Heymann & Fletcher

Randolph NJ Family Law Blog

Getting through the holidays together when you want a divorce

The holiday season can put a lot of stress on even the happiest of couples. For those who already feel unhappy in their marriage, a difficult holiday season could be the deciding factor between continuing to try to make the marriage work and seeking a divorce. All of that holiday stress is one of the reasons why divorce filings surge in the early months of the new year.

Not everyone who files for divorce in January or February realizes the day before Christmas that they aren't happy. Quite a few of them have known for several months that they no longer wanted to invest their time or energy in the marriage, but they decided to stay with their spouse through the holidays for the sake of simplicity or their children.

Divorce and the holidays: How to cope

For many people here in New Jersey, the end of the year is a happy occasion that involves spending time with family. For those who have gone through a divorce, especially if it is recent, this time of year may be less pleasant. Some struggle to enjoy themselves due to hurt feelings and complicated questions about exactly how to handle this time of year. Fortunately, experts say that there several strategies for divorced parents who want to make the holidays as pleasant as possible for their children.

The main point that parents need to keep front and center is putting their children's needs first. If the children are old enough, one of the easiest ways to accomplish that is by asking them what they want. Some parents may assume that their children want to participate in family traditions that were part of life before the divorce. However, sometimes children are happy to help create new traditions or find ways to modify existing ones.

Woman takes to social media to get child support

When one parent owes another child support payments, not receiving them can be devastating. Though there are many reasons that a parent may fail to pay child support, with many of them being understandable, the fact remains that children are the ones who suffer if those payments are not made. New Jersey families may be interested in the case of one woman from out of state who got so fed up with the amount of past-due child support from her ex-husband that she took to social media to plead her case.

According to the woman, her ex owed her over $50,000 back in 2013, but now she has to calculate the amount on her own. She claims that her local county's Department of Human Resources closed her case last year because it was unable to locate her ex-husband. She argues that she knows precisely where he lives and even where he attends church.

Coalition hopes to educate men and prevent domestic violence

Advocates for survivors of domestic violence are always searching for new ways to help those who have been abused or witnessed abuse. One study conducted by New Jersey State Police says that officers report over 60,000 domestic violence incidents each year. In the past, most efforts have focused on the victims, offering support and other help. Though these are admirable, some advocates decided that to stop domestic violence, the best course of action may be to go after those who may become abusers. A new state-wide program hopes to address that exact issue.

The program is the joint effort of the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence, the state Department of Children and Families and a group known as A Call to Men. They are working together to develop training sessions that they hope will stop domestic violence. The sessions will center around masculinity and healthy expressions of being a man. They believe that domestic violence often stems from incorrect assumptions of what it means to be a man. They hope to show men that women are equals to men and that there are healthy ways to show one's manhood without resorting to violence.

How does cheating impact a couple's chance of getting a divorce?

There are many reasons that people decide to end their marriages, but some of them are more common than others. One reason many people decide to end their marriage is because of infidelity. When one spouse cheats on another, either physically or emotionally, it can break the other person's trust beyond repair. However, infidelity doesn't always end in divorce. Several studies have examined cheating and its effects on relationships, and the results may interest those here in New Jersey who are considering ending their relationships.

First, the American Psychological Association found that infidelity is a factor in 20-40% of divorces. When looking at differences between genders, about 21% of men admit to being unfaithful at some point in their marriage, compared with 13% of women. However, that latter number has gone up in the past two decades. Experts speculate that this may be due to the fact that women are more financially independent in the modern world, and other studies suggest that women who financially rely on their spouse don't cheat as often as women who can support themselves.

Celebration for National Adoption Awareness month

Adoption is a wonderful way to have a family. November is National Adoption Awareness month, which focuses on the needs of children in foster care to have a family and a forever home. For families in New Jersey and around the country, adopting a child from foster care is a rewarding way to have children. One out-of-state county recently celebrated the month by having an event to celebrate the adoptions of over 150 children.

The event took place in the county commissioners' chamber. There were so many families in attendance that it may be moved to a larger venue for future celebrations. Each family in turn was presented with an adoption certificate to commemorate the event. A pastor who delivered an invocation and keynote speech shared his own happy adoption story of his two sons.

Could a "sleep divorce" be good for marriage?

There are many reasons that people decide to get a divorce. Incompatibility is often a big factor in the end of a marriage. Some couples try to find new and creative ways to deal with differences that may help preserve their relationships. One idea that is gaining in popularity is known as a "sleep divorce." Couples in New Jersey may be interested to hear exactly what this involves and how it might actually save their marriage.

First, a "sleep divorce" happens when a married couple makes a deliberate decision to sleep in different beds, or even different bedrooms. Sometimes they make this choice because one spouse snores or wakes the other up due to restlessness. Other people do it because their schedule is so different from their partner's that they don't want to interrupt one another's sleep. The idea isn't so radical, since nobility has used this practice for ages.

Sharing debt may have an impact on divorce

Divorces happen for a number of reasons, to all types of people. One of the most common factors that couples point to as a reason for divorce has to do with disagreements over money. This may be particularly true for couples who have a great amount of debt. A recent study found some interesting gender differences in how couples manage debt in their relationship. Anyone considering a divorce in New Jersey may find the results informative.

The study, which looked at over 2,000 adults over the age of 18, asked respondents how much debt they assumed from a partner, as well as the reasons for doing so and purpose of the debt. It found that a little more than half of the women surveyed assumed taking on their partner's debt at 53%, but less than half of men have also done so, at just 47%. What's interesting is that when men assumed the debt of a partner, the amount was almost 50% higher.

Domestic violence survivors unusual ally: Hair stylists

Survivors of domestic violence here in New Jersey have numerous challenges to overcome. They often feel isolated and as though no one understands what they're going through, but abuse from a romantic partner is much more common than people realize. It is so prevalent than many people are working to find ways to identify people in need of help. One group that often sees signs of domestic violence before other people do are hair stylists. Many salons around the country are implementing training programs for their stylists to help them spot signs of abuse.

One stylist started training her staff two decades ago to recognize common signals that a client may be in an abusive relationship. She says that patrons would sometimes say offhanded comments like their spouse wanted them to have a certain length of hair. It wasn't just things they said either. She reports that sometimes patrons would come into the salon with bruises or patches of missing hair with no discernible medical reason. The stylist took matters into her own hands by ensuring her staff was trained to identify possible domestic violence.

Taxes can be complex in a high asset divorce

When people make the decision to get a divorce, they generally do not do so lightly. They know that they will have to make choices about how to divide their assets and how to handle custody of their children if they have any. One matter that may not get a lot of attention is the impact that a high asset divorce can have on taxes. Experts say there are two things that people in New Jersey and all over the nation may want to consider when they file for divorce.

First, up until last year, alimony used to be something that a person could deduct on his or her taxes if he or she was the payor. This is no longer the case and can have an influence on how much the paying spouse is willing to give to the receiving spouse. Fortunately, there are ways to offset this added cost. While some paying spouses may be tempted to liquidate assets, doing this can incur more taxes. A better bet is to use an advanced structure to defer paying capital gains and working with the receiving spouse to determine a fair agreement.

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