While each case is different, there are general issues every client must contemplate when considering a divorce in New Jersey.
Custody & Parenting Time
The first and foremost consideration is if there are any children of the marriage. If so, the issues of custody and parenting time must be addressed. There are two different types of custody. Legal custody and residential custody. With regard to legal custody, there is sole legal custody or joint legal custody. In most cases, parents share joint legal custody. This means that the parents have equal say in making decisions regarding the child’s health, education, religion, safety and welfare. One parent is usually designated Parent of Primary Residence for residential custody while the other is designated Parent of Alternate Residence. The Parent of Primary Residence is the parent where the child spends the greater amount of their overnights. The Parent of Alternate Residence will have parenting time with the child based on a schedule that either the parties agree upon or as is ordered by the Court.
Child support is an important issue. However, there are a host of other considerations a parent must address. Expenses like day-care, camp, extra-curricular activities, private school, college, and medical expenses are generally also paid.
Alimony is based on statutory factors which include the length of the marriage, age and health of the parties, needs of the spouse that requires alimony and the ability of the paying spouse to pay. As such, it is important to know each party’s income information which must include all sources of income.
All assets and debts acquired during the marriage must be identified, valued and divided in an equitable way. So, depending on the facts of each case, experts may need to be hired to value assets. These assets may include businesses, real estate or pensions.
The above is a skeletal outline of what you should be considering if you are contemplating a divorce. Each case is fact sensitive and unique. It is important to protect yourself and your children, as well as your financial stability. Therefore, every issue in your divorce case must be considered and addressed.
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