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West Caldwell Family Law Blog

August is Child Support Awareness Month

The majority of parents want to do right by their children. While there are cases where a noncustodial parent may be unable, or simply refuses, to make child support payments, it is rarely the case that they will be required to make no payments at all. As some New Jersey residents may already know, August is Child Support Awareness Month.

A neighboring state announced the results of collections of outstanding child support payments for the last fiscal year, totalling almost $71 million. The Child Support Enforcement Unit partnered with the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) to issue tax warrants to more than 132,000 individuals, in an effort to reclaim overdue payments. In a few instances, the Tax Department received individual payments that were in the many thousands of dollars, even one as high as $236,000. In lieu of cash, some items that were seized included yachts and luxury cars.

Should a man pay child support for a child that is not his?

From the first moment children draw breath, their parents form strong bonds with them. Many New Jersey residents will understand a parent's desire to do the best for his or her child. Seeking -- or paying -- child support, is one way of making provisions for them. What happens if a man is expected to make payments for a child that is not his?

Last year, a man was served court papers that claimed he had a daughter, in addition to the three children and two nephews he is currently raising. Shortly after, he met with the girl, who was born in 2003, and submitted to a DNA test that proved he was not the girl's biological father. When the girl was born, her mother had told the child support court that this man was definitely the father, and the court ruled that he must make payments to the mother. The man claims that he was unaware of this until last year.

Does the uncertain future of health care leave divorce in limbo?

Life is rarely as simple as black and white; there are innumerable shades of gray. Once a New Jersey resident has made up his or her mind to divorce, anything that may hamper one's decision can be frustrating. One area that is causing uncertainty for some people is the lack of information over what might replace the Affordable Care Act.

This country is one of the few where health insurance is usually tied to employment and sometimes also to one's marital status. The Affordable Care Act, which came into force in 2014, was designed to protect those who would lose the benefit of a spouse's health care policy in the event of divorce. It ensured that coverage would be available to all individuals, and that pre-existing conditions would not result in higher premiums. Before this Act came into being, it was estimated that around 115,000 women were affected in this way each year.

Understanding the difference between mediation and arbitration

Most people living in Passaic County and Essex County in New Jersey know that there is currently a stay in place for all divorce proceedings. What does that mean, exactly? For couples who know their marriage is over, this stay means that traditional, court-based divorces are not an option.

Thankfully, there are options for ending a marriage that don't involve New Jersey family courts. More couples are looking to mediation as an option to ending an unhappy marriage. The idea of mediation can confuse many, as people often don't understand the difference between mediation and arbitration. The two are very different from one another. Mediation is empowering, giving couples complete control over the process. Arbitration is entirely different and more similar to the standard divorce process.

Divorce is a full-time occupation

There are many things that can put strain on a marriage. Many New Jersey residents will be unsurprised that financial troubles and health problems can cause divorce. Certain professions can also cause problems within a marriage due to a number of different reasons.

Recent analysis of the U.S. Census Data showed that, among military-enlisted supervisors, divorce rates could be as high as 30 percent. The job carries responsibility for leading military operations and coordinating the activities of personnel, and those who serve in the military are often away from home for extended periods. Surprisingly, non-military careers such as logisticians and mechanics are among the next highest divorce rate occupations.

Things you must do with regard to a child support modification

Do you pay child support, month in and month out? Have you come to find that you are unable to stay current with your payments?

If you answered yes to these questions, you need to learn more about the steps for requesting a child support modification.

Property distribution includes protecting credit rating

Along with child custody issues, divorcing couples in New Jersey probably dispute the division of their assets more passionately than most other factors. However, an important element in reaching an equitable property distribution is balancing the debt the couples share. Without careful attention to one's liabilities, one spouse may be at risk of damaging his or her credit score, which may hinder the chances of moving forward independently.

Financial advisors encourage divorcing spouses to obtain copies of their credit scores from all three credit bureaus as early as possible in their divorce proceedings, and to monitor those scores throughout the process. This will keep one alert for any mistakes on the report as well as any new debt one's spouse may accumulate before the divorce settlement. Ideally, the spouses can work together to separate the debts, perhaps even refinancing certain loans to remove one spouse's name. If negotiation is not possible, it may be necessary to sell the home or cars to eliminate the debt.

Mediation gives you more control over asset division and custody

Getting divorced is never an easy prospect. In New Jersey right now, it's nearly impossible. Initially, only Essex and Passaic Counties had stays on divorces. Now, with the escalation of budget issues and the closure of all state courts, divorces are indefinitely on hold throughout New Jersey.

For some couples, this could mean getting forced to continue in an unhappy marriage. For those who believe they can reach workable compromises with their former spouses, however, mediation remains a viable option for ending a marriage even while courts are not hearing divorce cases.

How a bad divorce can affect a child, even into adulthood

The state of a person's health is dependent on many things. There may not be much that one can do to stave off an illness that is genetic without the intervention of medicine, and there are certain illnesses that a New Jersey resident may contract at any time in life that can have long term effects. A recent university study has shown that children whose parents go through a bad divorce may find, as a consequence, that their immune systems become more vulnerable, even into adulthood.

From their findings, it appears to apply mainly to adults whose parents not only separated when the test subjects were children, but also stopped speaking to each other. Using nasal drops to infect the subjects with a common cold virus, they discovered that adults whose parents had divorced but maintained contact with each other were as resilient to the virus as those whose families had remained intact during their childhoods. The ones whose families broke off communication were more than three times more likely to become ill.

Rewriting one's future after divorce

When one gets married, it is natural to have a vision in mind of how the future will look. Divorce is not something any New Jersey resident considers until it actually happens, and when it does, it often comes as something of a shock. The emotional nature of a relationship breakdown can cloud one's thinking, making it easy to want to simply get things over with as quickly as possible at a time when one needs to focus one's mind on what happens next.

While the majority of assets acquired during the marriage will be deemed marital assets, there are certain circumstances in which an asset may be deemed to be separate. The ownership of property or money can be complex. Some assets may not be seen in that light, such as pensions or time shares. It is important to provide as much information as possible in order to make the case for how much one might receive as a settlement.

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*See methodology for inclusion at the websites listed: Super Lawyers, NAFLA, AIOFLA, and AVVO. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

Contact Cipriano Law Offices, P.C.

To learn more about our Essex County divorce and family lawyers, you may email us or call 800-646-0731 to schedule an initial consultation.

Cipriano Law Offices, P.C.
175 Fairfield Avenue
Suite 4C/D
West Caldwell, NJ 07006

Toll Free: 800-646-0731
Toll Free: 800-646-0731
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