Frequently Asked Questions About Family Law
Herbert & Weiss, Attorneys at Law, is a general practice law firm in Bergen County, New Jersey, focusing on family law. In the interest of helping clients, attorneys Herbert and Weiss address some frequently asked questions pertaining to divorce, alimony and child custody.
Contact the attorneys who think out of the box
The attorneys at Herbert & Weiss, Attorneys at Law, are available for consultations in person, over the telephone, and by online video conference. Call them at 888-876-8505, or contact the firm online to arrange for a discussion of your case. Initial phone consultations are free of charge.
The firm’s attorneys have flexible hours to accommodate the needs of their clients. The office is conveniently located in Englewood in Bergen County, just off Routes 17, 18 and 80, and is easily accessible by car or public transportation. Parking is available on the street. The firm accepts most major credit cards.
Who can file for divorce in New Jersey?
Generally, a party filing a Complaint for Divorce must have lived in the state for at least one year prior to the filing.
What are the grounds for divorce in New Jersey?
There are no-fault grounds and fault-based grounds for divorce in New Jersey. A no-fault divorce can be based on irreconcilable differences between the spouses or a separation for 18 consecutive months in different habitations with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation. The fault-based grounds are as follows:
- Sexual desertion for a period of at least 12 months
- Habitual drunkenness
- Voluntary addiction
- Extreme mental cruelty
The most frequently cited ground is irreconcilable differences, followed by extreme cruelty, separation, and adultery.
What happens if my spouse and I cannot reach a settlement?
The case will be scheduled for trial before a Superior Court judge.
Are there different kinds of alimony?
Yes. New Jersey has four different kinds of alimony: limited duration, rehabilitative, reimbursement, and permanent. These four different kinds of alimony can be awarded individually or in any combination as warranted by the circumstances of the parties.
Can a person request alimony after a divorce is complete?
In many divorces, neither party receives any alimony because the dependent spouse has sufficient income to be self-supporting and to maintain a reasonable standard of living. However, that could change due to unforeseen circumstances such as serious illness and an inability to work. In this type of case, the sick spouse can file an application for alimony even though the judgment of divorce did not provide for any. If the case has merit, then the court sets a plenary hearing to determine whether an award of alimony should be made. The court examines the financial situation of both parties, the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, the sick spouse’s current prognosis, and any other relevant factors.
If a spouse who pays alimony remarries, does this terminate the obligation to pay alimony?
If the spouse who pays alimony remarries, then the remarriage does not terminate the alimony obligation. If the payor spouse remarries and claims an inability to support the former spouse, this factor alone is not a sufficient change of circumstances to justify a decrease in alimony.
How is child custody determined?
The main consideration of the court is to determine what is in the best interest of the child. Many factors are considered when making this determination. Some of the factors considered are:
- Physical and emotional environment
- Personal safety
- Moral atmosphere
- Mental and physical health of the parents
- Age of the children
- Preference of the children
- Prior parental behavior, including any history of abuse
- Ability of each parent to care for the child
- Importance of religious upbringing within the family
How is custody determined in a case where the parties are not married?
When the parties are not married, it is referred to as a non-dissolution case. A custody dispute for people who are not married is treated the same way as it is for married couples. The parties are referred to custody mediation. The issue of paternity also frequently arises. In those cases, the father may be required to take a paternity test, which is a simple procedure.
How can a custody arrangement be modified?
Once a child custody arrangement is established, either party can make an application to modify the arrangement if a change of circumstances has occurred since the original custody decision.
The party applying for a change must prove that there has been sufficient change of circumstances to justify granting the application. This requires credible evidence proving to the court that something significant has happened that was not considered when the court made the original custody decision.