Heymann & Fletcher

Randolph NJ Family Law Blog

Grey divorce and its unique challenges

Ending a marriage is generally a major event in any person's life, but it can impact some people more than others. Though most people assume that those getting a divorce are in their 20s, 30s or 40s, research shows that divorce rates are rising for people older than 50. A divorce in that age category is commonly called a "grey divorce." Experts say that there are several differences for those who have a grey divorce, some that make the entire process a bit simpler, and others that can complicate matters. Those here in New Jersey who are considering getting a divorce may find this information helpful.

Experts speculate that grey divorce is on the rise because people are living longer these days, and many of them decide that they don't want to be part of a relationship that isn't fulfilling to them. Unlike earlier generations, grey divorcees often have their own income, which makes dividing an estate more clear cut. This also means there is less risk to the spouses who decide to split up. There usually isn't child custody to worry about, and this age demographic often has less debt, further simplifying the process.

What are common signs of domestic violence?

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month in New Jersey and around the country. The hope is to bring raised awareness of an issue that can often leave victims feeling isolated, encouraging them to report their abusers and give their friends and family helpful knowledge if someone they love is in an abusive relationship. Many people say that they don't know what to look for when trying to determine if a person is a victim of domestic violence. Fortunately, experts have several signals that people can watch for and ways to help.

Experts say that victims often have to check in with their partner on a regular basis and tell the partner exact details on their whereabouts and activities. Victims may mention getting repeated, harassing phone calls or say that the partner has difficulty controlling his or her temper or jealousy. Victims are frequently isolated from family and friends and have little to no control over their own finances. The last thing to watch for is if the victim tends to wear clothing that could conceal bruises or marks, even in the hot weather.

Man arrested for overdue child support

Children in New Jersey have needs, and that remains true whether their parents are in a relationship with one another or not. Even if the parents aren't able to get along, the most important thing is that children's needs are put first. That may mean that one parent is responsible for making child support payments to the other parent. Sometimes, the parent doesn't make those payments, whether he or she is doing so purposefully or because of financial struggle, and it can be difficult to get back on track. This is the question in the case of one man in another state who was recently arrested for not paying child support.

According to police, the man hadn't paid over $145,000 in child support. He was arrested after being pulled over by highway patrol. Someone called to report a drunk driver, and when authorities pulled over the man, they discovered the outstanding warrant for his arrest on the National Criminal Information Center database. He was taken into custody.

How divorce can affect a credit score

Divorce is often a very tough time in a person's life. Dealing with the end of a marriage doesn't just have emotional implications -- it can also affect a person's finances. Though many people understand that a divorce generally results in a division of marital assets, they may assume that is the only way divorce influences one's financial future. Unfortunately, there is one problem that many people here in New Jersey may not know about. Divorce can negatively affect a person's credit score.

The reason this can happen is that married people often share joint accounts. This doesn't just apply to a basic bank account, either, since many people share a mortgage, car loan and even credit cards. Though the debt itself may be the responsibility of one person after the divorce is finalized, the other spouse's name may still be on the loan. That means that, legally, both spouses are still obligated to pay off the debt, and if one fails to make proper payments, it can show up in the credit history of the other spouse.

Holiday season custody tips: Minimize stress on your children

The holiday season is supposed to be an enjoyable time for your children. From Halloween through New Year's Day, it's important that you do your part in providing your children with a family-friendly atmosphere that gives them the opportunity to enjoy themselves.

If you share custody with your ex-spouse, it's not always easy to get on the same page during the holidays. Subsequently, it's possible that your children will find themselves in a stressful position.

Survivors of domestic violence need time off work

Survivors of domestic violence often feel as though they have no way out of their situation. Sometimes, even when they know they should leave their abuser, it is financially difficult for them to do so. Perhaps their abuser controls the finances, or survivors don't have their own means to generate income, or survivors feel that they can't take needed time off from work. Fortunately, the state of New Jersey has a paid leave policy to help survivors of domestic violence. That policy and others like it around the nation are inspiring other municipalities to follow suit.

One out-of-state city council seeks to change its laws, hoping that mandating a "safe leave" policy will help victims leave their abusive relationships while still being able to provide for themselves and their families. The city's local Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center says that eight million workdays are lost due to issues around domestic violence in the United States every year. Also, a significant majority of survivors are unable to maintain employment because of their situation. The local DVCA points out that people in abusive relationships often need time off of work, for medical treatment, to move out of their home or to care for their children. However, for now, the federal government does not have any laws that protect the jobs of these survivors.

Grandparents' rights: Grandparents as caregivers on the rise

Families in New Jersey come in all shapes and sizes and are brought together for many different reasons. One type of family that is becoming more common these days includes grandparents who are the primary caregivers for their grandchildren. Though they may love their grandkids and are happy to provide for them, this family dynamic presents its own unique challenges. Navigating grandparents' rights can be difficult even as the outcome is so rewarding.

A big reason that grandparents have to care for grandchildren is because of drug or alcohol abuse on the part of the children's parents. This is a particularly worsening problem as the opioid crisis continues to grow. One statistic suggests that 40% of grandchildren who live with their grandparents do so because their parents have a substance abuse problem. The children may have behavioral problems, due to being raised in an unstable environment. This alone can present a serious problem for grandparents and they may struggle to find support.

Does socioeconomic status predict divorce?

Those who have been through a divorce will probably say that there were several factors that influenced the decline of their marriage. One common reason that many couples in New Jersey cite is money. Many experts have long believed that people who are economically-disadvantaged may have a higher risk of divorce. A recent study decided to look at that theory and determine if any other factors may be involved.

The study followed over 400 newlywed couples who lived in the same county, in low-income neighborhoods. Over a period of five years, researchers contacted each couple five separate times and asked them several questions to determine their level of marital satisfaction. Around 10% of respondents said they had a low level of marital satisfaction, 30% said moderate and 60% said high. Though researchers expected most people's levels to significantly drop over the five year period, due to the belief of a "honeymoon phase," they actually discovered that the people in the high and moderate groups tended to remain satisfied. The group in the low satisfaction category were the ones who experienced the sharpest declines.

Divorce doesn't have to affect productivity

In an ideal world, a person getting a divorce would have all the necessary time to devote to the process. For people with careers, this is not always an option. Many people in New Jersey worry that a divorce may interfere with their work and that sometimes actually happens. However, it is not always true and experts have several tips for people who want to maintain a high level of productivity during their divorce proceedings.

First, one of the best steps to take is for the employee to schedule specific time for handling any emails or phone calls related to the divorce. This can be more helpful than trying to deal with such matters outside of work hours, since many professionals involved in divorce keep a similar schedule. In the same vein, it's advisable to maintain separate email accounts for work and personal use, so that emails related to divorce proceedings don't cause a distraction in the workday. The worker will also want to keep his or her attorney up to speed on any significant work obligations, such as a business trip.

Changing child support may be possible if your income changes

For many parents in New Jersey, one of the hardest parts about going through a divorce is the change in the relationship with their kids. This is particularly true for parents who have less parenting time. Along with less time with your kids than you had before, you will have to deal with the financial consequences of shared custody, which usually means child support payments.

The New Jersey family courts are careful about how they determine child support amounts. They try to take into consideration all of the major factors that can affect a family, from the income of each parent to any special needs of the children that could increase the cost of their care.

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