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Ocean Township Legal Issues Blog

Planning for college funds during a divorce

For many New Jersey parents, paying for their children's higher education can be a major source of stress. The College Board estimates that the already-high costs of university education rise by around 3 percent every year. The sum is already substantial, especially when multiplied over the course of four years; every year at a private university costs approximately $46,950 when tuition, fees and room and board are taken into account an a year at a public university costs an average of $20,770. However, many parents are committed to making a substantial commitment to their children's university education.

Planning to deal with educational costs can be particularly complicated when parents decide to divorce. The costs of divorce, including setting up two households, dealing with asset division and prioritizing child support and spousal support, can place a significant strain on parental finances, including plans for a child's education. While married couples may think about saving for their children's education, few have a financial plan as to what to do in the case of divorce or widowhood.

Why a prenup may be important in wealthy families

Children of some wealthy families in New Jersey may face pressure from their parents to create and sign a prenuptial agreement. This is often not because of any issue the parents have with the child's future spouse but simply an effort to keep the family wealth from going to that spouse in the event of a divorce.

However, children often resist their parents on this. This is one reason it may be a good idea for parents to start talking with their children about the importance of a prenup when the children are in their teens or are young adults.

How equal marriages may reduce the likelihood of divorce

When New Jersey couples embark on a marriage in which the gender roles are equal, they may be creating a more solid base for their relationship than couples who begin with traditional gender roles and then change. According to researchers in Sweden, this may lead to divorce.

It is not uncommon for women to postpone developing their own careers in order to support their husbands' jobs and raise children. Later, when they do throw themselves into their careers and start making as much or more money than their husbands, it can create tension. Some husbands become controlling, trying to tell their wives what to do with the money and making accusations that they are having an affair.

Issues that may arise when parents share legal custody

Some New Jersey parents who are getting a divorce might wonder what is meant by joint legal custody. Legal custody is the right of parents to decide what religion their children will practice, what schools they will attend, what kind of medical care they will receive and other major issues. If parents share legal custody, they both have these rights.

This means that parents must learn to communicate and work together on these issues, and this has both its good and bad points. When parents are able to resolve conflicts and move forward to make decisions that are in the best interests of the child, this can strengthen their overall co-parenting relationship. It can also be positive for children to see them work through their difficulties in this way. Parents may also appreciate being able to talk over hard decisions about their children. On the other hand, since success in sharing legal custody lacks clear benchmarks, it can sometimes feel frustrating for parents who may wonder whether they are making progress.

How to explain divorce to young children

Going through a divorce is an emotional time for the individuals separating, but it becomes even more stressful when a child is involved. It is especially tough if you and your partner have a child that is five years or younger. At this age, your child depends on you, and neither one of you wants to let him or her down.

It may seem impossible to explain to your young child that their parents are no longer going to be married. Experts agree that divorce can be life-altering event for children. However, children of divorce can certainly grow to live happy, healthy lives.

Importance of financial preparations before filing for divorce

People who are wanting to get divorced in New Jersey should take some time to prepare before they file. By making financial preparations in advance of filing for divorce, people may be able to exit their marriages in an easier way.

While preparing to file for divorce, people should organize all of their financial documents. They should collect their most recent billing statements and balance information. If they have joint credit cards with their spouses, they should check them carefully and note any purchases that their spouses might be spending on their lovers. It is also important for people to know what their individual credit scores are. They should order their annual credit reports from each of the three major reporting agencies and challenge any information that is incorrect.

Types of child custody and visitation schedules

When New Jersey parents decide to separate or get a divorce, dealing with child custody and visitation can be difficult. In some cases, both parents work or may even need to move farther away from each other. As the children get older, visitation could become even more difficult due to school activities and emerging social lives. As such, creating a visitation schedule that meets everyone's needs is essential.

One common child custody schedule is the alternating weekends routine. The children live primarily with one parent and spend every other weekend with the other parent. This often works well for noncustodial parents who work long hours. If the families live near each other, noncustodial parents may also get one weeknight every week, allowing them to spend more time with their children. Another alternative is to extend the alternating weekend visits through Monday. Yet another option for some noncustodial parents is to get the kids overnight during the week while keeping the alternating weekends.

Study finds housework arguments lead to divorce

When couples in New Jersey do not share household chores equally, they might be more likely to get a divorce. Harvard Business School studied 3,000 couples and found that 25 percent of the ones who split up did so because of fights over housework. According to a 2017 study, even when women work full time, they still do a majority of the housework.

Couples who are able to hire a cleaning service and other types of help are more likely to stay together. In addition to eliminating arguments about who does those particular chores, it also gives families more time together. The National Academy of Sciences found that that spending an extra $100-$200 per month for these types of tasks tends to make people happier. Unfortunately, this type of expenditure is not feasible for many couples.

Abusers may use child custody battles to maintain control

When people in New Jersey and elsewhere divorce their abusers, the abusers may try to use child custody as a means to exert continued control over them. Despite evidence that abusers often try to wage custody battles to exert control, Congress has not acted. People who have suffered abuse from their former spouses or partners should be aware that their abusers may try to seek custody of their children simply to control them.

According to the American Judges Association, around 70 percent of domestic abusers are successful in convincing courts that their exes are either unfit parents or should not be granted sole custody. The American Psychological Association reports that while most people assume that battered spouses will be awarded sole custody of their children, most courts believe that it is in the children's best interests to spend time with both parents despite the abuse that has occurred.

Fights about chores: A threat to your marriage?

When it comes to things that can endanger a marriage, a lot of attention may go to big events, like infidelity or major financial dishonesty. However, it can be important for married couples to not forget the impacts the seemingly little and everyday things can have within a marriage.

If you are like most people, chores make up an everyday aspect of your life. Such activities may seem just about as ordinary as things can get. Now, the near omnipresent nature of chores in the lives of many married couples means there could be many opportunities for fights to arise between such couples in connection to housework. Survey data indicates that, if you are married, you might not want to just dismiss the potential for fighting about chores as no big deal.

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