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Financial and Emotional Issues in Divorce Cases


The divorce rate has declined significantly since the 1990s. However, divorce’s moral acceptability rating is at an all-time high. In other words, people who would never have considered divorce before, such as people over 60, now see marriage dissolution as a legitimate way to end a marriage they see as unsatisfying for some reason.

Unless the spouses were only married a few months and/or they had a premarital agreement, divorce usually involves both financial and emotional issues. Divorce usually means financial and emotional costs as well. Anyone who says otherwise is either telling you what you want to hear or is not very experienced in Somerset County marriage dissolution matters.

A good New Jersey divorce attorney can make these issues clear and minimize these costs. So, families can move onto the new normal, whatever that might be.

Marriage Dissolution Financial Issues

In terms of property division, New Jersey is an equitable distribution state. Marital assets and debts must be divided in such a way that the divorce is not an unfair financial burden on either party.

There is basically a presumption that a 50-50 distribution is equitable. However, that’s obviously not always the case. Some factors involve in this determination include:

  • Noneconomic Contributions to the Marriage: If one spouse gave up career advancement to be a caregiver, that spouse might be in a poor financial position. So, an unequal property division might be appropriate.
  • Custody of Minor Children: Usually, it’s in the children’s best interests for them to remain in the marital home. Therefore, the residential custodian often receives title to the home. Additionally, some residential parents need financial help, at least in the short term, to pay the mortgage and other house-related expenses.
  • Relative Economic Prospects: Generally, young, healthy, and well-educated people with solid work backgrounds have significant earning potential. If there is a significant disparity in any of these areas, an unequal distribution might once more be appropriate.
  • Agreements Between the Parties: Most judges approve most settlement agreements, provided that both spouses had their own New Jersey divorce attorney and the agreement is not blatantly one-sided.

Other factors include the length of the marriage and the standard of living during the relationship.

Roughly these same factors apply in New Jersey alimony determinations. Judges essentially balance the obligor’s ability to pay with the obligee’s financial needs. There is a difference between the ability to pay and the willingness to pay, just like there’s a difference between economic needs and economic wants.

Emotional Issues

Generally, child support determinations are more subjective. In New Jersey, the guideline amounts are presumptively reasonable. The guidelines account for factors like the income of both parents, the number of children in the family, and the parenting time division.

Speaking of the parenting time division (child custody), these orders must be in the best interests of the children. Furthermore, New Jersey now has a co-parenting law. There is an assumption that children benefit from meaningful and consistent contact with both parents.

To achieve a more balanced parenting time division, some parents look to creative timesharing arrangements. Block scheduling is a good example. The children spend a week or two with Parent A, a week or two with Parent B, and then the cycle begins again. This pattern remains in effect for the whole year, except for some variations around Christmas and other major holidays.

Connect with a Dedicated Attorney

Divorce usually involves financial and emotional issues. For a confidential consultation with an experienced Somerville divorce attorney, contact Katherine K. Wagner, Attorney at Law. Convenient payment plans are available.


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