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Ocean Township Legal Issues Blog

Why some couples may want a prenuptial agreement

Some New Jersey couples who are planning to get married may be worried that a prenuptial agreement will increase the likelihood that they will get divorced or that they will have to reveal things they would rather not such as bankruptcies or debt. However, creating a prenup can lead to important conversations about finances and can protect people in case the marriage ends.

A prenup can be important if one person earns more than another because it can specify alimony arrangements. This may be even more important if one spouse leaves work to care for children. This may significantly affect the assets this person accumulates and may make it difficult to return to the workforce.

Older divorcees face financial, social challenges

Statistics show that New Jersey adults who are 50 and older are divorcing at higher rates. Since 1990, the rate of divorce in this age group has doubled. For the 65 and over age group, it has tripled.

While some researchers have wondered if the strain of retirement or empty nest syndrome leads to divorce in this age group, studies indicate that there is little correlation between these events and separation. Instead, older people seek a divorce because they are unhappy in their marriages and feel unfulfilled just as younger people do. It's important to note that second marriages are more likely to end in divorce than first marriages. Furthermore, children of divorce are more prone to divorces; there's a 60 percent higher chance for women with divorced parents and a 35 percent higher chance for men.

How to divorce without jeopardizing retirement savings

When a woman gets divorced, her income falls by about 20 percent on average. When a man gets divorced, his income goes up by about 33 percent on average. However, there are steps that women in New Jersey and around the country can take to help secure their retirement after their marriage comes to an end. In many case, it may not be best to keep a marital home because of the overall cost of doing so.

In addition to making mortgage payments, homeowners need to account for the cost of maintenance, property taxes and homeowners insurance policies. When it comes time to sell the home, it may be necessary to pay capital gains taxes as well as the cost of staging it for buyers. Keeping a home could also result in an individual passing on another asset that could be just as or more valuable than the home in the long-term.

Divorce may be contagious among friends

Divorce has become increasingly common for married couples in New Jersey and in other states compared to decades ago. Researchers who analyzed divorce statistics have reported that divorce is more common for individuals with close friends or family members who recently filed for divorce.

Researchers at Harvard, Brown University and the University of California at San Diego found that subjects with a friend who recently got divorced were 75 percent more likely to become divorced. Subjects with a friend of a friend who recently got divorced were 33 percent more likely to get divorced.

Can you predict a divorce with psychology?

It is no secret that the divorce rate in the United States is high. An estimated 40 to 50 percent of American marriages have ended in divorce in today’s age. This does not bode well for a picture of domestic bliss.

But what leads to so many divorces? Is there a way to predict whether or not your marriage is going to fall apart? Multiple studies have tried to determine if there are any predilections to a divorce. Whether or not the results are conclusive is yet to be determined, but there are some psychological commonalities throughout these studies. There are a few characteristics that come up more often in failed marriages.

Establishing and enforcing child support orders

It can be particularly important for single, separated or divorced parents in New Jersey to understand the child support system. When parents first enter the system and begin dealing with child support, they may find it confusing or even overwhelming. Each August marks Child Support Awareness Month, an initiative designed to draw attention to the financial support provided by noncustodial parents.

A child support determination is made after the parent-child relationship is officially established. Maternity can be proven through the records of childbirth while paternity can be demonstrated in a number of ways. If the child was born during the parents' marriage, the husband is assumed to be the father. When the parents are unmarried, an acknowledgment of paternity form can be signed by the father at the child's birth or any later time. In some cases, paternity may be in doubt or dispute. In these situations, parents may request DNA testing to conclusively prove the child's parentage. After a DNA test, an official order of paternity may be issued.

The different types of child support cases

When New Jersey parents start dealing with the child support system for the first time, some of the terminology used can be confusing and difficult to understand. It may also not be clear why some families handle child support privately while others are involved with a state system that manages the payment process. There are actually four different kinds of child support cases that deal with payment arrangements.

The four types of support cases are known as IV-D, IV-A, IV-E and non-IV-D child support matters. The term "IV" refers back to the 1975 Social Security Act's Title IV, which governs the funds provided by the federal government to states to aid needy families. An IV-D case is one where the Office of Child Support Enforcement is involved to establish paternity, enforce an existing order for child support or otherwise assist the custodial parent. On the other hand, IV-A cases are those in which the state is seeking child support from the non-custodial parent because the custodial parent receives public assistance. IV-E cases are similar; however, the children are in foster care or a relative's custody.

Disentangling assets during a divorce over 50

An increasing number of couples in New Jersey are choosing to divorce later in life. Statistics show that while the divorce rate has remained flat or even declined for most American demographics, people older than 50 are an exception. The divorce rate has gone up two times over for this group in the past 20 years, according to the Pew Research Center. There can be major differences when people decide to divorce at an older age. Issues like child custody and support are unlikely to be a concern. However, financial issues and the division of retirement funds are more likely to be serious issues in a "gray divorce."

It should be noted that many couples who decide to divorce after a long marriage might reach a more amicable resolution. Even in these cases, however, people in lengthy marriages can accumulate significant assets, and distributing them can be complex and even contentious. Even when both parties have reached a clear agreement on how to divide their retirement accounts and other investment funds, there are clear rules that must be followed in order to avoid an unnecessary and costly burden in the form of taxes, fees and penalties.

Introducing new partners to children after a divorce

New Jersey parents may find it difficult to co-parent their children with their ex-spouse following a divorce, especially if that divorce was not amicable. However, it is essential for parents to continue to work together for the sake of their children, especially as they begin to move on.

At some point, one or both parents may begin to date other people. However, kids, especially young kids, can quickly latch on to new adults in their lives. To protect the kids, parents should be extremely careful when introducing new partners into their lives. If a parent is worried that the other parent may be too quick to do so, provisions can be put in the child custody order that address the situation.

Frequent causes of pedestrian motor vehicle accidents

Recently, members of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority have been campaigning for safer road behavior with “Street Smart NJ”. Their goal is to spread awareness about road safety to reduce the amount of pedestrian injuries and fatalities that occur in the state.

Minimizing the amount of pedestrian accidents in New Jersey is a tough challenge. As the article highlighting Street Smart NJ points out, New Jersey had nearly double the national pedestrian fatality rate from 2011 to 2015. No amount of crosswalks and stop signs can stop the actions of one negligent driver. It is crucial that you know how the most common factors that lead to motorists crashing into pedestrians.

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