Custody and divorce litigation brings lots of uncertainty about the present and the future. It can be easy to become overwhelmed or lose sight of the end goal, which is to resolve the issues and move forward with your life. After the initial shock and chaos wears off, it is a good next step to try to develop your strategy and set some goals with your attorney. In order to make sure your goals are realistic, it is essential to have a good grasp on what potential outcomes are likely.
Divorces and custody cases are, by their very nature, quite fact sensitive, so every case will have a different outcome, as every family is different. One essential fact is the length of the marriage. New Jersey does provide an avenue for the economically disadvantaged spouse to request spousal support. However, New Jersey Statute provides strict guidelines about the length of award of spousal support, which is based in part on the length of the marriage. If you have a short marriage, it is important to understand that while spousal support is potentially an issue to be decided during a trial, the court is less likely to make an award. The length of the marriage is also important when considering a division of marital assets and debts. Courts will make an equitable distribution of marital assets and marital debts, which often means that each spouse will receive about half of the marital assets and liabilities. Marital assets and debts are typically those that were acquired during the marriage, so it is important to come to terms with the fact that both spouses will receive their equitable share during the divorce.
Child custody is also at the center of many divorce cases. New Jersey courts will review a list of best interest factors that are established by statute, and apply those factors to the evidence and facts presented at trial to make a determination on custody and visitation. Although some parents may be adamant that he or she is the only fit parent, it is not common for a parent to receive sole custody or for the visitation of one parent to be severely curtailed. Courts have a strong preference for maintaining a strong bond and maximum available contact between both parents. The custody and visitation order will be structured to assist with this. Believing that one parent will automatically receive sole custody simply because of marital misconduct by the other parent or because one parent has historically been the primary caretaker is probably not realistic.Divorce can be a difficult time of transition. We have experience in helping our clients sort through the chaos and build a realistic plan for their future. Contact us today at (732) 529-6937 to talk about your case.