Articles Posted in Uncategorized

Adultery is one of the most common causes of divorce in New Jersey. It can also make divorce incredibly fraught and complex, with emotions ruling the day instead of clear heads and rational thoughts. Sometimes, parties who divorce want to use the court system as a way of ‘getting back’ at their spouse, and dragging all their dirty laundry out for all to see. However, there is another way to handle the issues of adultery and divorce in New Jersey – through a ‘no fault’ divorce.

A no fault divorce is basically telling the court that you and your spouse can no longer get along. No one has to take the blame for the relationship falling apart, and it can help things go quicker. But, this choice isn’t for everyone, and sometimes individuals just need their day in court to move on. In these cases, a ‘fault’ divorce might be more appropriate. In these cases, one party has to prove the other’s misconduct which caused the divorce. Along with adultery, abandonment, abuse, or substance abuse can all be used as grounds for a fault divorce. Of course, due to the heavier burden of proof, litigation will be more costly and lengthy, so it’s important to think about your strategy before filing your divorce petition.

Despite this, one of the big advantages in filing a fault case for adultery and divorce in New Jersey used to be that judges get to look at whose fault it was in the break-up of the marriage when determining things like alimony and property division. Alimony, or spousal support, is what one spouse might pay to the other upon separation or divorce to ensure the other party can support themselves. In the past, only a fault divorce would allow a party to request alimony; luckily, things have progressed, and now that most people file for a no fault divorce, courts will rarely look to fault when determining whether alimony should be awarded. In New Jersey, the court will only consider crimes that have resulted in the death or serious bodily injury to their spouse (or attempts to do so). In other words, if one spouse has tried to kill the other, they will not be awarded alimony. The other time courts will consider adultery and divorce in New Jersey when determining alimony is if this adultery negatively affected the couple’s economic estate. So, for example, if a wife purchased her boyfriend an apartment in the city, this would have been a wasting of the assets and could be looked at when determining whether, and how much, alimony should be awarded. Continue reading

Will my alimony obligation end upon retirement under New Jersey alimony laws?

On September 10, 2015, the Governor of New Jersey signed into law an amended alimony statute. Said amended statute made a number changes in regard to alimony and retirement. According to the amended statute, there is now a rebuttable presumption that his or her alimony obligation will end upon attainting full retirement age.

 How is full retirement age defined under NJ alimony laws?

The amended alimony statute defines full retirement age when a person can collect full Social Security benefits.

Can the presumption that alimony terminates upon reaching full retirement age be rebutted under the alimony laws in NJ?

Yes, it is a rebuttable presumption. A court will consider the following factors in determining if the presumption of terminating alimony at full retirement age should be rebutted:

  • The litigants’ ages at the time of the motion for termination or modification of alimony;
  • The litigants’ ages when they married and their ages when alimony was awarded;
  • The amount and duration of economic reliance by the payee upon the other party during the marriage;
  • Whether the litigant has exchanged something of value for a longer or larger alimony award;
  • The sum and period of alimony formerly paid;
  • The litigants health when the retirement application was made;
  • The litigants’ assets at the time of retirement;
  • Whether the payee has obtained full retirement age;
  • All sources of income of both parties;
  • The party who is collecting alimony capability to have saved adequately for retirement;
  • Any other relevant factor.

Continue reading

Going into divorce actions, people often do not realize that it is not just marital assets that are distributed by the court. Marital debt is also equitably distributed by the court. Equitable distribution in NJ does not mean equal. Distribution of debt will be done in a way that is seen as fair and reasonable under the circumstances of the case.

Types of Marital Debt

Marital debt consists of the debt incurred by either spouse during the course of the marriage.

Credit card debt is commonly part of marital debt that will be distributed by the court. The general rule is that the full amount of the credit card debt, whichever spouse incurred the debt, is distributed between the parties, though there are exceptions. When only one party has derived a benefit for the expenditure, a court may decide if only that party should be liable for the debt. The court will not go through all charge statements, item by item. If there is a situation where only one spouse has benefited by substantial expenditures, then your attorney will bring that up to the court to have the court consider assessing payment of that particular credit card debt to that spouse.

Mortgages against the marital home or other real property will be distributed in the divorce action as well. There are two typical ways to address the mortgage:

  • Sell the real property, pay the mortgage and any proceeds will be divided pursuant to the distribution of marital property made by the court. This can happen right away, or one spouse may stay in the house with the children for a stated period of time before the house is sold.
  • One spouse can buy out the interest in the real property from the other spouse and take responsibility for the mortgage, often refinancing the mortgage.

Continue reading

Divorce can be one of the worst experiences in life. Just when you feel most vulnerable and afraid you have the added stress of financial upheaval, the loss of friends, and the sight of distressed children. More than at any other time, advice is absolutely crucial.

1) Take care of yourself. When gripped by the trauma and stress of divorce, many people neglect their physical health. But you will be of no use to your children if you allow your body to falter. You may complain that you do not have time to exercise or prepare healthy food, but you must make the time. If you eat plenty of fresh, healthy food and keep up your fitness regimen, your head will be clearer, you will make better decisions, and you will have the energy to fight.

2) Accept what has happened. As with the bereaved, the newly divorced often fight their situation. They know intellectually that the person has gone, but deep inside they resist. And this can apply even to those who initiated the separation. Of course, acceptance will be even more difficult if your partner left suddenly, without warning. But the fact is, you will not begin to heal until you have fully grasped the reality of your situation. Continue reading

When searching for a divorce lawyer in NJ, you want someone you can trust. You’re dealing with an unfortunate situation which may be complicated by child custody or other legal issues. You may have to handle disbursement of assets or alimony. Since complicated emotions are involved, it helps to have an objective view from an experienced attorney.

Experience Matters

Peter Van Aulen has more than 23 years of experience as a New Jersey divorce attorney. His years of practice have been devoted to this area of the law, and he’s become recognized as an authority through his reputation. He has worked with clients in various situations in both large and small cases.

Experience in divorce law is important when selecting from divorce lawyers in NJ. You may be navigating new territory as you seek a divorce, and you need someone who knows the law to protect your interests. When children are involved, the situation can become even more intense. Peter Van Aulen has a solid record of handling child relocation, child custody and parent alienation. Continue reading

Although New Jersey became a “no-fault” state in 2007, no-fault divorce was an addition to grounds based divorces, not an elimination grounds. There is now a choice whether to seek divorce on a no-fault or fault based grounds.

A fault based divorce gives no advantage on determinations of property division, child support or alimony.  As to child custody, unless the fault claims negatively impact the children, fault grounds provide no benefit in custody determinations, either.

No-Fault Divorce: Irreconcilable Differences

In New Jersey, the reference to “no-fault” divorce means that there are irreconcilable differences between the parties resulting in a breakdown of the marriage for at least six months. The parties need not be separated for any period of time whatsoever. Continue reading

THRESHOLD ISSUE: IS THE MARITAL RESIDENCE AN ASSET THAT IS SUBJECT TO EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION?

In most New Jersey cases the home is considered joint marital property and will be subject to equitable distribution at divorce. How do we determine if the home is marital property? The main issue we look at is when the property was purchased.Typically, if the marital residence was purchased during the marriage, it is likely to be considered a marital asset.

If the house was purchased before the marriage by one spouse, it may be considered separate property and may be awarded solely to the spouse who purchased it. The reason we have to use the word ‘may’ in this context is that there are special circumstances under which property that would otherwise be considered separate property may become joint property. If there are questions about who the owner(s) of the marital home are, it is best to discuss the issue with an attorney.

OPTIONS FOR DISTRIBUTION OF MARITAL RESIDENCE

Once it is determined that the marital residence is an asset that is subject to equitable distribution, the question becomes how to distribute it. With things like bank accounts it is easy to divide the asset into parts and give some of it to each former spouse. With real property however, it is trickier. Below are three options for the equitable distribution of a marital residence in New Jersey. Continue reading

Perhaps you and your partner are having major issues in your marriage, or maybe the two of you just want to work on your communication skills. In either case, it might be advisable to reach out to a marriage counselor for help. Many people begin looking for a counselor via an online search, and the results all show offers of support, understanding, and help. They all seem sincere, so how do you choose a marriage counselor that is right for you and your spouse?

Choosing a marriage counselor is a big decision. This is a person with whom you will discuss sensitive issues, and you will likely feel vulnerable, so it’s important you feel comfortable with that person. Many couples wait too long to begin counseling. For many, it is a last resort before filing for divorce. It doesn’t matter if your problems are big or small; you need a marriage counselor who is competent and works in the best interest of both parties.

Here are four tips to help you find the right marriage counselor for you:

Choose an actual marriage counselor. There are many different types of mental health professionals, but only marriage and family counselors have special education, training, and experience in helping couples. Any counselor can offer marriage advice, even if their background is in social work or counseling individuals, or even if their experience was as a school psychologist. Those without specialized training often try to use individual therapy techniques or try to diagnose one of the partners as being “the problem” instead of helping the couple as a team. Continue reading

Why Would I Appeal A Family Law Matter?

If you feel the judge has made a mistake in your case, you may wish to file an appeal. An appeal may be considered if the trial judge made a mistake in the law or the facts of a case, did not resolve all of the issues in question, did not conduct the appropriate hearing, or abused his or her discretion in the case.

When Do I Appeal?

The big question in determining if it is the right time to appeal is whether there is a final order in the case. A final order is one that resolves all the issues between all of the parties in the case. When a family law matter is final, you have an automatic right to file an appeal. In general you must file a Notice of Appeal within 45 days of the final order in the case, though that number is shorter in certain cases.

If there is not a final order and the case is still pending, there is no automatic right to appeal but you may request permission to appeal. The process for seeking permission to appeal an interlocutory order begins with filing a Motion for Leave to Appeal. Continue reading

Going through a divorce is a stressful time in one’s life, so finding a good matrimonial attorney to help you navigate the process is invaluable. Choosing an attorney to represent you in any legal matter requires serious consideration. Often, clients do not know where to start their search, let alone what they are looking for in a good attorney. With over 80,000 attorneys licensed to practice law in the state of New Jersey, it is no wonder the process for selecting an attorney can be daunting.

Why Choose A Certified Matrimonial Attorney?

The New Jersey Supreme Court established a certification process for matrimonial lawyers to allow the public to be able to find an attorney who has demonstrated experience and knowledge in this particular area of law. With the rigorous requirements that we will discuss in this article, clients who choose a New Jersey Certified Matrimonial Attorney know that they will be guided through a difficult process by a professional who not only knows how to handle the legal matter, but is also well-respected by his or her peers. The New Jersey Supreme Court has certified only about 2% of the more than 80,000 New Jersey attorneys. Continue reading

SuperLawyersMartindale-HubbellNew Jersey Supreme Court

Peter Van Aulen was selected to the 2016 and 2017 Super Lawyers list. The Super Lawyers list is issued by Thomson Reuters. A description of the selection methodology can be found at http://www.superlawyers.com/about/selection_process.html. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

Peter Van Aulen has received a rating by Martindale Hubbell. A description of the rating methodology can be found at http://www.martindale.com/Products_and_Services/Peer_Review/Methodology.aspx. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

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

We accept all credit cards

Credit Card