Division of Assets in New Jersey Divorce Law

New Jersey divorce law follows a theory of equitable distribution when dividing up marital assets. It’s important to understand that equitable does not necessarily mean equal, as in 50-50. Once all assets are valued, the court will strive for a “fair, but not necessarily equal, division” of marital property.

The law views marriage as a shared enterprise, and deems property acquired by either spouse during the marriage to be jointly owned.  Generally, property owned prior to the marriage, and third party gifts and inheritance received during the marriage, are exempt from marital property (unless the property has been since transferred into joint ownership).  The burden is the party wanting to exempt an item to show exempt status.

Those are the theories, but in practice many grey areas arise. In the case of certain property previously owned by one person and that remains solely in their name – such as the house or retirement funds – it can be shown that the other spouse is entitled to a fair share of the appreciation value during the marriage.

The court will examine several factors, including: (1) the length of marriage; (2) the standard of living during the marriage; (3) the economic circumstances of each party; (4) the age and health of the parties at divorce.

While each item’s history and use is relevant, so can be the parties’ current ages and relative economic positions.  At the Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group, each of our attorneys is experienced) in New Jersey divorce law. We know how the courts interpret the equitable distribution statute and can help you receive your fair share of assets to secure your future.

New Jersey Divorce the Only Viable Option for Many

Few people get married with one eye set on divorce in the future. It’s something that most of us don’t even like to think about. Marriage can take couples down paths that twist and turn and may even cause them to grow apart. As time goes on, circumstances can change, and getting a legal New Jersey divorce may become the only viable option for a couple to make.

Getting a divorce is not a decision that anyone should take lightly. Lives may change in dramatically different ways. Yet those different paths often become a blessing in disguise for couples who have tried to keep it together, to no avail. For many, divorce becomes a fact of life that needs to be handled in a compassionate and understanding manner.

Those seeking a New Jersey divorce will need to work with an attorney throughout the process. When it comes to choosing the right attorney, it is important to go with one who understands you and the challenges you are going through, and who will be patient and caring enough to help you through this time, standing by you every step of the way.

You may be going through a difficult time, but when you have someone by your side that has the expertise, experience and compassion to guide you through the process of obtaining a New Jersey divorce, you will feel better. Contact Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group, we are here to help

Contact a skilled New Jersey family law attorney for help with domestic violence

It is natural for couples to have fights and various arguments throughout their relationship.  However, when these fights escalate to include verbal abuse and physical assault, you should know that protection is available to you.  Whether your abuser is your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend or partner, domestic violence and abuse is a crime – seeking the counsel of a skilled New Jersey family law attorney is often the best method for getting help with this type of situation.  For your protection, a New Jersey family law attorney can help you obtain a restraining order.

In New Jersey, a restraining order is a court-order issued by a judge that provides specific protection for your safety and well-being.  If you are the victim of threats or abusive behaviors, you should contact a local police department, call 9-1-1 or go to a local court house and report the incident.  A judge is available and is on-call, even after hours, for these types of emergency situations and has the power to execute an immediate temporary restraining order.

After a temporary restraining order has been issued, a formal hearing will take place before a superior court judge in the family division to determine if the temporary restraining order should be converted into a final restraining order.  Both sides have the opportunity to present their cases to the court, and a judge will make the final decision.  If granted, this restraining order serves as full protection for an indefinite period of time.  If the abuser fails to comply with the terms of the final restraining order, the violation can result in a criminal record and possible jail time.

For domestic violence questions or concerns, contact us in New Jersey at the Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group, or call us at (973)520-8822.  We are a family law firm with the experience and commitment to help you with your most complex legal needs.

Could Your Couple Tattoo Lead You to a Divorce Attorney in New Jersey?

Over the last decade, more people in the state and throughout the country have branded themselves with tattoos.  Many tattoos are of images, yet some take the shape of lettering.  Some bleeding hearts go as far as showcasing the name of lovers and spouses.  Could your couple tattoo lead you to a divorce attorney in New Jersey?  Some celebrity couples have had the unfortunate experience of jinxing their union by getting tattoos.  Here are three, widely-known celebrities who have made the inking mishap.

Angelina Jolie
Angelina made the mistake not one, not two, but three times!  She first got the letter, ‘H’ branded on her wrist to symbolize her love for then boyfriend, Timothy Hutton.   Did you get an initial of your loved one, then found yourself at the office of a divorce attorney in New Jersey?  Don’t fret, you can do the same as Angelina; she now tells people that the ‘H’ stands for her brother, James Haven.  Hopefully, you love someone that shares an initial with your ex too!

Pamela Anderson
Pam Anderson fell hard for rocker, Tommy Lee.  After dating for under a week, the couple decided to get one another’s name tattooed on their finger.  After some scandal and hardship, the relationship came to a close warranting the need to do something about the conspicuous ink.  It is a good thing that the characters in ‘Tommy’ closely resemble those in ‘Mommy’ because that is how Pam solved her tattoo debacle.

Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp is in the hearts of many female fans across the globe, but at one point, his heart solely belonged to Winona Ryder.  He was so enamored with her that he decided to get the sentiment, “Winona Forever” tattooed on his arm.  The couple’s relationship did not land them at a divorce attorney in New Jersey, but they did split up.  Johnny did not opt for altering his tattoo to symbolize his love for another person; he opted to idolize his love of drinking by changing the brand to say “Wino Forever.”

Getting a tattoo to symbolize the love of your sweetheart is an endearing sentiment, yet what happens if your love meets the same fate as the above celebrities?  Before you pay a visit to your nearest tattoo parlor, think about the chance of one day finding yourself meeting with a divorce attorney in New Jersey.  It may save you some money on the ink as well as the exercise in creativity to find a way to alter your tattoo!

Preparing Your Children for a Divorce in New Jersey

Divorce can sometimes be a heart-wrenching experience for all individuals involved.  It is especially hard on children who have grown accustomed to their family life and may not yet be aware of the tribulations of life.  A divorce in New Jersey can be emotional and psychologically trying on a young individual.  While not easy, there may be ways to make things easier on your child and lessen his or her fears and anxieties about the future.  Consider the following suggestions:

Breaking the news regarding your divorce in New Jersey

Child professionals suggest telling your child or children about the news together with your present spouse to present a unified front and to show the child that you both continue to love, care for, and support the child.  Specialists emphasize simplicity and truth while deemphasizing specifics and ugly details which may place ‘blame’ on one parent over the other.It is important for the child to understand that the decision for a divorce in New Jersey was not in any way a result of the child’s behavior and that it is purely an adult decision.  Consider emphasizing that the love you have for your child will never change.

Each child may react differently

You can expect a range of reactions from your children in response to your New Jersey divorce.  Because a child is older does not necessarily mean they will react in a mature manner.  Similarly, some children are beyond their years emotionally and may surprise you by quickly adapting to the change in their life.
It is important to encourage your children to verbalize and share their feelings with you.  Otherwise, if they are experiencing confusion or inner turmoil, these feelings may materialize in a number of ways including seclusion, aggression, or carelessness for their body and safety.

Counseling can serve as an aid to children during a New Jersey divorce

It is understandable to be overwhelmed when dealing with your children’s reactions to a divorce, but you must address your own legal and emotional divorce-related issues.  Many people find that professional counseling is helpful for them and their children.  Think about using available resources such as social service agencies and psychologists to make the divorce in New Jersey easier on you and your child.

New Jersey Divorce Mediation is A Great Option for Parents

New Jersey divorce mediation, allows couples to end their marriage in a civil fashion.  The media often portrays divorce as an ugly fight, between spouses. Recently, one A-list couple showed that not every divorce has to be a struggle. Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johansen split in December of 2010. They released a mutual statement saying, “After long and careful consideration on both our parts, we’ve decided to end our marriage. We entered our relationship with love and it’s with love and kindness we leave it. While privacy isn’t expected, it’s certainly appreciated.”

As this Hollywood example shows, sometimes a mutual divorce is a good thing for both parties. When a couple wants to remain friends after getting a divorce, they should consider the New Jersey divorce mediation process.  New Jersey divorce mediation allows a couple to settle important issues outside of court. This is the best way to ensure that both sides have an equal say on important issues like child custody, child support, alimony, division of assets, and more. When you participate in New Jersey divorce mediation, you meet with your current spouse and a neutral professional, known as the mediator.  You can both have top New Jersey divorce attorneys by your side, or just seek their counsel before and in between the mediation sessions.

New Jersey divorce mediation is a great option for couples like Reynolds and Johansen, who still care for each other, but know they are not meant to be with each other forever as a married couple.  If you plan on raising your children with your former spouse, New Jersey divorce mediation may be your most logical option.  It can allow you to remain friendly especially for the best interests of the children.  After a successful New Jersey mediation, you can both move on with your lives in a similar way as Reynolds and Johansen.

Lessons Learned for New Jersey Child Custody: Top Celebrity Custody Battles

New Jersey child custody cases aren’t as well-known as those in the foothills of Hollywood.  Well, for the most part.  There was that whole “Baby M” issue.  But, generally speaking, the child custody cases we hear about arise from the sun-drenched Hollywood Hills.

Celebrity gossip can be amusing to say the least.  Don’t worry. You’re not alone in your guilty pleasure.  But sometimes, unfortunately, children suffer at the hands of fortune, fame, and lost romance.  Over the years, we’ve seen some of Hollywood’s brightest stars duke it out in Los Angeles court rooms over child custody.  And while we might find ourselves enthralled by breakup battles, perhaps there is a lesson to be learned.  Of course, not everyone is an actor or pop-star with millions of dollars.  But, at the end of the day, human emotion is often what drives a child custody case.

Take a look at some of these top celebrity custody battles, and see if it helps you put a New Jersey child custody case in perspective.

Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger

In a classic battle of “he said, she said,” these two movie stars fought it out over their daughter, Ireland, who also goes by the nickname Addie.  She said he was emotionally abusive.  He said she was mentally unstable.  He also called his daughter “a thoughtless little pig.”  In the end, though, after apologies were made, the courts restored Baldwin’s visitation rights and the two have shared custody.

Britney Spears and Kevin Federline

This custody battle was so bitter it made washing your mouth out with soap seem like a pleasantry.  Britney’s descent into drugs, alcohol, and unsafe behavior caused her to be the first major female celebrity in years to lose custody of her children.  She lost custody because she reportedly failed to follow a court order that required her not to drive without a valid license, and to undergo random drug testing and parental counseling.

Michael Jackson and Debbie Rowe

Michael Jackson was notorious for his eccentric—to say the least—lifestyle.  And not much was different when it came to his custody case.  Originally, in 2001, Rowe gave up her legal rights to their children, Michael, Jr. and Paris.  However, after allegations of child molestation, Rowe tried to regain custody.  After nearly a 3-year battle, the two reached a settlement out of court in which Rowe reportedly gave up visitation rights for reinstated alimony payments of up to $750,000 a year.

David Hasselhoff and Pamela Bach

As in most custody battles, it’s his word versus her word.  He accused her of substance abuse, and she said he was a physically abusive alcoholic.  In May 2007, a video surfaced of an intoxicated Hasselhoff eating a hamburger in a stupor while in the presence of older daughter, Taylor, who can be heard in the video pleading with her father to stop being a drunk.  However, despite the scandalous video, Hasselhoff was awarded primary physical and legal custody of the kids in June 2007.  Then, a few months later in December, the two settled on a joint custody agreement.

New Jersey Divorce Lawyers Collide with 21st Century Technology

Technology is supposed to make things easier, right?  Well, for New Jersey divorce lawyers, it is and it isn’t.  With a new wave of technology, lawyers navigate the whitewater of technology-based divorce in New Jersey.

So, what is a technology-based divorce? Ask Tiger Woods or Tony Parker.  Neither of their wives needed to see lipstick on their husband’s collar or smell perfume on their clothes.  They simply had to check their husband’s cell phone. Today, more and more spouses are citing technology—cell phones, Facebook, e-mail, etc.—as evidence in their divorce cases.

In fact, the social networking phenomenon, Facebook, is now being cited in 1 out of every 5 divorce cases.  New Jersey divorce lawyers are presented with incriminating photos, status updates, and other information posted on the site.  While it should come as no surprise, sites like Facebook can provide powerful evidence in a New Jersey divorce.

Naturally, as New Jersey divorce lawyers, we pay close attention to how these technologies impact courtroom rulings.  But, as human beings, we’re also curious how this technology is affecting society and our marriages.  A British study conducted in 2008 found that 80% of people boot up high-tech gadgets before going to sleep.  And of that 80%, 33% send and receive texts/e-mails while in bed. That can’t be good for intimacy.

So, we invite you, our readers, to share some your thoughts on technology and its impact on divorce in New Jersey.

Basic Information about a New Jersey Restraining Order

You may have experienced a bad relationship or divorce with your former partner.  A New Jersey restraining order is a reality and solution for those who feel their safety and personal space is threatened by another person.

A New Jersey restraining order is a civil order issued by a judge.  The order provides protection against the presence of unwanted parties such as a former spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, present or former household member, and other parties identified in the restraining order.

The precipitating events and reasons to seek a New Jersey restraining order vary, but most seek such an order because they feel threatened by another person.  Events of domestic violence often precede the need for a New Jersey restraining order.  In general, if a family member or other person attempts to harm you (with our without a weapon) or gives you reason to believe they are planning to harm you, then that person may have committed an act of domestic violence.

Domestic violence occurs in many forms.  People may seek a New Jersey restraining order as a derivative of the following actions: assault, terroristic threats, kidnapping, criminal mischief, false imprisonment, sexual assault, harassment, and stalking.

New Jersey temporary restraining orders can be granted by means of an emergency order when the courts are closed and can be facilitated by contacting local police or 911.  A final restraining order is granted once both parties are given the opportunity to tell their side of the story and the judge decides the temporary restraining order should be made permanent in order to protect the safety and well-being of the victim.

Obtaining a New Jersey restraining order can result in the following:

–          A no-contact provision that prohibits the abuser from communicating with the victim

–          An order that permits the abuser to remove limited items from a previously shared space in the company of a law officer

–          Emergency financial support from the abuser, including support for minors

–          Temporary sole possession of the home for the abused

Comparing Divorce in New Jersey to the Rest of the Country

Do 50% of marriages really end with a divorce in New Jersey?  For years now, that’s the statistic we’ve been fed: 50% of marriages end in divorce.  But doesn’t that seem a bit broad?  Is the outcome of your marriage really the same as flipping a coin? 50% seems like a cop-out.  It seems like a lack of thorough research. 50% seems like someone took the number of reported marriages and the number of reported divorces and did some simple division, which, by the way, is exactly what they did.

The 50% statistic in no way indicates divorce trends in the U.S. This statistic is derived from the total number of marriages and divorces over the past 30 years or so.  Isn’t it possible for divorce in New Jersey and in the rest of the country to have slowed down?

Furthermore, isn’t it possible for there to be less, or more, divorce in New Jersey than in, say, Wyoming?  While, yes, a marriage is still a marriage, it’s probably safe to assume life in Wyoming isn’t the same as life in New Jersey.  So, let’s take a look at some more accurate statistics.

The divorce rate per 1,000 married women sank to 16.4 in 2009 from 16.9 the year before and a far cry from 22.6 in 1980, according to an analysis of the data from the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia.

Let’s see where the rate for divorce in New Jersey falls.  Here is a list of the states with the lowest divorce rates per 1,000 people.

1.       Massachusetts                                  1.8

2.       District of Columbia                         2.1

3.       Pennsylvania                                    2.3

4.       Iowa                                                   2.5

5.       New York                                          2.5

6.       North Dakota                                    2.5

7.       South Carolina                                   2.6

8.       Illinois                                                 2.6

9.       Maryland                                            2.8

10.   Minnesota                                            2.8

11.   New Jersey                                          2.8