Here are a few quick answers to some of the questions that you will have at the start of a divorce.
For more detailed answers, please take a look at the “Family Law Services’ section.
“During the divorce” is different from “After the divorce and permanently”.
Lawyers love words in Latin. “During the divorce” is ‘pendente lite’ in lawyer talk.
So, one of the first things that can happen is a discussion between you and your spouse about who is going to pay what bills ‘pendente lite’. If you can not agree, then the Judge will have to decide.
The decision on who pays during the divorce is usually that things stay the same, for now.
During the divorce, you and your spouse will have to make the same mortgage payments, gas and electric payments, pay for food, buy clothes for the kids, pay for auto insurance and gasoline, all of the normal expenses of your household and your life.
After the divorce, things will change. The house might be sold, or one of you buys out the other. There will be many other changes too. But during the divorce, you both need to keep the family bill paid.
During the divorce, normally the Judge will require that everything stay the same. Each of you will be required to continue paying the bills that you were paying before the divorce action was filed. If something important has changed, then it will make sense to adjust this, and the Judge will take that into account. Of course, the parties can discuss this, and reach an agreement. But very often, each person is required to keep doing what they were doing before.
This is a complex question. Every family situation is different. In most cases, the parents can agree on a schedule of parenting time that they both can accept and live with.
If you and your spouse truly cannot agree, then you will have to use the Court system. The Judge will be trying to decide what is “in the child’s best interests” In other words, the Judge will have to decide what is best for the children.
This is a complicated thing for a Judge to decide. This decision is so important to the children. And it is really difficult for an outsider like the Judge to really understand how your family functions, and what is best for the kids.
The Judge will need to know a great deal about you, your spouse, and a great deal about each of the children. You will need to show the Judge how the children have been living up to this point, and how each parent has been participating in raising the children.
It is also difficult, time consuming and horrendously expensive. You will very likely have to hire experts to do a ‘best interests’ evaluation, to give the Judge expert opinions about what is best for the children.
Because of this, the Judge will urge you and your spouse to really work through the matter and try to reach an agreement. You will want to discuss these issues very carefully with an experienced family law attorney.
Let’s talk about child support.
‘Child Support’ is money paid to support the children. It is intended to pay for food, clothing, all of the many expenses of having a child in New Jersey. It also includes payment toward the cost of having an extra bedroom in the apartment (two bedrooms instead of one, for example) for the kids to live in.
New Jersey has Child Support Guidelines, which are part of the New Jersey Rules of Court. This sets out a calculation which determines how much the child support will be, unless the Judge decides that there is a good reason to require a different amount of money for child support.
During the divorce, the kids’ expenses might be paid as part of the ‘pendente lite’ order, the ‘during the divorce’ order which says who pays the bills.
After the divorce, the child support amount will likely be based upon the Child Support Guidelines calculation.