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Financial Issues & Support

Among the considerations when working toward a settlement – or addressing issues post-divorce – are financial matters.

ALIMONY AND SPOUSAL SUPPORT

In New Jersey, a spouse may be entitled to ongoing financial assistance from his/her former spouse during the divorce process or litigation and/or after the divorce. This monetary support can be requested by either spouse. The court may require one spouse to make temporary payments to the other while the divorce is pending. This is called pendente lite spousal support. After the divorce, alimony may be paid for a limited time or indefinitely.  There are four types of alimony in New Jersey:  indefinite, rehabilitative, limited duration, and reimbursement. Whether support is awarded depends upon factors that are found in the alimony statute. Which type of alimony, if any, might be appropriate in your case will depend upon many facts and factors that will have to be determined, weighed and analyzed before an opinion on alimony can be rendered by any attorney. (Contrary to common belief, there is no formula for alimony.)

 

Alimony may be modified at any time based on a substantial change in circumstances of either party.  Retirement, at or after attaining full Social Security retirement age is generally considered a change in circumstances which requires a review and possibly modification or termination of alimony. Other substantial changes such as involuntary loss of employment, becoming disabled and unable to work, and others may also be the basis for modification or termination of alimony. If you require more information about alimony, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced divorce and family law attorneys.

CHILD SUPPORT

In New Jersey, BOTH parents have a legal obligation to financially support their children. Depending on the custody agreement, one parent is typically required to pay child support on a regular basis to the other until the child or children are emancipated.  Child support  may continue beyond the age of 18 and high school graduation if the child is a full-time college student, enrolled full-time in trade/vocational school,  or there is some other reason why the child is not emancipated. The amount of child support varies, depending on the parent’s income and the needs of the dependent children. Child support is generally determined by the Child Support Guidelines which have been promulgated by the Supreme Court of New Jersey If the  parents’ joint NET income exceeds $3,600.00 per week child support is determined based upon factors found in the child support statute. Child support is paid either directly to the receiving parent or through the New Jersey Family Support Payment Center (enforced by the local Probation office) and often by income withholding (wage execution). For more information about child support, contact our office.

DIVISION OF MARITAL PROPERTY AND DEBT (EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION)

The distribution of marital assets and allocation of marital debt between the parties in New Jersey is called “equitable distribution.” The meaning of this term is generally what is considered fair under all of the circumstances. Equitable distribution of assets is determined by a review of  factor found in the equitable distribution statute (N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23.1). Although the law does not automatically require a 50/50 distribution of assets and allocation of debt, the practical application of the statute by the courts tends to be 50/50. Generally, assets acquired prior to a marriage which have remained the separate property of one spouse are considered exempt from equitable distribution, as are inheritances and gifts which remained separate property. Assets subject to equitable distribution generally include the marital home, other real property, vehicles, bank accounts, savings/investment accounts, retirement accounts and pensions, personal property (motor vehicles, furniture, electronics, appliances, jewelry, virtually everything in a home), and businesses.

 

Debts or liabilities subject to equitable distribution are typically mortgages, car loans, credit card debt, student loans, and other personal loans which were incurred during the marriage.

 

It is important to note that marital fault (e.g., adultery, extreme cruelty, etc.) has no effect upon distribution of property or debt, although can be considered in allocated marital debt, if it can be proven the debt was incurred for the purpose of furthering the marital fault or activities outside of the marriage.

COLLEGE EXPENSE CONTRIBUTION

New Jersey is one of the few states that requires parents to contribute to their children’s college expenses and authorizes judges to allocate the cost of college among the child and the parents. Many factors are taken into account in such a determination, including, but not limited to, the financial circumstances of the parents and child, the child’s ability, the financial resources, and available financial aid. The court must also consider how the continuation of child support while the child attends college impacts the parties financially.

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