Considerations for Long-term Homemakers Getting Divorced in New Jersey
Divorce for a stay at home mom or dad has particular aspects and questions, for which the counsel of an experienced Divorce Lawyer comes in very handy.
Being a stay-at-home parent is no easy task. Many have renamed the job title as a domestic engineer, and it’s no wonder after the carpooling, cooking, cleaning, and caring for the young ones, it is an all-encompassing assignment, 24 hours a day, seven days a week with no holidays off. Some mothers and fathers choose to stay at home to save money on the ever-increasing daycare fees that eat up a family’s budget like flames in a tinderbox. A homemaker is a cheerleader at sporting events, a confidence-booster for those scary moments on stage, an academic tutor, and a taxi for their children. Often, moms and dads opt to stay home when the children are very young to ensure they receive the finest care and catch all of those “firsts,” such as the baby’s first word, first steps, etc. But all of that can change when the marriage ends in divorce.
Stay-at-home parents, who have historically only been moms, are at a distinct disadvantage after having been out of the workforce for several years (or never having worked outside of the home at all). They frequently don’t have the resources needed to hire an experienced family law attorney or may not know how to vet one who can best represent them. However, failure to understand all of the unique considerations that go along with getting divorced as a stay at home parent in New Jersey can cost you for a lifetime. For this reason, it is imperative that you have a knowledgeable divorce lawyer on your side, to guide you through the process of ending your marriage and protect your best interests as you prepare for a very different future. The attorneys at Bronzino Law Firm frequently play this critical role for homemakers divorcing in Monmouth and Ocean County and elsewhere in Southern New Jersey. To talk to a divorce lawyer regarding your case, call our offices in Brick and Sea Girt for a free consultation or to schedule an appointment.
Possible Road for Stay-At-Home Moms in a NJ Divorce
There is a lot to do when realizing the marriage is over. The closest allies are friends and family who can provide moral and economic support. New Jersey is an equitable distribution state which requires the parties to present an exhaustively detailed portrait of their financial status: salaries, property, expenses, savings, vehicles, inheritance, pensions, and debt are all stated in a document called a Case Information Statement (CIS). The judge uses this and other factors to determine spousal support and child support. In recent times, judges expect moms to get a job and help contribute to the household when the marriage has ended. Lump sums or monthly payments of support are frequently not sufficient to live on in the manner previously accustomed. Often, alimony is allotted for the number of years the marriage lasted.
How is Alimony Handled in a Stay-At-Home Divorce?
There are five types of alimony, and the first can be granted before the divorce has been settled. This type of alimony is called Pende Lite (meaning pending the litigation) and is informally known as Temporary Financial Support. The stay-at-home parent can agree with their spouse to keep the household afloat while the divorce is settled. Their respective lawyers draw up a consent order setting forth the terms and obligations of the parties, and the agreement is signed by a judge forthwith. If support is denied, a request can be made in court to a judge who will receive your application through the submission of a “Certification” and A Case Information Statement, thusly providing an accurate financial picture before your Temporary Financial Support is granted. In a way, this type of alimony is a band-aid acting as an emergency decree until regular support is established.
Once you are divorced, there are several kinds of alimony that you may receive. The first and most common is Open-Durational (previously identified as Permanent Alimony). This applies to marriages that lasted more than 20 years. It isn’t necessarily permanent, but one receives spousal support until the court says it should end.
Limited Duration alimony (also known as Term Alimony) is used for marriages of less than 20 years. Unlike Open-Durational alimony, it is set up for a specific number of years, and barring exceptional circumstances, it tends to last as many years as the marriage (or less). Marriages lasting for less than 20 years are not banned from the possibility of Open-Durational alimony when the judge takes into account the extent to which one party is reliant on the other economically, whether the spouse gave up a career opportunity or the support they provided to the working spouse in terms of childcare, maintaining the home, etc. Family court is one of equity, not just law. The judge does not use a specific formula to determine support but rather dictates what they consider to be “fair.” This is called judicial discretion.
A lesser utilized type of alimony is rehabilitative, and it is a short-term agreement for the recipient to reach a good place economically speaking. It usually lasts up to 18 months.
Finally, reimbursement alimony is paid to someone who contributed a large sum of money to their spouse to extend their education, receive professional training, or obtain a professional license. An example would be if Person A pays $40,000 for Person B to go to culinary school and the couple has been married for four years, it is reasonable to expect repayment for that tuition. Payments are sent monthly until the amount is paid.
Steps To Prepare For Divorce as a Stay-At-Home Parent in NJ
There is an infinite list of helpful advice from many sources offering ideas as to the best way a homemaker can prepare for divorce. Some of these include the following:
- Start to save NOW. You will need money for expenses, including legal representation.
- Collect all of your important papers such as your passport, copies of tax returns, bank statements, loans, and all other financial documents, which your lawyer can use to help build a financial picture of the household. Make sure you have access to financial information online, and the passwords haven’t been changed.
- Get financial advice right away to help manage your new lifestyle. It is important to set up a realistic budget.
- Be ready to move if necessary. If your home is expensive and you can’t afford the mortgage, you will have to find another place to live. You may want to stay with family for a few months until you are on your feet, but eventually, you will need to move out on your own.
- Get a job as soon as possible. You need to start working on getting on your feet, and honestly, it will probably feel pretty great to learn new skills and meet people.
Find the Support of an Experienced Family Law and Divorce Lawyer for Stay-at-Home Parents in Brick, NJ
Getting a divorce is an exhausting process; whether you are the one who filed for divorce or the one the divorce is against, a million factors need to be considered in order to settle within a reasonable amount of time. Couples who are willing to negotiate with their respective lawyers’ guidance can usually leave the divorce unscathed. Consider your lawyer as you would the captain of a ship, someone familiar with the surroundings who has the necessary skills to get you where you need to go safely. A lawyer can help build your case step by step, from earnings and assets to alimony and child custody.
At Bronzino Law, we have what it takes to make sure you receive a fair divorce settlement and will fight to ensure your spouse provides you with the economic support you need to continue raising a family. We have received expressions of gratitude from highly satisfied clients congratulating us for our knowledge, efficiency, and professionalism. We serve homemakers and breadwinners undergoing divorce in Toms River, Jackson, Berkeley, Stafford, Point Pleasant, Ocean Township, Freehold, and along the Jersey Shore. We are ready to get started on your case today, and offer you additional context in a free consultation.
To schedule a free, confidential consultation about preparing for divorce as a stay at home parent in New Jersey, call our offices at (732) 812-3102 or fill out the online contact form. We can also help you with alimony enforcement or support modifications.