Divorce Law in Trenton, NJ
Divorce Law refers to the legal termination of a marriage and often involves working through several complicated issues.
Are you facing a costly divorce in Trenton, New Jersey? Does your estranged spouse have an attorney? Usually, couples going through a divorce are unable to compromise on most items and reach an agreement on their own. Thus, many couples go through mediation or the court system to resolve their case.
Issues Involved in Trenton, New Jersey Divorce Law
There are many complicated issues that you need to settle during the divorce process. Many of these elicit strong emotions from one party or the other, resulting in volatility.
One of the most challenging issues in the divorce law process is dividing property, debts, and assets. In many states, like New Jersey, anything you and your spouse purchased over your marriage is subject to division. This includes things such as real estate, bank accounts, cars, stocks, etc. Some states split marital property evenly, while others go along with an equitable split. In the latter, the judge weighs the contribution each spouse made to the marriage. With that understanding, he or she uses that information to decide the disposition of property. This split may not equate to a perfect 50/50 division of your property, debt, and other assets.
Both parents are responsible for paying for the care of their children. There is a child support guideline that helps determine how much each parent should contribute based on their income and the amount of time they spend with the children. Child support pays for things such as healthcare, food, clothing, and other basic needs.
New Jersey Court Rules provide guidelines for Trenton judges awarding child support. The incomes of both parents become combined to determine the total support amount. Each parent is then responsible for a percentage of that total. If you do not pay your child support, the New Jersey Child Support Program can garnish your wages or seize your property. In addition, you could lose your driver’s license or be criminally charged with contempt of court.
Alimony, or spousal support, can vary dramatically depending on the marriage, and Trenton, NJ divorce law court looks at multiple factors when determining the amount and length of alimony, including:
- A spouse’s need and the other spouse’s ability to pay
- The age and health of each spouse
- The length of the marriage
- Each spouse’s earning capacity and level of education
- The division of property
- Parental responsibility of the children
- Sole investments and assets of either spouse
New Jersey law permits several types of alimony in Trenton divorce cases. Alimony is most commonly awarded for a set period of time to allow both spouses to become financially independent. In addition, a spouse can request reimbursement for financial contributions to their partner’s education or career training. In rare cases, permanent support can be ordered. However, this is typically reserved for long-term marriages where one spouse is unable to work due to age or disability.
Child Custody and Visitation
Child custody is perhaps the most emotional issue during a divorce that involves children. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the court bases all decisions on what is in the best interest of the child. Keeping this in mind may help navigate the rough waters of custody.
New Jersey Court Rules provide guidance for Trenton judges in making custody decisions. In determining the best interest of the child, the court will consider multiple factors, including:
- The character and fitness of the parents
- The economic conditions and homes of both parents
- The relationships between all household members and the child
- The criminal history of the parents
A Trenton court will look at these and any other relevant factors that could impact the child.
Generally, Trenton, New Jersey courts award joint legal custody giving both parents the legal right to make decisions for the children, such as education, medical care, and religious practices. Legal custody has nothing to do with physical custody or visitation. Joint custody does not mean both parents split time with the child evenly, just as Sole legal custody does not bar the non-custodial parent from visiting the child.
The Process of Going Through Divorce Law in Trenton, New Jersey
Are you leaning towards getting a divorce from your partner? If so, it is important to understand the necessary steps of the divorce law process.
Step 1: File the Divorce Law Petition
The divorce law process begins when one spouse files a legal petition to terminate the marriage. The petition must include:
- A legal reason for divorce (grounds for divorce)
- A statement that shows at least one spouse meets the state’s residency requirements for divorce
- Other statutory information your state requires
Most states offer the option for filing a no-fault divorce, which does not require a legal reason for the divorce.
Trenton couples have two options for filing a no-fault divorce. One of the spouses can claim irreconcilable differences with no chance for reconciliation. Alternatively, the couple can show that they separated for at least 18 months.
Step 2: Request Temporary Orders
The divorce law process in Trenton can take several months, but temporary orders can get approved for many reasons, including:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Property restraining orders
- Status quo orders
Request temporary orders as quickly as possible so you are not absent the resources or protection that you need.
Step 3: Serve Your Spouse and Wait for Their Response
If you are the one who files a petition for divorce, you must have your spouse served with their divorce law papers and then file a proof of service with the courts. If your spouse accepts service, then they need to fill out an affidavit to that effect. However, in many cases, the petitioner must hire a process server or sheriff to formally serve the petition on the other spouse. It is this third party who then records the proof of service.
Step 4: Try To Come to an Agreement
The best outcome for anyone going through this process is to have an uncontested divorce, meaning both spouses agree on all issues.
This can occur between both partners or with the help of a mediator. Not only will this save each spouse money, but there will typically be a lot less animosity.
Step 5: Go To Court
If you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement, then the case continues before a Trenton, NJ judge. While there is some benefit to having a judge hand down orders, it may also be a detriment as there is little to no control of the agreement by the parties.
Trenton divorce cases go to the Mercer County Civil Court. One or both of the spouses must be a New Jersey resident for at least one year before filing.
Step 6: Receive the Judgement of Divorce
The divorce law trial will end with the official judgment of divorce, ending the marriage. This final dissolution of marriage sets out the details about property and debt division, child custody, and all relevant issues between the couple.
Work With an Experienced Trenton, New Jersey Divorce Law Attorney
If you are going through a divorce and are unable to reach an agreement with your partner, you should hire an experienced Trenton divorce law attorney. A lawyer will fight for you and make sure you get what is yours. We can even help you connect with an attorney across New Jersey state lines.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!