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Six New Jersey Divorce Terms You Need to Know

The decision to divorce is different for everyone, but for many, the thought of beginning a complex legal processing can be daunting. At Moskowitz Law Group, LLC, our New Jersey divorce lawyers know the laws, procedures, and terminology involved in divorce proceedings can be unfamiliar territory for those considering the process, and make it a point to help our clients understand key terms and how they relate to their unique situation.

Because divorce is filled with new terms and concepts, not to mention definitions that can vary from state to state, our legal team wanted to provide some helpful information about a few common New Jersey divorce terms worth knowing before getting a divorce.

  1. Uncontested Divorce – Generally, this term is used to differentiate between divorces that can be effectively resolved out of the court and divorces that require legal action. Although it uses the word “uncontested,” it does not mean that spouses agree on every aspect of their divorce. More accurately, it means that those spouses are able to amicably communicate, negotiate, and reach compromise and resolution without having to go to trial. For these reasons, and because the outcome of a divorce has such a tremendous impact on one’s future, it’s still important to have experienced legal representation by your side to protect your interests in an uncontested divorce.
  2. High Net Worth Divorce – A high net worth divorce, or a complex divorce as it may also be called, means that divorcing spouses have significant assets and property which will need to be divided in accordance to state laws on property division. Often, these cases are highly complex because they can involve a range of unique and complex assets that may require forensic accounting, accurate valuation and appraisal, financial knowledge, and aggressive advocacy in cases where disputes over property or money arise.
  3. Community Property – As it relates to property division, community property is the term used to describe all assets, debts, and real property subject to division in divorce. Under New Jersey law, all assets and debts acquired during the course of a marriage is considered community property that must be divided equitably (meaning in a manner that is just and fair, not necessarily even or equal). Other property not subject to division (separate property) is that which was acquired before a marriage or as an inheritance or gift. Distinguishing between community and separate property is not always a straightforward matter, and is often a point of contention in many divorce cases.
  4. Alimony – Many people are familiar with the term alimony, but not all know that it can actually entail a range of financial arrangements involving payments one spouse makes to the other in order to ensure they maintain the same quality of life they enjoyed while married. Also known as spousal support, alimony can consist of temporary support during the course of a divorce, and support awarded post-divorce that’s calculated based on the facts of a case, such as the length of a marriage, skill and education of each spouse, and others.
  5. Modifications – If you’ve heard the term “modifications” in relation to divorce, they refer to changes in a final divorce decree that may be made after a divorce has been finalized. Although divorce decrees are binding court orders, there are some situations where certain terms and arrangements can be modified, provided that parties seeking the modification are able to prove a legitimate justification or substantial change in circumstances. While property division agreements are generally not eligible for modifications, other terms, such as custody, support, and alimony, may be modified.
  6. Parenting Plan – Parenting plans are agreements concerning parents’ rights to custody and visitation with their children. In divorce, any matter involving minor children is made a priority, and the best interest of a child is the gold standard by which courts make determinations over suggested arrangements. Depending on the circumstances, divorcing parents may be able to structure parenting plans on their own and have them approved by the court. In others, parenting plans may be created by the court when parents are unable to agree among themselves, or wish to dispute custody and visitation (time-sharing) for reasons such as relocation, parental abandonment, domestic violence, and more.

These terms may be important in a lot of divorce cases, but they are only a few of the general concepts you should know as you work to protect your rights, interests, and future. At Moskowitz Law Group, LLC our family law attorneys make close-working relationships with clients a priority, and take the time to help them understand key terms and issues involved in their cases. If you wish to discuss a case of your own and learn how we can help you, contact us for a free case evaluation. We’re available 24/7 and serve clients throughout New Jersey and New York.