FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When it comes to matters of divorce and family law, it can be extremely painful and emotionally straining for all parties involved. If you have children with your spouse, it can be even more difficult to navigate issues of child support, child custody and visitation on your own. This is why it is so important to have a Mentor family law attorney like W.Lois-Kahagi on your side. We have provided answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive.
How does the court determine child custody?
There are many different factors that are taken into consideration when the court makes a decision about the custody of your children such as living situation, proximity to other family and schools, and income of each parent. First and foremost, a judge will determine a custody arrangement that best fits the child's best interests.
This means that unless there are extreme circumstances that warrant a need for the child to be separated from one parent, a judge will typically favor joint custody arrangements. These circumstances can include any history of abuse, drug or alcohol use, and mental or physical health issues. The bottom line is that your children's interests are always protected.
How can I enforce child support?
If a noncustodial parent falls behind on child support payments, you do have options for enforcing it, but they must be carried out through the court. The court can use various methods to collect any back child support payments. These methods can include income withholding, wage garnishment, interception of tax refunds, liens or attachments to property. Additionally, a court can take punitive actions if these methods are unsuccessful which include license suspension, passport denial, and even possible jail time.
How does the court determine child support?
In the same thread as child custody, child support is typically determined to protect the best interests of the child. Judges will weigh a number of factors, namely the ability of one parent to support the child and the financial status of the other. Additional factors that will be considered include any special educational needs of the child, the physical or mental health of the child or either parent and the credentials or ability of the recipient to obtain work.
Should I put together a prenuptial agreement?
It is the personal choice of you and your spouse if you would like to draft a prenuptial agreement, but it can be very beneficial to put down the terms of what will happen to your assets, property, or children should you ever divorce.
While a prenuptial agreement can be beneficial for every marriage, typical reasons for a couple deciding to draft can include:
A significant difference in age
A significant difference in financial status
One or both parties have children from previous marriages and want to ensure they can inherit certain assets
One or both parties want to protect business partners
How long does the divorce process take?
Every divorce case takes a different length of time, depending on the unique circumstances. This will likely depend on how many issues are contested and how quickly you and your spouse can come to agreements. The most common factors that affect the length of the process include the ability for you to cooperate with your spouse, honesty about existing assets, openness to negotiations, and willingness to make sacrifices. Stubbornness, evasion, and animosity can hurt the process and cost more time and more money.
How is property divided in a divorce?
Property division can be quite complex, and is completed by determining which property is community property and which is separate. The property which each party brought to the marriage will be treated separately than that property that was acquired in the marriage. New Jersey is an equitable division state, which means that property shall be divided in a manner that is fair, not necessarily equal. Thus, division of property should ensure that each party receives an amount of the total assets that is enough to create a fair and equitable financial balance.
How can a divorce attorney help?
The importance of a competent, experienced divorce lawyer cannot be overstated. Not only can your attorney guide you through all the necessary steps to the divorce process, but he or she can also provide neutral, rational insight that is crucial in such an emotionally-charged situation. Having the right counsel by your side throughout your family law matters can make all the difference to the amount of time and money you spend, and can ensure you reach a favorable resolution.