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Ocean Township Legal Issues Blog

Understanding the law's view of grandparent custody

New Jersey residents may be interested in learning what grandparent child custody is and how it could affect them. Grandparent child custody is allowed in some areas and gives grandparents the right to petition or to be awarded the custody of their grandchildren. If grandparents are not awarded custody, they could be awarded visitation rights.

Federal law often gives preference to parents when it comes to caring for their children. It is their right to do so. For this reason, in some areas grandparent child custody has been seen as an infringement on the rights of parents. Still, there are circumstances where the court will decide that it is in the best interests of the child for them to be raised by their grandparents. Typical circumstances might include things like the death of one or both parents or evidence of abuse by one or both parents.

Planning makes holidays more enjoyable for divorced families

New Jersey parents headed for their first winter after a divorce or separation may be concerned about the logistics and emotions involved in navigating the holidays with a new family dynamic. There is no need to face the season with trepidation; even though all families are unique, there are some simple guidelines recommended by experts that can make this time flow much easier for children and parents.

The first key in any divided family situation is for the adults to focus on the most important thing: the children's best interests. If the parties can agree that the children's mental health and happiness is paramount to the airing of grievances or their own hurt feelings, almost everything else falls in line. The second key factor is an acknowledgment in word and deed that both parents are essential to a child's well-being, so fostering stable relationships with each should be a priority during holidays. If possible, traditions from each branch of a child's family tree should be honored.

Parallel parenting offers options to avoid divorce conflicts

Child custody, visitation and support issues are common concerns in New Jersey divorces, but problems may loom on the horizon when working out the day-to-day logistics of interacting with an ex-spouse. After a divorce, some type of custody arrangement is usually worked out that allows each parent to have input into how a child is raised. When divorced parents can't get along, however, even something as simple as picking up a child in a shared custody arrangement could become a problem.

The Good Men Project writes that one way to alleviate these problems is through parallel parenting. This method of parenting involves both parents being involved in the children's lives while not interfering with each other's lives. To do this, both parents must keep all interactions impersonal to avoid the potential for conflict. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done due to the need to communicate regarding major decisions in the children's lives.

Nesting and other approaches to helping children after divorce

Some New Jersey parents who are divorcing might want to consider an arrangement called "nesting" or "birdnesting" to help their children adjust to the separation. In a nesting arrangement, children stay in the family home while each parent takes turns living there. Experts say that nesting can give children a sense of stability, but a successful arrangement requires parents to get along well. They also need to be able to afford at least two homes, the family home and another one they alternate living in when not at the family home. Finally, the arrangement should not last more than a few months.

Experts say arrangements that last longer risk giving children the impression that their parents might get back together. Another danger is that children may become more anxious anticipating what separate homes will be like. Parents may have a higher likelihood of conflict as a result of sharing homes the longer the arrangement continues.

Dividing assets in divorce: who gets your dog?

Many people do not realize how many different elements there are in a divorce. Perhaps the most complicated part is deciding who gets custody of your children. But, what if you have pets? A large number of families in New Jersey have dogs, cats or other animals that they consider a part of their family.

However, according to New Jersey law, your pets are not considered family members the same way your children are. So what happens to them during a divorce? How can families decide who gets to keep the pets?

Minimizing risks when seeking the marital home during a divorce

The marital home is a common point of contention for couples in New Jersey going through the divorce process. In some cases, the fight is so bitter that courts get involved and end up ordering the property sold and the proceeds split. Other times, one party may agree to let their soon-to-be-ex buy them out so that they can keep the home. Even if the best intentions are behind such a move, there are some potential legal issues associated with arrangements like this.

With property division involving a home, there may be unforeseen legal obligations. This is why it's often advised that the spouse seeking or receiving the home determine the amount of equity associated with it. If the property is jointly owned, one spouse may be able sign the home over to the other party with a quit claim deed.

Tips for avoiding expensive divorce mistakes

People in New Jersey who are going through a divorce might make some financial mistakes that can cause the process to be even more stressful. Awareness of common mistakes can help people avoid them.

For example, some people might go out and buy a big-ticket item during or after the divorce. This feels good in the moment, but the bills will come in. Some financial planning may help a person make better decisions during and after the divorce, and a professional could help with this. This planning may help people avoid mistakes such as keeping a home they cannot afford or quitting work to avoid alimony payments.

Parents can help kids deal with divorce

New Jersey parents who decide to divorce may worry about how a marriage separation may affect their children. They may also worry about how the divorce could affect their own time and relationships with the kids. While a divorce can be challenging for a family, parents can improve the situation by dealing with their children in a loving and responsible fashion. By taking action to ensure that the kids' emotional needs are met, parents can ease the transition.

Divorce can be a period of major change. Kids may split their time between two houses instead of one, and they will rarely see their parents together in one place. This is one reason why parents can help their children by providing stability and routine. Even former spouses who don't get along could benefit their children by coming to an agreement about key parenting issues like rules of conduct and academic expectations. This way, kids will still feel as if they are part of the same household, despite their moves back and forth. Routine can also help children to feel safe and protected, especially during a time of significant upheaval.

Living together before marriage may increase divorce risk

According to the Barna Trends 2017 report, a majority of Americans believe that cohabitation prior to marriage is a good idea. However, some New Jersey couples may be surprised to see that a study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family challenged that perception. The research indicates that people who live together before they get married are at a higher risk for divorce.

The study, called "Cohabitation Experience and Cohabitation's Association with Marital Dissolution," suggests that the premarital cohabitation effect operates to make divorce increasingly likely as the marriage continues. The authors of the study used data from the National Surveys of Family Growth, analyzing 216,455 couple years and using history time event methodology to predict divorce.

High asset divorce: does it have to be messy?

You and your spouse are successful… on paper. During your marriage your financials flourished, but your relationship suffered and you found you could no longer be together. Finally, you decide to call it quits, but now that your financial portfolio is a substantial size, how can you navigate this situation?

People expect divorce to be complicated. People with high assets and complex financials may face even more complications, but it does not have to turn into a big mess.

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