When you think about your family, you likely think about the people who are related to you and are the closest emotionally. However, there are some situations in which issues arise within family relationships that need to be resolved in court. Family law matters can include a variety of legal issues that might range from establishing paternity to divorce. Depending on what you are dealing with, it might be a good idea to retain an experienced family law attorney in New Jersey at the Ziegler Law Group LLC. An attorney who focuses on family law can advise you about the legal options you might have and explain the next steps to take to resolve your family law matter.
What Is Family Law in New Jersey?
Family law in New Jersey is a type of civil law that is handled by family courts. This area of the law is broad and encompasses many facets of the relationships between family members, including marriage, paternity, adoption, child custody, property division, prenuptial agreements, alimony, divorce, and others. Family law also addresses some issues that might overlap with criminal law such as domestic violence and protection orders. Family law in New Jersey includes many statutes that have been enacted by the state legislature. These laws provide guidance for how various issues should be handled within the court system, and the rights and responsibilities of the parties involved in family disputes.
What New Jersey Family Law Covers
Family law in New Jersey addresses legal issues that arise between individuals in their personal relationships or between members of a family. Some examples of the types of issues that are addressed by New Jersey family law include the following:
- Same-sex divorce
- Property and debt division in divorce
- Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
- Alimony/spousal support
- Child support
- Child custody and visitation
- Domestic violence and restraining orders
- Post-judgment modifications
These matters are handled by the family division of the Superior Courts of New Jersey.
New Jersey's family law has some variances from similar laws in other states. For example, a minority of states, including California, Texas and others, are community property states for the distribution of property and assets in a divorce. In those states, all property and assets that a couple has accumulated during their marriage are divided equally. By contrast, New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, which means that the property, assets, and debts a couple has accumulated during their marriage will be divided equitably between them.
What Is a Family Law Attorney?
Family law attorneys practice in the area of the state's family law and represent people in a variety of different family law matters. They are licensed attorneys who have been admitted to the New Jersey Bar. To become licensed, family law attorneys must have graduated from an accredited law school and earned a Juris Doctor. They must have passed the New Jersey Bar Examination and the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. Once they have passed these exams, they must then take an oath of admission before they can practice law in the state.
Examples of What a Family Law Attorney Might Do
Below are some examples of what a family law attorney might do in different types of family law cases.
Divorce cases involve the dissolution of marriage and can be contested or uncontested. In these types of cases, an attorney might help in the following ways:
- Advising clients about the various issues in their divorce cases
- Drafting and filing legal pleadings
- Negotiating divorce settlement agreements
- Representing clients in court
- Litigating contested divorces at divorce trials
- Handling same-sex divorce issues
- Helping with complex property division issues for high-net-worth divorces
- Working with forensic accountants, appraisers, and other experts in complex divorces
- Negotiating child custody and support as a part of the divorce
- Negotiating alimony in a divorce
- Negotiating or litigating the division of debts, assets, and property in a divorce
- Helping clients understand what qualifies as separate property that is not divisible in a divorce
- Challenging or enforcing prenuptial or postnuptial agreements
- Helping clients understand fault vs. no-fault grounds for divorce
- Filing and handling post-judgment modifications
Child custody cases can be included as part of a divorce or might be filed between unmarried parents. These cases address who will have the legal authority to make important decisions for a child about their education, medical care, and religion and also the time the child will spend with each parent.
Some of the things an attorney might do in a child custody and visitation case include the following:
- File motions to establish the paternity of a child in a case involving unmarried parents
- Drafting and filing custody agreements reached between the parents about legal and physical custody and visitation
- Drafting and filing proposed parenting plans
- Explaining the best interests of the child standard and how it applies to your case
- Helping you determine the best arrangements for your child
- Negotiating with the other parent to secure a custody agreement
- Helping clients fight for custody across state lines
- Handling relocation matters when a parent wants to move with a child to another state or distant city
- Representing clients at custody hearings
Spousal and Child Support
Spousal support or alimony can be requested by one spouse in a divorce, but it is not automatically awarded. Instead, the court will decide whether to award spousal support by considering multiple factors. If the court orders one spouse to pay alimony to the other, the payor must continue paying it as ordered until it is terminated or modified.
New Jersey courts expect both parents to contribute to the financial upbringing of their children and order child support based on the parents' respective incomes, the number of children requiring support, and the amount of time each parent spends with the child.
When child support and alimony are ordered, the payor must pay as ordered or risk significant penalties. Child support and alimony also can't be discharged in bankruptcy.
The following are some of the things a family law attorney might do in a case involving alimony and child support:
- Negotiating or litigating child support and alimony amounts
- Filing pendente lite motions for alimony and child support while a divorce is pending
- Presenting evidence to the court to support your request for alimony
- Presenting evidence about your need for child support and help with your child's extraordinary expenses
- Investigating the other parent's income and assets
- Filing motions to modify spousal support or child support orders
Talk to an Attorney Who Practices Family Law in New Jersey
If you have a family law issue and need to speak to an experienced Family Law attorney, you should contact the Ziegler Law Group LLC. Our team of experienced family law attorneys has years of experience handling all types of family law matters and can help you understand your rights and legal options. We understand the types of emotional conflict that can be involved in family disputes and can provide an objective perspective of the issues you are dealing with and how the law might apply. To learn more, schedule a case evaluation with us today by calling us at 973-878-4373.
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