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Property Distribution In Divorce Cases

New Jersey is an equitable division state, which means that property should be fairly apportioned between the parties during their divorce. However, this doesn’t mean that property must be divided equally between the parties. While an even split of property may be appropriate in some cases, it is inappropriate in other cases. This means that you cannot assume that you are entitled to 50% of all marital property in your divorce.

The first step to property division in a New Jersey divorce is to determine what property qualifies as marital property. Only property or assets that one or both spouses acquire during a marriage is marital property that must be divided in a divorce. Marital property can include the marital home, real estate, cash, checking and savings accounts, stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, and businesses.

On the other hand, property that either spouse acquires prior to the marriage is not marital property (absent specific circumstances). Rather, this property may be separate property that remains the sole property of the spouse who acquired it before the marriage. Furthermore, if one spouse acquires property by gift or inheritance and retains it as a separate asset, that spouse may remain the exclusive owner of that property, even he or she receives the gift or inheritance during the marriage.

Once a court determines which property is marital property, the next determination is how to divide it equitably. In making that decision, a court can consider the following factors:

·         The length of the marriage

·         The age and health of each party

·         The financial situation of each party, including any debts

·         The current value of the marital property and the tax consequences of the property distribution

·         The income and property brought into the marriage by each party

·         The established standard of living during the marriage

·         The contribution of each party to obtaining marital assets, including contributions by one party as a homemaker

At Argentino Family Law & Child Advocacy, LLC , our attorneys are here to handle all of the different issues that involve families and children, including the distribution of property when spouses separate. We understand how difficult and stressful these types of cases can be in many situations, but we consider it our job to help guide you successfully through these and any other family-related legal proceedings that you may be facing. Contact our offices today to schedule an appointment with one of our highly experienced New Jersey lawyers and see what we can do to help with your case.

Settling Your Divorce Case: What You Should Know Before You Settle

While most divorce cases end in a settlement, reaching that settlement can be a lengthy process. During negotiations in your divorce case, you are likely to question and struggle with making the different decisions that you are facing. Individuals make decisions in their divorce cases for different reasons, not all of which are completely rational or in their best interests. Therefore, before you reach a final settlement in your divorce case, there are a few things that you should know.

First, you should be aware of what you are or potentially are giving up when you agree to a settlement in your divorce case. For example, your spouse’s offer of settlement may include a provision that you are not entitled to any portion of your spouse’s retirement plan, even though it accrued during your marriage. Under New Jersey law, your spouse’s retirement plan would qualify as marital property, so you may very well be entitled to a portion of the plan’s assets. By accepting your spouse’s settlement offer, you may be giving up a legal right to that asset. Of course, you can make whatever decision you want, but you should know what rights you may be giving up before you agree to give them up.

Next, avoid making decisions based on emotions. It is very easy in a divorce to allow your feelings to drive your decisions rather than engaging in a rational decision-making process. Many individuals who simply want to get a divorce over with will agree to whatever settlements their spouses propose, purely for the sake of quickly ending their marriage. Other individuals will claim that they don’t have the money or strength to continue to fight with their spouses. This is one reason why it is so essential to have the assistance and advice of an attorney throughout your divorce proceedings. A divorce lawyer can look at the issues you are facing in a more neutral manner, since he or she has no emotional stake in the matter, and give you rational advice about how to proceed.

No matter whether settlement is a possibility or litigation is a necessity in your divorce case, our New Jersey family law attorneys can guide you through every step of the proceedings needed to resolve your case. We are here to answer all of your questions about your case and present your potential options. At Argentino Family Law & Advocacy, LLC, we have represented the interests of countless families and children throughout many different types of legal proceeding. Contact our office today at (973) 868-0958 or by e-mail at info@argentinolaw.com and set up a time to talk with us about your case.

What is Human Rights Day All About?

The United Nations General Assembly designated December 10th as Human Rights Day, in celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is a document proclaiming the inalienable rights to which everyone is entitled. This year, Human Rights Day sets off a year-long campaign to mark next year’s 70th Anniversary of the Declaration. The rights set forth in the Declaration are inherent in every human being, regardless of race, religion, color, sex, language, political or social opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status. The goal of the Declaration is to establish universal values and common standards for all people and all nations.

All United Nations member states have consented to the basic human rights outlined by the Declaration. Although it is not a binding document, it has supported the creation of more than 60 additional documents concerning human rights, which collectively make up the international standard of human rights. Available in more than 500 languages, the Declaration is the most translated document in the world. The Declaration has inspired the following pledge to support universal human rights:

·         I respect your rights regardless of who you are. I will uphold your rights even when I disagree with you.

·         When anyone’s human rights are denied, everyone’s rights are undermined, so I will STAND UP.

·         I will raise my voice. I will take action. I will use my rights to stand up for your rights.

At Argentino Family Law & Child Advocacy, LLC, we acknowledge Human Rights Day in order to promote awareness of the many local, state, national, and global issues that impact different groups of individuals in today’s society. While we celebrate the steps that have taken thus far in support of human rights, we also are cognizant of the need for continued work in the area of human rights. It is our goal to help raise awareness of these issues in the state of New Jersey. Since our daily work deals with families and children, we know how important human rights are, particularly for those individuals whom society tends to marginalize.

Should you need assistance with any family law-related matter, we are here to help and give you the advice that you need. Contact our office by e-mailing us at info@argentinolaw.com or call us at (973) 868-0958 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced family law attorneys today.

How Should I Choose a Divorce Attorney?

When it comes time to choose a divorce attorney, you may not know where to start. This is an important decision for a variety of reasons. Therefore, you should take several different factors into consideration in making this decision, including the lawyer’s perspective on your case, his or her level of knowledge and experience with divorce cases like yours, and his or her ability to communicate and help you understand the different aspects of your divorce case.

First, realize that lawyers use different strategies and tactics for approaching a divorce case. One lawyer may take an aggressive stance from the beginning of your case, filing multiple motions with the court and refusing to negotiate or compromise on even the smallest of issues. Another attorney may approach your divorce case more holistically and work closely with your spouse’s attorney to negotiate a settlement that is fair for both of you, thus saving both time and money. When you are interviewing lawyers, you should ask how they would handle the different aspects of your divorce case. You need to be comfortable with your attorney’s approach and make sure that his or her approach is truly designed to get you what you want, need, and deserve in your divorce proceedings.

Next, part of an attorney’s job is to educate you about New Jersey divorce law and explain how procedural matters in your divorce proceedings work. You undoubtedly will have many questions throughout your divorce case, and you will want to ensure that you can get clear answers to your questions from your lawyer in a timely manner, both during your initial consultation and throughout your divorce case. How long can you expect to wait to have your phone calls returned? Will your lawyer take the time to explain things to you, or will he or she be too busy to answer your questions? These are all questions that you should ask a prospective lawyer so that you have a clear sense of the information that you will receive from your divorce lawyer and how and when you will receive it.

Finally, make sure that you hire a lawyer who has experience handling not only divorces, but also handling the issues that will arise in your divorce case. For instance, many attorneys operate a general law practice, which means that they handle divorce and family law cases in addition to many other types of cases, including estate planning, business contracts, and criminal defense cases. An attorney who has focused solely on divorce and family law for several years is likely to have far more experience in these matters than a general practitioner. Likewise, if your divorce case involves issues that may not be common to all divorce cases, such as a prenuptial agreement, allegations of child abuse, or a family business, you are likely to get the most help from an attorney ho has handled divorces involving these types of issues in the past.

How NOT to email your ex

Most people have access to email, and during a particularly contentious divorce, it is often the recommended method of communication for parents. For one thing, email forces parties to slow down and consider their words before hitting “send,” as opposing to speaking or sending a quick text message in anger. You can avoid saying things that undoubtedly will come back to haunt you in the future. Additionally, email messages allow you to document who said what, as well as when it was said, both of which can avoid future arguments and confusion.

With that said, there are some general guidelines that you should follow when emailing your ex. First, stick to business. Think of raising your child with your ex as a business, where the goal is to cooperatively and successfully nurture a child into a healthy and happy adult. You don’t need to correspond with your spouse about anything other than issues related to your child. Leave the emotions and negativity out of it. Say only what is necessary, and leave it at that.

Next, keep your tone as neutral as possible. These emails are to communicate about your child, not to air your grievances about your ex. Rather than berating your ex for failing to let you know the time of your child’s choir program, simply confirm the time and ask that she let you know in advance next time. Likewise, instead of making threats to your ex about what steps you will take to punish him or what will happen to your children if he fails to follow through with his promises, just acknowledge the issue and move on. Be polite and professional, just as you would to a stranger or a business client, and refrain from saying anything negative.  In order to keep yourself in check, it may be helpful to think about the fact that whatever you write is likely to be viewed by third parties in the future (like a judge or a custody evaluator).

If communication is particularly difficult, parents may want to consider a communication aid such as Our Family Wizard.  https://www.ourfamilywizard.com   For a relatively low cost (particularly when compared with the financial and emotional costs of litigation), parents have a central location to email each other with timed responses, elimination of negative/aggressive wording, uploading of bills for reimbursement, and calendar sharing.  

The New Jersey family law attorneys at Argentino Family Law & Child Advocacy, LLC, are eager to answer your questions and help you understand how the law pertains to your legal matter. We try to come up with creative solutions for parents to better communicate and independently move forward without the need for Court intervention.  In a mediation capacity or as a parenting coordinator, we can make suggestions and help you move through a parenting dispute.  As your attorneys, we will focus on how best to represent your interests and achieve your desired goals. We have handled countless parentage, divorce, and other family law proceedings over the years, and we will work with you to create the best strategy possible in your case. Call our offices today at (973) 868-0958 and learn how we can help you with your New Jersey family law case.