Articles Posted in Divorce

Divorce is never simple or easy. Maybe you wrestled with the decision for years before finally deciding to proceed with a divorce. Perhaps your former spouse made the decision for you. Maybe you and your partner chose to end things on amicable terms. No matter how your divorce came to be, it’s important that you take the time to work through your emotions and feelings regarding the separation. Then you’ll be able to help your children cope with their own emotions, as well.

Whether your children are infants or teenagers, they’re going to experience a variety of emotions regarding the separation. Their entire life will change when you get divorced, so it’s important that you help them deal with it as effectively as possible. No matter how old your children are, there are several steps you can take to help them face these new changes.

First off, make sure you avoid talking negatively about your former spouse. While it can be easy to point fingers and place blame during a divorce, try to remember that to your children, this is their beloved parent. Even if your partner has been terrible to you, try to avoid saying anything that would stress out your children or make them feel like they’re being placed in the middle of your divorce. If you can’t say anything positive about your former partner, simply avoid saying anything at all to your children. Continue reading

Getting divorced can be stressful, even in the most amicable situations. Before you proceed, it’s a good idea to get an idea of what to expect before you begin filing for divorce in NJ. You should, reach out to an experienced family law attorney to guide you through the process.

Terminology

It’s important to have a basic grasp of the words used when filing for divorce in NJ. If you file the petition, or the one requesting the divorce, you are the plaintiff, and your spouse would be the defendant. The words ‘divorce’ and ‘dissolution’ are used interchangeably, and in fact, the initial form to file is called the ‘Complaint for Divorce/Dissolution.’

A no-fault divorce is in New Jersey is either based on living at two separate residences for at least 18 months before the divorce, or where the parties had irreconcilable differences for at least 6 months before filing. A fault divorce is when a party’s actions resulted in the breakup of the marriage, such as adultery, cruelty or abandonment.  It is important to note that in most cases there is nothing to gain by filing a fault divorce. In most situations if you prove fault you will not receive more alimony, child support or receive more in asset division.   Continue reading

One of the most financially impactful events in life can be the possibility of a divorce. New Jersey is not a community property state, but rather, an equitable distribution state. This means that, under New Jersey equitable distribution law, the courts have the discretion to divide marital property in an equitable manner – meaning the split between you and your spouse will be fair but not necessarily equal.

The recent Slutsky v Slutsky case provides a good application of New Jersey equitable distribution law after a party appealed their final decree of divorce. This case illustrates the idea that dividing up property in a divorce is very often complex, and not straightforward. Nancy Slutsky filed for divorce from Kenneth Slutksy after 30 years of marriage. The court case was long and difficult, and eventually, a trial was conducted over 19 days. Both parties challenged various provisions of the final judgment, and Kenneth ultimately appealed. There were nine issues he brought before the court, but for our purposes, this article will focus only on the equitable distribution issues. Essentially, Kenneth claimed there were factual flaws in what the judge found, and argues that the calculations of the division should be reversed.

Defendant was a lawyer, having graduated from Harvard Law School. He was a tax law specialist, became an equity partner in his firm, and owned one share of stock. Shortly before the divorce was filed, the firm changed its payment structure, from a corporation to a limited liability partnership. As capital, Kenneth provided $300,000 to the firm, which was financed through a four-year promissory note. Plenty of evidence was presented concerning Kenneth’s compensation, including the payout for his stock, estimated earnings until retirement, value to the company and his contributions to the firm in general, in order to determine the value of his ‘termination credit account’ (TCA), or what his interest in the firm was. Nancy’s expert initially found the TCA value was $350,830 – but on cross-examination, he admitted the value was likely closer to $292,908, excluding goodwill. Not surprisingly, Kenneth’s expert found the value of the TCA to be $285,000. However, Nancy’s expert estimated goodwill in the firm to be over $1 million, resulting in a revised TCA value of $1,185,304. Kenneth’s expert denied there was any goodwill, to the judge’s dismay. The judge accepted Nancy’s expert’s valuation, finding that Kenneth shared in the firm’s goodwill and awarded plaintiff one-half of the value as her equitable interest. Continue reading

While divorce can be a traumatic experience for some, for others it can be quite liberating. Before separating, you might have tried everything to save your marriage, and in the process realized that divorce was the best option. While “until death do us part” might not have worked out, don’t let divorce ruin your life.

Try Something New

Perhaps the first thing to do is to make a clean break with the past. Move into a different house or apartment, with different furniture and decorations. Get rid of everything that reminds you of what once was. If possible, move to a different city.

Give Yourself Time After Your Divorce

Whether the divorce was sudden or you saw it coming, give yourself time to adjust. There will be good days when you are positive you did the right thing and can make it on your own, and there will be days filled with memories that might bring you to tears. It’s normal to feel like that, but you won’t feel down or doubtful forever. Continue reading

 

Going through a divorce is rarely an easy process. Most divorces are challenging to get through at the very least. Not only can things get emotionally messy, but there are often a lot of tricky legal matters involved as well. One decision that’s often quite contentious is what to do with the house. If you are getting divorced and own a home with your spouse, then the following are some of the options that you have when it comes to selling the house:

  1. Divide the profits of the house equally

If neither you nor your spouse wants to keep the house, or if neither of you can afford to keep it, then simply selling it and splitting the profit might be the best decision. However, it’s important that you understand that your divorce can affect how much money you end up pocketing. If you’ve lived in your house for a long time, then your profits may be affected by the capital gains tax.

Couples can exclude upwards of $500,000 in capital gains. If you sell your house for above that amount, any profit over that sum will be taxed. If the divorce is finalized before you sell the house, then you could end up losing more money towards capital gains tax due to the fact that unmarried individuals can only exclude up to $250,000 in capital gains. Continue reading

Divorces can be expensive. You are splitting up your assets, and probably splitting a two-income home in half (or having to provide for two households at the least). You think you and your spouse can pretty much agree to anything, so you decide to file for divorce without consulting or hiring a lawyer in order to avoid the attorney’s fees. While people do this quite frequently, there are some massive, and incredibly expensive, pitfalls that can await you if you attempt to go it alone (or in legal-speak, pro se). The following is a list of reasons on why you should not file a divorce in NJ without a lawyer.

  • It could get expensive. I know you think that if you do not hire an attorney, you will avoid those expensive attorney’s fees. That is true. However, you should think of these fees as an investment. Doing property division on your own can be difficult, especially if your estate is particularly large or complex. Dividing up real property requires multiple documents and transactions. Trying to divide up your retirement uses multiple laws and procedures. Mishandling distribution of your retirement account can actually cost you huge fees or tax penalties that a lawyer would know to avoid. And these are just the property issues.
  • You could mess up your custody case. Even if you and your spouse agree to a custody arrangement that is fair, if you mislabel the agreement as shared custody instead of joint legal custody, this could have huge negative repercussions for you, resulting in a loss of parental rights in some respects. It is difficult and costly to modify orders after they are entered, and having a lawyer will make sure to catch any errors or misunderstandings before they become final. Lawyers can also give you advice on how to prepare your case for custody – including what not to do. Many parties think that talking to their children about the case, especially if they are older, is a good idea. A lawyer would guide you that it’s usually not a good idea – and if you want your child to state a preference as to who they would like to live with, a lawyer would be able to get this evidence in front of a judge through better venues than you speaking to your child. The opposing side could convince the court that you are trying to sway the child to like you more.

Divorce is a painful experience that nobody wants to face, but there are ways to make the process easier on yourself. As you go through your divorce in NJ, remember these six keys that can help hold you together during this emotionally challenging time.

Get healthy.

Don’t allow yourself to ignore your physical health during your divorce. It can be tempting to retire to the sofa with a carton of ice cream, but you owe it to yourself to fight the urge. You can help yourself tremendously by eating right, getting plenty of sleep and keeping up with a regular exercise routine.

Pull in your friends. 

Now is not the time to isolate yourself. Turn to your best friends, your family or anyone else who is part of your support group. Make plans to meet friends for dinner or shopping, or just ask someone to come over and hang out. You need to spend time with people who lift you up.

Keep kids a priority.

It’s important to remember that children are not always open and clear about their feelings. If you have children, you need to spend plenty of time making sure that they are okay. Divorce in NJ can hurt kids if it’s not handled properly, and sometimes kids hide their fears and anxieties. If you can, get your kids into a counseling program just to make sure they aren’t suffering. Continue reading

Even an amicable divorce can be stressful; people feel like failures, and there’s a sense of deep sadness. Less agreeable divorces bring added pain as couples sink into negativity, blaming each other for conflict. Staying calm, or learning how to move back into a relaxed state when you’re upset, can make splitting up bearable.

Recognize the origin of your pain

You can’t heal negative emotions unless you understand where they originate. During a NJ divorce, people imagine their anxiety stems from the other person involved. They rarely see they create stress and trauma with their thoughts. There’s no denying your spouse might have done and said things that made you want them out of your life. However, the way you deal with feelings, and those you encourage to arise, is up to you.

You contribute to painful emotions when you justify why you need a divorce. Negative thoughts involving blame ruin any chance of positivity and leave you reeling. Recognize your spouse isn’t making you entertain thoughts that leave you depressed. It’s time to take back the power to create the emotions you want. Continue reading

If you are faced with getting a divorce, your life isn’t over yet. It’s just filled with a lot of different tasks that need to be handled if you are to get on with your life with as little stress as possible. In addition to all of the paperwork that needs to be filed, finding a new place to live, figuring out who gets which assets, and changing your contact information, you’ll need to settle up the debts that you hold jointly as well as those you are individually responsible to pay. An attorney can assist you in coming up with a good plan to do so or you can attempt to figure it out on your own. Here are a few ideas to help get you started.

Dividing the Debt According to Personal Responsibility

If your divorce is amicable, you shouldn’t experience any difficulty when you divide up your marital debts. Each spouse can simply take responsibility for personal debts, and the jointly held balances can be split down the middle. If the accounts are held individually, this strategy is easy to implement. Otherwise, cash transfers from one spouse to the other might need to take place.

If the divorce isn’t a friendly one, you might have more difficulty arranging this particular strategy, especially if some of the accounts are jointly held. For example, you might not want to pay for the $800 TV that your spouse purchased using a shared credit card. It’s important to create a list of all debts so that you don’t lose track of any of them. You can even make three lists: one for you, one for your spouse, and one for the two of you together.

Trading Off the Debt

If one spouse has greater means to pay off the debts, such as a higher income level, you might want to consider trading off the debt in exchange for a higher percentage of assets. For example, the spouse who has a larger salary agrees to accept responsibility for certain debts in exchange for jointly owned assets. Continue reading

Divorce is never an easy subject. In the best of circumstances, a lot of decisions must be made for a successful dissolution. In the worst cases, it may become an ongoing battle with neither party willing to give in. In every situation, an experienced Bergen County divorce attorney can make the difference.

Why Choose Peter Van Aulen

Peter Van Aulen has been a Bergen County divorce attorney for more than 23 years, serving Bergen County and surrounding areas. During his years dedicated to family law, he has been part of many situations revolving around divorce and child custody issues.

His Record

Mr. Van Aulen has handled child custody cases as part of divorce for both men and women. He has obtained restraining orders for victims of domestic abuse. In addition, he has represented those falsely accused of the crime. Continue reading

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Peter Van Aulen is certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a Matrimonial Attorney.

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