When you are going through a divorce, you need to make informed decisions based on accurate information. Unfortunately, there are a lot of common misconceptions about the divorce process, and there are several myths that have been perpetuated online.
So, what is true and what isn’t? Here is the truth behind five common myths about getting divorced in New Jersey:
Myth #1: You Need to Have a Specific Reason to Get Divorced.
Truth: New Jersey Allows Spouses to File for Divorce on “No-fault” Grounds.
While many states (including New Jersey) traditionally required spouses to prove “marital fault” in order to justify filing for divorce, this requirement has largely been abandoned. In New Jersey, spouses now have the ability to file for divorce on “no-fault” grounds, meaning that you do not need a specific reason to file for divorce.
Myth #2: Divorcing Spouses’ Assets are Always Split 50/50.
Truth: In New Jersey, Divorcing Spouses’ Marital Assets are Subject to Equitable Distribution.
In some states, there is a presumption that divorcing spouses’ assets should be split down the middle. However, this presumption can usually be overcome, and it does not apply universally. In New Jersey, divorcing spouses’ marital assets are subject to equitable distribution. “Equitable” does not necessarily mean “equal,” and there are several factors that must be considered in determining what is equitable within the context of any particular divorce.
Myth #3: The Wife Always Gets Alimony in a Divorce.
Truth: Not All Divorces Result in Alimony, and Not All Alimony Awards Favor the Wife.
While divorcing spouses must divide their assets (and, if they have children, they must address child support and child custody), alimony is a different matter. In New Jersey, neither spouse is automatically entitled to alimony as a function of one spouse filing for divorce, and it is the spouses’ respective income levels (not their respective sexes) that determines whether and in what amount alimony should be awarded. With increasing frequency, men are receiving alimony awards during the divorce process.
Myth #4: The Wife Always Gets Primary Custody.
Truth: All Custody Decisions Must Reflect the Best Interests of the Children Involved.
New Jersey’s custody statute states that, “In any proceeding involving the custody of a minor child, the rights of both parents shall be equal.” This does not mean that both parents are entitled to equal custody, but rather that both parents are on a level playing field when it comes to seeking the parenting rights they desire. Furthermore, while developing a custody (or “parenting time”) schedule under which the children live with one parent the majority of the time is still an option, divorcing parents are increasingly adopting alternative parenting plans as well.
Myth #5: If You and Your Wife Can’t Agree, You Will Need to Go to Court.
Truth: There are Alternatives to Litigation that Can Produce Mutually-Agreeable Results Even in Highly-Contentious Divorces.
Okay, so this one is partially true: If you and your wife can’t agree on all of the terms of your divorce, you may eventually need to go to court. However, before resorting to litigation, there are alternatives that you and your wife can utilize in order to try to find common ground. Mediation can be highly-effective for many couples, and pursuing a collaborative divorce is an option as well.
Schedule a Confidential Initial Consultation at MR. Men’s Rights Divorce & Family Law™ of New Jersey by Schultz & Associates, LLC
If you are considering a divorce, it is important that you speak with an attorney to ensure that you have an accurate perception of what you can expect during the process. To schedule a confidential initial consultation at our law offices in Hackensack, please call 201-880-9771 or request an appointment online today.