If you're thinking about getting a divorce, the only thing you may be thinking about is the fact that you want to live a separate life from your spouse. If you could just gather up your kids and move to a new apartment that would make things easy, wouldn't it?
The problem is, your marriage agreement is a legal agreement and it takes time to split up that agreement in terms of the shared life, shared responsibilities and shared assets you enjoy with your spouse through divorce. In this regard, there are three primary things that you'll need to "untangle" as a part of your divorce proceedings: (1) child custody, (2) support obligations (3) and assets.
1. Deciding on child custody arrangements
Your children are the most precious possessions you have. Your spouse probably feels the same about your children and will usually have just as much of a legal claim to them as you do. As such, you'll need to come up with child custody and/or parenting time arrangements. Whether you decide to do a 50/50 child custody arrangement, where your kids live with you half the time and your ex the other half of the time -- or whether you get full custody and your spouse gets parenting time -- these arrangements will need to be made.
The most important aspect of your child custody agreement, from the standpoint of a New Jersey family law court, is the best interests of the child or children involved. Be sure to honor your children's needs first and your spouse and the court will be more likely to agree with your plans.
2. Figuring out support obligations
The income-earning capacity of one spouse -- or the personal assets of one spouse -- may be much greater than the other. If this is the case, then the so-called "moneyed" spouse may have a legal obligation to pay the other spouse child support and/or spousal support. The amount of the child support contributed by the parents, depends on each of their income and the amount of "overnights" they each exercise. As a part of your divorce settlement, or your divorce litigation, you and your ex-spouse will need to resolve the issue of support obligations -- if any are needed.
3. Dividing up your property and assets
Regardless of whether they are debts or assets, any debts or assets acquired by you and your spouse need to be divided and resolved during your divorce. Every asset division process is different, but the more assets or debts involved, the more work and complexity will be involved in dividing them.
Know what to expect before you decide to divorce
Spouses who fully understand New Jersey family law and their legal rights and options will be better equipped to navigate their divorces. As such, in the stages before your divorce, you will want to establish an idea of what you wish to achieve in the above three areas, while also understanding what is possible given the current law in New Jersey.