Family LawCindy is a recognized leader in the practice of family law. She dedicates her practice to serving the needs of local and immigrant families throughout New Jersey and New York. If you need assistance in divorce, annulment, custody, or adoption proceedings, we are here to help.
Most people want to believe that marriage lasts forever. But divorce is a fact of life. New Jersey, like other states, has accepted that this temporary or permanent “parting of ways” is inevitable and has its own set of rules. Family law is the body of law governing this process. The majority of family law is dedicated to divorce, annulment, alimony, child custody, and adoption.
Because so much of immigration depends upon family relationships, family law can also play a critical role in obtaining status in the United States. A divorce or adoption performed in a foreign jurisdiction is not always recognized in the United States. That is why it is important to consult a qualified attorney who understands the intersection between family and immigration law.
New Jersey courts have jurisdiction in divorce proceedings if either party has been a bona fide resident of the state. New Jersey Statutes recognize certain causes for judgments of nullity and divorce. They require that the complaint for divorce, annulment, or divorce from bed and board set forth “lawful grounds” upon which relief is sought. Divorce, for example, may be granted if both parties agree to, or if the filing spouse can substantiate, any of the following grounds:
- Extreme cruelty
- Mental illness
- Deviant sexual conduct
When it comes to property division, New Jersey is an “equitable distribution” state. This means that the marital property will be divided “equitably,” depending on certain factors. Each person retains his or her separate property, while marital property (property acquired during marriage) must be divided by the divorcing parties. In determining who gets what, courts will consider the income, earnings, debts, and liabilities of each party as well as any other factors the court deems “relevant.” The parties may also reach a settlement agreement governing the equitable division of marital property.
The process of balancing each party’s interests also applies to spousal support. Courts decide which spouse has the duty to financially support the other on a case-by-case basis. The support could be temporary, permanent, as agreed to by the parties, or at the court’s discretion.
In determining child support, the court uses an Income Shares Model to calculate which parent will pay the other for support. Any modification may be made by motion to the court. With regard to child custody, however, courts will do anything to further the best interests of the child.
New Jersey Statutes allow for the adoption of a “child” who is under 18 years of age by “any person” who is at least 18 years old, and 10 years older than the adopted child. The court may waive this requirement if a good reason can be demonstrated. Courts will recognize foreign adoptions if 1) the child was adopted under the laws of another jurisdiction, and 2) if the validity of the adoption has been verified by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in granting an immigrant visa for the child. Foreign children adopted by a U.S. citizen-parent may bypass normal visa processing times and obtain citizenship through a different “track” than biological children living abroad.
If you have questions, about any aspect of family or immigration law, contact Cindy, an experienced matrimony and adoption lawyer for help. She has successfully handled all types of cases involving divorce, annulment, alimony, child support, and adoption. Attorney Cindy also helps reunite and obtain citizenship for families all over the world. At the Law Offices of Cindy, we understand that family issues are sensitive. That is why we are dedicated to advocating for your legal interests with dignity and respect.