Child support – When does child support end?
Many people going through a divorce or legal separation tend to be confused about when child support actually ends. The answer is that NJ child support is generally paid until the “emancipation” of the child. Since each state handles this issue differently many people enter into an agreement without knowing all of the facts. In the State of New Jersey, a child is not necessarily emancipated when the child reaches the age of 18 or when a child graduates from high school, as is the case in many other states. There is an expectation by the NJ courts that child support will continue to be paid until a child goes “beyond the sphere of influence”. This means that if a child remains dependent, child support may continue to be paid.
A few other points to keep in mind about child support is that even if you want to waive child support payments in your settlement agreement, child support is a right that belongs to the child and a parent may not waive this right. Also, keep in mind that child support does not necessarily terminate when a child enters their higher education years.
Alimony – How many years do you need to be married to be entitled to alimony?
The question of whether or not alimony (i.e. spousal support) in NJ will be paid is one of the most common questions people have when considering a divorce or legal separation. There are no definitive rules or mandates as to how long you need to be married in order for there to be an alimony award. Rather, the courts in New Jersey will examine a long list of factors which includes:
Length of the marriage; Income for each party; Age of the parties; and Health of the parties.
Generally, as the length of the marriage increases so too does the likelihood that there will be an alimony component to your settlement agreement. However, there are always exceptions. I have been involved in cases where spousal support was awarded for a 2 year marriage but not for a 30 year marriage. Every case is different and your individual circumstances should be reviewed with a Certified Matrimonial Attorney.
Child Custody – When is a childs preference taken into consideration?
It is generally the preference of the courts in the State of New Jersey to leave the children out of the litigation and the child custody decision. However, there are a number of circumstances when a judge might determine that it is both appropriate and helpful to speak with the children. A child will generally need to be 14 years or older and have a maturity level necessary to grasp the situation in order for a judge to even consider talking with the child.
Get Legal Help
The divorce and legal separation process can be very complicated so it is important to retain a New Jersey (NJ) Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney to help you through the process. Since only 2% of the attorneys in the state are Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey, using this criteria in selecting an attorney will point you in the right direction. This should not be your only criteria, but it will help you narrow down the list of potential attorneys to handle your matter. Also, take the time to learn about the attorney through their web-site and then schedule a free initial consultation, which many law firms offer. At this meeting, you should assess your comfort level with the attorney since you will be working closely with that professional throughout the process.
For additional information about New Jersey divorce and family law related issues or to download a free copy of my divorce guide, visit my web-site at www.weinbergerlawgrop.com.
Attorney Bari Weinberger is the Associate Author of the book New Jersey Family Law Practice, utilized by virtually every NJ family law attorney. She also served as child custody new jersey lawyer for domestic violence nj, nj restraining order