For some couples the decision to end a marriage is reached mutually, over time. Yet for others, a spouse will announce their intention to leave a marriage suddenly and without warning. No matter how you have arrived at this crossroad, one thing is certain – few things in life are as difficult as divorce.
Although it is important to take time to grieve, do not let emotions cloud your judgment. The outcome of divorce proceedings can affect not only your finances for years to come, but also dictate where you call home and how much time you spend with your children. At the Monmouth County divorce law firm of Fox & Melofchik, L.L.C., we draw upon a combined 80 years of litigation experience as we guide our clients through this arduous process. We work tirelessly to ensure that you emerge on the other side, ready to begin your life anew.
New Jersey divorce law is far from straightforward. In New Jersey, there is no formal legal separation. Regardless, many couples may choose first to execute a separation agreement before proceeding with a divorce. This type of contract sets forth a tentative agreement between all parties on issues surrounding spousal support, child custody, outstanding credit card bills, car payments and more.
If and when a couple is prepared to proceed to divorce, certain threshold criteria must be met before papers can be filed and served. Petitioners need to first establish that they or their spouse have been a resident of New Jersey for at least one year prior to seeking a divorce unless adultery is alleged, in which case the one-year residency requirement can be bypassed.
Adultery is just one of several fault-based grounds for seeking a divorce. Additionally a petitioner can claim – among other things – cruel and inhuman treatment by their spouse, that their spouse is addicted to drugs or alcohol, or that their spouse has been sentenced to jail for at least 18 months. Some fault-based grounds are easier to establish than others, such as when a police report corroborates a petitioner’s allegation of physical abuse. In other cases, however, establishing who is at fault will require considerably more work.
Even in a no-fault divorce, which occurs when a couple has either experienced irreconcilable differences for at least the last six months or has lived apart for the last 18 months with no reasonable chance of reuniting, Monmouth County divorce lawyers can help. Issues of child custody, child support, spousal support and the division of marital property and/or debt must still be resolved in order to finalize a divorce. What’s more, pension plans, 401ks and other individual retirement accounts will also need to be assessed and possibly reallocated, regardless of whether both sides agree that neither is to blame for the demise of their marriage.
Importantly, New Jersey recently revised its alimony laws to eliminate permanent alimony. However various forms of spousal support remain available. Rehabilitative alimony can be awarded on a short-term basis to help a formerly non-working spouse pay for schooling or other training as he or she prepares to reenter the workforce. A spouse may also recover reimbursement alimony, when it can be proven that they made a personal sacrifice in order to advance the career of their spouse. Limited duration alimony is awarded when a marriage was brief, while alimony pendente lite is awarded to maintain the financial status quo of both parties as they await their final divorce decree.
Whether your divorce is acrimonious or amicable, you need a Monmouth County divorce lawyer on your side. At the Monmouth County divorce law firm of Fox & Melofchik, L.L.C., we not only understand the complex emotions surrounding separation and divorce, but also the rapidly changing laws surrounding divorce in New Jersey. Whenever possible, we will attempt to resolve your dispute outside of court but if it becomes unavoidable, we will fight for your rights before a judge.
Contact us online or call (732) 493-9400 today to schedule a free initial consultation at our Ocean Township, New Jersey office. We proudly serve Monmouth County, Middlesex County, Mercer County and Ocean County, including the towns of Colts Neck, Rumson, Deal, Monmouth Beach, Little Silver and Holmdel.