Tag: Spring Lake Divorce Attorney
Paying For Your Ocean or Monmouth County Divorce
There are many questions that can arise when contemplating a divorce. Child custody, child support, equitable distribution of assets and alimony are but a few. However, one of the most common factors that keep people in unhappy marriages is the belief that they simply can’t afford to enter into the divorce process. The truth is that there are many avenues that can be taken to pay for a divorce. A critical look into your finances may reveal that divorce may be the best economic path in the long run.
The Bronzino Law Firm LLC, has represented clients in divorces in communities across New Jersey including Asbury Park, Neptune, Wall, Manasquan, Point Pleasant, Brick, Jackson, Sea Girt, and across Monmouth and Ocean Counties. We understand that divorce is complicated. We provide effective and personalized legal solutions, at aggressive rates, with a client-centered approach.
Paying for Your Ocean County Divorce
Paying for a divorce is not as complicated as it may seem on its surface. There are many sources of income that can be used to gain your independence through the divorce process.
- Savings. Funds in a joint account or a separate account can be used to pay counsel fees. It is important to remember that any funds you use will still be subject to equitable distribution in the divorce. It is common for both spouses to use savings to pay for their counsel fees. Commonly spouses agree to split the accounts and each party can use their share for their own counsel fees.
- Credit Cards. Depending on how much credit you have available credit cards are a convenient way to finance your divorce. Though not the most desirable way due to interest charges, the entire cost of many divorces is paid for using credit cards. The reasoning is that if you are going to get a share of assets, such as equity from the house or other investments that you can liquidate at the resolution of the divorce, you will be able to pay off the credit cards later.
- Home equity loan or line of credit. It is common for homeowners to have an open line of credit or funds from a home equity loan. However you must remember that any funds you use against the home will be considered later in the overall context of equitable distribution. If the house is in your spouse’s name it is possible to make an application to the court obligating your spouse to open a line of credit for your legal costs.
- Investments. Investment accounts such as mutual funds, brokerage accounts, stock or bonds, can be liquidated, or partially liquidated, to get cash. It is normal these types of accounts to also have a cash component so you may already have cash available. If these accounts are in your spouse’s name, you can receive a court order obligating your spouse to liquidate the account to distribute to both of you to use for counsel fees.
- Retirement Accounts. A 401(k), IRA, Roth IRA, or similar account, can be liquidated for cash. However there are taxes and usually substantial penalties that may apply. It is advisable to consult your accountant or financial adviser if you are concerned about penalties.
- Pension. Although you cannot cash out a pension like you can a 401(k) or IRA, often times you can take a loan against it. There are restrictions on how much you can borrow and how you pay it back. Your financial adviser is usually able to provide you with the information about how this can be done.
- Whole Life Insurance. A whole life insurance policy, may have equity that you can cash out or borrow against.
- Personal Loan. You can apply for a loan at a bank or borrow funds from a friend or family member.
- Divorce loans. There are many loan options available through banks and some of which are specifically provided for divorce litigation.
Financial Benefits of Divorce in Monmouth County
When contemplating the overall cost of divorce it is important to look not just the what you will be paying but what benefits you will be granted. These include but are not limited to:
- Easier budgeting and greater control over money. Fights over money and financial priorities are one of the most common factors leading up to divorce.
- Early access to a retirement fund, penalty-free. A divorce is one of the very few times a person can take money out of a retirement account early and not pay an early withdrawal penalty.
- More college financial aid for the kids. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid only requires financial information from the custodial parent rather than both parents. This may translate to greater awards of financial aid.
- Social Security perks for older divorcees. Divorced spouses may be eligible to file for Social Security spousal benefits at retirement if you were married to your spouse for at least 10 years.
- Opportunity to reset financial priorities. Finance experts say the opportunity to rethink priorities and start fresh can be a positive.
Contact our Experienced Toms River Divorce Attorneys Today
The divorce attorneys of the Bronzino Law Firm, LLC have extensive experience guiding and representing clients through all kinds of divorce and family law matters in towns including Toms River, Brick, Ocean, Point Pleasant, Red Bank, and across both Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Since opening our doors our firm has believed in aggressively and zealously representing our clients and using every possible legal tool to help them realize the best post-divorce life possible.
When a person begins the divorce process, one of the first things that they can (and probably should) do is speak with an experienced divorce attorney. Barring a spouse’s complete lack of willingness to negotiate or some other extreme circumstance, most divorce attorneys will advise their client to attempt to settle their divorce through pre-trial negotiations, rather than relying on the final rulings of a judge who has no knowledge of the unique lives, circumstances, and needs of the divorcing parties and their family as a whole.
Of course, settling a divorce rather than relying on courtroom litigation has the benefit of being much less expensive, much less time-consuming, and generally much less stressful. However, the importance of having not only a knowledgeable Ocean County divorce attorney, but also one who will communicate to you all of the various implications and potential considerations of your Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA, also referred to as a Divorce Settlement Agreement) cannot be stressed enough, and here’s why:
Divorce Settlement Agreements and Understanding the Fine Print, Spring Lake Divorce Attorney
Divorcing couples are often encouraged by the legal system itself to settle their divorce matters through negotiations and settlement, rather than litigation. Part of this is because divorce settlement agreements have the flexibility of adding clauses and understandings above and beyond what the law strictly states in order to allow the divorcing couple to craft an agreement which specifically addresses their own unique situation and needs.
As long as these special provisions are unambiguous in their language, they will stand up to scrutiny in most post-divorce proceedings, even though one party or the other didn’t necessarily understand what they were agreeing to at the time that they signed the divorce settlement agreement itself.
We will provide a clear example of exactly such a situation in the next section, but the most important part to understand here is that while settling your divorce can often be very beneficial to you and your family as a whole on a number of different levels, it is critical that when doing so, you work with a Spring Lake divorce attorney who will clearly explain to you exactly what you are agreeing to, and the various implications it can have on your life and legal rights down the road.
Post-Divorce Litigation Case Surrounding a Divorce Settlement Agreement, Point Pleasant Post-Divorce Lawyer
In the recent case of T.L.H. v. M.H., the divorcing parties agreed to terms regarding the modification and termination of alimony based on cohabitation above and beyond what the law specifically states. Their divorce settlement agreement included language which defined “cohabitation” as being not only what NJ law already states, but also to include if and when, the wife in this case, moved in with a family member or friend.
After their divorce was resolved, the wife moved in with her sister, and out of the family home. Under existing NJ cohabitation laws, such a move would not constitute a change in circumstance, nor would it be considered “cohabitation”, meaning the husband could not petition for the modification or termination of their alimony agreement. However, thanks to the specific language included within their divorce settlement agreement which defined cohabitation to include living with a family member of friend, the husband was able to successfully file for and secure the termination of their alimony agreement based on this change in circumstance.
Of course, this was not the wife’s understanding of their agreement, but upon filing an appeal, the Appellate Division confirmed the Trial Court’s original decision to terminate alimony, stating:
“..there were no compelling reasons to depart from the clear, unambiguous, and mutually understood terms of the MSA. The agreement was voluntary, knowing and consensual, and the alimony-termination event upon cohabitation was fair under the circumstances of the case.”
Essentially, both the Trial Court and the Appeals Court found that even though NJ cohabitation laws do not define cohabitation as living with a family member, thanks to the language contained within the parties’ marital settlement agreement, such a change in circumstance in this specific case did in fact warrant the termination of alimony payments.
This is a perfect example of a why it is so important that, when settling your Ocean County divorce, it is crucial that you have a thorough and comprehensive understanding of exactly what you are agreeing to, and why it is so important to work with an attorney who is not only knowledgeable, but is also able to clearly communicate their knowledge to you.
Contact An Ocean County Divorce Attorney Today
At The Bronzino Law Firm, we have extensive experience helping our clients to negotiate, create, and fully understand fair and effective divorce settlement agreements in towns across Ocean County and Monmouth County, including Spring Lake, Point Pleasant, Toms River, Sea Girt, Jackson, Howell, Wall, Brick, and the surrounding communities.
Attorney Peter J. Bronzino understands the importance of not only being able to negotiate for fair and situation-specific divorce agreements, but also making sure each of his clients is highly involved throughout the legal process, and are fully aware of the long-term and short-term implications those agreements can have on their financial, legal, and parental rights.
To speak with Peter Bronzino and our legal team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your divorce or any kind of post-divorce modification or enforcement matter, your unique needs and concerns regarding whatever family law issue you are facing, and how exactly we can help you to resolve your legal matter in an effective and highly communicative manner, please contact us online, or through our Brick, NJ office at (732) 812-3102.
Following up on our article from last week regarding contested divorces, today we will discuss when your divorce may be considered “uncontested”, what exactly that means for you, and how the uncontested divorce process works.
Uncontested Divorce in Ocean County, NJ
When a spouse files the initial divorce complaint, the other spouse is given thirty-five (35) days to respond to the initial complaint. Should they choose to respond to the divorce complaint, their divorce will become “contested”, meaning the two parties and their Ocean County divorce attorneys will need to negotiate and decide final terms for their divorce settlement agreement, including child custody, child support, alimony, and the division of marital assets.
However, there are circumstances in which the parties may have already agreed to these various divorce issues prior to the filing of the divorce. If this is the case, the person receiving the divorce complaint can choose to not respond to the complaint, causing the divorce to be considered “uncontested”.
This would mean that the divorce is placed on an expedited legal track, and pending a judge’s approval of the divorce settlement agreement the couple already has in place, their divorce would be granted and finalized in a much shorter timeline than a contested divorce.
Should I Contest My Divorce? Jackson Divorce Lawyer
As attractive as an expedited divorce process can seem to many, settling your divorce based on the terms you and your spouse have decided without legal counsel is extremely risky, for both parties.
Divorce settlement agreements impact almost every aspect of your life moving forward, including your rights as a parent, the marital assets you retain, the long-term financial impacts of retaining (or not retaining) those same assets, and even your financial obligations moving forward in terms of spousal support and child support.
This is why, if you are planning to proceed with an uncontested divorce, it is highly recommended that you at least speak with an experienced Jackson divorce lawyer before the 35 day window has expired. As much as you may not want to embroil yourself and your family in a legal battle, the fact of the matter is that it is MUCH easier to negotiate the terms of your divorce settlement agreement now than it is to file for an appeal or modification after-the-fact should you realize that the agreement you signed does not actually account for your unique needs or concerns, or is unfair or unreasonable to you in some manner.
Alternative Options for an Uncontested Divorce Process, Spring Lake Divorce Attorney
Beyond the substantial risks you run in not initially contesting your divorce (i.e. not securing divorce settlements which are fair and reasonable), it is important to keep in mind that even if a divorce is contested, there are still opportunities for that same contested divorce to later be considered uncontested, and thus placed on the expedited legal track.
For example, couples are given a pre-trial negotiation period in which they and their Spring Lake divorce attorneys can attempt to come to an agreement for the key divorce issues of child custody, child support, alimony, and the division of assets. It is only when these pre-trial negotiations fail that your divorce will need to go to an actual courtroom, and have these various issues heard and decided by a judge.
Should you and your attorney be able to work out a fair divorce settlement agreement which both parties can agree to during this negotiation period, your divorce can then still be considered “uncontested”, and pushed through the legal system to completion in an expedited manner.
Contact A Brick Uncontested and Contested Divorce Attorney Today
The bottom line is that even if you are interested in resolving your divorce as quickly as possible, there are still ways to do so without running the extreme risk of not contesting your divorce when the initial complaint is filed.
Regardless of whichever method you choose to use, it is highly recommended that you speak with experienced legal counsel before signing documents which have the potential to impact your parental, legal, and financial life for years to come.
At The Bronzino Law Firm, our legal team has extensive experience helping our clients to resolve their divorce in a fair, effective, and efficient manner in towns across Ocean County and Monmouth County, including Toms River, Point Pleasant, Spring Lake, Jackson, Howell, Sea Girt, Brick, and more.
To speak with Attorney Peter Bronzino and our legal team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your divorce, any needs or concerns you may have regarding a specific area of your divorce, or simply just to obtain a better understanding of whether or not you should actually contest your divorce, please contact us online, or through our Brick, NJ office at (732) 812-3102.