Family Law

Bergen County Attorney Guiding Individuals through Divorce

Divorce and related family law issues can be emotionally overwhelming and stressful for all involved. Having an experienced divorce lawyer to represent you in these proceedings will help protect your interests and give you peace of mind. With over 20 years of legal experience to guide him, Bergen County family law lawyer Brian D. Iton has the resources and knowledge necessary to assist you in pursuing a stable future.

Uncontested and Contested Divorce

In New Jersey, an uncontested divorce may proceed when the parties agree on all of the major issues involved, such as child custody and visitation, child support, property division, and alimony. An uncontested divorce can be expedited (completed quickly) if the parties sign a written property settlement agreement, and meet certain other requirements. If the parties are unable to agree on the open and unresolved issues, a contested divorce proceeding will need to be filed. In a contested divorce, the parties will engage in discovery and mandatory disclosures of specific information. There will likely be court proceedings, although most cases settle before there is a trial. In either a contested or an uncontested divorce, a family law attorney should represent your interests throughout the process.

No-Fault Divorce

In a New Jersey no-fault divorce, a marriage is dissolved based on grounds of separation or irreconcilable differences. Separation requires that the parties have lived apart for at least 18 consecutive months or longer, and there is no reasonable chance of reconciliation. A divorce based on irreconcilable differences may be filed when the parties have experienced irreconcilable differences for a period of six months or longer, and the parties have no reasonable chance of reconciliation. In a no-fault divorce, the parties need not present evidence of who caused the breakdown of the marriage.

Alimony

Alimony, also called spousal maintenance or support, refers to payments by one spouse to the other during or after a divorce, either by agreement of the parties or by court order. New Jersey recognizes several types of alimony. Open durational alimony has recently replaced permanent alimony. It provides for spousal support payments that may be modified or eventually end. Limited duration alimony, rehabilitative alimony, and reimbursement alimony may also be awarded, depending on the circumstances. In each case, the court will consider many different elements when determining whether alimony should be awarded, as well as the amount to be paid, and the number of years that the alimony payments will last.

Child Support

New Jersey law requires each parent to financially support his or her children, regardless of marital status or custody. The amount of child support for which each parent is responsible is determined pursuant to a statutory formula under the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. It necessitates disclosures of financial information by both parents, and it may be adjusted in consideration of many additional factors, such as the amount of nights the child spends with each parent. A court-ordered amount of child support may only be modified upon proof of changed circumstances, which must be substantial.

Child Custody

In New Jersey, child custody consists in part of legal custody, which is the right to make important legal decisions regarding a child’s life, such as those concerning education, health care, and general welfare. Typically, both parents will have the right to make such decisions and will share joint legal custody, although sometimes (rarely) one parent will be awarded sole legal custody. Residential custody, the other component of child custody, refers to where the child or children live the majority of the year. If the parents cannot agree on a custody arrangement, the court will probably initially refer them to mediation to attempt to resolve their dispute. If mediation is unsuccessful, a court will determine a parenting plan that is in the best interests of the child, after considering several statutory factors as well as expert evaluations and reports.

Protect Your Interests with a Family Law Lawyer in Bergen County

Obtaining legal advice is an important step to take when proceeding through a divorce. Bergen County family law attorney Brian D. Iton understands the nuances of alimony, child custody, child support, property division, and the other critical matters that may arise during these proceedings. He has represented clients throughout Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Passaic Counties, including in Paterson, Jersey City, Hackensack, and Newark. If you need a child custody attorney or other assistance during a divorce proceeding, contact the Law Office of Brian D. Iton by calling (844) 431-3380 or use our online form to schedule a free consultation.