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Beware of inaccurate information about child support

Google and other search engines have become go to places for answers to just about any questions people in New Jersey and elsewhere might have. Unfortunately, not all online information is fact-checked. Child support is one subject about which online articles often contain myths that could cause problems for those who use the information without confirming its validity.

One myth suggests that child support is the responsibility of only one parent. While the person obligated to make the support payments might believe this, it is not correct. Family courts base child support orders on the income of both parents. The day-to-day care provided by the custodial parents must not be overlooked because that is a significant responsibility, and it indeed features in the court's calculations to determine the amount of support the noncustodial parent must pay.

Child support obligations of the unmarried father

Fathers in New Jersey who are not married to the mothers of their children might not realize that the law expects them to pay child support. There are exceptions, but a father typically has an obligation to provide financial assistance to the mother of his child. This is not linked to child custody and alimony, and although the courts prefer to see fathers sharing custody, it is not a legal obligation. Proof of paternity or being named as the father on the birth certificate could be enough to enforce child support payments.

The court can order child support payments, or the parents may reach a private arrangement, which, in some jurisdictions, will still need the court's approval. When the court awards child support, the need for support, and the ability to pay are typically considered along with several other factors. A father who stops paying child support can face serious repercussions, even if it was an informal arrangement.

That old prenup could hold up in New Jersey

Maybe it wasn’t pleasant and took some delicate maneuvering, but the two of you signed that old prenup back before you were married. Maybe it feels like a very long time ago or you two weren’t even living in New Jersey back then. Is that contract going to hold up here and now?

Say you want to want to break the back of a prenuptial agreement so you can strike a fresh divorce settlement from scratch. Or say you want to make sure a prenuptial agreement is ironclad, so you can count on it no matter what happens. What are your chances in New Jersey?

Prenups can take the sting out of division of assets in divorce

There is an expression that says criminal court brings out the best in bad people, and divorce court brings out the worst in good people. Divorces are typically challenging and traumatizing, but prenups can ease the process. Although many people in New Jersey might believe that prenuptial agreements are only for the rich and famous, these marital contracts can simplify the division of assets in the divorces of the rest of the community. While prenups require full disclosure of debts and assets, they can also address additional matters.

The issues that a well-drafted marital contract can tackle include guidelines for the division of assets accumulated during the marriage, how the couple would deal with debts, spousal support and any other matters unique to the couple. Disputes over finances cause many problems in marriages, and disclosure of assets and liabilities of each spouse is required in a divorce. However, dealing with it at the start of the marriage, with annual updates, might actually support a stronger bond for the couple.

Remarrying after division of assets in a previous marriage?

Anyone in New Jersey who is considering a second or subsequent wedding after a divorce will likely have many concerns. Most people expect the best from a subsequent marriage, but plan appropriately for the possibility of another divorce. It is crucial to avoid previous mistakes, especially those that only became evident during the division of assets in the divorce.

Communication and financial transparency are essential from the onset, even before saying, "I do." Disclose all information about debts, assets, financial support for a child with special needs, spousal and child support, retirement plans and more. Discuss assets that will be brought into the marriage by both spouses, and whether some or all of those will be kept separate or joined. Will earnings be pooled, or will both spouses keep their separate bank accounts and establish a joint account for household expenses?

Where to start when filing for divorce

Most people in New Jersey get married with the intention of being together forever. Sadly, that is not always the case, and having to deal with an unanticipated divorce can be a daunting prospect. Where does one start, and what are the necessary steps? One thing to keep in mind is that there are ways in which to limit the trauma of a divorce.

Couples who choose to remain amicable and agree to an uncontested divorce can reach a settlement without the need to go to court. While certain aspects will always be traumatic, such as dealing with child-related matters, even those can be negotiated without involving the court. The help of divorce mediators, or choosing a collaborative divorce can ease the negotiations to reach an out-of-court settlement agreement.

Who gets the house after a divorce?

You’ve built a life with your family and it has revolved around a house. Now you’re going through a divorce and you’re trying to figure out who will remain in the home.

First, Ohio is a no-fault state, so the reason for the divorce has no bearing on how assets are divided. As an equitable division state, marital property will be divided equitably among both spouses. That includes the house. In addition, a judge considers who has the financial means to stay in the house. As the sole homeowner, you must be able to afford the mortgage, insurance and maintenance.

LGBTQ couples still face unique divorce issues

Although divorces of LGBT couples in New Jersey are mostly treated in the same way as those of heterosexual couples, there are some unique challenges. Even with changes to the language of divorce laws, some couples were together for decades before they were allowed to get married. If they file for divorce now, they have only been married for a few years in the eyes of the law, with potentially severe impacts on matters such as property division. It complicates the division of assets accumulated as a couple in the years prior to marriage.

Some child-related issues can also be significant issues, especially when one spouse is the biological parent. It might be a challenge to establish a legal tie between the nonbiological spouse and the child. It could play a role in decisions about child custody, child and spousal support, and even the child's inheritance. In heterosexual marriages, it is presumed that the spouse of a woman who gave birth to a child is the other parent.

Is a small business part of the assets in your divorce?

Going through a divorce is challenging on many levels, and it is certainly not for the faint-hearted. When it comes to the division of assets, the process can become significantly more complicated if a small business forms part of the assets in a New Jersey divorce. Matters to consider include whether the business was established before the date of the marriage, and the value of the spouse's personal investment into the company before the wedding.

Documentation will have to show the cash flow and the assets as recorded before the nuptials, and the growth of the company during the marriage. The extent of the other spouse's involvement, both financial and physical contributions, will likely also play a role in the division of the business assets. These are the issues that will determine whether a portion of the concern will be regarded as separate property.

Property division: Did you overlook these assets?

Going through a divorce is one of the most emotional and difficult things anyone can face. When it comes to the division of assets, many New Jersey couples focus on the obvious and overlook the less obvious. An example is couples who did a lot of traveling. They might have thousands of dollars worth of accumulated frequent flyer points, which can be split by sharing the value or by the spouse owning the points issuing free travel tickets in the name of the other spouse.

Deciding what to do with resort timeshares could be challenging, and in many cases, there is still a substantial amount outstanding, which could be a significant financial burden for one spouse. Other options to consider include continuing joint ownership, selling it or letting it go into foreclosure. Vacation pay could be another source of funds to share. Some companies allow employees to cash out their sick and vacation leave. Both spouses can find out about this option from their HR departments.

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