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Child Support Archives

New Jersey Bill Proposes Presumption of Joint Custody

Thumbnail image for Brothers.jpgAs divorce rates continue to climb in America, family courts across the country must often decide custody battles. Custody arrangements go from commonplace to creative. Having a child spend every other weekend at one parent's home, and the rest of the time with another parent, was routine. Now nearly 20 states are considering laws that create an automatic legal presumption of joint custody. New Jersey joins these states with the proposal of Bill A-1091 (the "Bill"), primarily sponsored by Republican Assemblyman Peterson, with broad bipartisan support. 

Cohabitation is More than Just Living with Another Person

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The New Jersey courts have long recognized and respected the terms of a marital settlement agreement (MSA) so long as it is valid. They are taken as expressions of the parties' wishes and will honor it as long as there is not a reason to disregard it. A cohabitation provision is often a feature in these agreements. They usually put a limitation on the duration of when alimony shall be paid. 

The Don'ts of Divorce

Divorce is often not an easy process. The longer it goes on, the more stressful, unpleasant and expensive it can be. There are reasons why a divorce can take so long, some of them outside of the spouses' control. The only way it can ever be short and simple is if there are no fights about children, money or property. Some reasons that are in wives' and husbands' control come when emotions overcome common sense, because contested divorces involve a lot of emotions.   Desire for Revenge: Breaking up can be a chance to wreck years of mental and emotional havoc on a soon-to-be ex-spouse.  But that will be very expensive, both in legal fees and the stress of 'fighting a war' for 2-3 years, or more. A client seeking revenge should be prepared to pay for it. Overly Aggressive Demands: It's not unusual for one side to push and push the other for more - more marital assets, more time with the kids, more money, etc. But pushing too far can end negotiations to resolve the case without a trial. On the other hand, if the demands are justified, they are not too aggressive. There's nothing wrong with fighting for what you and your lawyer feel you're entitled to. Unrealistic Expectations: The person who is not willing to accept the law and the advice of his or her lawyer and who instead insists that they are "in the right," despite law and facts to the contrary will surely be surprised, angry and owing a large legal bill. Another "don't" is failing to tell the lawyer all of the facts, the bad and the ugly as well as the good. This can leave a client "out on a limb," especially if the "missing information" comes up while testifying. He or she could literally be 'on their own,' looking very bad before a judge, with even the most skilled lawyer unable to help. The bottom line is that unnecessary squabbling will cost more time and money. As hard as it may be, keeping open-minded and understanding that a judge will rarely leave the other  spouse with "nothing" and will focus on the "best interests" of children above all else, will make things go smoother, and allow you to heal and move-on with your life.

Child Support Payments in New Jersey: A General Overview

After parents separate or get divorced, states require that child support payments be made to allow a child to continue to enjoy a certain standard of living. The amount that must be paid is based on a number of factors, including the number of children, the percentage of time they spend with each parent, and each parent's gross income. In New Jersey, the amount is calculated according to the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. The general practice is that the child support payments are entrusted to the custodial parent and that parent must use those funds for the benefit of the child. The payments are supposed to be for the child's basic needs, such as food, clothing, housing, etc. However, an issue can arise when the custodial parent is not using the money in that way.

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