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Jeralyn Lawrence Interview by Jessie Frees of WMTR 1250 AM Radio Station – Part V

Jessie Frees of WMTR 1250 AM Radio Station’s host of Ask The Expert interviewed Jeralyn Lawrence, a New Jersey Divorce and Family Lawyer.   This is Part V of a five part series of transcripts from the radio interview with Jeralyn.

Ask The Expert Host Jessie Frees of WMTR 1250 AM Radio Station Interview with Divorce and Family Law Attorney Jeralyn Lawrence – Part V

The following is a continuation of Jeralyn Lawrence’s interview with “Ask the Expert” host Jessie Frees on WMTR 1250 AM a station streaming live on wmtram.com and talkstreamlive.com.

Welcome back, we’ve got so much more to ask you and only eight minutes left to this show. My guest today is Jeralyn Lawrence managing member and founder of Lawrence Law, Divorce and Family Attorneys of Watchung, New Jersey. Certified by the Supreme court of New Jersey is a matrimony law attorney and a very good one at that.

After and during the divorce, alimony can be messy. How is New Jersey alimony calculated, and does the length of the marriage matter?

Jeralyn: As I said earlier, equitable distribution is generally the easiest part of my job. Alimony is generally the hardest part of my job. Alimony, in New Jersey, we have statutory factors. A host of factors that the court is to look at when trying to determine alimony and the needs of the person seeking alimony. It’s the needs of the person who is at risk of paying alimony. It’s the ability of the person seeking alimony to contribute to their own needs. You look at marital lifestyle and there’s a host of other statutory factors that you look at. But the goal is for both parties is to be able to post-divorce, live a reasonably comparable marital lifestyle, but the devil’s in the details, and the devil’s trying to figure that out. It is hard enough in New Jersey, particularly, to try to live and maintain a household.

That just is compounded exponentially. When now in a divorce, you’re trying to maintain two households when it could have been a challenge to maintain one. Everybody has to do a budget. Most people have to cut things out of their budget. They have to tighten things up so that both households can make ends meet.

Jess: Well, I wanna know how assets are split though, if a spouse inherits family money while married, does that count in divorce proceedings? How do we divide the money and the assets?

Jeralyn: If you inherit money, no, that is not subject to equitable distribution. So, if you inherit money and you keep it separate, that is your money. But if you inherit a million dollars and you put that million dollars in the bank account, you don’t have to share that million dollars with your spouse, but what your spouse is going to argue is when you’re talking about alimony and child support, that that million dollars in the bank account is going to generate even at 4% interest, $40,000 a year in income, they’re going to argue that that $40,000 be added to your income. So, while it may not be relevant for equitable distribution, it can be relevant when you’re trying to calculate one party’s income.

Let me just get back to your earlier question. I tried to address the amount of alimony and that’s budgeting and lifestyle. The duration of alimony. When we passed the alimony reform, we changed the alimony statute back in 2014. What we put in there were some alimony guidelines, as to duration, what the statute now talks about is alimony.

Unless there’s some exceptional circumstance and there could be, alimony is not to exceed the length of the marriage for marriages under 20 years. If you have a ten-year marriage, alimony is generally not to exceed 10 years. If you have a two-year marriage, alimony’s generally not to exceed two years.

A little harder issue is if you have a 19-year marriage, technically speaking, that’s less than 20. The facts and circumstances are going to dictate what that term of alimony looks like. So, our statute now gives us some guidance as to duration.

Jess: And how about property division, how is property divided, and if one part after paying for most of the bills?

Jeralyn: In New Jersey, we have equitable distribution. It’s doesn’t mean equal, but ordinarily, it is, particularly in longer marriages, but it’s got to be equitable. In New Jersey, the philosophy is marriage as a partnership. If one party was taking care of kids taking care of the household and the other party was working and paying bills, although they may say, look, I earned it, or it’s in my name. That doesn’t much matter. That’s not dispositive of the issue.

What you have to look at is the marriage holistically, what was each partner’s contribution to the marriage. Then you look at the assets that were acquired during the marriage and you divide them equitably, but generally speaking, that’s equally, unless there are reasons not to. You can certainly articulate what that is and if it’s fair for it not to be 50/50, then it’s your burden of proof as to why that would be.

Jess: I’ve heard that New Jersey courts do not follow any formula in calculating alimony. Is that true? So, it doesn’t factor down then to the length of the marriage, age, health income, each spouse, or does it?

Jeralyn: It does. We do not have alimony guidelines. We do not. There was talk about that many years ago, but we were able to make sure that that didn’t come to New Jersey that would not be good for New Jersey. We do not have alimony guidelines as to the amount. We do have some parameters as to the duration, but not as to the amount. You have to look at a bunch of statutory factors, each party’s needs, ability to pay, ability to contribute to your own needs.

That’s how alimony is calculated in New Jersey.

Jess: And I only have two minutes left, but very quickly, what happens if couples dispute issues such as custody, visitation, and parenting plans, does your firm assist in solutions for these issues?

Jeralyn: This is all we do. We focus on one area of the law. We specialize in only divorce and family law issues. People going through a divorce or people that have never gotten married, but have children or support issues.

That is all that we do is try to help, families or couples, or parents in need trying to restructure their relationship or their arrangement and try to move them to the next phase of their journey as best as we can.

Jess: Now if anyone is facing a divorce today, Jeralyn Lawrence, how can they get in touch with you and your law firm?

Jeralyn: You can look us up on the web it’s www.lawlawfirm.com. You can just Google me. I should pop up Jeralyn Lawrence or our phone number is (908) 645-1000.

Jess: Well, we want to thank you, Jeralyn Lawrence, for an informative and enlightening interview, founder of Lawrence Law, Divorce and Family Attorneys of Watchung, New Jersey. And we want to thank you for your recent sponsorship of our person of the week because there are certainly so many people to be honored in New Jersey. And, but it’s been a pleasure to talk to you this morning. Jeralyn Lawrence.

Jeralyn: Thank you so much, Jesse. I had a nice time talking to you as well.

Consult a New Jersey Family Lawyer

Divorce is a challenging emotional time. There is never a good time for a divorce. Schedule a consultation with one of our New Jersey family law attorneys who all specialize in divorce and family law at Lawrence Law 908-645-1000 to learn how we can guide you through the emotional journey of divorce and related matters to a desired outcome and better place.







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