Tag Archive for: divorce lawyers

Take These 5 Steps Before Filing For Divorce

There is plenty of step-by-step advice out there on how to file for divorce. But in our experience, there’s almost no discussion of the preparations you need to do before filing. Filing for divorce is like skydiving: there’s an awful lot of logistical planning to do in the weeks and months prior to the jump.

So before you start filling out forms, consider these five steps: Read more

4 Key Traits for Finding the Best Divorce Lawyer & Questions to Ask

How to Find the Best
You’ve come to the end of the road: your marriage isn’t working, and you want out. But you don’t know the first thing about how to begin the divorce process, or what the steps are between filing and finalization. So the obvious move is to find a divorce lawyer… but how do decide who would be best for you and your situation? How do you select one who will help you get what you want without emptying your wallet? Read more

Divorce Tax Mistakes to Avoid

Financial Information

Ending a marriage is difficult enough. But if you’re recently separated or divorced, you have the added burden of figuring out a new and more complicated tax situation. In our founding partner’s most recent Huffington Post piece (see below for the link), Bari Weinberger gave us answers to the top four tax questions she gets asked by clients who are in the process of divorce. We’re following up with three more common mistakes divorced taxpayers make on their taxes and how to avoid them. Read more

5 Steps to Take Before Meeting Your Divorce Attorney for the First Time

Bari Weinberger - Meeting With Your Lawyer
You’ve shopped around for a great divorce lawyer and now it’s time for your first meeting. What should you expect from your attorney – and how should you prepare? Here are five important steps to take before that all-important initial visit. Read more

Divorce for People in the Public Eye

Are you a celebrity, politician, or play on a professional sports team — and want to get a divorce? With high profile and celebrity divorce news dominating headlines these days, it’s trickier than ever for people in the public eye to keep divorce matters private. Unless, of course, you have the right lawyer on your side.

What makes some attorneys more capable than others at handling the complex needs of high-profile or celebrity clientele? Here are some qualities we think are important: Read more

Ending “Lifetime Alimony”

Imagine this: your divorce ends with you being told that you have to pay alimony to your ex. You don’t like it, but you do it. Then you lose your job. You can’t afford anything for yourself, let alone payment of anything to someone else. The only way you can get your alimony payments lowered or suspended is to go to court, where you now have to prove that your financial situation has seriously changed. You’re told that you haven’t been unemployed long enough to show that your circumstances have changed. Now you’re forced to wait around and prove that you’re unemployed, racking up more and more debt every month. Additionally, you’ve also had to spend money on a lawyer to try to prove that you have no money.

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Bari Weinberger talks to eHealth Radio about Divorce and Impacts on your Health

Listen to interview with New Jersey family law attorney Bari Weinberger and eHealth Radio host Eric Michaels as they discuss Divorce and Your Health topics that include answers to the following questions:

1. How does divorce affect a person’s health?
2. What is divorce anger?
3. How common is domestic violence and what should someone who is a victim do to protect themselves?
4. How can people minimize the impacts of divorce?
5. What can parents do to minimize the impacts of divorce on their children?
6. What are some ways people can prepare for a divorce?
7. What do you advise people to look for when choosing a divorce lawyer?
8. How can people prepare for their 1st meeting with their lawyer?

Topics addressed in this radio interview can also be heard in our vitally-important video/webinar: The 5 Critical Risks of Divorce!

Summary Tips:

  • Keep it amicable. The more reasonable and amicable everyone is, the shorter the process and it can ultimately help lessen the overall cost, both financially and to the health and well-being of all involved.
  • Don’t get your children involved the more you get them involved the more resentful they will be and the more it will harm your relationship with your children.
  • Don’t be afraid to make compromises. A small compromise doesn’t need to translate into a weakness. A small compromise can often be recognized as a big gesture by the other party and can help move the process towards a quicker settlement. Try not to get caught up in the little battles and focus on the big picture.

Bari suggests, in her closing remarks, “Find a divorce lawyer who knows how to fight, but really appreciates how to listen to you, to know what you want and knows the best approach for you and your unique circumstances because every case is different and not every case should be a battle.”

New Year, New Life: Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey

Free Video - 5 Risks of DivorceResolved to move forward with your divorce in 2015? It’s not uncommon to consider the new year a time for a new life. January 1st has many taking first steps towards much needed changes in their lives. The first step typically taken when dissolution of marriage is desired is to file a Complaint for Divorce, essentially one spouse’s request for the court to grant a judgment of divorce. In the Complaint for Divorce in New Jersey, the filing party must provide the ground for divorce, or the reason (or reasons) why the marriage needs to end.

There are a number of acceptable grounds for divorce in New Jersey. New Jersey divorce law does include both fault and no-fault grounds, however, the terms of a final settlement are not necessarily determined based on fault or no-fault in a divorce (find additional information in our articles about contested divorce and uncontested divorce in New Jersey).

As you start to think seriously about filing for divorce, you should consider which of the following grounds apply in your situation, such as:

– Irreconcilable Differences: Because this is one of New Jersey’s “no-fault divorce” grounds, irreconcilable differences simply mean that there has been a breakdown of the marriage that has lasted at least six months and there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation. Without specific accusations, or laying blame on one spouse, citing irreconcilable differences may help to make the divorce process less contentious.

– 18 Month Separation: If you and your spouse have lived in different houses for 18 consecutive months or more, you may be eligible to file for divorce on the basis of separation. Because this is New Jersey’s other no-fault ground for divorce, you do not need to detail why you separated, but at the end of 18 months you will need to file a sworn statement that you and your spouse have been living separate and apart, in different houses, for 18 months or more and that you do not expect to reconcile. Be aware that living in the same house in different bedrooms does not fulfill this requirement.

– Extreme Cruelty: Prior to the implementation of Irreconcilable Differences, this was by far the most common ground for divorce in New Jersey, partly because extreme cruelty (despite the harshness of the wording) is subjective enough to cover both mild and severe forms of cruelty. For instance, extreme cruelty can describe a situation in which domestic violence is present, but it can also apply if one spouse simply feels that he or she has not received adequate emotional support for the past several months. When cited as a ground for divorce, extreme cruelty may be as expressive or understated as one would like it to be. However, it must offer enough detail to convince the judge that it would be unreasonable to expect the filing party to continue to live with and remain married to their current spouse.

– Adultery: If this ground for divorce applies, New Jersey requires that the complainant in an adultery divorce case state the name of the person with whom the extramarital affair was conducted. This person becomes known as “the correspondent” and will be sent a copy of the Complaint, which he or she can then dispute. If the correspondent’s name is not known, the person who files must give as much information as possible to describe this person. Evidence of adultery includes receipts for hotels and gifts, eye-witness accounts, photos, love notes and cards, and private investigator reports.

– Desertion: According to New Jersey divorce law, Desertion is different from Separation in that Separation requires “separate and apart” living conditions. Grounds on Desertion do not have to be separate and apart living conditions. This ground tends to arise when there is “willful cessation of sexual relations”.  Note the emphasis on the word  “willful” under this ground for divorce, which also can include “willful departure.” Desertion has a reduced time period too, requiring at least 12 months under its guidelines.

– Voluntary Addiction to Narcotic Drugs: Addiction is defined as a dependence on narcotics for a period of 12 or more consecutive months immediately preceding the divorce filing. If you choose this ground, you may need to provide evidence of the addiction.

– Habitual Drunkenness: As with drug addiction, drunkenness and alcohol abuse may be used as grounds for divorce. Evidence of alcoholism may also be part of your pleadings.

– Mental Illness: According to New Jersey statutes concerning divorce, this ground applies when one spouse has been institutionalized for mental illness preceding the filing of the Complaint.

– Imprisonment: If your spouse has been in a prison after marriage, this ground for divorce may apply in your situation. You can file a Complaint while your spouse is still in prison. If you wait until after he or she is released, you can still file using this ground, provided the two of you are no longer living together with the intent to reconcile.

– Deviant Sexual Conduct: This ground refers to sexual conduct engaged in by one spouse without the other’s permission or consent. The exact nature of the deviant sexual conduct is undefined under current New Jersey divorce law.

Which grounds for divorce best applies in your case? Every divorce case is unique, so it is vital for anyone filing for divorce in New Jersey to be represented by an accomplished New Jersey Family Law attorney who can offer professional guidance on the advantages and disadvantages of using certain grounds for divorce.

To learn more about starting the divorce process, which grounds to state in your Complaint for Divorce, or for general questions about divorce in New Jersey, please contact us.

Military Divorce Rates on the Rise in 2011

Military divorce rates reached a record 12-year high in 2011, with one in every 27 married troops getting divorced this past year, according to a new report from the U.S. Defense Department. The military divorce rate of 3.7 percent now stands slightly higher than national divorce rate of 3.5 percent and officials expect to see this number continue to rise as troops return home from service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Among the revealing statistics contained in Defense Department data:

  • Members of the Air Force have the highest divorce rate (3.9 percent), up slightly from 3.8 percent in 2010.
  • The U.S. Marine Corps is the only service branch to see a decline in divorces: the 2011 divorce rate stood at 3.8 percent, a slight dip from 3.6 percent in 2010.
  • Among officers, the divorce rate lifted to 2.1 percent in 2011 from 1.9 percent in 2010.
  • Among enlisted service members, the divorce rate remained flat this year at 4.1 percent.
  • Overall, there were approximately 30,000 military divorces in 2011, data shows.

Interestingly, gender also played a significant role in rising military divorce rates, with women in the military demonstrating the most divorces overall. As USA Today reports, close to one in 10 marriages of female service members, or roughly 10 percent, ended in divorce this past year.

Officials also predict that military divorce rates will likely remain high as troops continue to return from the Middle East and reunite with families and spouses from whom they have been apart.

“As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan draw down, we’re going to put more families together who haven’t been used to being together,” a spokesman for the Army Office of the Chief of Chaplains said at a press conference this week.

Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group has extensive experience helping our servicemen and women through their divorce matters, whether or not they remain on active duty. We understand the intricacies unique to each branch of the armed forces and appreciate the need to obtain resolution with honor and dignity.

For more information specific to the military divorce process in New Jersey, please read our “New Jersey Out-of-State, International, Military Divorce” page and contact us with any questions specific to your marital situation.

Sources:
USA Today News – Military Divorce Rate Increases: http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/story/2011-12-13/military-divorce-rate-increases/51888872/1

Divorce Lawyer – NJ Process for High Asset Divorce

New Jersey divorce law provides that all marital property shall be distributed equitably. But before a fair distribution can be agreed to, first the marital property and the separate property needs to be determined and then the property must be valued. Someone with many assets and/or complex financial holdings should consult an experienced divorce lawyer. NJ statutes, case law and prenuptial agreements will need to be reviewed to make sure your rights are fully protected.

There are several areas where an experienced attorney can guide you through the process. These include:

(1)               If you or your spouse own a business – Businesses can be complex to appraise accurately, as there are numerous accounting procedures that can be difficult to wade through. Specialized experts called forensic accountants and actuarial experts can be utilized to provide a valuation on the business. Sometimes each party will each get their own appraisal with the two values to be used to ultimately agree on a fair value.

(2)               Retirement Assets (401ks, IRAs, pensions) – In general, a QDRO will be performed to value that portion of retirement assets that were accumulated during the marriage (from the date of marriage to the date of the divorce filing).

(3)               Real estate holdings – In addition to the primary residence, there may be vacation homes, commercial property or investment property. First, it must be determined if any portion of the property can be considered separate from marital property. Then the property must be valued, and a decision made about whether to keep it or sell it.

(4)               Bonuses and Stock Options – There are accounting methods to help determine which portion of this type of compensation will be considered marital property subject to distribution.

It will take some time to properly value all of the holdings for high net worth couples. It’s important that you seek the advice of lawyers who specialize in New Jersey divorce law. They can make you aware of options for valuing and selling property to help ensure an equitable distribution.