Category: Child Support

How Alimony Affects Child Support in NJ

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How Alimony Affects Child Support in NJ

Divorce proceedings can be complicated, particularly when there are children involved. Several factors determine child support in New Jersey, including income level and custody percentage.

However, your alimony costs can also affect your child support payments. Work with an experienced lawyer to learn how much your child support payments will be and how alimony can affect them.

Understanding the Impact of Alimony on Child Support in NJ

The courts calculate child support in New Jersey as a percentage of your income. However, within their calculation are the expenses necessary to support your child. For example, your payment for health insurance is included. If childcare is necessary, that would be included.

New Jersey uses the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines to calculate child support. Basically, the guidelines are compilation of all the expenses necessary to raise a child based on your income as parents. It is for that reason alimony is included as a portion of income along with other factors such as the number of overnights you spend with your child each year and any special needs your child may have.

Depending on the amount of alimony received, it is possible the amount of child support received may be lower. Conversely, if you pay more alimony, you may pay less child support. It is also important to note the guidelines take into account pre-existing child support orders from another relationship and/or alimony orders from a previous relationship.

Determining Your Alimony Payments

There are several types of alimony ordered by New Jersey Courts. During your divorce proceedings, the judge might order pendente lite, which exists as a measure to support a spouse during the divorce process, in other words, until the Judgment of Divorce is entered.

Once you are divorced, a person may receive one of four different types of alimony. Limited Duration is for a defined period of time which is usually based on the length of the marriage. Rehabilitative Alimony is also for defined period of time during which a spouse will learn new skills that allow him or her to become financially independent.

If your spouse supported you financially during schooling, the judge might award Reimbursement Alimony. For example, if your spouse paid for rent and your medical school tuition, but your divorce begins just before you start working, you will likely need to reimburse them.

Lastly, you might be awarded Open Duration Alimony. This type of alimony is usually only awarded if the marriage lasted longer than 20 years or the spouse receiving alimony is disabled.

Determining Your Child Support Payments

It’s best to work with an experienced divorce lawyer if your divorce might involve alimony and child support payments. Your lawyer can help you determine how much alimony you will likely need to pay, and how that affects any child support payments.

Child support also depends on factors like the number of overnights each parent has, how many children you have, previous child support payment orders, both parent’s incomes and how much an intact family would spend on their children in a similar financial situation.

It’s important to remember that your ex-spouse’s new partner’s income will not affect your child support payment calculation if your spouse remarries.

If your financial situation drastically changes, you can apply to the court to change your child support payments.

Schedule a Free Consultation

If you are considering divorce and have children, it’s best to consult with a lawyer before signing any official agreements. Particularly if you are a stay-at-home parent or are underemployed to care for a family member, you should seek legal advice about alimony and how that might affect child support in New Jersey.

The team at Lyons & Associates, P.C., is knowledgeable about all aspects of divorce in NJ. Call our law firm today at (908) 575-9777 or contact us online to set a date for your free consultation and learn more about how alimony and child support works in New Jersey.

NEW GUIDELINES FOR HIGHER EDUCATION IN NJ; WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR STUDENTS OF DIVORCED PARENTS?

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How Will the Coronavirus Affect My Divorce?

Do you have children attending college this fall? If you do, the campus and students will look very different than it has in previous years. Recently, Governor Murphy said the State of New Jersey will be unveiling guidelines for higher education institutions to follow for reopening this fall.

While the official guidelines have not yet been released, below are some general guidelines all colleges must follow:

  • Require students and staff wear facing coverings indoors.
  • Strongly encourage — though not mandate — students and staff wear face coverings outdoors.
  • Observe 6 feet of social distancing in busy areas, like classrooms and dining halls.
  • Sanitize equipment and materials.
  • Set cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
  • Close common areas.
  • Allow students and faculty with elevated health risks to learn and teach remotely.
  • Accommodate those who test positive for COVID-19, including developing quarantine and isolation procedures.
  • Set up robust testing and contact tracing plans to identify and fight coronavirus spikes.

Practically speaking, most colleges and universities will have to offer a hybrid of in person and remote learning. The changes will also affect whether or not students are able to live on campus, most likely, forcing some to live at home and learn remotely.

So what does all this mean for college students of divorced parents? If a student, who previously lived on campus is forced to live at home, does child support change? Does who pays for college change? Which parent does the student live with? Should the student living at home have more parenting time with the parent he or she does not live with?

For divorced parents these are all very real questions and added stress to the college experience. First, parenting time is the decision of the child. Once a child turns 18, the Court does not enforce a parenting time schedule. Second, since a child is spending more time at home with one parent, child support may increase temporarily. However, any change would have to be by agreement of the parents or through a court order. The same holds true to any changes to the payment of college by the parents.

If you and your spouse are having issues regarding your college student, please contact the Law Offices of Lyons & Associates, P.C. Our skilled and compassionate legal team is focused on the best possible outcome for you and your family. Here, at Lyons we believe in personal attention for personal matters. For more information and/or a free consultation, please visit our website, e-mail us, or call us at (908) 575-9777.

Written by: Chris Ann Wright, Esq.

Technology Allows us to Continue

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Technology Allows us to Continue

The New Jersey courts have remained committed to continuing operations during this public health emergency. With the help of technology, New Jersey is implementing more resources to assist you with your Family Court matters. The New Jersey Judiciary wants everyone to have access to justice while resolving your matter as quickly as possible.

Through that commitment, the New Jersey Judiciary has expanded their electronic filing system. Family Court has implemented the Judiciary Electronic Document Submission (“JEDS”) system. This system allows the court to continue to move your case forward electronically. JEDS was previously in development before the pandemic, however, due to State COVID-19 guidelines, the New Jersey Judiciary found it necessary to make the system available sooner.[1]

JEDS allows people dealing with family legal issues continued access to the courts. Whether the issue revolves around divorce, post-judgment motions, child custody/parenting time, and/or child support applications and modifications, the New Jersey Courts will continue to accept emergent and non-emergent submissions, electronically, through JEDS. However, if you do not have access to a computer, you can mail your paperwork to the Superior Court in your county. Finally, JEDS does not accept court filings in the following areas: child abuse/neglect, child placement review, termination of parental rights and kinship/legal guardianship. If you need to file paperwork in these areas, it would be best to contact the court to determine how they would like to receive paperwork.

We at the Law Offices of Lyons & Associates, P.C. remain committed to helping you during these unprecedented times. We have adapted to the changing landscape to assist you with your personal matters. If you or someone you know has any questions and needs assistance with family law matters, please contact us by e-mail, visit our website, or call our office at (908) 575-9777. With offices in Somerville and Morristown, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains.

Posted by Lyons & Associates, P.C.

Who Pays for Virtual Summer Camp Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic?

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Who Pays for Virtual Summer Camp Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic?

COVID-19 continues to affect our community, and closures of schools and other children’s activities have caused a disruption in the lives of many families. For many children, the start of summer means the beginning of various outdoor activities. Summer camps are a great option for children to be socially and physically active during their summer break. Unfortunately, owing to the current pandemic, many summer camps will not be opening this season to protect the health and safety of their staff and campers. Instead, many camps have decided to host virtual summer camps, which will be held over Zoom video calls and Instagram to keep children active and provide them with the same community that they would have at physical camp.

Although virtual summer camps are a great idea to keep children occupied, for divorced or separated parents, the cost of camp can be challenging. If your child wants to attend a summer camp, the question of who is going to pay is always in the back of a parent’s mind. Under New Jersey’s current child support guidelines, camp is considered a necessity if it takes the place of childcare while parents are at work. Because of this, the cost of camp should be shared by both parents and considered part of child support. For situations in which the parents cannot decide who pays for camp because it is not considered a necessity, the following are tips on how to manage costs.

Negotiate: Many times, camp is not considered a necessity but an activity for which your child is interested. To decide how to pay for your child’s camp costs, take the time to talk about options with your ex-spouse and make sure to discuss these costs at divorce negotiations. All cost decisions should be written down to ensure that both parties pay what they agreed on. Also, your child’s health and safety should be of utmost importance and highly considered when deciding on summer activities.

Compromise: To keep discussions with your ex-spouse civil and productive, be willing to compromise on camps and costs. You may be set on sending your child to a more expensive camp, but if your ex-spouse believes this is not necessary, compromising is your best option. Consider both sides of the discussion and write down the pros and cons of different camps and use this to decide on the best option for your child.

Seek Help: Sometimes parties cannot compromise on a summer camp for their child, especially if one parent does not want to pay. A divorce lawyer can be helpful in these situations to provide legal help and offer advice.

Morristown Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Offer Support for Clients Facing Financial Disagreements

If you and your ex-spouse cannot agree on summer activities for your child, contact the Morristown divorce lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. to help with financial discussions. Our skilled legal team is focused on the best possible outcome in family law cases and we strive for positive experiences with each client. Call us today at 908-575-9777 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Somerville and Morristown, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Somerset, Woodbridge, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains.

Family Court During COVID-19

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Conflicts between separated parents during the COVID-19 pandemic

The family courts in New Jersey have closed their facilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and most parents with child custody agreements are not sure how to proceed. While employees and agents of the court are working from home, every issue before the court will progress slowly. Any divorce that was filed before the COVID-19 pandemic may be delayed for quite some time, and you need to understand how to carry on under these unique circumstances.

The New Jersey court system is closed until further notice, and most municipal court buildings are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that any litigation has effectively stopped until the courts can reopen. At the same time, parents may not know how to handle child support or child custody. Divorcing parents may not understand how they should proceed, and the following tips will help you behave appropriately during the lockdown.

How Should Parents Address the Current Lockdown?

  • Child custody agreements remain active during the lockdown. If parents can reasonably reach their children, the custody arrangement should not be altered in any way.
  • If a parent has been exposed to COVID-19, the parents should agree to a self-quarantine period.
  • Child support payments should be made through the local court’s website.
  • Child support payments will be mailed out as normal.

Child custody agreements can be filed with the court, and you may begin to share custody with your spouse even during COVID-19. While you should abide by any curfews that have been set, you should try to make the transition as seamless as possible for your children.

Keep in mind that the court will know if you did not make child support payments. If you have not abided by your child custody agreement to a reasonable degree, the court will hear all complaints from your ex-spouse’s attorney. You can still make some progress on your divorce even if the courts are closed, and you should assume that the court will take action if you are egregiously violating an existing divorce decree.

What if the Matter is Urgent?

Parents who wish to address an urgent matter with the court should ask one of our lawyers to request an emergency hearing. In many cases, these hearings can be held virtually with the judge. This situation presents many challenges, but the court will err on the side of safety and justice for families in New Jersey.

Woodbridge Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Help Clients During the COVID-19 Pandemic

If you have concerns pertaining to your divorce, contact the Woodbridge divorce lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. We offer immediate support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Call us today at 908-575-9777 or contact us online for a free consultation. With offices in Somerville and Morristown, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains.

How Will the Coronavirus Affect My Divorce?

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How Will the Coronavirus Affect My Divorce?

Divorce can be a stressful process, and for couples currently engaged in divorce proceedings, things may be getting even more stressful. The Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is wreaking havoc on the stock market. As the worldwide crisis continues to plague countries around the globe, the Dow Jones and S&P 500 fluctuations are causing many people panic as they watch their 401k plans and stock investments plunge.

For couples negotiating the distribution of assets in their divorce settlements, the value of their assets may have been significantly affected by the impact of the Coronavirus on the global market. Re-evaluation of these assets may be necessary before a final settlement can be determined.

Equitable Distribution of Assets During the Current Pandemic

For couples that are currently negotiating the equitable distribution of their marital assets, the impact of the coronavirus may force delays. No one knows what the final impact will be on assets, such as 401k funds, stock investments, and retirement plans. How can couples proceed with equitable distribution with so many unknown factors right now?

The most logical advice for most divorcing couples would be to wait out the current crisis and see just how far the impact will spread. For those in an amicable divorce, this may be the best solution, but for those in divorce proceedings already filled with angst and volatility, a delay in divorce proceedings may seem insurmountable.

Divorce lawyers around the globe may be moving through unchartered territory with the current pandemic, but not with working in an unstable market. There were divorce proceedings and equitable distribution concerns during the market crash in 2008 with many lessons learned during that unstable economy. Divorce attorneys with experience from that financial crisis are lending their knowledge to those new to the game.

Listening to the advice of an experienced and knowledgeable divorce lawyer is in the best interest of all couples currently going through divorce

proceedings. What most investors would tell anyone at this time is that panic will not change the outcome of any situation. At a time like the present, the best strategy is to work collaboratively and patiently with all involved in the divorce proceedings.

Unprecedented Concerns in Divorce Proceedings

Financial concerns are not the only issue divorcing couples are facing. Unprecedented concerns are rising quickly, forcing panicked spouses and parents to seek answers to tricky questions. The most common concerns surfacing among divorcing couples include:

  • Quarantines and how they may affect court dates and appearances
  • Court shutdowns forcing delays of divorce proceedings
  • Quarantine of parents that share joint custody
  • Adjustments to child support payments considering reduced income/work schedules
  • Co-parenting issues with school closures
  • Differences between parents on how to protect their children from exposure

As divorcing couples and divorce lawyers try to continue with business as usual, delays are to be expected. With patience and perseverance, divorcing couples can ensure the best possible outcome in their divorce settlement.

Morristown Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Offer Counsel and Support for Divorcing Couples During the Coronavirus Pandemic

If you are experiencing concerns about your divorce proceedings in the current Coronavirus pandemic, contact the Morristown divorce lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Call us at 908-575-9777 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Located in Somerville and Morristown, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Somerset, Woodbridge, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains.

Conflicts between separated parents during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Conflicts between separated parents during the COVID-19 pandemic

Conflicts between separated parents occur frequently and will be heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Remember to put your children first, make proper accommodations and be reasonable with each other. These are tough times for many people but the key is to stay upbeat and contact a family lawyer for credible advice. For more tips and co-parenting assistance, read this article featuring Theresa Lyons of Lyons & Associates, P.C. For a free case consultation, call 908-271-8998 to speak to a skilled child custody lawyer.

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Co-Parenting a Child with Special Needs

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Co-Parenting a Child with Special Needs

Divorce can be stressful for the children involved, but this is especially true when the children have special needs. While all divorcing parents must find a way to put their children’s needs ahead of any animosity toward their ex-spouse, parents of children with special needs have an even more pronounced obligation to be open to working together for the good of their special needs child.

Experts often advise divorcing parents to focus on what is best for their children when making childrearing decisions. This advice is the perfect starting point for any co-parenting arrangement, but a divorcing couple with a special needs child has additional requirements for cooperation as well.

Create a Parenting Plan

A clear parenting plan provides a list of agreed-upon priorities for both parents to use as a guide to keep them on track to provide their children the best care possible. Parenting plans should include a list of your parenting goals, such as supporting your child’s efforts in school, recreational activities, and social engagements.

As parents of a special needs child, your parenting plan should address such issues as education, diet, and medical or behavioral treatment plans, including therapy appointments and home modifications to accommodate your child’s needs. The plan should address these immediate needs, as well as a long-term care plan for your child’s future.

Strive for Consistency

Children with ADHD, Autism, or anxiety disorders often find comfort in consistency. Divorce upends a lot of the consistency in a child’s life, so it is important to create stability where you can. Routines help and having a consistent schedule for morning, bedtime, and homework routines can provide a sense of comfort. Discipline and other parenting approaches should also be streamlined where possible. A professional can help determine what concessions should be made by both parents to help them stay focused on the outcomes most beneficial to their child.

Share Tips and Work Together

In many families, one parent acts as the primary caregiver. That can work when the marriage is intact, but when the family is split between two homes, the primary caregiver parent should be willing to work with the ex-spouse to make the child’s life comfortable in the secondary home. While it may make sense for the primary caregiver to request a larger share of custody, it can still help to provide helpful advice for the times when the other parent has the child.

Child Support

Raising children is expensive. The added costs of accommodating a child with special needs can become overwhelming if the costs are not shared. The child support arrangement should address the added costs of your child’s special care.

Somerville Child Support Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Help Clients Arrange Support for Special Needs Children

In families of divorce, parenting responsibilities are usually a major ongoing concern. Divorcing parents have additional concerns when it comes to caring for a child with special needs. The Somerville child support lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. help families figure out the best way to work together to support the needs of their children by working out a feasible parenting plan and a fair child support arrangement. Contact us online or call us at 908-575-9777 to set up a free consultation. With offices in Somerville and Morristown, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Somerset, Woodbridge, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains.