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Divorce FAQs

  • Can I get divorced in New Jersey?

    There are residential requirements to qualify you for filing your divorce in New Jersey. Most importantly, you or your spouse must be a bona fide resident of New Jersey for at least one year and continues to reside in New Jersey during the divorce proceedings, and at least one spouse plans to reside in New Jersey for a year after the divorce is final.

  • I live in New Jersey, where will my divorce be filed?

    Your divorce will be filed with the superior court of the county where you reside.

  • What is divorce arbitration?

    A confidential proceeding that occurs when two parties cannot agree on certain issues. A neutral third party is hired to make decisions on disagreements. Attorneys define the issues that need to be resolved, including how the arbitrators fees are to be handled. The arbitration process can vary in formality from being very informal to as formal as a trial. During the process, the arbitrator will take testimony from both parties, draw conclusions, apply relevant law, and make a binding decision.

  • What is an Annulment?

    An annulment legally voids a marriage, as though it never occurred. There are several reasons why a couple may want a marriage annulled, most commonly are religious.

  • If I am already divorced, who can claim the children as dependents for tax purposes?

    The parent having custody of the child is entitled to the dependent exemption. However, parties often agree to alternate years for an exemption. In order to alternate, the custodial parent may release her claim using Form 8332.

Alimony FAQs

  • When will I stop paying alimony?

    Both permanent and limited duration alimony terminate upon the dependent's spouse's marriage. Additionally, if the spouse receiving alimony starts to cohabitate, and that cohabitation arrangement is financially beneficial to the receiver, then you may be able to file to change an alimony award.

  • What does it mean to have my support payments made through the Probation Department?

    Generally, support payments will be made through the Probation Department if there is sufficient reason to believe that the payor will not make payments or has a proven record of not making payments. Through a court order, the Probation Department can have support payments directly withdrawn from the payor's paycheck.

  • What are the tax consequences of alimony payments?

    Alimony is taxable as income to the receiving spouse and tax deductible to the payor spouse.

Child Support FAQs

  • What is the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA)?

    This act was passed by Congress to help determine jurisdiction in legal matters pertaining to child or spousal support. The essence of the act is that child support orders should be heard in the home state of the child involved. It also has provisions to help obtain child support payments when a parent lives out of state.

  • What does it mean to emancipate a child?

    New Jersey has a quirky set of laws regarding the emancipation of a child. Children are not entitled for emancipation at a certain age, but rather it is based on circumstances. They are entitled to support through post-high school years which includes college expenses. More information can be found here.

  • When is my child emancipated?

    The age of majority in New Jersey is eighteen (18). However, this does not necessarily result in a child being emancipated. In order to show that a child is emancipated the moving party must show that the child has "moved beyond the sphere of influence exercised by a parent and has obtained an independent status of his or her own" as stated in the case Newburgh v. Arrigo.

  • What are Education Credits?

    These are credits a tax payer is permitted to claim for qualified educational expenses paid during the year. The following are two good examples of acceptable education credits:

    • Hope Scholarship Credit may be claimed for the first two years of undergraduate education; and
    • The Lifetime Learning Credit may be claimed for any post-high school education. The credits are based on payment of tuition and related expenses including books and academic fees required for enrollment.
  • Can I pay my child support to my child once he/she starts college?

    The basic answer here is no. Since child support is ordered through the court, you are legally required to pay it to the other parent as specified. If you believe that you are paying too much, you will need to petition the court for a modification.

Child Custody FAQs

  • What is the Hague Convention?

    The Hague Convention is an international treaty which governs abduction of children. The convention provides that children who are wrongfully removed to another country shall be promptly returned to the country of habitual residence. However, the Court in the country to which the child is moved may refuse to return the child when:

    • There is a grave risk that the child would be exposed to physical or psychological harm or otherwise placed in an intolerable situation in his or her country of habitual residence;
    • The Court may take into consideration the child's preference not to be returned if the child is of the appropriate age;
    • The return of the child would violate fundamental principles of human rights and freedoms of the country to where the child is removed.
  • What is the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act?
    The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act ("PKPA") is a federal statute designed to help establish initial jurisdiction for child kidnapping cases. Under PKPA, jurisdiction always rests first with the home state regardless of the significant contacts.
  • How can I change my child's name?

    The Court will look at whether the name change is in the child's best interests.

  • What is a Probation Department Best Interest's Evaluation?

    An investigation done by the County Probation Office which renders a report as to the fitness and character of the parents, the economic condition of the family, the financial ability of the party to pay support. An official will personally visit both parties homes to ascertain the appropriate child safety precautions in the home, the number of household members and their relationship to the children, and run criminal record checks for the parents.

  • What is the role of a Guardian Ad Litem?

    A guardian ad litem acts as an independent fact finder for the Court. A guardian ad litem may be an attorney, social worker or therapist. A Court may appoint a guardian ad litem when the Court believes the children's best interests are not being adequately representing in the matter. The guardian ad litem files a written report with the Court as to the issues of custody and parenting time. Note that the parties are responsible for the cost of the guardian ad litem.

  • What is the role of an attorney appointed for the children?

    In some cases, the Court may appoint an attorney to represent the children in a legal matter. Unlike a guardian ad litem, the attorney acts as an advocate for the children and participates as would an attorney for either parent.

  • What does a Parenting Coordinator do?

    Courts will use parenting coordinators in high conflict cases where the parties cannot agree or follow a particular parenting time schedule. The parenting coordinator will mediate issues between the parties. The parties are responsible for the parenting coordinator's costs.

LGBT Family Law FAQs

  • What is palimony?

    Palimony is a claim for support for people that have cohabitated together for a period of time provided that there is a written agreement that the cohabitant would support the other. For the most recent information on palimony in New Jersey, please visit our blog.

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