Robert A. Gleaner, P.C

Frequently Asked Family Law Questions

Q. What are the grounds for divorce?

     In New Jersey, there are several "fault" grounds and two "no fault" grounds. With regard to the fault grounds, they are adultery, desertion, extreme cruelty, separation, drug addiction, habitual drunkenness, institutionalization, imprisonment and deviant sexual conduct. The original "no fault ground" was living separate and apart for eighteen months. As of January, 2007, an additional "no fault ground" was added - "irreconcilable differences". The only requirement is that you need to state that there has been a breakdown of the marriage for a period of six month and there is no prospect of reconciliation.

Q. Will marital fault impact on my rights to a property settlement?

     The Court does not take into consideration the fault of one party or the other when determining economic issues. There are exceptions in some cases, and that is that while adultery is no factor with regard to equitable distribution or child related issues, it may be a factor, in some cases, in determining alimony. Again, this is the exception as opposed to the rule.

Q. How is child custody determined?

     Unless the parties can agree, custody is determined by the "best interests of the children." In general, in New Jersey, we have now moved toward a concept of a "parent of primary residence" (PPR) and a "parent of alternate residence" (PAR), the object being that the parents in general should be joint custodians of their children, each with input into the manner in which the children are being raised with the children having a primary and alternate residence. However, this recent change in nomenclature does not change the fact that one party or the other will have the children in their home more than the other. When this is an issue, and the parties cannot agree, a study will be undertaken of each of the households and, in most cases, a neutral party will be appointed by the Court to interview the parties and perhaps the children, view the households and make recommendations to the Court.

Both parents are required to follow the “Children’s Bill of Rights.” Click here to review same.

Q. What are the different types of support that can be obtained in a divorce proceeding?

     Basically there is (1) child support, which is support paid by one spouse to the other for the benefit of the children and (2) alimony, which is support paid by one spouse to the other for the maintenance of the other spouse.

Q. How is Child Support calculated?

     In New Jersey, child support is based on Child Support Guidelines in New Jersey and is basically determined by taking the income of each of the parties and also some other factors and plugging same into a set formula that has been determined by a committee of the New Jersey Supreme Court. Besides including the income of the parties, the amount of time that each party spends with their children is also a factor so that essentially, in some sense, the more time that a parent spends with the children, the lower his or her child support obligation will be. There are also several other factors that go into the equation, including the requirement to pay child care and other factors. The only way to make a definitive answer as to how much the child support obligation will be is to have all pertinent information available and then utilize the guidelines step by step in order to find the ultimate amount.

For a very rough guess at how much your child support may be, click here