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Florham Park New Jersey Family Law Blog

What is split custody and when should you consider it?

It's not common, but some parents choose a "split custody" arrangement when they divorce. This is when each parent has sole physical custody of one or more of their children. Sometimes, divorced parents will switch an existing child custody arrangement to split custody because circumstances have changed that they believe warrant it.

The primary reason why most courts (and parents) don't favor split custody is that it's typically best for siblings not to be separated from one another. Parental divorce is hard enough without losing everyday contact with your brothers and sisters.

What happens when a parent who pays support becomes disabled?

Everyone, no matter how young and healthy they are, is just one accident or illness away from becoming too disabled to work for at least some period of time. If your co-parent on whom you rely for child support becomes disabled, what happens to you and your children?

If your co-parent no longer has their regular paycheck coming in because they've suffered a disabling injury or illness, they need to notify the court if it's going to impact their child support payments. Don't just work out an agreement with your co-parent on your own. If that support is court-ordered, they need to go through the proper channels. You should immediately notify your attorney as well.

Keeping financial challenges at bay at the end of a marriage

It may come as no surprise that going through the end of a marriage can be a stressful and intimidating process. If you and your spouse decide to part ways, you might be wondering how the outcome of your divorce will affect your life and what steps you can take to protect your future.

While the emotional sting of a similar life change may ease with time, the possible financial repercussions of divorce could have a lingering impact. As such, finding ways to keep monetary hardships at bay could be vital to safeguarding your future as you prepare to open a new chapter in life.

Why business owners need a prenup

The best way to ensure that your spouse doesn't end up with a financial interest or decision-making power in your business if the two of you divorce is to deal with it in a prenuptial agreement before you get married.

Whether you already own a business when you tie the knot or are still in the planning or even dreaming stage, you can stipulate that it is to be considered your property and not marital property. If you don't, a spouse who did nothing to build the business and has no interest in it could end up with part ownership of the business and the right to move it in a direction you don't intend.

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.

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