Articles Posted in Divorce

divorce's affect on credit score -- photo of corner of keyboard with a person's finger touching a yellow 'credit report' keyMost people work hard to establish a good credit rating and even harder to maintain it once it is achieved. To have a good credit score jeopardized by the actions of another person would be devastating, but that’s what could happen if a husband and wife fail to discuss how to handle their debt in the event of a divorce.

Married couples commonly have shared accounts and financial obligations – mortgages, credit cards, and car loans, to name a few. The actions of one spouse can impact the credit rating of the other spouse not only during the marriage, but even after the couple separates. To learn how to protect your credit score in the midst of your divorce, read “What Happens to Your Credit When You Get Divorced?

Protecting family-owned business from divorce - photo of couple standing outside storefront of grocery businessFamily-owned or controlled businesses are an important segment of the American economy. They account for about 90% of all American businesses, from large retailers like Walmart to small mom-and-pop shops, and produce more than half of the country’s gross domestic product. These businesses face all the same risks as publicly-owned businesses do – growing competition, changing technology, increasing costs of supplies, and the like. On top of that they face one more risk that their publicly-owned counterparts do not – divorce.

What happens to a business that is owned by a couple facing divorce depends largely on the steps the couple took, if any, to protect the business before their marital troubles began. Often the family has the majority of its assets tied up in the business, so one spouse buying the other out is not always an option. A recent MarketWatch article, “How to protect your family business during a divorce,” discusses different options available to couples who want to protect the businesses they worked so hard to create.

photos of two pet dogs standing next to owner's legs, all wearing bright green rain bootsFor an animal lover, a pet is more than a possession – it’s a member of the family, and a beloved one at that. But what happens to that “family member” when the family unit dissolves through divorce?

Most courts don’t share the sentiment that pets are family but rather view pets as property. However, this “property” is not as easy to distribute as say a house or a car. When it comes to deciding the post-divorce fate of a pet, courts consider the people involved rather than the animal: Who paid for the pet? Who cares for the pet? If children are involved, should the animal stay with them? That’s about to change, however, for one state.

Alaska recently became the first state to amend its divorce statutes so that courts are now required to consider the well-being of the animal in divorce cases (read, “In a first, Alaska divorce courts will now treat pets like children”). The amendments will even allow judges to award joint custody of a pet, if that arrangement is in best interest of the animal, and to include pets when issuing protective orders in cases of domestic violence. Time will tell if more states will follow this lead.

Property Distribution: Photo of gray house with white trim with double Adirondack chair on porchThe distribution of property in connection with a divorce is a complex legal issue. Even answers to seemingly simple questions like who should get a marital home that was purchased before the wedding may surprise you.

Courts consider a number of factors when determining the distribution of property, including whether or not the couple has a pre- or post-nuptial agreement, and if the state in which the couple lives is a community property or common law state.

New Jersey happens to be an equitable distribution, or common law, state. Even here, ownership documentation like deeds and registrations alone may not be enough to establish who is entitled to what property. Courts consider other mitigating factors in making their determination. In the case of a marital home, for example, courts will consider not only who initially purchased the home, but also whether or not marital funds were used to pay the mortgage or make improvement to the home. For more insight into how marital property is treated in divorce proceedings, read “Martial Home Purchased Before Marriage: How Is It Treated?

divorce-attorney-400-07974910d-(1)
Victor Rotolo and the attorneys at the Victor Rotolo Law Firm have been offering legal counsel on all matters related to divorce — both simple and complex cases — since 1992.

The internet may have made it easier to obtain a divorce without the help of an attorney, but would you want to? Do-it-yourself divorces are legal; however, to be successful couples must be:

  • in complete agreement regarding all terms of their divorce settlement;

spusal-benefits-400-04352086dIf you are divorced, nearing retirement age and have not yet remarried, you may be entitled to receive spousal Social Security benefits based on your ex’s work record, provided you meet certain qualifying criteria.

Your eligibility for spousal benefits is not dependent on your ex’s current marital status, the number of divorces he or she has had, or even if your ex is alive or deceased. But the rules for determining your eligibility can be complex. For starters, you must be at least 62 years of age (60 if your ex is deceased), have been married to your ex for at least 10 years, and not currently be married. For other conditions that would apply to your situation, visit the Social Security Administration’s website and read “Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced.”

file-first-400-07726406dSometimes a spouse can be blind-sided by his or her partner’s request for a divorce. More often, however, both spouses share a sense that the relationship is broken and can’t be fixed. When it comes to that, does it matter who files first? According to some financial and legal divorce consultants, it does.

The better prepared you are for divorce, the better your chances for negotiating terms to your best advantage. Usually the spouse who initiates the divorce first takes the time to obtain a lawyer and other divorce consultants. He or she gathers all the paperwork and documentation that may be needed during the divorce proceedings, while the spouse who gets served with divorce papers scrambles to do the same. These are just two of the benefits of being the first to file. For additional advantages, read “What Are The Financial And Legal Advantages Of being First To File For Divorce?

naem-change-400-04417572dChanging your name in New Jersey requires court approval following a process designed to ensure the name change isn’t being requested for unlawful or deceptive purposes. The exception to this is a name change due to marriage and/or divorce.

Adopting your spouse’s name after marriage or resuming your maiden name after divorce can be effected socially simply by using your new name. Officially, however, there are certain agencies, such as the Social Security Administration and the Motor Vehicle Commission, you must notify in order to change your name. Your certified marriage license serves as proof of your right to use your spouse’s name if you so choose. In relation to divorce, your desire to resume use of your maiden name should be stated in the divorce decree. This document can then be used when applying to the appropriate agencies for your name change.

Planning a wedding or negotiating a divorce are complex, emotional events, so it would be easy to overlook an agency or institution you should notify about your pending name change. This name change checklist can help.

co-parenting-400-06522675dIn a co-parenting custody arrangement, parents work together to maintain equal roles in raising their children. Proponents of this arrangement believe it provides a healthy environment particularly for the children by minimizing the disruption to their lives. There are other benefits, too. For one thing, children are exposed to positive interactions between their parents rather than negative ones. This type of arrangement may also put less of a strain on relationships with extended family members if no one feels pressured to “take sides.”

Co-parenting requires a level of cooperation not all couples can achieve, so it may not be the solution for everyone. However, because of its potential benefits, it is worth considering provided the circumstances of your divorce permit. To learn more about how co-parenting arrangements can work, check out “Mayim Bialik gets real about co-parenting: ‘Divorce isn’t the end of family’.” The actress, currently appearing in the television hit, The Big Bang Theory, explains how she and her ex-husband have made co-parenting work for their family.

divorce-mistakes-400-04023471dDivorce, no matter how inevitable it might be, is an emotional roller coaster for everyone involved. Sadness, hurt, anger, relief, fear, anxiety are all feelings spouses and children alike may experience throughout the divorce process. And these feelings can get the better of you if you let them.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in your divorce is reacting to these feelings and not giving enough consideration to the big picture. Do you really want possession of that antique lamp enough to fight over or are you just seeking revenge? Identifying the important issues and letting go of the small stuff can help you and your loved ones survive the divorce with your emotions – and sanity – intact. For a look at some of the more common mistakes to avoid when going through a divorce, read “11 Things Divorce Lawyers Say You Should Never Do.”