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Jennifer McCaskill
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Red Bank New Jersey Family Law Blog

Understand alimony before negotiating a prenuptial agreement

When most New Jersey couples are planning to wed, the last thing on their minds is negotiating the terms of the end of that union. However, statistics suggest that nearly half of all marriages will ultimately end in divorce. Understanding property division and alimony roles can help couples negotiate a prenup that is fair to all parties.

One thing that many people fail to understand is that alimony is different from one couple to the next. Even in families where one partner earned the bulk of wealth, the other spouse has a significant claim on those assets. That is especially true if they put aside their own career to support the advancement of their partner.

Prenuptial agreements can prevent loss during high asset divorce

Many New Jersey residents are aware of the recent passing of media mogul Hugh Hefner. The 91-year-old lived a life that was largely filled with controversy. He was the founder of Playboy magazine, and famously hosted celebrity-filled parties at his mansion. After his death, it has been reported that his wife, who is 60 years younger than he, will get nothing from his estate. She is rumored to have signed an ironclad prenuptial agreement to protect against losses in the event of a high asset divorce, and is not believed to be included in his will.

It is unsurprising that Hefner would have asked his blushing bride to sign a prenuptial agreement. She is his third wife, and there was widespread speculation at the time of their wedding that the entire affair was little more than a promotional stunt. Hefner has four children from previous unions, and his estate was planned to ensure that his heirs receive a portion of his fortune.

Reducing alimony payments based on change in income

For many New Jersey couples, determining the appropriate level of spousal support is a primary focus during the divorce process. Alimony is determined based on a number of factors, including the income and assets of both parties, as well as the duration of the marriage and other circumstances specific to the couple. Once an alimony payment amount and schedule has been determined, modifying those terms can be an uphill battle.

That can present a problem when a spouse tasked with making alimony payments experiences a shift in his or her employment. If that party begins earning significantly less than he or she did at the time of divorce, meeting the monthly spousal support obligation can be a challenge. One way to address that challenge is to re-approach the court and ask for a modification in alimony payments.

Disputes over back-to-school costs

With the new school year in full swing, divorced and separated parents may have already survived the annual financial crush of back-to-school shopping. But it is not surprising when parents in these situations to feel overwhelmed with the costs of extracurricular activities and after school care. After all, some parents are trying to make ends meet with fewer resources, either because support motions are still pending or other financial issues reduce the amount of money available to spend.

Because of this, some custodial parents may want to have additional support from non-custodial parents to help defray the costs for music classes, sports leagues, and tutoring sessions, for example. This may lead to disputes over whether a parent paying child support should make additional contributions.

Determining alimony payments in New Jersey

During divorce proceedings, a judge may award alimony payments to one spouse. These payments are paid by the higher-earning spouse to help supplement the lower-earning spouse's post-divorce income.

There are several types of alimony that may be awarded in New Jersey. The two primary forms of alimony are open-durational and rehabilitative.

How long will $1 million last in New Jersey?

It is becoming increasingly common for older couples to divorce as they are nearing or have already entered retirement. This is sometimes referred to as a "gray divorce."

Couples that decide to get a divorce when they are older often have accumulated a significant number of assets. These assets, including retirement accounts, non-qualified brokerage accounts and real estate holdings, provide the foundation for the couple's retirement.

Co-Parenting advice that can keep cooperation between exes

No one says you have to like your ex. Let’s face it, if you still had a great relationship, you would probably still be married. But once you split, how you choose to handle your co-parenting responsibilities can have a long term affect on both your well-being, and your children’s.

Learning how to put differences aside and picking your battles can mean the difference between cooperative—or contentious--co-parenting. 

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