New Jersey Divorce Attorneys
From distressed to de-stressed
Planning for your future
while taking the headache
out of divorce
Wondering what’s going to happen to your house, your finances, everything you’ve worked hard for, and if your kids will be ok can be overwhelming.
We’re here to tell you that while divorce is undeniably hard, it doesn’t have to be a stressful, drawn-out legal battle. We focus on strategy and goal-oriented legal advice, so you can move on and be in the best place for you and your family.
At Jacobs Berger, LLC, our goal is to
minimize your stress.
Let us help you move toward the good things that lie ahead.
When it comes to divorce in New Jersey, there are a few things you should know about.
While there may be one spouse who doesn’t feel ready for the marriage to end, the merit of no-fault divorce lies in how it doesn’t require a trial (although that still may be the direction the divorce takes) based on the reason one or both parties are seeking a divorce.
Not drawing out the divorce process often helps it reach completion on more amicable terms. This benefits both spouses’ mental health, as well as making the experience less fraught for children. Since court divorce proceedings are generally a matter of public record, it also grants a greater level of privacy.
Perhaps the most important thing to understand is that a divorce can start out “contested” and later become “uncontested.” The terms refer to whether the spouses agree to final terms for their divorce settlement or if court involvement is needed for resolution.
Working with a family law practice to come to an agreement is almost always more private, amicable, and can often be less expensive than going to court. Yet for any number of reasons, an uncontested divorce isn’t always possible.
We take pride in offering dynamic and personalized legal solutions, whether your divorce is contested or uncontested.
Our divorce lawyers have extensive experience securing fair and constructive divorce agreements for clients and families across New Jersey.
Divorce affects a person’s financial and familial future. As such, we highly recommend talking with a divorce attorney if you receive a divorce complaint.
It’s also worth noting that a divorce process can begin as “contested” and then become “uncontested.” So even if you receive a divorce complaint, it’s still possible for you and your spouse to make decisions about finances and children through mediation or negotiation between your lawyers, rather than a judge in court.
If the spouses can’t agree on how to resolve one or more issues, a divorce will continue to be contested. In these situations, a judge makes final decisions that both parties must adhere to.
Order Modification & Enforcement
Any of the following situations may create a need to modify a divorce order:
- Loss of employment
- Gaining employment, a promotion, or a raise
- Remarriage or cohabitation
- A parent or child suffering from an illness or disability after the initial divorce agreement
- A geographical move that would change the child custody arrangements
- Loss of a home
- A change in a child’s needs
- A change in a parent’s situation
- Cost of living changes
- Changes to federal income tax law
While it may be unforeseeable at the time of divorce, life brings change. There are two ways to pursue a divorce order modification.
Additionally, former spouses may sometimes hinder or ignore the details of a divorce settlement agreement. Child support, custody, and alimony payments are all areas where emotions can run high, causing unexpected behavior.
If your former spouse isn’t following the divorce settlement, a New Jersey divorce attorney can help you file an application for enforcement with the court. New Jersey courts and government institutions have a broad variety of authorities and discretions to ensure both parties comply with the divorce order.
Dissolution of Civil Unions
Originally, civil unions were developed to give LGBTQ couples a legal relationship status akin to marriage. In 2013, LGBTQ marriage became legal in New Jersey, and in 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized LGBTQ marriage throughout the United States. Preexisting civil unions weren’t automatically converted into marriages. This means that if you have a civil union and want to dissolve your legal relationship, you must file for a dissolution, not a divorce.
In New Jersey, the dissolution of a civil union involves the same legal processes as getting a divorce. Settlement agreements address child support, custody, the division of debt and assets, and spousal support.
Because New Jersey didn’t create legislation for civil unions before 2007, there are many instances where couples cohabited and shared household responsibilities for years prior to becoming married under state law.
Although separation isn’t a requirement for divorce, for some couples, it’s a preferred step.
Reasons to appeal a divorce judgement can include:
- Improper rulings
- Failure to adhere to legal standards
- Other irregularities
The appeals process is heavily involved and legally complex, and we take pride in keeping up-to-date with New Jersey regulations and statutes to provide the highest level of legal service.
Our divorce attorneys in Morris County, NJ are dedicated to providing dynamic and personalized legal solutions.
It can be exhausting and time-consuming—and a lot easier to navigate with legal advice. One important document that is a keystone of the prejudgment process is the Case Information Statement (CIS). A CIS gathers information about your income, expenses, all assets, and debts. It creates a picture of your current financial situation, as well as how you’ve been spending money for the last several years.
Having a clear understanding of your marital lifestyle, as well as which assets are shared, is a fundamental part of the divorce process. While it may be tempting to under or over-value this information, being dishonest will result in penalties down the line. A CIS looks at everything, including household expenses, such as groceries, for the last several years. Preparing this important document can be one of the reasons why it’s helpful to have guidance from a divorce attorney during the process.
At Jacobs Berger, LLC, our attentive and knowledgeable divorce attorneys are prepared to help you with prejudgment issues, including:
- Temporary spousal support
- Temporary child support
- Temporary child custody
- Allocating payment responsibilities for various family expenses and liabilities
- Preserving marital assets
- Compelling compliance with discovery and procedure processes
- The evaluation of assets
This means that rights typically addressed during a divorce, such as child support or alimony, aren’t considered in an annulment. Instead, if parents are granted an annulment, any subsequent child custody hearings would proceed as if they’re unmarried parents, not divorced parents.
Many of our clients seek annulments for personal or religious reasons. Marriages may be annulled in the following situations:
- Bigamy: if one party was already married
- Incest: spouses are too closely related
- Underage participants: one or both parties were married while underage (18 in New Jersey, or 16 with parental consent)
- Fraudulent or deceitful circumstances led to the marriage
- Sexual issues, including impotence or infertility
- The marriage took place under coercion
- Lack of legal consent: mental disability, intoxication, or other reasons at time of marriage
Frequently Asked Questions
Experience has shown us that every relationship—and every divorce—is different. During the prejudgment phase of a divorce, which refers to everything up until the divorce is finalized, several key issues need to be resolved, including:
- Child custody, which refers to both legal and physical custody.
- Parenting time, including visitation. New Jersey courts believe it’s critical to the development of a child to have a relationship with both parents, so expect visitation time to be granted to a non-custodial parent in almost every case.
- Child support. New Jersey has a very defined method for calculating payments.
- Spousal support and alimony, including during the divorce process.
- Division of marital assets and debt, including a family home, family business, real estate, retirement, investments, credit card debt, and more. New Jersey’s equitable distribution laws mean that division needs to be fair, but not necessarily equal.
All of the above elements can add to the complexity of a prejudgment process. Our divorce attorneys aim to resolve these matters with open communication and cooperation between spouses. Yet we also recognize this isn’t always possible.
When a situation calls for more aggressive litigation, we do so in an intelligent and thoughtful manner. We identify the issues you’re most concerned about, then put together an effective plan for negotiation which takes your specific needs into account.
Going through a court trial where a judge makes decisions for the couple doesn’t make sense for all divorcing spouses.
Instead, many people prefer to seek an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) method known as mediation.
In mediation, a specially-trained and neutral third party guides the couple through resolving all matters of their divorce, which can include but aren’t limited to the division of debt and assets, alimony, child support, and custody of children. The benefits of this process over a ruling from a judge are that the couple can, within reason, decide for themselves how they would like to proceed.
Mediation can be more private, amicable, and less expensive than a court divorce.
Contact an Experienced Attorney Today!
Because we know that divorce can be stressful, we set up our processes to minimize the impact for our clients.
Move from distressed to de-stressed—contact us to schedule a strategic planning session today