Your Divorce Questions Answered: Family Law Tuesdays

If you missed it, below are all the questions shared and the answers given on our Facebook page for September’s Family Law Tuesday. We hope you will join us this next Tuesday, October 7th where you can ask us your own questions. You can send us questions ahead of time, publicly or privately, via email, Facebook post, direct or private message, on Twitter, even a phone call, or join us at 8/9pm EST on Facebook and post your question live!

What we have noticed most, in this monthly Q&A series, is your desire to either remain anonymous or only allow your first name to be shared, while, at the same time, allow everyone to know your questions and get the answers too. It’s this sharing of information that we believe everyone appreciates.

We’d like to thank all of those who offer their questions knowing the answers will be offered publicly!

— As seen in our Facebook page stream on September 02, 2014: —

Welcome to Family Law Tuesday! We’re LIVE from now until 9 pm answering your questions related to divorce and family law. You can send us a private message with your question or post it in the comments below. We’ve heard from many of you already and will be posting your Q&As throughout the hour. Let’s get started!
Matt Asks: Our first question involves divorce mediation. Matt asked us via private message: I think I want to have our divorce mediated, but one point is still unclear to me: do you need an attorney if you mediate (like you would going to court)? Thanks.

Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group, LLC Response: Hi Matt, great question. Mediation is a process that cuts down on the cost, time and stress of getting a divorce. The only outside person you and your spouse are *required* to obtain when you mediate is the actual mediator. You don’t necessarily need to hire an attorney, but it is still strongly recommended. An attorney will be able to advise you of your rights and assist you in arriving at a resolution. If in the event the mediation process does not resolve your issues, the big upside is that already having a family law attorney on board will smooth the transition if you need to go to court. Here’s more on the difference between mediators and attorneys to help you better understand who will do what in the process: – Thank you for your question.
Mediation FAQ: What is the difference between mediators and lawyers?
Pamela Asks: Our next question comes to us from Pamela, who asked: I just recently found out some information that I think might have changed the outcome of my divorce. Are there ways to go back and make a change? Is there a statute of limitations on such things?
Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group, LLC Response: Yes and yes! In New Jersey, you can appeal a final judgment, but the timing and type of appeal is important. Appeals of a final judgment should be filed within 45 days. Motions to Reconsideration need to be filed with 20 days. Divorce appeals can be difficult and time-consuming, so it really is best to consult your attorney in such matters. We have general information on both “divorce appeals” and on the process itself on these two web pages:
– Thank you for your question, Pamela! Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.
Divorce Info: Appealing a Divorce Judgment or Decree in New Jersey
Anonymous Asks: Our next question concerns grandparent rights: My daughter’s husband died 2 months ago in a car accident. She’s made plans for two of their minor sons to live with her late husband’s family. They live abroad in different countries. I am very against the idea and feel its way too soon to make such a big decision. Ive offered to take temporary or permanent custody but she believes this was her husbands wishes. What can I do?

Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group, LLC Response: We are so sorry to hear about your family’s loss. As a grandparent, you may have some rights in this situation. In New Jersey, if at any time grandparents are denied visitation with their grandchildren (which would be the case if children moved abroad), grandparents have certain legal recourse, provided they can prove to a judge that the grandparent’s time is necessary to avoid harm to the child. If a grandparent and child had an especially close bond, for example, it could be the case that the child would be psychologically harmed by the sudden severing of this relationship. You can read more about grandparent rights here:
There is also the concept of “kinship legal guardianship” where a relative (including a grandparent) can seek guardianship under certain circumstances. You can read more about it here:
We hope this information helps. For a more detailed conversation about what might apply in your situation, we encourage you to contact us for an initial consultation with one of our Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group attorneys: Thank you for your question. We’re wishing you and your family the best.
Child & Parenting FAQ: Do Grandparents Have Rights?
Marshall Asks: I’ve heard that the state can mandate that the non-custodial parent maintain a life insurance policy so that in the event of his/her death, the children — as beneficiaries — would continue to have income. Is this true?

Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group, LLC Response: Hi Marshall, here in New Jersey, yes, the non-custodial parent can be made by the courts to name the custodial parent as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy in order to maintain child support in the event of the non-custodial parent’s death. The same goes for spousal support — sometimes the paying spouse is made to name the receiving spouse as beneficiary in order to ensure alimony payments continue in case of death. You can read more about divorce and life insurance here: – Thank you for your question!
Divorce FAQ: What Happens to Your Insurance When You Divorce?
Xavier Asks: This question asked by Xavier is one we hear a lot: How can I get divorced as quickly as possible?

Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group, LLC Response: Hi Xavier, obtaining a divorce in New Jersey can take about one year from the time a Complaint is filed until the final decree is issued. However, some divorces can take much longer. You may be relieved to know that where your divorce falls on the spectrum of how long it takes is largely up to you! The most efficient way to get divorced is to work amicably with your spouse to identify all issues that exist in your matter (such as child custody, child support, alimony, division of assets, etc.) and then commit to working out mutually agreeable terms regarding these issues. If you can both come to a general agreement, you can then take the terms to an attorney to draft a settlement agreement. Once the agreement is actually signed, you can then obtain the final judgment of divorce. This is called an uncontested divorce. You can learn more about the process here: – We hope this helps!
Divorce Info: Uncontested Divorce Process in New Jersey
Anonymous Asks: My ex wants me to sign off on child support because my daughter is in college now. What are my rights, because I’m still helping her financially and she will still have her home here for summer and holidays, or any time she needs?

Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group, LLC Response: You are not alone in wondering about support-related issues with college kids. However, individual situations will need to be taken into account to properly answer this question. In New Jersey, where child support doesn’t automatically end at age 18, there are no simple guidelines in such cases. An examination of your current agreement, as well as your child’s costs and school requirements, should be reviewed in the event of any request for recalculations of child support. An example case you may want to look into is Jacoby v. Jacoby, in which it was argued whether child support should be reduced when a college student resides on campus:

Bottom line, it really is best to check with your attorney, as they should know best about your personal situation and agreement. Thank you for your question!

Child Support FAQ: Does Paying for College End the Need for Child Support?
Shara Asks: How is custody treated when only one parent is the biological parent? My partner and I just broke up and I want to obtain visitation with the child I’ve helped to raise since she was born. Do I have rights?

Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group, LLC Response: Hi Shara, with the way the law is written in New Jersey, a biological parent has automatic legal rights of their children. If the other parent is an adoptive parent, that parent has essentially the same legal rights. However, when you have a non-biological person involved (such as a same-sex partner who did not give birth to the child but has been caring for the child in the same manner as a parent) the party must first prove to the court that he or she is the “psychological parent” of the child. If a judge approves, this establishes legal rights and you can then move ahead seeking custody and parenting time. We have more information on the topic here:
– Please let us know if you have further questions! Thank you for getting in touch.
Child & Parent Info: Children of Domestic Partners/Civil Unions
Jessica Asks: Now that we’re divorcing, when can I change my last name back?

Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group, LLC Response: Hi Jessica, if you are divorcing in New Jersey, you will generally have the opportunity to make your name change official at the time of your final uncontested hearing or trial. If you indicate that you want to use your “premarital surname,” the judge will include your desired last name on your judgment of divorce. Your official divorce decree will serve as your authorization to make changes to many of your documents such as your driver’s license and your social security card. Where to start with those name change forms? We have a great blog on this topic: – We wish you the best!
Post-Divorce Info: How To Change Your Name Post-Divorce: A Check List
Vito Asks: My wife told me that me that 50% of everything is automatically hers. I own a business that she has nothing to do with. Does she have any claim in our divorce?

Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group, LLC Response: Hi Vito, whether she does or not — and how much of a claim she has — will be looked at through the lens of New Jersey’s “equitable distribution” law. This is different from “community property” laws like we hear about in states like California where marital property is split 50-50. In New Jersey, equitable distribution states that “each spouse is entitled to a portion of the marital property in relation to his/her contributions during the marriage.” Sometimes this IS 50-50, but depending on the circumstances, it may be far less or far more. We have an article that explains the law in more detail:
– Please contact us for more information – and to discuss the particulars of your situation!
Divorce Info: Equitable Distribution of Property in New Jersey
Anonymous Asks: I think my husband has been cheating. He’s also getting much more aggressive and mean. We have talked about divorce and I’m certain we will proceed. I have been consulting attorneys too. Would you recommend I file based on irreconcilable differences or infidelity?

Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group, LLC Response: We are sorry to hear about these additional circumstances you’re facing as you proceed with your divorce. While both are valid grounds for divorce in New Jersey, the issues related to each can be quite different as you proceed with a settlement. “Irreconcilable differences” tends to be a ground used when couples choose to divorce in a less contentious manner, while” infidelity” can bring about many other concerns and considerations. Check out some of these articles and information as you proceed and before you make a decision:

Most notably, we do have many situations in cases where infidelity issues can bring about Marital Tort claims. These are claims that are filed in conjunction with divorce cases. Here’s more to help understand this type of situation:

Do share as much information as you can with your attorney at the very beginning – even if it seems overly personal or possibly unnecessary. It will help him/her determine the best direction and course of action to take as you proceed.
Eric Asks: I have been on active military duty and will not be returning to New Jersey. Am I able to file for custody of my child in New Jersey without being a resident?

Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group, LLC Response: Hi Eric, depending on your timeframe for filing, New Jersey allows military personnel one of three places in which they can file for divorce:
– The state that the serviceperson is currently stationed,
– The state that the spouse currently resides, or
– The state that the serviceperson claims residence.
Child custody concerns will be evaluated based on the best interests of the child. Since a “military divorce” and child custody issues can be complex, especially with location or relocation issues, we will recommend consulting with an attorney. You can find additional information and particulars about military divorce here:
Thank you for your question. Please let us know if you need further information!
Divorce Info: Guide to Military Divorce in New Jersey
Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group, LLC: Thank you all for joining us tonight! We will be back for next month’s Family Law Tuesday question and answer session on Facebook on October 7th.