Answers To Questions About Divorce In New Jersey
Divorce can be confusing, and you may be struggling to make sense of it. At Perez Family Law, I receive many questions from clients regarding every aspect of divorce and family law. I use my 15 years of family law experience to guide clients and answer those questions. Some examples of common questions I receive regarding divorce include:
Do we have to go to court for our divorce?
Many couples are able to negotiate their own settlement agreement and avoid a lengthy trial. Using mediation can often help couples overcome points of disagreement. If you cannot agree on certain issues, however, the judge will have to decide for you.
How is child support calculated?
State law provides the judge with guidelines to use in order to calculate child support. The judge does have some leeway, however, in how to apply those guidelines. Both parents have a responsibility to provide for their child financially, so the parent who does not have primary physical custody often pays child support.
Who will get the house?
Many couples come to an agreement regarding keeping the house or selling. If you wish to keep the house and your spouse does not want it, you can either buy out their interest or trade your interest in other marital property. If neither of you wants the house, you can sell it and add the money to your pool of marital property to be divided. If you cannot agree, the court will decide based on a number of factors, including the ability of each party to pay the mortgage and whether one party has custody of the children.
How is custody decided in New Jersey?
If you and your spouse cannot agree on a custody plan, the court will create one based on your child’s best interests. New Jersey law provides many factors for the court to consider, such as the child’s relationship with each parent, the mental and physical health of the parents and child and whether either parent poses any safety risks to the child. In most cases, the court will encourage a strong relationship with both parents and at least award visitation to a noncustodial parent.
Can I modify my custody agreement to relocate for a new job?
Relocation is a good reason to request that the court modify your custody agreement. If you and your co-parent can agree on a new plan, the court will likely approve it. If your co-parent disagrees with your plan, however, you will probably have to prove to the court that the changes are in your child’s best interest.
Will I have to split my retirement account?
Retirement accounts and pensions are nearly always considered marital property. That makes it likely you could have to divide your account. You may be able to offset your interest in other marital property in order to keep your retirement account intact, however. Many couples are able to create their own settlement agreements regarding property division. Otherwise, the court will decide the best method to divide your property.
What is a QDRO?
QDRO stands for a qualified domestic relations order. If you need to divide certain retirement accounts, such as your 401(k), you will need this special court order to direct your plan provider to pay the money out to someone other than you as the participant. You must request the order after you receive your divorce decree.
Will I receive alimony?
Alimony, also known as spousal support, is not as common as it used to be. Historically, New Jersey courts granted it when one spouse worked outside of the home and the other spouse cared for the home and children. Courts may still award alimony in these situations or anytime the divorcing couple has a big difference in earning capacity, but often only on a temporary basis. Either spouse can pay or receive alimony.