Florham Park New Jersey Family Law Blog

How to successfully co-parent with a toxic ex-spouse

Parenting after a divorce has its challenges. This is especially the case when one of the co-parents is a narcissist or toxic person. New Jersey residents may be interested in learning some helpful tips that can help them as they try to put their children's best interests first and avoid power struggles with a toxic co-parent.

Focusing on what a person can't change will drive them crazy. When a person looks at what they can control, like the way they respond to difficult situations, they will be able to maintain their composure and stay calm when situations tend to escalate. They must recognize patterns and triggers that cause an ex to go from zero to 90 in the course of a breath. This will help them to steer the conversation in a direction that empowers and protects them and their children.

The complexities of asset division in a divorce

New Jersey couples with complex investments may face some challenges if they get a divorce. These challenges could be even greater if one person has handled the majority of the finances. The other person may be at a disadvantage and should learn what the shared and individual assets are.

People who are concerned about a spouse taking an action with a joint account, such as making a withdrawal, may want to have the account frozen. Whether or not this is the case, individuals may want to consult with legal and financial professionals to be sure they understand their rights and the limitations around dividing and selling assets. For example, there may be capital gains taxes on the sale of some property. Other investments, such as annuities, could penalize investors who leave early.

2019 Professional Lawyer of the Year awarded to Lynn Fontaine Newsome, Esq.

Lynn - Seton Hall Gala Photo.pngNewsome O'Donnell, LLC is proud to announce that Lynn Fontaine Newsome, Esq. on being awarded the 2019 Professional Lawyer of the Year Award by the Essex County Bar Association.

Professionalism Awards are presented to several carefully selected lawyers from bar associations across the state of New Jersey. The award is given to lawyers who demonstrate exemplary conduct, competence, diligence and demeanor.

Making a balanced decision on a strategic divorce

While the idea of a person asking their spouse for a divorce in order to save money may seem awkward, some New Jersey couples are considering doing just that. The so-called "marriage penalty" along with some proposed wealth taxes from presidential candidates are stirring up chatter about how a strategic divorce could help some couples save some money.

A strategic divorce can save a couple money in several ways. First, filing as single individuals may give some couples, especially high earners, some tax breaks. Second, if one spouse is ill and does not qualify for Medicaid, divorcing may be a way that the ill individual can get the coverage needed without the couple exhausting all of their savings. Third, couples may be able to benefit from more federal student aid if they were to divorce and the custodial parent was considered low income.

How might a spouse hide assets?

New Jersey couples are supposed to split their assets equitably or equally in accordance with the law during a divorce. However, some spouses may try to cheat the system by pretending they have fewer assets to give. We at Newsome O'Donnell, LLC, are here today to discuss the signs of asset hiding.

First is to examine your spouse’s behavior. Someone who's hiding assets will usually be a little anxious, jumpy, nervous, or easily agitated, especially when it comes to discussing money and finances. They may act secretive and refuse to show you bank slips or ATM receipts.

Shielding the kids from harm by reducing co-parenting tension

It is no secret that going through the end of a marriage can be a stressful and intimidating experience for everyone involved. Should you and your spouse decide to part ways, you may worry about the impact the process might have on your kids and wish to take every possible measure to safeguard their well-being.

While you and the other parent may agree that meeting the needs of the kids should come first, finding common ground on how to achieve this goal might not always be an easy task. Although it can seem difficult at times, finding ways to limit conflict when co-parenting the kids could prove imperative.

Debt allocation in a divorce

Most people in New Jersey have probably heard virtual horror stories about how someone they knew lost their home, their treasured collection of some product, or another favorite item when they got divorced. It is true that couples must divide their assets and belongings when their marriage comes to an end. However, people should not only focus on the items that have some value, but also on the money that a couple may owe. Debts as well as assets are subject to division in a divorce settlement.

As explained by Clearpoint, a divorcing couple will want to carefully identify what debt is considered shared by both spouses and what debt is considered the sole property and responsibility of one spouse only. This may be determined by the date the debt was incurred. A debt taken on by one person before the couple was married, for example, might be deemed separate property. A joint mortgage used to buy a couple's family home, on the other hand, may be more likely to be deemed marital property.

Will I be financially ruined if I get divorced?

When you and your spouse in New Jersey have discussed the potential for getting a divorce, the topic of money most likely came up in some manner. Talking about money is never easy, especially between spouses who are experiencing significant marital challenges, often brought on or exacerbated by money. If you are worried that a divorce will leave you in financial ruin, you should get the facts about your financial situation today and use that to guide your divorce negotiations and your planning for your post-divorce life. 

USA Today explains that many people do not fully understand just how much it really costs them to live. You should look beyond just your mortgage and utility payments when assessing housing costs, for example. Make sure to calculate in taxes, insurance, maintenance and repairs as well. Health care costs should be tracked by any employment pay deductions, copay costs and general out-of-pocket expenses.

Do you qualify for special-needs adoption assistance?

Adopting a child in New Jersey involves a lot of expenses and fees. Under certain circumstances, however, you can receive assistance when adopting a child with special needs. According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, these are typically older children whose prospects of adoption are otherwise unlikely. If the child qualifies, you can receive a subsidy of up to $2,000 per child to assist with legal fees, etc. 

Eligibility for adoption assistance depends less on you and more on the child you are trying to adopt. A number of different criteria go to determine whether or not the child qualifies, including the following: 

  • Out-of-home placement due to neglect or abuse
  • Diagnosed psychiatric disorder, mental health problem or serious intellectual incapacity
  • Substantial disfigurement
  • Incapacitating physical handicap

How can you recognize passive-aggressive behavior?

If you are the victim of emotional abuse in New Jersey, it can be hard to recognize. An emotional abuser will not become physically violent with you but rather hurt you with words and actions. One particular type of emotional abuse that can often fly under the radar is passive-aggressiveness. Your partner may not display any overt signs of hostility or anger. Rather, he or she will manipulate you covertly, frustrating you by preventing you from achieving your objectives. 

According to Psych Central, mental health professionals recognize a relationship between passive-aggressiveness and personality disorders such as narcissism. The American Psychiatric Association classified it as a personality disorder of its own until the release of the DSM-IV in 1994. It may also stem from substance abuse and/or negative childhood experiences. 

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