JERSEY CITY DIVORCE ATTORNEY SANTO ARTUSA ON QUESTIONS AND CONCERNS PEOPLE HAVE WHEN GOING THROUGH A DIVORCE OR CONSIDERING A DIVORCE-
I wrote this article to address some concerns people ask when considering a divorce or you are beginning the divorce process in New Jersey. Many times you would not think this day would ever come. A day that you receive divorce papers, a day where you decide you want a divorce, a day you realize you want your spouse out of the home you built a life in, but it happens everyday, some expected, some surprised. Now is not the time to dwell on the past or point fingers, now is the time to focus on what is needed and how to obtain what you need from the divorce. A divorce is difficult in many ways but you can mitigate some of the damage and you can prevent matters from getting worse. I practice matrimonial law in New Jersey and some of the tips I provide are specific to court rules and cases in New Jersey.
CAN I MAKE MY SPOUSE LEAVE OR PREVENT MY SPOUSE FROM COMING BACK TO THE MARITAL HOME DURING A DIVORCE IN NJ?
Depending on the circumstances involved, yes. NJ divorce lawyer Santo Artusa can help you if you are facing a situation like this.
“Parties in the midst of a tumultuous matrimonial dispute should ordinarily not reside under the same roof.” N.B. v. T.B., 297 N.J.Super. 35, 687 A.2d 766 (App.Div.1997). So without having to file for a restraining order or for the tension and problems to rise to the level of a restraining order, a person can seek for their spouse to leave the marital home by way of motion in the family court. Agreements can be made that the move is without prejudice to custody requests, the marital residence and so forth or the Judge can order it. Think about it, couples argue even in “good times,” the arguments and tension only get much worse when a divorce is filed. Every time a demand is made in the court action, an unreasonable spouse can bring up that demand all day, in front of the children, in front of neighbors, friends and so on. The bottom line is it can get very toxic very quickly.
There are other cases where one parent just comes and goes as he or she wishes, shaking the foundation of the familial safety and comfort zone. A court could find that this behavior is not acceptable especially if children are involved and this affects their well-being. If one parent is drinking or doing drugs, that can also be another reason to have the spouse removed out of the marital home. The home is meant to be a safe haven, a place where you and your children can rest and not be bothered, a place to re-energize, how can you do that if the tension and/or behavior of your spouse prevents that? You cannot.
What if my spouse is bringing someone around our children that I am concerned about?
The Family Court in New Jersey or the NJ Divorce Court has the power to restrain your spouse or other parent from having someone around that will or could affect the well-being of a child (especially during overnight parenting time). The moral welfare of the children supersedes the right to companionship at times. We recently represented a father that was concerned about an ex-convicts and alleged drug dealer in the presence of his children. We were able to prevent the man from being around the children. After the court issued an order, the mother violated the order and we were able to obtain residential custody to dad, victory!
My husband left and he is not paying any of the household bills, what can I do?
Pendente Lite Alimony (Temporary Alimony) Applications/Motions. If a divorce has been filed in NJ, or if you plan to file for divorce, you can file a motion for temporary financial relief such as alimony or for the payment of the household bills to return to the status quo (mortgage, taxes, rent, utilities, food, clothing, entertainment). Just because the parents may be at war does not mean the children should suffer anymore than they may be suffering already from the confusion and conflict in the family. The hot headed reactions and the egging on of your spouse near or in front of your children is something you will always regret if you truly love your kids, you need to prevent these scenes of rage that will be instilled in your children’s memories forever.
HOW MUCH OR WHAT CAN BE ORDERED TO BE PAID?
An NJ family court can order a set amount to be paid to the dependent spouse or the court can order certain specific bills to be paid by the breadwinner to continue the pre-separation/pre-filing standard of living. Pendente lite alimony is based on need and if done right, can prevent eviction, losing equity in the marital home, damage to credit because of the non-payment of bills, prevent your children from losing spots in private school, camp, the utilities from shutting off, etc.
In one pendente lite motion, we were able to have the bread-winner husband pay $9500 in unallocated support while he was still living in the marital home because he would refuse to pay the bills necessary for the wife and children’s well-being.
DO I HAVE TO FILE FOR DIVORCE TO OBTAIN RELIEF?
- No. If you did not file for divorce or are not ready to, you can seek spousal support in what is called a non-dissolution application. The New Jersey Family Courts also have the authority to order assets sold during the divorce process in order for the family to meet certain obligations. The sale of assets prior to a final judgment is rare but it can be done under certain circumstances.My wife does not let me see the kids, what can I do?
If your spouse or mother/father of your children does not let you see your children, you would need to file an application or motion to set a parenting schedule. A parenting schedule will prevent the other parent from trying to control if and when you can see your children. Even if the other parent has sole custody or has prevented visits, you still have parental rights as long as you do not place the children in harm’s way and that it is not against the welfare of the children.I AM ON MY WIFE’S HEALTH INSURANCE, WILL I LOSE THAT BECAUSE SHE FILED FOR DIVORCE?
Your spouse cannot remove you from a health insurance plan until after a final judgment of divorce has been entered and at that time, the insurance would be available to you to pay for by way of COBRA.I LIVE IN ALPINE, NJ, WHERE SHOULD I FILE?
*In the county in which the plaintiff (the party that files first) was domiciled when the cause of action arose (domicile-a place where a man or woman has his/her true and fixed, and permanent home and principal establishment, and which whenever he or she is absent he or she has the intention of returning-Source Black’s Law Dictionary).
OR-Where the Defendant was domiciled when the cause of action arose OR:
If neither party was domiciled in the state when the cause of action arose, then the county in which the plaintiff is domiciled when the action is commenced. If the plaintiff is not domiciled here, then it can be filed in the county where the defendant is domiciled when the service of process is made.So in our example, if you live in Alpine and your husband also lives in Alpine. Bergen County would be the place where you would file for divorce in NJ. If you lived in Manhattan and your wife lives in Jersey City, you could file in Jersey City, New Jersey.
My name is Santo Artusa, Jr., and thank you for reading my article. My practice is heavily devoted to divorce and family law issues throughout the State of New Jersey and in Jersey City-Hudson County. I understand the critical nature of matrimonial law as I have been through it myself before I was a lawyer. It was a very stressful and confusing time not knowing what my rights were and not knowing what my lawyer needed from me. That journey led me to attend law school at night while I worked in the financial service industry in New York City. I aspire to take cases that I believe in because you can never put your heart into something you do not believe in. My team and I can be reached for an appointment on 201-706-7910. In, NJ, We handle cases from Bergen County, Hudson County, Middlesex County all the way down to Atlantic County, New Jersey. Contact us today if you have a family law situation that requires legal attention.