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Monmouth County Family Law Blog

Don't go to a New Jersey child custody hearing unprepared

You've likely heard the old scouting phrase that encourages scouts to always be prepared. It's good advice, even for grownups. In fact, there may be times in your life when such advice can really come in handy, such as if you're heading to court for child custody proceedings. When you filed for divorce, you no doubt understood that it would have a significant impact on your children's lives.

You may have determined from the start that you needed to build a strong support network to help them come to terms with the life changes ahead and to successfully adapt to a new lifestyle. What you do and say during child custody proceedings in a New Jersey courtroom can greatly affect all that. The better prepared you are, the greater the chances of a favorable outcome.

How do I keep my business safe in a divorce?

Splitting up assets in a divorce is always difficult. But if you are a business owner, the process becomes that much more complex. You will have to decide the best way to split your marital assets while hopefully keeping your business alive and profitable.

As you and your spouse go through the process of divorce, your business will be part of your assets and your income evaluation. Here are a few tips to make sure you keep your business safe:

How can I communicate with my spouse during divorce?

After two spouses decide to get a divorce, it can be incredibly challenging for them to speak to each other, or much less be in the same room together. It is all too easy for emotions to cloud any conversation and lead to an old argument.

It might be easier to avoid talking altogether, but not communicating can cause even more issues during the divorce proceedings. So, here are some tips for how New Jersey individuals can communicate with a soon-to-be-ex-spouse.

The impact concerning the loss of the alimony deduction

Great care is required when dividing property during a divorce. Shifts in the law often impact the way couples need to approach divorce as well.

Before 2019, couples often used the so-called alimony deduction regarding divorce planning. The payor deducted payments on their tax forms as recipients instead paid the tax. But as a recent Forbes article points out, such deductions will not be allowable for those finalizing their divorce after 2018.

Should you keep the marital residence or sell it?

In many divorces, property division is a technical and involved process that requires careful cataloging, assessment and appraisal of assets. The goal, under New Jersey law, is to ensure that both spouses receive an equitable distribution (but not always equal distribution) of the marital assets.

If you’re about to go through the property division process, you have likely thought about the marital residence, which is often the largest asset that couples own. You may even have your sights set on keeping it after the divorce, if at all possible. In today’s post, we’ll discuss some factors to bear in mind before you decide to advocate for ownership of the family home.

Rethinking our old ideas about post-divorce fatherhood

It used to be the case that after a divorce, mothers would be awarded sole or primary child custody in most cases, and fathers would be given visitation. This was based on the assumption that women were naturally more nurturing and were better caretakers. And it coincided with the stereotype of the “weekend dad” – a disengaged, irresponsible adult who was more concerned with being fun than with being a parent.

It would be tempting to think that the “weekend dad” persona was proof that women were more deserving of custody. But many researchers now argue that cause and effect may have been reversed. In other words, lopsided custody awards may have created the weekend dad behavior because it left little time for kids to actually spend with their dads, and few opportunities for dads to practice solo parenting.

Noncustodial parents can be active and involved

When parents in New Jersey get divorced, they may have to make difficult decisions about how to handle child custody and visitation. Few parents want to spend more time away from their children, and joint custody is increasingly favored by family courts outside an environment of abuse or neglect. At the same time, however, every family's situation is unique. Concerns about employment, living conditions, supervision or educational continuity for the children may lead many families to opt for one parent to have primary physical custody of the children.

However, this does not have to mean that a noncustodial parent is absent or inactive. Many noncustodial parents enjoy extensive visitation time with their children, including frequent weekend or holiday overnight visits. They may even share legal custody, meaning that they also have authority over major decisions affecting the child, including issues regarding their health care or education. Of course, keeping up with child support payments is another important part of involvement for noncustodial parents.

How to show the kids you love them during divorce

Even when you believe that divorce will ultimately help your children lead better lives, it can still prove difficult for them. They often struggle with thoughts that they caused the divorce or that their parents do not love them. They do not know how to process this major change in their lives.

Common advice about divorce stresses that you need to tell your kids repeatedly that they did not cause the split and that you and your ex still love them, just like you did when you were married. That is important. However, just telling children that you love them may not be enough. You need to show them to really get them to believe it. Here are a few ways to do so:

Co-parenting a teen after divorce

When people in New Jersey decide to divorce, they may be concerned about how the separation will affect their children. Going through a divorce with children of any age can be a challenge, as can adapting to the co-parenting process. After all, divorced parents may have a wide range of problems with one another, but they still need to work together to raise their children and support their goals. Co-parenting a teenager can carry its own particular concerns, especially because going through adolescence can be challenging even when parents are still together.

When teens go through puberty, they face hormonal and physical changes. These can be reflected in changing behaviors, uneven moods and difficulties relating to their parents. Teens are also developing their independence and preparing for adult life: thinking about college or university, getting a summer job or becoming involved with politics or social justice. Teens can find themselves in conflict with their parents over rules and boundaries. This is an important stage in human development, but it can also challenge co-parents.

Could your social drinking jeopardize custody of your kids?

If you are going through a contested custody battle as part of a divorce or otherwise, you might be shocked to learn that your social drinking habits are now an issue in the case. How could that have happened?

It's important to understand that custody battles can often become dirty little wars, with each parent lobbing grenades at the other in an attempt to gain the upper hand in the proceedings. It's unsurprising for industry insiders to see one spouse level accusations of addiction at the other — whether it is warranted or not. But there are ways you can minimize the impact of these allegations.

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To schedule a consultation, call LaRocca Hornik Rosen Greenberg & Crupi, LLC at 732-246-2112 or contact us online.

From our offices in Freehold and New York, we serve clients in

  • Monmouth County
  • Ocean County
  • Middlesex County
  • Central New Jersey
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