980s, it originally referred to what he saw as a rash of false claims by divorced mothers that the father of their children was sexually abusing them. In his view, many of these mothers were attempting to alienate their children from their fathers. While the claim appears now in gender-neutral contexts, some experts say there is no science behind it and that it can lead to children being placed with abusive parents in custody battles.

Both a former director of the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges have spoken out against the concept. A Department of Justice-funded study conducted by a law school professor found that when parental alienation is used in court, fathers are generally favored over mothers. The study examined court opinions between 2005 and 2014 and looked at more than 4,300 child custody cases.

How to co-parent successfully after divorce

In most situations, parents in New Jersey who get a divorce must also work out a plan for co-parenting. Co-parenting can be one of the most difficult parts of a divorce, but it is important to children's well-being.

Communication can be difficult for parents after a divorce, but they should not use their children as go-betweens for messages. They need to work out a way that they can communicate during a divorce even if it is by email or text. There are online tools that can help. Divorced parents might also want to consider family therapy or a co-parenting class.

Should you get a postnuptial agreement?

When people marry, they may decide against signing a prenuptial agreement. Some think that it's unromantic, or pessimistic to think about divorce before the wedding happens. After they walk down the aisle, they may see things a bit differently but worry that there is no way to make a change. 

However, New Jersey couples may decide that a postnuptial agreement is right for them. A postnup essentially accomplishes the same thing as a prenup. It outlines how a couple will divide their assets if they divorce, but it is signed after two people marry. If you are wondering if you should have one, here are some common reasons people sign a postnup.

How married individuals can avoid future money regrets

New Jersey residents who have gone through a divorce can attest to the fact that emotions and expenses run high during the divorce process. However, individuals and their bank accounts can eventually bounce back. A study done by Fidelity Investments shows that it usually takes about five years to recover financially after a divorce.

The same study revealed some of the biggest financial regrets that people have after a divorce. Eighty percent of respondents said that they regretted not being more involved in their daily finances when they were married. These individuals took a longer time than others to recover financially after divorce. Another regret was not being involved in long-term planning and retirement investing.

Research shows an increase in divorce filings in January

For most New Jersey couples, there is no specific time at which they decide to get a divorce. Family law issues are complex, and the end of a marriage will generally happen when the spouses have determined they can no longer make the marriage work. Still, there is statistical evidence indicating there are certain times of year when divorce is more prevalent. January is one of those times.

Because so many people seem to file for divorce after the holiday season has ended and the new year is underway, January is called "Divorce Month" by many legal professionals. This stems from an uptick in business for family law attorneys and a variety of research studies. Social media searches bear this out.

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