A divorce is different from legal separation and is a judicial decree by which a valid legal marriage is dissolved. A divorce can be complete, which terminates the marital contract, or limited, which does not sever the marital contract, but will allow for alimony and equitable distribution. Whether you are seeking a complete or limited divorce, with the help of our experienced Nutley divorce attorneys, you will have a greater chance at securing favorable terms during the divorce process. From a legal standpoint, the divorce process divides your assets and debts, determines the future care and custody of your children, and gives each of you the legal right to marry someone else.
Common Issues in Any Divorce
If you have little or no marital property, no children and no disagreement on spousal maintenance/alimony, your divorce proceedings can go very quickly. Most couples, however, have numerous and often contentious issues to work out during the divorce process. These issues include:
- Child custody and visitation
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Division of marital property
In any divorce, especially one involving complex property matters, the guidance and advocacy of an experienced family law attorney is essential.
Dealing With Divorce
You may feel like a divorce is a liberating new beginning, but for most of us, however, it is not that simple. Ending a relationship as important as your marriage brings a multitude of complex and difficult emotions. Indeed, recovering from a divorce is often compared to the grieving process one goes through when a loved one passes away. Typically, this process may involve five stages: shock and denial, anger, ambivalence, depression, and recovery. Not everyone experiences these emotions in the same way or in a progressive sequence. In fact, you may move in and out of these individual phases more than once, even experience more than one phase at a time. It can be a difficult and time-consuming process. Family counselors who specialize in divorce say that it can take as long as one or two years to truly recover.
Understanding the process and your feelings will help you to grieve the relationship and to grant yourself the time necessary to recover from the traumatic divorce experience of ending a marriage. An experienced family law attorney can provide invaluable advice and support throughout the divorce process so that you can move on to the next phase of your life.
An Amicable Divorce
Your divorce may be one of life’s most emotional experiences. If you are interested in keeping your divorce as amicable as possible, we can help you prevent these negative emotions from affecting the legal process and its outcome. We work with a number of professionals, including counselors and mental health workers.
If you’re able to stay calm and open-minded, that can spare you a great deal of time, money and heartache. You can rely on us as your family law attorney to help you deal with your situation clearly and objectively.
If you and/or your spouse are are in the military and have reached the decision that a divorce is what’s right for you, we can help. At The Micklin Law Group, we are well-versed in the regulations around pension division, Survivor Benefit Plans and distribution of medical benefits, just to name a few. Learn more about Military Divorce >
We have decades of experience in divorce cases, and all the related details including custody, property division, child support, alimony, and any post-decree modifications. We’re also more than comfortable taking on those cases where the marriage was not recognized legally in other states, or other scenarios unique to same-sex couple divorce, including dissolution of a civil union. Learn more about LGBTQ Divorce >
Frequently Asked Questions
Grounds for annulment include, but are not limited to, the following: If there was no informed consent at the time of the marriage, the couple can seek a New Jersey annulment. If a person lacks the mental capacity to understand that they are getting married, the marriage can be annulled. This often occurs when someone who is intoxicated goes to a chapel on a whim and participates in a quick marriage ceremony. Any misrepresentation that affects the marriage can be considered fraud. The most common types of fraud cases occur when: One spouse lies about their desire or (lack of desire) to have children One spouse lies about their addiction to drugs or alcohol One spouse is an immigrant and uses the other spouse to stay in the country One spouse misrepresents their religious beliefs and that factor was an essential part of the spouse’s decision to get married A woman fails to advise her spouse at the time of their marriage that she is pregnant by another man In most circumstances, New Jersey annulments apply when there is a very short marriage and when few (if any) assets and debts have been accumulated. Since an NJ annulment treats the marriage as though it never existed, no marital property division takes place; however, property division may still occur through general contract law. In New Jersey marriage annulment proceedings, the courts have the power to award custody of children born of that relationship and may also award alimony payments. Annulments are difficult to obtain, however, so you should consider filing for divorce as an alternative.
A New Jersey court technically does not have jurisdiction over real property outside of the state and any order equitably distributing such property will only be as effective as a court in another state or country determines it to be in the event that it is met with a challenge. Within the U.S., this is usually not a problem, as a court of one state typically honors and defers to divorce agreements from other states. However, there is a likelihood that you would have difficulties trying to enforce an American divorce decree purporting to distribute real property in India in an Indian court of law in the event that your spouse challenges it. You should consult with an experienced matrimonial attorney in both New Jersey and India to find out what your rights are. Additionally, in order to be eligible to file for a divorce in New Jersey, you need to have resided here for at least one year prior to filing. You should consider meeting with an attorney well-versed in these areas. I recommend you seek a law firm that concentrates in family law. This concentration allows the attorneys to better understand the issues and complexities of you matter.
Mediation is an option for you. If successful, mediation can be far less expensive than a conventional divorce; however, mediation can be difficult if one or both of the parties refuse to act and negotiate reasonably.
In your situation, filing for divorce and support would likely be in your best interest. As your house may be in foreclosure, it may be necessary to file an application seeking support, payment of the mortgage, and for other relief. You should consult an experienced family law attorney to ensure your interests are protected.
In order for your spouse/ex-spouse to terminate alimony, he must show that there has been a substantial change of circumstances warranting the termination. The act of having a baby with a third party, in and of itself, would unlikely be seen as a substantial change of circumstances. However, if you are cohabitating with this third party, he may have grounds to terminate alimony.
Pursuant to New Jersey Statute, alimony may be suspended or terminated if the payee cohabits with another person. Cohabitation involves a mutually supportive, intimate personal relationship in which a couple has undertaken duties and privileges that are commonly associated with marriage or civil union but does not necessarily maintain a single common household.
When assessing whether cohabitation is occurring, the court shall consider the following:
(1) Intertwined finances such as joint bank accounts and other joint holdings or liabilities;
(2) Sharing or joint responsibility for living expenses;
(3) Recognition of the relationship in the couple’s social and family circle;
(4) Living together, the frequency of contact, the duration of the relationship, and other indicia of a mutually
supportive intimate personal relationship;
(5) Sharing household chores;
(6) Whether the recipient of alimony has received an enforceable promise of support from another person; and
(7) All other relevant evidence.
In evaluating whether cohabitation is occurring and whether alimony should be suspended or terminated, the court shall also consider the length of the relationship. A court may not find an absence of cohabitation solely on grounds that the couple does not live together on a full-time basis. The analysis regarding cohabitation is very fact sensitive, so it would be necessary to discuss your case in greater detail. You should consult with an experienced family law attorney to ensure that your interests are protected.
You should file for divorce sooner rather than later if your goal is to minimize his potential claim to your recovery. While generally the proceeds of a personal injury lawsuit are exempt from equitable distribution, there are portions of the recovery that may not be, particularly if you were the primary earner in the marriage as he may have a partial claim towards your lost wages. Additionally, he may be entitled to a separate loss of consortium component. Again, the degree of his entitlement, if any, is highly dependent upon the particular circumstances of your case as well as the date of the accident in relation to the date of the recovery. It is crucial that you consult with an experienced matrimonial attorney to learn what your rights are and how to protect your interests in your divorce litigation.
Contact The Micklin Law Group for Experienced Guidance
Whether you have general questions about divorce in New Jersey or specific questions about your own potential divorce, contact our legal team. The Micklin Law Group at Nutley, New Jersey has extensive experience helping clients through the many stages of divorce. Learn more by calling us at 973-562-0100 or by submitting our online contact form. We offer free consultations to all new clients.