Divorce FAQs

Our Essex County divorce attorneys can answer your divorce FAQs such as the following:

Q: What are legal grounds for divorce? What is a "no-fault" divorce?
A: The state of New Jersey recognizes a set of legal grounds for divorce that includes (but is not limited to) adultery, extreme cruelty and desertion. Most divorces, however, are filed under the category of "no-fault." The grounds for a no-fault divorce can be a lengthy separation or irreconcilable differences. In a no-fault divorce, both parties agree that there is no blame to assign, and any misconduct becomes irrelevant to the divorce proceedings.

Q: How is alimony awarded?
A: New Jersey law requires the court to consider 13 different factors when determining alimony. Generally speaking, courts will consider the duration of the marriage, the marital lifestyle, the supporting spouse's ability to pay, and the dependent's spouse's ability to contribute to his or her own support.

Q: How is custody decided? How is child support calculated?
A: If both parties cannot reach an agreement on child custody, the court will make a custody ruling based on what it determines to be in the best interest of the child. Child support is generally determined based on a formula that calculates a percentage of each parent's gross income coupled with the amount of time each parent spends with the child.

Q: Can I relocate out of state with my kids?
A: Although court approval is required, the answer is usually yes. The court will examine 12 factors, including whether there is a good faith reason for the move and whether the move will be detrimental to the child's best interest. A lawyer can advocate on your behalf for your desired outcome.

Q: How is property divided?
A: New Jersey's court system operates on the premise of "equitable distribution" of the marital property. While there is a presumption of a 50-50 split, there are 16 statutory factors the court takes into account when dividing the marital assets, including the duration of the marriage, the age and health of the parties, and the marital lifestyle.

Q: What is mediation? Is this an option for me?
A: Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution in which both parties endeavor to resolve their divorce issues amicably, often without the aid of attorneys. A mediator can facilitate the parties' discussions, working with them to reach a mutually agreeable dissolution of the marriage. Of course, the divorce decree must still be entered in court. If this is a possibility for you and your spouse, ask us about alternative dispute resolution.

Q: How long will it take?
A: Assuming the parties cannot agree on a settlement, a divorce case will have to be tried before a judge, who will listen to the testimony of the parties and other witnesses and review documentary evidence in support of each side's position. Usually all unsettled cases are tried within a year.

Q: Can a divorce decree be changed after the fact?
A: Yes. Depending on the circumstances, issues of child support, alimony, child custody and visitation can all be revisited and modified after the decree has been entered. This usually requires the party seeking modification to demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances.