Family Law FAQ
Going through a divorce can be overwhelming, and you may have several questions about the process. Some frequently asked questions are listed below. For a more comprehensive discussion about your divorce case, you should speak with a family law lawyer.
What Is Alternative Dispute Resolution?
Not every case needs to go before a judge. There are alternative methods to resolve your conflicts with your ex-spouse, such as mediation or arbitration.
What Is No-Fault Divorce?
In a no-fault divorce, neither party is assigned blame for the dissolution of the marriage. The couple can claim irreconcilable differences as the reason why the two are seeking a divorce.
In a no-fault divorce, the person filing for divorce will not need to prove any bad behavior on the part of their spouse. It is a more efficient process to reaching a settlement.
What Is Fault Divorce?
In a fault-based divorce, one spouse is claiming bad actions on the part of the other person, such as domestic abuse, adultery, or abandonment. Fault-based divorces are very rare. If you believe that a reason exists for a fault-based divorce in your situation, discuss your thoughts with your attorney.
What Is a Complaint?
This represents the document that is initially filed that begins the divorce proceedings. The person that files this form with the court becomes the plaintiff in the case, whereas the other person becomes the defendant/counterclaimant.
What Is a Motion?
During a divorce or after the divorce has been entered, you might file a motion with the court to obtain relief. Each motion will include an explanation of the facts according to each party. These are known as certifications. They may also include legal briefs.
The court will hear the motion at least four weeks after it is filed. Those that are filed after entry of the divorce are referred to as a post-judgment motion.
What Are Tentative Decisions?
A day or two before a hearing on a motion, certain family courts will issue a tentative decision. These decisions lay out the judge’s thought processes regarding the issues in the motion. The tentative decisions are issued ahead of the oral argument and are based only on the parties’ written submissions. This gives the parties a chance to settle their differences in advance of the motion hearing. It also helps the lawyers prepare for their court appearances if necessary.
What Is a Case Information Statement?
At the outset of a divorce proceeding, each party is required to submit a case information statement (CIS). This is an 11-page form that reflects each side’s income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. The court uses this form to resolve the financial issues in your case.
What Is a Case Management Order?
Once a case begins, you will be given a case management order by the court or judge. It establishes the deadlines for filing each party’s CIS, when discovery will start and end, the dates for exchanging expert reports, and other important information about your case.
What Is Pendente Lite?
Pendente lite refers to all issues that could arise between the filing of a divorce complaint and the final resolution of the case. Other similar phrases include pendente lite support, pendente lite order, and pendente lite parenting times.
What Is Equitable Distribution?
New Jersey uses an equitable distribution model for property distribution. This means that the property distribution is fair, but not necessarily an exact 50/50 split. As for the assets involved, they include those acquired after the date of marriage and before the date of the filing of the divorce complaint.
Many assets, such as personal real estate, investment accounts, retirement accounts, and personal debt, may be equally divided unless a different division is proven to be appropriate. If one spouse actively works in a business in which they have ownership, such as a family-owned business, the business-related assets and debts may or may not be divided on an equal basis.
Inheritances and gifts are exempt assets, meaning that as long as they remain in the name of the party who acquired the inheritance or gift, they remain the property of that party. Assets and debts acquired before the marriage or after the marriage belong to the owning party, although there are exceptions.
How Is Child Support Calculated?
Regardless of the child custody arrangements between the two ex-spouses, they are both responsible for providing financial support for their child based on the amount they would have contributed had they stayed together. There are numerous factors that determine your child support payments. New Jersey uses an income shares model, which factors in your income, the amount of parenting time each party has with the child, the amount of alimony being paid, and other factors.
Child support payments go toward financial expenses for the child, including medical expenses, educational expenses, and other day-to-day costs. All child support payments must be used for the child and the specific expenses listed in the parenting plan if the parties have a parenting plan.
To alleviate one spouse from having to monitor and track how much and how often an ex-spouse makes their child support payments, all payments run through the New Jersey Family Support Payment Center (NJFSPC).
What Are Common Types of Child Custody?
When you have children in your marriage, it must be determined where they will live and who will maintain custody of them. There are two components of child custody. The first is legal custody, which determines which parent will be making the major decisions, including a child’s education; the doctors the child may see; and whether the child requires tutoring, braces, therapy, and other similar needs. There is also physical custody, which constitutes where the child will maintain their primary residence, while the other parent is entitled to parenting time rights.
If the parents can come to a mutual understanding, they can share joint legal custody, meaning neither party has the final say over the major decisions relating to their children. The two ex-spouses can work together to make the major decisions that are in the child’s best interest. Most court rulings state that the parties will share joint legal custody. If disputes arise, the parties will take those disputes to a mediator, an arbitrator, a privately retained parenting coordinator, or a therapist.
How Is Alimony Determined?
There are several statutory factors that determine the alimony amount. Those factors include the length of the marriage, the ages and health of the two spouses, their respective earning potential and level of education, and other factors. Generally, the court is looking at the ability of each to live independently without financial support from their ex-spouse.
Burlington County Family Law Lawyers at Goldstein & Mignogna, P.A. Will Answer All of Your Questions throughout Your Divorce
Going through a divorce can be difficult. You will have a great many questions about what will happen to you, your children, and your finances. The Burlington County family law lawyers at Goldstein & Mignogna, P.A. are here to help. Call us at 856-890-9400 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Marlton, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including, Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, Mercer County, Atlantic County, Salem County and Ocean County.