New Jersey Law Blog

Separating finances after divorce

When married couples in New Jersey split up, property and asset division is often a primary concern. Spouses with few or no debts or assets may find this process to be relatively simple. However, partners who do own a home, have significant debt or multiple retirement accounts might find it quite complicated to "detangle" finances.

In many marriages, the family home is the couple's greatest asset. A lot of couples opt to sell the home and divide the proceeds. Keeping real estate in a divorce can be complicated and, in some cases, impossible. If a spouse does decide to continue living in the family home, they may opt to refinance the current mortgage in their own name.

Unique financial challenges faced by divorcing couples over 50

New Jersey residents may be interested in learning about the effect that 'gray divorces", which involve spouses over age 50, have had on society over the past few years. In 1990, only 10% of the divorces involved individuals over the age of 50. In 2010, that number had jumped to 25%.

Most people who have gone through a divorce realize that marital separation brings many financial challenges. When a person divorces later in life, those challenges have the potential to become even greater. The average individual over 50 can expect their personal income to decrease by up to 50% after a divorce. Women are disproportionately affected by this trend. Women over the age of 50 who divorce can expect their wealth to decrease by nine times more than women who stay married.

Alleged fathers may want to get DNA paternity tests

In New Jersey and across the United States, divorced men should think about getting DNA paternity tests. Since there are many legal issues involving child support and child custody, a negative DNA paternity test can alleviate men of their legal obligations toward the care of a child. On the other hand, a positive DNA test informs the man of his responsibilities for taking care of his biological child. An unmarried man is not automatically a child's legal father. Instead, he is known as the child's "alleged father" unless a DNA paternity test's results prove otherwise.

Since DNA paternity tests are nearly 100% accurate, the results can make a radical difference in a divorced man's financial situation. If the man takes a DNA paternity test yielding negative results, the man does not have any legal obligations to take care of the child. Consequently, his name does not need to appear on the child's birth certificate. However, a paternity test yielding positive results indicates that the man is the child's biological father.

What does New Jersey law say about manslaughter?

Like other states, the crime of manslaughter is a complicated one here in New Jersey. It takes a variety of forms, which can be confusing for many people who face this charge.

The one thing everyone seems to agree on when it comes to a manslaughter charge is that the accused did not intend to kill another human being. After that, it helps to understand authorities' theory on the crime to understand what you face and how to best prepare a defense.

Using social media during a divorce

In the age of social media, getting a divorce can quickly become a public spectacle for some New Jersey couples. While former couples do not necessarily need to stay off their social media accounts while going through a divorce, there are some things that should be considered when it comes to social media, especially if the divorce is turning out to be less than amicable.

During a divorce, one or both individuals may post to their to their social media accounts information about the divorce that could upset the other person. Even if the divorce starts out amicably, the wrong post or even venting about the divorce case could cause conflicts. Former couples should consider making an agreement on what can and cannot be posted, especially when it comes to complaints about the other person or posts about the children.

Wedding day debt boosts odds of divorce

Some New Jersey couples have a desire to create a perfect wedding day, even if it means going into debt to do so. But according to a study by a top online lending marketplace, nearly half of the newlyweds questioned who racked up additional debt on their wedding day considered ending their marriage because of it. However, just 9% of couples without the burden of wedding debt reported considering divorce due to finances.

The study on wedding-related debt was based on responses from more than 500 Americans between the ages of 18 and 53 who were married within two years from when the survey was conducted. More than 75% of the wedding debt newlyweds admitted that they have argued about lingering wedding-related financial obligations with their partner. Of the couples who avoided wedding debt, only 20% said the same thing applied to their relationships.

Divorce and separate finances

New Jersey spouses who maintain separate bank accounts and decide to get a divorce should not automatically assume that their money will be protected just because their name is the only one on the account. In states with community property laws, any assets that are acquired during the course of a marriage are designated as community property. As a result, it belongs to both individuals and is subject to division. Even in the remaining states, which follow equitable distributions laws, having separate financial accounts will not fully protect a person's money.

Completing a prenuptial agreement is the easiest and most effective way to protect assets. Putting together a prenuptial agreement also means that individuals will have to discuss their finances with their significant others. People who prefer to not sign a prenuptial agreement should obtain copies of all their financial account statements for the month before their wedding. Individuals should make sure to maintain records of where any of their money originated so that there will be fewer issues with claiming it as their own if a divorce occurs.

Gender roles can be hard to challenge

Gender roles could determine if a New Jersey couple or any other is at risk of getting a divorce. This may be particularly true in relationships in which a woman begins to equal or exceed the earning capacity of her husband. In some cases of divorce, stress in the relationship was directly related to the fact that a man couldn't handle a woman being a financial equal. In others, it was because the wife was no longer around to do housework.

For wives who choose to go back to work, it can be frustrating to know that their husbands aren't doing more around the house themselves. Men who are used to traditional gender roles generally see household tasks as a woman's job. Researchers in Sweden found that men were hesitant to help more at home even if they left their jobs because their spouses made more money.

What you need to know about Breathalyzers

If you are ever stopped for suspected driving while intoxicated, you should expect the police to ask you to submit to a breath test. In New Jersey, law enforcement officers use the Breathalyzer machine. There are a few things you might want to know about this device if you ever find yourself in the position of having to use one.

First, it is important to know how this machine works so that you know what to do when asked to give a sample and so you know what your results mean. Second, it is good to know that device accuracy can be an issue. Finally third, if you fail the test, you might find some reassurance in knowing that it may be possible to fight the results.

Modifying divorce settlements in New Jersey

When divorced spouses in New Jersey wish to modify the terms of their divorce settlements, their attorneys file what is known as a Lepis motion. This kind of legal motion is named after the divorce case Lepis v. Lepis, which was heard by the New Jersey Supreme Court in 1980. In that case, the justices ruled that matters including support and alimony could be revisited and revised when circumstances changed for the spouse seeking a modification.

When weighing the merits of a Lepis motion, family law judges in New Jersey compare the current standard of living of the spouse making the motion with the standard of living they enjoyed when they were married. Factors they take into consideration include the property and incomes of both spouses, the needs of the dependent spouse and any children involved, and the efforts that the divorced spouse is making to support themselves.

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