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Florham Park New Jersey Family Law Blog

Should you seek a COLA clause in your support orders?

If your spouse has been ordered to pay you spousal and/or child support, the original support order can be modified either temporarily or permanently if circumstances change. Changes that could warrant a modification include things like a change in financial circumstances (either yours or your ex's).

For child support, changes in a child's needs as they get older can require that you seek a modification in the amount of support you receive for them. Spousal support typically ends when the recipient remarries or begins to cohabitate with someone. Of course, spousal support may be ordered with a designated end date to give the recipient time to get back into the workforce at a level where they can support themselves.

Dealing with unsolicited advice during your divorce

There are many reasons to limit the number of people you tell that you are divorcing to only those who really need to know. Outside of close family and friends, that probably includes your boss, your kids' teachers and anyone who spends time in your home, like your housekeeper. Even then, it's often best not to share any more information than necessary.

One reason to limit whom you talk to about your divorce is that everyone will have an opinion. Apart from your attorney, therapist, spiritual counselor and financial advisors, most of these opinions are just that -- someone else's idea of what should be happening or why.

Tips for having the break-up conversation with your spouse

You've made up your mind that you and your spouse need to separate. Maybe you're already separated, and you've decided it's time to begin the divorce process. You know that you'll need to be the one to take this step. Maybe your spouse wants to stay in the marriage more than you, or perhaps you're simply the more decisive of the two of you.

This is probably going to be one of the most difficult discussions either of you will ever have, and you'll both remember it forever. How do you go about having it?

Mediating your way to a better divorce agreement

Divorce is never an easy process, even when the two parties are committed to working together to reach a reasonable agreement. When it is possible to work together toward a final order that allows both parties to have stability and security, it may be worthwhile to think about the benefits of divorce mediation. This is an optimal way for many New Jersey couples to resolve their disputes and finalize their divorce quickly.

The mediation process won't work for everyone, but it could offer you the opportunity to have more control over the terms of your final divorce order. It requires that both parties work through their issues in a reasonable manner. While it does not require that both parties get along or like each other to be effective, it does require that both parties commit to the process.

What if your co-parent is badmouthing you to your kids?

As a separated or divorced parent, you know that you shouldn't criticize your co-parent in front of your children. Your ex likely knows it too. But your kids sometimes mention that their mom or dad said something negative or hurtful about you or your parenting. Maybe the harsh words are coming from a grandparent or someone else on the other side of the family or from one of your ex's friends. What do you do?

It's essential not to get defensive in front of your kids or to respond by in turn criticizing your co-parent. It's typically best not to react. If whatever was said was blatantly untrue and you need to correct the record with your children, do so calmly. This might also be a good time to talk to them about the importance of watching how you speak to and about people.

Including alcohol, drug and tobacco use in your parenting plan

The provisions that you and your co-parent negotiate for your parenting plan should reflect your priorities and concerns when it comes to the well-being of your children. No two parenting plans look alike.

Many parenting plans address is the use of alcohol, drugs and/or tobacco around the children. How you address that will depend on one or both parents' use (or abuse, in some cases) of these substances. Even if only one parent smokes, for example, your provision may state that neither parent will allow the children to be exposed to secondhand smoke in the home or car. This would also apply to any third parties that the children might be around when they're with a parent.

Things to consider when divorcing with a baby on the way

Maybe you'd already begun divorce proceedings when you found out there was a baby on the way. Perhaps you and your spouse knew you were going to be parents, but you also knew that you couldn't remain married. Whatever the situation, divorcing while one of the spouses is pregnant can be a highly emotional experience.

It also presents some unique legal considerations. Let's look at some key things you need to decide. (Note: We're assuming here there's no question of paternity. If that's not the case, there are other considerations that you'll need to discuss with your attorney.)

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.

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