Rotolo Law Firm | New Jersey Family Law Blog | Divorce
Published by the Rotolo Law Firm, this blog contains regularly published posts that cover every possible aspect of the divorce process. Here you can find the support you need and useful advice as well.
Divorce can be complicated and all-consuming. The one thing no parent wants to do, however, is to lose sight of their children’s wellbeing during the process. As your emotions run the gamut between hurt and anger, it’s important to remember that your children, too, are affected by this change in your family dynamics.
One of the worse things you can do is to hide the truth from your children. Telling your children that you or your spouse is “going away for a little while” won’t soften the blow; it will only give them false hope. What they need most at this time is the support of both parents. For pointers on how to help your children deal with your divorce, read lifehack.org’s article by Dr. Magdalena Battles entitled, “How to Raise Healthy, Happy Kids After Going Through a Divorce.”
Most people don’t enter into divorce lightly. In fact, it’s usually the last resort couples turn to when all other attempts to revive their dying marriage have failed. It’s no wonder then that people facing divorce run the gamut of emotions – sadness, anger, fear, disappointment. The last thing anyone in that situation needs is surprise.
Before taking that first step to filing for divorce, it is important to understand the process. Emotions have a way of clouding our judgment. Knowing what to expect in the divorce process can help couples make rational, rather than emotional, decisions that can better prepare them for their new lives; it can even help them decide if divorce really is the right answer to their marital problems. To learn more about the divorce process, read “Time To Divorce: Do You Know What To Expect During The Divorce Process?”
Spousal support, or alimony, often can be a point of contention in divorce negotiations. Now, with the recent changes to the tax code, negotiating these agreements may get more complicated.
Presently, spouses who pay alimony can deduct these payments on their income taxes while those who receive such payments are required to report them as income – all that changes at the end of this year however. According to the new tax code, in divorces settled after this December 31 alimony payments will no longer be deductible nor reportable as income on annual tax returns. Currently, there is much speculation regarding who will truly benefit from this tax change – the payer or the recipient – and what effect, if any, the change will have on divorce filings this year. To learn more, read “Alimony tax changes may scorch divorcing couples.”
Studies have shown that, barring any abuse or neglect, children fare best when they have the influence of both parents. Unfortunately, relationships between adults sometimes deteriorate to the point where separation is the only answer, leaving the children caught in the middle. One thing most parents going through divorce can agree on, though, is that each wants what is best for their children. While what that best is can be a point of contention, many parents would admit that a life of alternate weekends, a couple of vacation weeks each year, and alternating holidays doesn’t exactly foster strong parent/child ties. That’s one reason why more and more parents these days are ditching these traditional custody schedules in favor of co-parenting arrangements.
In a co-parenting situation, exes work together to share their parenting responsibilities much like they did while they were still together. Sometimes that means working cooperatively with someone you may still harbor a lot of anger towards. Letting that anger get in the way can lead to counterproductive efforts that adversely affect your parenting. To figure out if you have this co-parenting thing down pat, read “Are You Co-Parenting or Counter-Parenting? Get It Right For Your Kids!”
Negotiations have ended, your divorce is final and your ex gets the house. It’s over . . . or is it?
Couples often make the mistake of assuming that if the marital home is awarded to one spouse in the divorce negotiations, the other spouse no longer has any obligations regarding mortgage payments. That’s not quite true. Removing a name from the title and the mortgage are two different things. And as long as both names remain on the mortgage, both spouses are responsible for meeting the obligation. Rarely can one person simply assume a joint mortgage. The best solution would be to refinance the mortgage in one spouse’s name.
It is not uncommon for individuals going through divorce to be short-sighted and focus only on the immediate situation, which is to end their marriage. It’s a very emotional time for everyone involved and often decisions are made from the heart, not the head. But this tendency towards rash judgment can have detrimental consequences down the line.
While most people have some sort of support team in place – family and friends to help them get through the most emotional days — you might need a little more than a best friend’s shoulder to lean on. A strong team of professionals trained in matters relating to divorce and family law can help you come out on the other side of divorce both emotionally and financially sound. To learn more about who you may need on your team, read the recent Forbes magazine article “Considering Divorcing? This Is Your Single Most Important Decision.”
One hot-button issue in divorce is often the children. Some people get stuck on “50-50” parenting time. However, you are well advised to consider all of the circumstances when trying to sort out the best parenting plan for your family. While New Jersey links child support to the amount of time the children share with each parent, in mediation you can separate those two issues so that money is not the guiding factor.
Part of divorce mediation involves financial issues. Although you won’t need any documents for the first session, you will need to begin assembling financial statements, preferably from the same end date so that the values come from the same time frame. This way, when you reach the financial issues that are part of every divorce, you are prepared. It often can take a while to obtain all of the financial information necessary.
Rosalyn A. Metzger, Esq., a member of the Rotolo Karch Law team and a Family and Divorce Mediator certified by the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators, is the author of a three-part article on Mediation, an alternative to traditional divorce proceedings. This week, Ms. Metzger explores the Mediation process.
You are thinking about getting divorced. You do your research on the internet. You may contact an attorney, or maybe you just want to go straight to a mediator. How does all of this work? Do you need a mediator and an attorney? But wait – isn’t mediation supposed to save money? How can using three people – an attorney for each spouse, plus a mediator – be less expensive than using just one? Good question!
Mediation is a process where you and your spouse, or partner, elect to forego the nastiness and expense of litigation to try to work things out. Your main concern, as you tell the mediator, is for your children. You want to spare them the fallout of a high conflict divorce that will wind its way through the courts over a period of years. Good for you!
Filing for divorce in New Jersey is not complicated, but negotiating financial matters and property distribution issues in the divorce proceedings can be. As couples simultaneously close the door on one stage of their life and work toward building the next stage, they face a number of decisions that, if not handled correctly, could have significant consequences later. One of the biggest problems is couples often make these decisions based on emotional reactions rather than a full understanding of future implications. This is especially true when it comes to tax matters.
Tax planning should play a prominent role in the divorce process. Unfortunately, the tax implications of many divorce-related decisions are often misunderstood, if not overlooked, by emotionally wrought couples. A recent Forbes magazine article, “Taxes and Family Law: A Cheat Sheet of What You Need To Know” just scratches the surface of some of the things you should understand about taxes and their impact on your divorce process. After reading the article, it’s easy to understand why some people choose to add a tax professional to their divorce team.