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When a couple begins to contemplate ending their marriage, they must deal with certain practicalities in addition to their emotions about and the process of the divorce. They have to equitably divide their property, have to agree on spousal support in what amount and for what duration. Plus, if there are minor or dependent children from the relationship, they must agree on child custody and support. These are issues that the parties can settle themselves, but the level of cooperation required for such negotiated settlements is rarely found in divorcing couples.

By the time the marriage is at breaking point, tensions are often high and acrimony between the parties can make objective discussions nearly impossible. Putting your divorce in the hands of an experienced Millburn divorce attorney is the best way to ensure that your interests are protected as you leave your marriage. For more than 30 years, New Jersey clients have trusted Nitti & Nitti with their family law concerns and other legal matters and you can too.

Why Choose A Millburn Divorce Lawyer From Nitti & Nitti?

  • Our Managing Partner, Joseph Nitti, Esq., is a certified mediator and is also trained in collaborative law. Both of these options can streamline the family law process and help you obtain timely results.
  • Our goal is to help you resolve your concerns in an efficient and effective manner – without wasting your valuable time and money.
  • As a local, family-owned firm, our Millburn family law attorneys are able to offer the one-on-one service and caring assistance you deserve. You and your case matter to us.

If you’re going through a divorce, you need an experienced divorce attorney to help you secure your legal rights through the process. To find out how we can help you, call us at (973) 226-4141 to schedule a free consultation with one of our divorce attorneys.

Are You Entitled to Alimony?

The thought of adjusting to life after marriage can be daunting. While you may not be able to afford the lifestyle that you have become accustomed to in your marriage, the law also does not want you to be in hardship after a divorce. There are several reasons for this position including preventing you from being a dependent of the State. The law recognizes that in some marriages, one spouse makes economic sacrifices for the benefit of the marriage. At the end of the marriage, the sacrificing spouse may need some financial support to get back on their feet again. Often referred to as alimony or maintenance, these payments are from one spouse to the economically disadvantaged spouse, to help them achieve a standard of living that is reasonably comparable to what they enjoyed during the marriage.

Factors Surrounding Alimony

Some of the factors considered to determine the amount and duration of alimony payments include:

  • The actual need and ability of the parties to pay
  • The duration of the marriage or civil union
  • The age, physical and emotional health of the parties
  • The standard of living established in the marriage
  • The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties
  • The length of absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance

Can Alimony Be Adjusted?

If you are responsible for paying alimony and you are having difficulty keeping up with the payments, there are circumstances that allow the courts to adjust, modify, or terminate the amount or duration of your alimony payments. These circumstances include chronic illness or unusual health circumstances; retirement of the paying spouse; loss of income or employment; and cohabitation with another person.

How is Child Custody Determined in New Jersey?

One of the major concerns for divorcing couples is their children. When there are minor children in the marriage, the parties must agree on issues about where the children will live, how they will be raised, and how they will be financially provided for. Although historically there has been a bias in favor of women in awarding custody to the mother, in New Jersey, there is no preference for one parent over the other when it comes to determining child custody issues. The primary concern in making a determination for child custody is the best interest of the child. The court may award joint custody to both parents, sole custody to one parent, or any other custody arrangement that protects the best interest of the child.

Both parents bear equal responsibility for and have equal rights to their child. Child custody comprises physical and legal custody of a child. Legal custody refers to the right to make critical decisions concerning the general welfare of the child. Decisions such as what religion the child will practice, the schools the child will attend, extracurricular activities, and health decisions fall under legal custody. Physical custody refers to the physical location of the child. In which house will the child’s primary residence be? Whether the child will live solely with one parent, or jointly with both parents according to some alternating plan that suits the needs of the parents and the child and is in the best interest of the child.

Generally, New Jersey law leaves custody arrangements up to the parents, and will respect the arrangements that the parents agree to, as long as it is in the best interest of the child. The courts will only impose a custody arrangement when the parents are unable to come to an agreement on custody issues. The courts will typically award joint custody of the child unless there are reasons not to do so. Even with a joint custody arrangement, very often, the child will have primary residence with one parent while the other parent gets visitation rights. The parents must agree to an equitable schedule, which will be presented to the court for approval. If the parents are unable to come up with an equitable schedule on their own, the court will create its own schedule, which the parents must follow.

Some of the factors considered in New Jersey child custody cases include:

  • How well the parents communicate and cooperate in dealing with matters related to the child;
  • Whether the parents want to accept custody and whether one parent has alienated the other parent from the child;
  • How the child relates with both parents;
  • Any history of abuse or domestic violence;
  • The child’s safety;
  • The safety of either parent from the other;
  • If the child is old enough and has the mental capacity to make a decision, then the child’s preference will be considered;
  • The home environment provided by either parent;
  • How the child’s education will be impacted by a decision;
  • How fit the parents are;
  • How close in proximity the parents live; and
  • The parents’ employment.

Equitable Distribution

It is not unusual for married couples to acquire property together during the course of the marriage. When they divorce, one of the issues that must be settled is the equitable distribution of marital property. But property is not the only thing that married couples acquire together. They may acquire debt as well. In addition to settling the equitable distribution of property, the debts must also be divided.

Examples of property that may be divided between the parties include:

  • Real property, such as land or a house;
  • Personal property, such as furniture, cars, jewelry, or paintings; and
  • Other property, such as pensions, retirement accounts, health insurance, or personal injury awards.

It is important to understand that in the equitable distribution of property, the aim is not to equally divide property. The court will consider the following factors to determine what is equitable or fair:

  • How long the marriage or civil union lasted;
  • What, if any, income or property each party brought into the marriage;
  • Any prior arrangements concerning the distribution of property contained in a written agreement such as a premarital agreement;
  • Whether one party contributed to the education, training, or earning power of the other;
  • Any debts the parties owe;
  • The tax consequences of the proposed distribution to each party; and
  • The present value of the property.

Not all assets or property will be subject to equitable distribution. Your divorce attorney will be able to review your situation and identify property that may be subject to equitable distribution in New Jersey.

The court will make a decision based on the evidence it has. Identifying and properly valuing all property subject to equitable distribution is a critical step in ensuring that the court’s decision is truly equitable. Doing this requires specialized knowledge and skill. Nitti & Nitti has the experience and professional resources to ensure that you are not cheated out of property that you are entitled to.

Contact A Millburn Divorce Lawyer Today

Whether you are paying or receiving alimony, the intention of the law is not to punish either spouse. If you have questions about alimony payments or entitlements, and you would like to speak with a divorce attorney in Millburn, we can help you get clarity. Call us today at (973) 226-4141 or click here for a free consultation.