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Divorce and Separation

South Jersey Divorce Lawyers

Divorce and Separation

It is important to seek the assistance of an experienced and reputable South Jersey divorce lawyer who will work to protect your rights and interests when facing the divorce process. South Jersey family lawyers of Kearney, Burns & Martone have more than 20 years combined experience in handling all matters of family law including divorce and separation, child custody issues, spousal support and child support, equitable division of assets, and issues involving domestic violence and abuse and neglect / DYFS matters. We also offer assistance with adoptions in New Jersey, same sex marriage, grandparents’ rights, college contribution disputes and financial and estate planning.

New Jersey Separation

New Jersey does not recognize a legal separation. However, there may be reasons for you and your spouse to decide to live apart but remain married, whether it be for religious reasons, or because of issues related to finances or health.  Whatever the reason, it is important to have a South Jersey divorce lawyer assist you in drafting a separation agreement. A separation agreement is a legally binding document that addresses important issues such as temporary child and spousal support and child custody. Decisions about which spouse will maintain health insurance and who will be responsible for paying bills are also included in the agreement.

Another important reason to have a separation agreement is to protect yourself from being responsible for any debts your spouse may incur after you have decided to live apart. Spouses who have signed a separation agreement are often prohibited from dissolving any marital assets without the consent of the other spouse.

Grounds for Divorce

When the decision is made to divorce, one spouse must file a divorce petition that states the reason he or she is requesting a divorce. There are several grounds on which the courts allow for divorce. It should be noted that the grounds, whether fault or no fault, are not considered as a factor in the division of assets or awards for spousal support.

  • No Fault Grounds

    • Irreconcilable differences – A breakdown in the marriage that has continued for at least six months with no hope of reconciliation.
    • Living apart – Living separate for at least 18 months.
  • Fault Grounds

    • Addiction – Addiction to drugs or alcohol that persists for at least one year.
    • Adultery – New Jersey law considers adultery as an act by one spouse to form an intimate relationship with someone outside the marriage. The law does not require that a sexual act took place, but the other party must be named in the divorce document.
    • Desertion – Desertion occurs when one spouse leaves the other for 12 months or more against the will of the other spouse.
    • Deviant sexual conduct – Sexual abuse or assault that occurs against the will of the other spouse.
    • Extreme cruelty – This is merely a term of art and does not necessarily mean that your spouse was extremely cruel. Acts of cruelty may involve a wide range of severity, from general unpleasantness to physical abuse or neglect.
    • Incarceration – Imprisonment of 18 months or more.
    • Institutionalization – One spouse is institutionalized for 12 months or more and is unable to function as a working partner in the marriage.

Division of Marital Assets

It is important to gather as much information possible regarding all marital property, assets, and debts. This is a critical step that will ensure that nothing is overlooked. The court will use this information in determining the equitable distribution of marital assets. Equitable does not always mean equal, but rather what the court decides is fair given the circumstances.

Every divorce is a unique and deeply personal experience. Whatever your situation, it is essential to have your divorce handled by a South Jersey divorce lawyer who will work to protect your rights and financial security, while offering knowledgeable, compassionate guidance throughout the process.

South Jersey Divorce Lawyers at Kearney, Burns & Martone Offer Qualified Representation for Individuals Going Through Divorce

South Jersey divorce lawyers at the South Jersey family law firm of Kearney, Burns & Martone are committed to helping individuals navigate the difficult process of divorce and ensure a better, more positive future for their clients and for their clients’ children.

If you are considering a divorce or separation, or have questions pertaining to any family law matter in New Jersey, call 856-547-7733 today to schedule an initial consultation with a caring and experienced divorce lawyer in South Jersey or submit an online contact form. Our office is located in Haddon Heights, New Jersey, and serves clients in Camden County, Burlington County and Gloucester County.