Family Law

Family Law Bergen County Attorneys Advising Individuals in Divorce and Related Matters

Divorce cases often involve a detailed consideration of many complex issues, including the payment of child support and alimony, child custody, the equitable distribution of property, tax consequences, and more. At Leopold Law, we have a comprehensive understanding of the decisions that you may face, and we can guide you through the process. If you are going through a divorce, our Bergen County family law lawyers can provide careful support in order to help you make informed choices.

Dissolving a Marriage in New Jersey

New Jersey law provides for either a no-fault or a fault-based divorce. In a no-fault divorce, the marriage is dissolved based on grounds of either separation, when the spouses have lived apart for 18 consecutive months and have no chance of reconciliation, or irreconcilable differences, when the spouses have experienced irreconcilable differences for six months and have no chance of reconciliation. A no-fault divorce does not require any evidence of which spouse caused the marriage to end.

In a fault-based divorce, a spouse will present evidence to establish that the other spouse was responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. The statutory grounds for fault in New Jersey are adultery, desertion, extreme cruelty, imprisonment, institutionalism, deviant sexual conduct, and addiction. Discussing your specific situation with an experienced family law attorney can help you decide which option to pursue.

Guidance for Child Support and Custody

In New Jersey, each parent has an obligation to support his or her children until they are deemed emancipated, and child support cannot be waived. It is determined under the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines, pursuant to a statutory formula. This process requires the disclosure of financial information by both parents, and it considers factors such as the number of overnight stays that the child has with each parent. In deciding matters of child custody, the legal standard is the best interest of the child. The court evaluates many issues in making custody determinations, including the relationship between the parents and their ability to cooperate, any domestic violence issues, the child’s needs and preferences, and the child’s relationships with his or her family members. After a court has entered an order, child support and custody arrangements may only be modified upon a showing that circumstances have substantially changed.

Representation in Alimony Disputes

Alimony, also referred to as spousal support or maintenance, is the financial obligation of one spouse to support the other before or after marital separation or divorce. There are four designated types of alimony in New Jersey, each involving specific legal considerations. The state has recently made changes in this area of family law, eliminating permanent alimony and replacing it with open durational alimony. In addition, new statutory guidelines provide that for marriages under 20 years, the length of the payments may be no longer than the length of the marriage. Other important changes include allowing a judge to end alimony payments when the recipient is cohabitating with a partner, as well as modifying or reducing payments when the payer is unemployed or of retirement age.

Protecting Your Interests during Property Division Determinations

In a New Jersey divorce, marital property and assets are divided equitably, while separate property is generally retained by the owner-spouse, subject to a few exceptions. Separate property consists of property and assets acquired prior to the marriage, as well as any inheritances and gifts received at any time. Marital property consists of property and assets acquired by either spouse during the marriage, such as houses, life insurance, bank accounts, investments, or retirement accounts. Equitable distribution is not necessarily an even division of property. It is intended to produce a result that is “fair” to each spouse by evaluating several statutory factors.

Consult a Dedicated Family Law Lawyer in Bergen County

Divorce and other family law matters are often emotional and time-consuming. A skilled divorce lawyer may be beneficial in explaining and guiding you through the legal proceedings, as well as advocating on your behalf. Our Bergen County family law attorneys are knowledgeable in child custody, child support, alimony, property division, and other issues that may arise. Leopold Law represents people throughout Northern New Jersey, including in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Passaic Counties. Contact us at (201) 345-5907 or online to schedule a free consultation with a family law attorney.

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