NEW JERSEY DIVORCE LAWYER

Family Law Attorney Serving Residents of Northern New Jersey

A divorce in Bergen County or elsewhere in New Jersey can be challenging for the whole family. The decisions made during a divorce have an impact that can last for years, and sometimes the repercussions continue over the course of family members' lives. It can be a relief to go through a New Jersey divorce with the help of a capable and experienced family law attorney. Brian D. Iton is a knowledgeable Hackensack divorce lawyer with more than 20 years of experience. He provides representation to people going through divorce. He also handles issues such as alimony, child custody, child support, equitable distribution, and legal separation.

Family Law

Family law matters can become heated and emotional. It is necessary to have a seasoned attorney who understands the best arguments, arrangements and agreements for you and your family, and how the court is likely to rule on various potentially controversial issues. In New Jersey, most divorces are based on the ground of irreconcilable differences. "Irreconcilable differences" means that the marriage has broken down, and you will not be able to fix the issues that are causing the problems. There are also other grounds for divorce, such as living apart for 18 months, adultery, abandonment, domestic abuse, substance abuse, and imprisonment. The first step toward divorce is completing a complaint for divorce and filing it. In order to obtain a divorce in New Jersey, one of the spouses needs to have lived in the state for at least a year.

Divorce

Both contested and uncontested divorces are available in New Jersey. When a divorce is uncontested, it means that the spouses agree on all of the aspects of the divorce. In this situation the case might be eligible for an expedited track. Aspects of the divorce that must be agreed upon include: property division, and alimony, where the children will live, child support, and tax exemptions and deductions. When the spouses disagree about one or more of these aspects of a divorce, the divorce will be contested. A contested divorce can be decided by a judge at a trial. Trials are heard in the county seat (Hackensack in Bergen County; Jersey City in Hudson County; Paterson in Passaic County; Newark in Essex County), but more often than not, with the help of an experienced divorce attorney it is possible to reach an agreement with your spouse prior to trial.

Child Custody

Some of the most complex issues in a divorce include where the children should live and how much time each child should spend with each parent. Often, spouses work together to try to reach an agreement about child custody. Usually, courts believe that “sharing” custody is in a child's best interests. There are two parts of custody: legal custody and physical custody. Whichever parent lives with the child for most of the time has physical or residential custody and is called the custodial parent, while the other parent is called the noncustodial parent. Both parents usually make important decisions for the children. This is called joint legal custody.

Child Support

In New Jersey, both parents must financially support their children. Child support guidelines are used to determine child support. The guidelines are based on each parents’ net income. Child support is paid until a child is at least 18 and/or is no longer in school. Once a child obtains emancipation, child support will be terminated. Sometimes a couple is able to agree on a particular amount of child support which is different from the New Jersey child support guidelines amount of support. An experienced Hackensack divorce attorney, who is regularly at the courthouse will be able to calculate the correct amount of child support for your unique situation.

Alimony

Sometimes one spouse is entitled to receive alimony from the other spouse when a couple gets divorced. There are several kinds of alimony in New Jersey. Courts will examine the circumstances to decide whether or not to award alimony, which type of alimony to award, how much to award, and the length of time that alimony needs to be paid. Types of alimony include: spousal support during the divorce to maintain the financial status quo; limited duration alimony for lower-earning spouses to help them after the divorce for a limited period of time, and longer term open durational alimony to cover financial need when the spouses were married for a longer period of years. The court can also award rehabilitative alimony to get a spouse back on their feet, and reimbursement alimony to compensate a spouse who supported the other spouse through higher education and believed that they would enjoy the consequences of that higher education. Upon a divorce, the court can order some combination of these different types of alimony.

Property Division

New Jersey courts divide a couple's property equitably upon divorce. Whether your case involves a division of real estate, a business interest, retirement assets or financial investments, Brian Iton is an experienced Hackensack divorce lawyer who can help you understand how your property will be divided. Equitable distribution does not necessarily mean that the property will be divided equally. Instead, it means that the property will be divided according to what the court considers "equitable" or fair. Factors to be considered include prenuptial or postnuptial agreements related to property division, how long the marriage lasted, each spouse's health and age, any income or property that was brought into the marriage, the couple's standard of living during the marriage, the income and economic circumstances of each spouse, custodial responsibility for children, contributions made by each spouse, and other factors as specified under N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23.1. Judges have the discretion to determine how much weight to assign to any of these factors. In most cases, they are not interested in fault, but in rare circumstances, such as when a spouse has dissipated funds by misappropriating marital property, fault may affect equitable distribution of property.

Consult an Experienced Divorce Lawyer in Hackensack or Surrounding Areas

Brian Iton handles both uncontested and contested divorces in Hackensack and other Bergen County communities. He also handles cases in Hudson County, Essex County, Passaic County, and other northern New Jersey counties, including Middlesex and Union counties. He handles all aspects of divorce, including property division, child custody, child support, and alimony. There are significant advantages to hiring an attorney to handle your divorce, even if it is uncontested. An experienced attorney will educate you on your options and rights when divorcing. An experienced attorney can try to work out a settlement with the other spouse or their attorney, and they will make sure that any settlement agreement is drafted properly. On the other hand, if needed, an experienced attorney can take a divorce to trial and aggressively pursue the most favorable outcome for you. If you are contemplating a divorce in New Jersey, you can call us toll-free at (844) 431-3380 or contact us online for a free consultation.