On the first Tuesday of every month, Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group hosts a LIVE Facebook Q&A to answer your questions related to divorce and related family law issues, including child support, child custody, alimony and more. Our next Family Law Tuesday is scheduled for December 2 from 8-9 pm. We cordially invite you to stop by and ask your question(s) during the hour (we’ll be on hand to answer). You are also free to send us questions via private message. We will post your question using only your first name — or keep it anonymous if you wish.
What kinds of questions do others ask? Here’s a sampling from November’s Family Law Tuesday:
Anonymous asked via PM: I filed for divorce pro se. Now my husband has gotten an attorney and given me a cross complaint. I was not expecting this as we were supposed to be able to come to agreement. Now I’m unsure how to proceed.
Our response: We actually hear this question fairly often. While both of you may have initially agreed to represent yourself in your divorce (“divorce pro se”), many issues that come up during the divorce process can be complicated. Perhaps your husband decided to get a lawyer because he didn’t feel comfortable with the legal information coming his way? We know that choosing to proceed pro se with your divorce is generally a decision based on financial reasons and the desire to save money. While we completely understand this choice and see it work for some, we also see where this has the reverse effect of cost savings and can cause future issues. Having the extra support of a knowledgeable attorney in divorce or family law matters can only help.
In terms of where you are now in divorce, since your spouse has abandoned the pro se divorce, it is your best interest to at least consult with an attorney to find out about your options. If you are located in New Jersey, we invite you to please take advantage of an initial consultation where you can explain your personal situation more precisely and clearly. If you are elsewhere, do consider seeking out another to get some initial advise with which you can feel comfortable with proceeding properly and effectively.
We also have some helpful articles we encourage you to read:
Pitfalls of Handling Your Own New Jersey Divorce
Divorce Horror Story: A Do-It-Yourself Divorce Gone Wrong
Thank you for your question!
Pete asked: I want to get a divorce, but the number one thing I don’t want to do is pay alimony. My wife cheated on me. Why should I pay her to sustain a lifestyle that included adultery? How can I get out of it?
Our response: We are sorry you are going through such a difficult time, and completely understand where you are coming from in this question. The short answer: according to alimony statute in New Jersey, committing adultery does not automatically disqualify someone from receiving alimony. However (and this is a big however!), adultery *can* be taken into consideration on a case by case basis when alimony is sought. For example, if the spouse who committed the act of adultery was receiving financial support from the person with whom the affair was being conducted, the court may attempt to determine whether the economic benefits from the affair justifies a reduction or elimination of alimony. For example, if it shown to the courts that the spouse having the affair was gifted with expensive clothes, trips and excessive spending money, their alimony award may be reduced or even denied, depending on the circumstances. If you need more information or would like to discuss matter further, please contact us to schedule a consultation. Thank you for your question!
Kent asked: I got married when I was 42. I had a well-established retirement account. It’s now 5 years later and I think we are headed for divorce. Is the 15 years of my retirement account that I contributed to before I got married considered a personal asset — or is she entitled to half of everything no matter what?
Our response: Most retirement accounts are considered marital property, which means that they are subject to New Jersey’s equitable distribution laws. Equitable distribution is very different from “community property” laws that states such as California have. Under equitable distribution, marital property can be portioned according to factors such as how long the marriage lasted versus how long the asset was in existence. In many cases, the share the spouse is entitled to turns out to be far less than 50%. There are several ways to divide retirement accounts, including using it as a negotiating chip in gaining other assets. Meeting with a lawyer to look over your type of account and your other assets can help you decide how to proceed. In the meantime, we have some great tips on how to protect your retirement assets: Help Your Golden Years Stay Golden: Protecting Retirement Funds During Divorce. Please read and let us what other questions you have, or if you would like to set up an initial consultation. Thank you for the question.
What’s YOUR question? We look forward to hearing from you on December 2!