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Englewood Cliffs Legal Blog

Signs your spouse may be hiding assets

One sneaky tactic that your spouse may use as financial protection during your divorce is hiding assets. Many people in New Jersey resort to hiding assets before and during their divorces, not realizing that it is illegal and unethical for them to do so. Many of them also do not understand how it impacts the property division process. Your divorce situation may already be stressful enough without you having to worry about your spouse trying to cheat you out of your fair share of the marital property and assets. 

Take some time to learn how to identify if your spouse is hiding assets so you can protect your rights and what is rightfully yours. 

Steps for getting custody of a sister or brother

If a New Jersey child's parents dies or are unfit and the child has an older sibling, that sibling might want custody of the child. In order to get custody, the child must be under 18 and the sibling must be legally emancipated or at least 18. In both cases, a sibling must provide proof of being able to financially care for the child and provide a stable environment. In the latter case, the sibling might also have to prove that the parents are unable to take care of the child or are putting the child in danger.

However, a custody battle may be avoided if the parents agree to allow the sibling to raise the child. It may be worthwhile to talk to the parents and make this suggestion since courts are reluctant to remove a child from biological parents. If the parents do not agree, it will be necessary to file for custody in the jurisdiction where the child lives.

How nesting may be beneficial for children

New Jersey parents who are getting a divorce but whose relationship is still relatively amicable may be interested in an approach to joint custody known as "nesting". While in a traditional joint custody arrangement children generally move back and forth between their parents' homes, nesting allows them to remain in the family home while the parent do the rotating in and out.

Two parents who used this approach reported that the 18 months their children had to adjust to the divorce in their own home had helped. The parents rented a small apartment near their home that each one lived in for one week at a time alternating with a week in the family home with the children. They also said that it helped them understand the difficulties their children faced in having to move between two homes.

Aisha Tyler's amicable divorce settlement

New Jersey residents who are ending their marriage and have a lot of marital assets to divide might look to the case of Aisha Tyler's divorce settlement as a way to reach an agreement with an ex-spouse without court coercion. The television and movie personality reached a settlement agreement with her ex-husband that both found fair and just.

According to sources, Tyler agreed to pay her ex-husband $2 million in spousal support. The two agreed to split their community property evenly, and $500,000 of the $2 million will be paid up front as a way to equalize the community property division, with the remaining amount paid in installments of $31,250 monthly for the next four years. Payments do cease if either Tyler or her ex-husband pass away or if he chooses to remarry. As it can sometimes be the case with high-asset divorce, the ex-spouses will keep their individual companies. Tyler has reported that she agreed to the payment because she felt it was fair and the two will remain friends after the divorce.

Errors to avoid in a custody hearing

A New Jersey parent who is facing a child custody hearing may be frustrated with the other parent, but it is important to not show frustration in court. A parent who appears angry or bitter may also look like a parent who is unwilling to cooperate with the other parent, and this could result in that other parent getting custody. Parents should also avoid trying to speak for their children to convince the judge that they are the best choice as the custodial parent. Older children are often allowed to express their preferences if they wish, but a parent should not attempt to make the other parent look bad by arguing that their child needs them more.

Family and friends may try to persuade parents that they should be asking for more support or visitation time, but parents should not allow themselves to be carried away by this. They should stick with the strategy they have worked out with their attorney, and if there is a reason to change it, they should discuss this with the attorney as well.

Winning a child custody case

Child custody cases can end with unpredictable results. New Jersey parents who are embroiled in child custody disputes may benefit from learn how to strategize their case and improve their chances of achieving the outcome that they want.

Neither party in a child custody case should assume that the judge will rule in their favor. It is important to know that the court's only role is to do what is in the best interests of the child. Parents who are able to demonstrate that they are focused on the welfare of their child can improve their case.

Changes to insurance policies during divorce

You have made it this far. You have split the debt and the assets, determined a child custody arrangement that works and are ready to sign the divorce decree. Before you put the pen to paper, there is one thing you may not have considered. Have you changed your insurance policies?

While health insurance is generally the most prominent to come to mind, there are several types of insurance you should modify after a divorce.

The role of a QDRO in property division

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order is a necessary document for New Jersey couples who are getting a divorce and need to divide a retirement account. Because it is a complex financial document, they might want to work with a certified divorce financial planner to ensure that they are able to efficiently transfer funds. Without guidance, a QDRO could become costly.

Not every couple will decide to split the retirement account. However, those who make this decision should keep in mind that there may be disadvantages in keeping the account that they may not have anticipated. For example, in a divorce, one person might take the home, which has been paid for, while the other person might take the 401(k). If the retirement account is worth more than the house, it might initially seem as though that person got a better deal. However, the recipient may be unable to access the funds without paying a penalty until the age of 59 1/2.

When business owners divorce

Talking about buyout clauses or separating business assets from marital property are the least romantic things New Jersey couple could think about, but they are often necessary to avoid future headaches such as a case that has been unfolding in Delaware. The case illustrates what could happen in situations when business interests are shared by parties whose relationship is ending.

The future of a very successful translation software company based in New York is being uncomfortably played out in Delaware's Chancery Court. TransPerfect has more than 3,000 employees and boasts lucrative contracts that place the value of the company at more than $1 billion. The majority owners of TransPerfect were college sweethearts who started the business in the 1990s but never walked down the aisle.

Scarlett Johansson in custody battle over daughter

New Jersey fans of actress Scarlett Johansson may have heard that she is divorcing her husband, Romaine Dauriac. They have a 2-year-old daughter together. Their custody dispute was a private negotiation until March 7 when Johansson and her attorney filed divorce papers in New York.

By filing in New York, Johansson may have made a preemptive move that will help her get custody of the child without having to fight for it in Dauriac's home country of France. The child's place of residence is considered to be the place where the child has spent the previous six months, and Johansson may have filed as she reached the six-month mark with her daughter in New York. Dauriac could still file in France, and this would lead to what is known as a bi-national jurisdiction conflict. The residency rule would hold the key to resolving it. However, Dauriac's attorney has said that he will remain in New York if the two can share custody.