Answers to today's legal questions through blogs and articles

Family Law

What Assets are Split in Divorce?

All our lives we acquire and lose things. We buy, we sell, trade and borrow. We spend all day at jobs to buy the things we desire. It’s not only physical things that we acquire however. We also acquire retirement plans, bank accounts, investments, and debts. We gain some of these things before marriage and some during. If and when these marriages come to an end assets must be divided between spouses. This is never easy and it’s important to understand your rights so that you receive a fair settlement. It’s wise to get a good understanding of exactly what the value of all these assets are and to hire some professionals such as an attorney and an accountant or actuary to help with this process.

What are Divorce Pension Rights?

Huge changes come with divorce across all aspects of life. Your finances are certainly not immune and it’s important to understand and protect your pension rights. Couples already in or approaching retirement will find this to be even more important. Couples will typically have all sorts of assets but retirement plans and funds are often one of the largest. They must be divided fairly and in accordance with the law. It’s critical to understand your divorce pension rights when dividing these assets; otherwise it will be extremely difficult to ensure you get your fair share. Don’t let your divorce ruin all that you have worked for and saved toward retirement!

Common Family Law Questions

Family Law Q & A

The NJ family lawyer in Short Hills gets asked many different questions. There are many legal areas that are covered by the umbrella of family law. An attorney can deal with all of the aspects of a divorce including visitation, alimony, and child support or child custody. They may have to determine if there are grounds for a divorce as far as NJ law is concerned. There are many different aspects to family law but a few questions that keep coming up over and over again. Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions.

What is a Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborate
Two People Putting a Puzzle Together

A divorce is never an easy situation to find oneself in; and many times proceedings can seem like they continue forever before they come to an end. A NJ family attorney can help couples file a collaborative divorce which is a new alternative to the traditional process. Collaborative divorce law allows the spouses to work with attorneys who will help them negotiate the terms of a divorce in a much friendlier and peaceful environment. Each spouse will hire a collaborative attorney who will assist them and advise them in negotiating the terms of a settlement agreement. After the two spouses meet with their individual attorneys, the four parties will meet together to discuss the terms of the divorce and try to reach an agreement. If a collaborative divorce cannot be reached the proceedings must go on to the court system. In these cases the collaborative attorney cannot represent their client in the court proceedings. The goal of a collaborative divorce is to peacefully settle all the terms of the divorce through a series of negotiations. A successful collaborative divorce will end with both parties agreeing on all the aspects of the divorce.

Division of Property in a No Fault Divorce

Property Division
House Being Divided by Two Hands

Couples who file for divorce in New Jersey have the option of a no-fault or a fault-based divorce. In a no-fault divorce the parties agree that there are irreconcilable differences which simply means they lack the ability to get along any further and there’s not a chance that they will be able to work it out and get back together. Spouses seeking a no-fault divorce are not required to find fault with the other party or point to something bad which led up to the divorce. A no-fault divorce can be a simpler process and can be easier on the children who are involved.

How do I Get a Divorce in NJ?

Divorce and Family Law
Divorce Definition and Ring

In many areas of the United States the steps for filing for a divorce are very similar with very few differences. Some states even provide kits for uncontested divorces which can be filled out and submitted to the court clerk without the use of a family law attorney. But in most cases it is better to have a family law attorney on hand to help the couple work through the various and unique circumstances they may be facing. One thing that many people neglect is the court jurisdiction where the petition for divorce is to be filed. Most of the time the state or county has regulations regarding residency that must be met before a divorce is filed. Most have a minimum period of residency that must be fulfilled before the court will have the jurisdiction to even hear the case.

What is a Common Law Marriage?

Couple photo
A Couple Walking

When a couple presents themselves as husband and wife and cohabitates for a substantial period of time they can be deemed married without the issuance of a marriage license or a ceremony.  Usually the couple dwells together for at least a year and are in an agreement to become married at a later date. Every state does not recognize or permit common law marriages. However, in most cases if a couple becomes “married” by common law in another state sister states will recognize it as a marital situation.

Is Common Law Legal in NJ?

Prenuptial Agreement and Rings
Prenuptial Agreement

New Jersey is a common law state. In the United States there are two basic legal systems which govern marital property: common law and community property. The community property system is founded on Spanish law and is usually practiced in the western and south western portions of the United States. Alaska offers couples the right to opt in for community property. Common law, on the other hand has its foundation in English law and it is what governs most of the states including New Jersey.

What is Common Law?

Courtroom
Court house

The term Common Law refers to a legal system which is for the most part formed by decisions that have been made by the courts rather than on written laws and regulations that are imposed by government officials or legislatures. Reasoning per each case is necessary to interpret common law. It is based more on a principle and reasoning through particular circumstances to evaluate a case and determine what laws are actually applicable. This means that decisions which have been made about cases which are similar in nature become very valuable since the new case in question will be evaluated based on previous case decisions. The more similar the cases are, the stronger the link between them. The term, common law can also be used to refer to laws which did not originate from other branches of law. Statutes are actually brief explanations of the law they represent and are not explanatory in themselves. Codification is the process through which statutes are passed and then expressed and contained in a single document. This makes it more easily understood within the law that already exists instead of needing to create new laws.  Common Law in most cases only applies inside an area of jurisdiction. Judges oftentimes create common law by writing out their opinions on cases. When they do this, it binds lower courts in the same jurisdiction to the same types of judgments. The foundation that supports this type of law is formed by property, torts and contracts.