NEW JERSEY DIVORCE AND THE UNCONTESTED DIVORCE PROCESS (Part I)
If you and your spouse believe that you are amicable about the terms of your divorce, you may wish to seek an uncontested divorce in the New Jersey Family Law Courts. At Green & Associates, we work with parties to reduce their legal fees and the time it takes for them to get divorced. You have to know the process and the best way to have parties come together on terms and how best to participate in the process of divorce where you are minimizing what has to be done with the Courts. Call us at 732-390-0480 or 201-242-1119 for a free consultation in our East Brunswick divorce or Fort Lee divorce and family law offices and speak with our NJ divorce lawyer or NJ divorce attorney. Night and weekend appointments are available.
You first have to understand what terms you have to memorialize, the following categories of terms should be addressed:
- Child Custody
- Child Suport
- Alimony or Spousal Support
- Equitable Distribution
Within each category are a number of areas that have to be addressed as well:
- Legal Custody – a say over the health, education and welfare of the child
Parties can have sole or shared legal custody. Generally, shared legal custody is awarded unless one party or the other is deemed to be incompetent as a parent e.g. they have substance abuse issues such as drugs or alcohol addiction. Domestic Violence may also have a role in awarded legal custody and finally, whether a parent is in the child’s life at all also plays a role in awarding legal custody. There have been many instances in my practice where a parent has left the country and has had nothing to do with the child for many years where a court is willing to give sole legal custody to a parent. Otherwise, it may require that a parent waives their parental rights in order for this to be accomplished, generally, something a court is loathe to allow as the court still wants a parent to be responsible for child support for a child of that parent.
- Physical Custody – where the child stays overnight determines what type of physical custody a parent has, there can be:
- sole physical custody,
- shared physical custody, and;
- PPR and PAR - where one parent is the parent of primary residence and one parent is the parent of alternate residence.
Sole physical custody is rare, but again, where one party may be deemed to be incompetent as a parent and has no parenting time with he child at all.
Shared physical custody, generally, is where each parent has an equal amount of overnights with the child. So, if you look at a two week period of time, there are 14 overnights, if during that time each parent has 7 overnights, then there is shared physical custody. Shared physical custody generally only makes sense if both parties live near the school system where the children are going to school. Otherwise, it is not in the best interest of the children to be travelling a lot during the week when they have homework and activities in the town where they attend school.
PPR/PAR – When one parent has more overnights than the other parent, then that parent is generally the Parent of Primary Residence and the other parent is the Parent of Alternate Residence or Parent of Secondary Residence. So, if a father only had alternate weekends with the children, that father would be the PAR and the mother would be the PPR. There are times, for purposes of the school only, a PPR is appointed by the parties, but an agreement would specifically have to say that there are no other PPR rights afforded by this appointment, as PPRs under New Jersey law are afforded certain additional rights in terms of moving the children within the state and sending them to another school and even relocating out of the state. The other party wants to make sure that they are not being disadvantaged by the terms in any agreement as to the designation of a PPR and PAR.