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New Jersey Family Law Blog

How can I prepare for back-to-school after a divorce?

With back-to-school season in New Jersey preparations in full swing now that the latter half of August has arrived, your children may be bemoaning the loss of sleeping in and lazy days while you may be nervous about other things. If you and your spouse have separated or divorced since the prior school year ended, this year's back-to-school experience is likely to be quite different from past ones. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to prepare yourself and your children's other parent as well.

As explained by The Washington Post, school systems still seem very setup to accommodate the traditional nuclear family first and foremost. That leaves divorced families left trying to fit into something that does not always work for them. If you have been through the back-to-school time before, think about what you know you will need to provide the school and what events will be coming up. Then, make a plan with your former spouse.

Legal separations: Similar to, but not quite, a divorce

When New Jersey couples realize their marriage is not working out, divorce is not their only option. A legal separation may be a good alternative for many couples. People may wonder about the differences between these concepts and how they affect a couple.

When people to choose to get a legal separation instead of a divorce, their marriage is still legal. Marriage.com says that people who are legally separated no longer live together. Sometimes this arrangement gives couples time apart so they can attempt to resolve their differences. In some situations, people may prefer a legal separation if they cannot divorce for cultural or religious reasons.

How a forensic accountant might help your divorce

If you are one of the many people in New Jersey who owns a business with your spouse and is considering getting a divorce, you will no doubt be concerned about what to do with your business. Some couples are able to successfully continue running a company together even after their marriage has ended. Other couples find this is not possible for them and may therefore opt to sell the business outright to a third party or to allow one of the spouses to buy the other one out and run it alone. 

If you choose one of these latter two options, knowing and agreeing on the value of your business will be essential to you as it may likely play into your overall divorce settlement agreement and how you split any other assets or debts. This is a time when you may benefit from using a forensic accountant. As explained by the Forensic CPA Society, this special type of accountant not only understands how to conduct audits and perform other accounting functions but they also know how to investigate matters and provide data that is up to the level of scrutiny required by a court of law.

Divorce and online activity

Divorcing couples in New Jersey sometimes end up in situations where they do not fully trust the other person. One spouse might suspect that the other person is cheating on them or perhaps that they are trying to hide assets in an attempt to influence their final divorce decree in a financially more positive light for them. These are just some of the situations that may be able to be corroborated by a peek at a person's online activity.

Forbes explains that a social media account can be a virtual treasure trove of clues about a person's life. Posts bragging about lavish purchases or vacations may not help the case of a person who claims the complete inability to pay spousal support, for example. The accounts of friends may also be telling and since couples generally have joint friends online and offline, what they post may well be visible by the spouse who was not really intended to know something.

Child support guidelines in New Jersey

If you are one of the many parents in New Jersey who may be getting divorced, you might need to pay or receive child support. You may also be facing this issue if you were never married to your child's other parent. As explained by the New Jersey Courts, the state operates its program for allotting child support on the philosophy referred to as income shares approach.

This philosophy is based on a few key principles including the belief that children should not go without just because their parents were never married to each other or got divorced. In short, children deserve the same lifestyle regardless of their parents' marital status or relationship to each other. It also states that both parents have the ongoing responsibility to financially provide for their children and that kids have the right to share in both parents' income.

Divorce settlements may not focus on alimony much longer

Couples in New Jersey who have finally come to the decision that they will end their marriage understandably may feel overwhelmed by the emotional toll of the choice they have made. However, if they believe that one of the spouses might be deserving of spousal support, they will not want to wait long before taking steps to get their divorce underway. As difficult as this sounds, the reason for this is because by waiting, that person may end up with a lot less in alimony than if they can manage to get their divorce completed this calendar year.

As reported by CNBC, current alimony payments are tax deductible by the person who makes the payments and while that means the receipient has to pay the taxes it also means the paying spouse may be more willing to agree to making those payments. Under the new tax plan, any divorce completed as of January 1, 2019 or later will find the paying spouse also responsible for income taxes on alimony. As such, these spouses may not be so willing to agree to spousal support.

Divorce, alimony and shifting dynamics

New Jersey residents going through divorce are all too familiar with the frustration that can often accompany procedures, especially when it comes to the fine print. Navigating alimony post-divorce alone can present obstacles for some ex-spouses, depending on the situation. As far as the process goes, recent news reflects future changes in regard to alimony in the state of New Jersey.

News 12 New Jersey shared in February that future changes will be taking place in the state's alimony laws. More specifically, these modifications are connected to New Jersey's tax plans: starting in 2019, alimony payments will no longer constitute a tax deduction for spouses who pay alimony. By the same token, spouses receiving alimony will no longer include alimony as income. However, those going into a divorce agreement prior to December 31, 2018 will still work under the old regulations regarding alimony. 

How can I prepare to tell my kids about my divorce?

Whether you have one, two or ten children the thought of telling them that you and their other parent are going to get divorced may well cause you great angst. This is understandable and many New Jersey parents have walked in your shoes before. While this is admittedly a difficult thing to do, it is not impossible and there are some things you can do to help make it more emotionally balanced for your children.

One thing Parents magazine recommends is that you think carefully about what you want to say and that you even consider rehearsing it to a point. You might even want to make notes for yourself so that you do not forget points you know you want to make. Even though only one spouse might have initiated the divorce, when you tell your kids, it is best to position things as though getting a divorce was a mutual decision. Children will feel more supported if they get the sense that their parents are of like mind in these matters.

Postnups and at-home parents

Whether you and your spouse in New Jersey have been married for many years or are newly married, you may end up making different decisions about raising children than what you originally planned. It is not uncommon for people to assume that both parents will continue to work after they have kids but to later on choose for one parent to stay home with the children. If you are the parent who is going to give up your career, you may want to consider creating a postnuptial agreement.

As explained by Today, leaving the workforce even for just a few years can make it much harder to get back in the job market at a comparable salary should you desire later on. If you remain married to your spouse that may not be as much of a concern. However, if you get divorced, your need to earn more money could take on a new level of importance. A postnuptial agreement can provide valuable protection for you when you decide to leave a career for your family.

Defining a divorce from room and board

If you and your spouse have chosen to separate, then your next step will no doubt be to consider the future of your life together in Hackensack. Such is the conundrum that many have brought to our team here at Melinda L. Singer, Esquire. There hopes typically were to enter into a legal separation, to which we informed them that New Jersey technically does not recognize such statuses. Rather, the state allows for a divorce "from room and board." 

The concept of a room and board divorce originates from the Latin term "a mensa et thoro," which literally translated means "from table and bed." Couples in such a status are recognized as still being married without engaging in the intimate and domestic privileges that typically come with marriage. You could easily say that a room and board divorce is different from a legal separation in name only. You still cannot remarry without officially getting a divorce, yet you and your spouse still have access to the financial benefits reserved for married couples. 

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Melinda L. Singer, Esquire
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