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Ocean Township Legal Issues Blog

Planning for a child's college expenses after divorce

As part of a divorce settlement, some parents in New Jersey might be required to contribute toward their children's college expenses. However, even when this is the case, a judge will take a number of factors into account, including a parent's financial situation. This means that in most cases, the divorce agreement cannot compel a parent to pay for an expensive private college education.

A divorce can create significant barriers to saving for college, and parents may have to put such expenses as child and spousal support ahead of college savings. Maintaining two separate households can make saving for college challenging as well. If parents already have a 529 plan, this can help offset some college expenses. Funds in a 529 plan can be withdrawn tax-free if they are used toward education. However, because one parent usually owns this plan and can change the beneficiary or owner, the uses of this plan should probably also be addressed in the divorce agreement. Parents could also each be given the ability to monitor the plan, or they could split it.

Divorce may be more likely if the wife gets sick

When people marry in New Jersey, they often pledge to stay together "in sickness and in health." In practice, however, severe and chronic illness can have serious, negative effects on a marriage. According to multiple studies, those impacts are distinctly gendered. Women who become seriously ill are more likely to face divorce while married men who suffer from illness do not show the same increased likelihood of separation.

It should be noted that most research conducted on this topic has involved older couples who may be more likely to adhere to traditional gender roles. The likelihood of divorce for young people who become seriously ill has been studied far less frequently or thoroughly. While women with cancer have an increased risk of divorce, this likelihood is less than that of wives who have had strokes or heart attacks. Researchers say that these findings parallel others, noting that while women often work harder after marriage, men find that their health is improved in their relationships.

The ins and outs of very high-asset divorces

Not many people in New Jersey, or the rest of the United States for that matter, have the kind of assets that the founder of Amazon has. However, it is interesting to take a look at what steps may be taken to protect assets of this nature during a divorce given the news that Amazon's founder is splitting from his wife after 25 years of marriage. The couple will be dividing assets estimated to be valuated at nearly $140 billion.

While it's not unusual for any couple getting a divorce to have joint assets to split, extremely wealthy couples tend to have their assets in stocks that are sometimes difficult to assess. High-asset divorces may also present challenges if martial property includes more unique things like rare collectibles or bank accounts in remote island nations. If infidelity is a factor in the divorce, this usually doesn't affect property division unless joint funds were used to pay for the affair.

Studies look at attractiveness and marriage longevity

When a New Jersey spouse is in a relationship with a significant disparity in physical attractiveness, they could be more vulnerable to divorce. Analysts have pointed out that there is a body of research that supports such conclusions. Despite this, one survey of online dating practices found that people tend to pursue others who are more attractive than they are.

According to one study, when women rate themselves as more attractive then their husbands, they're more likely to be less committed and to flirt more with others. Other research has shown that relationships between people with physical mismatches tend to be shorter because of jealousy.

Parents and kids fare better in joint custody agreements

According to research studies, joint physical custody agreements are generally better for divorced parents in New Jersey and their children. Unless there is a compelling reason such as domestic abuse or child negligence, a father's caregiving and guidance is just as important as a mother's nurturing.

Experts from around the world have concluded that children of all ages thrive best when allowed to maintain relationships with both parents. Kids in joint physical custody situations typically get into less trouble and have fewer emotional problems as they grow up. From a child development standpoint, sleeping over at dad's house regularly is healthy even for toddlers and infants.

Avoiding problems with real estate during divorce

The family home can be one of the most emotionally significant and financially valuable assets held by a divorcing couple in New Jersey. Unlike purely financial assets like retirement funds or bank accounts, it is far more difficult to equitably distribute the marital home. As a result, one of the most popular solutions for the home during a divorce is to put it up for sale. The purchase price can be used to pay off the remaining mortgage before the balance is divided between the two divorcing spouses.

Many people feel a deep sense of emotional connection to the family property. This is especially true if they are parents and the children have grown up in the home. One spouse may strongly want to keep the family home in the divorce. However, this can be a complicated process, so there are some critical steps to keep in mind when taking this route.

How to talk to your kids about divorce

Breaking the news to your kids about divorce is one of the first, of many steps in the divorce process. However, it might be one of the most difficult. It is not easy to tell your children that you and their other parent are no longer in love and do not want to be together.

Fortunately, there are a few helpful pieces of advice you can use to make this process easier for both you and your children. Here are three things to keep in mind to make talking about divorce less difficult for you and your kids.

Frequent fights about money a warning sign for divorce

All married couples in New Jersey will have occasional disagreements about money, but persistent arguments about finances could undermine a relationship entirely. A university study identified financial disputes as a leading indicator that a couple was headed for divorce. People who fought regularly about their finances had a 30 percent greater chance of seeking divorce.

Money problems typically involve debt that strains the spouses' budget. A survey commissioned by Fidelity found that over half of couples bring debts into their marriages. Among respondents, 40 percent acknowledged that owing debts created marital conflict. Spouses often blame each other for the debt, and their hostile feelings tend to weaken their ability to communicate about important issues.

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.

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