Established in 2002, the Law Office of Jeffrey R. Brown, Esq., LLC proudly provides representation in all aspects of divorce and family law in New Jersey. While general information related to divorce and family law is provided on this website, each person’s needs are unique. There is no substitute for a personal consultation with a Middlesex County divorce lawyer to discuss the details of your situation.
The firm’s approach is to offer clients a realistic assessment of their case at the first meeting, to provide a framework as to how the process will unfold, and to put them at ease and answer all their questions to the extent possible. Clients are advised to come to the initial appointment with a rough idea of which assets and liabilities exist, as well as a rough idea as to the earnings of both parties. Sometimes we will identify at the first meeting certain pieces of information that must be obtained before a fully informed opinion can be offered by the attorney. At all times, we strive to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. We represent people throughout Middlesex and Monmouth Counties, as well as the surrounding areas.
Any lawsuit seeking to modify or define a familial relationship falls under the umbrella of family law. In other words, actions for divorce, alimony, child support, and child custody are all family law matters. A person’s rights and obligations regarding family law issues are generally outlined by statute in New Jersey. New Jersey laws also regulate the process of filing family law pleadings and serving them on other parties. For example, the laws set forth when a person may file a lawsuit seeking a divorce, where the action must be filed, and who has the right to pursue custody of a child. A divorce attorney in Middlesex County can explain the laws and procedures that govern your situation.Divorce
A person who wishes to obtain a divorce must meet the residency requirement. This means that either the person or his or her spouse must have been a resident of New Jersey for at least one year prior to filing the divorce action, except in cases involving adultery. In New Jersey, a spouse can seek a no-fault divorce by asserting that the couple has been separated for a minimum of 18 months. To be considered separated, the couple must live separately and apart. A spouse can also file for divorce on the grounds of six months of irreconcilable differences, which is another variation of “no-fault” divorce. New Jersey also allows for fault-based divorces on the grounds of adultery, cruelty, desertion for a minimum of 12 months, or addiction to drugs or alcohol, as well as other grounds.Uncontested Divorce
In New Jersey, when both spouses in a marriage wish to obtain a divorce, and there are no disputed issues regarding property division, custody, or support, the process of ending the marriage may be relatively seamless. Generally, the parties will draft a Marital Settlement Agreement delineating each party's rights and obligations. A Middlesex County divorce attorney can help you draft this agreement. Once the parties sign the agreement, it will be submitted to a judge, who will ensure that the agreement was made voluntarily, after which it will become a binding contract. Either party can then file a complaint for divorce, after which the other party can indicate that they do not intend to file an answer. The court will conclude the uncontested divorce process by entering a default judgment.Child Custody
When two people who have a child together decide to end their marriage or relationship, they must determine how to divide custody of the child. In many cases, the parties cannot come to an agreement and will ask the court to develop a child custody arrangement. In New Jersey, custody is comprised of physical custody, which is the right to spend time with the child, and legal custody, which is the right to make important decisions that affect the child. In any custody case, the court's leading concern is what is in the child's best interest. In determining an appropriate custody arrangement, the court will assess factors such as each parent's relationship with the child, each parent's ability to provide for the child, and the stability of the home environment that each parent can provide.Child Support
In New Jersey, each parent has an obligation to provide financial support for his or her child. Thus, in many cases in which the parents of a child do not live together, a court will issue an order imposing an obligation on one parent to make child support payments to the other parent. New Jersey has statutory guidelines that dictate how child support should be calculated. A Middlesex County divorce lawyer can discuss how these guidelines may apply to you. The goal of the guidelines is for the child to receive the same financial support as they would if the parents resided in the same household.Alimony
If a marriage ends, the lesser-earning spouse may seek alimony, also known as spousal support. In assessing whether to grant alimony, New Jersey courts will evaluate numerous factors, including the needs of the party seeking alimony and the ability of his or her spouse to pay, each spouse's earning capacity, and the length of the marriage. In cases involving marriages that lasted less than 20 years, the court will not award alimony for a term longer than the duration of the marriage, unless it is warranted due to exceptional circumstances.Equitable Distribution
One of the most complex questions in a divorce is how any property or assets should be divided. Only marital property, which is property that either spouse acquired during the marriage, is subject to division. Conversely, any separate property, which is generally property that either spouse owned prior to the marriage or obtained via a gift or inheritance, remains separate. Any marital property will be equitably distributed, which does not necessarily mean that it will be divided equally. Instead, it will be divided in a manner that the court deems appropriate in consideration of each party's assets, age, health, earning potential, and contributions to the marriage, as well as the standard of living to which each party is accustomed. A divorce lawyer in Middlesex County can help you pursue an appropriate division of assets.Modifications
In most cases, orders regarding child custody, child support, or alimony can be altered upon showing that a change is appropriate. Generally, a party seeking a modification must establish that there has been a substantial change in circumstances. For example, in cases involving alimony or child support, if either party experiences a reduction or increase in income or debt obligations, a modification may be warranted. Similarly, if either party falls ill or becomes disabled, it may be necessary to adjust a financial obligation. In cases involving child custody, a modification often is necessary if either party moves or is unable to fulfill his or her parenting responsibilities.Meet with a Capable Family Law Attorney in New Jersey
We pride ourselves on providing diligent, responsive representation to our clients. We strive to return phone calls and e-mails from clients promptly. As a result of our experience in the field of divorce and family law, and the level of client service provided, we frequently receive referrals from previous clients, as well as other attorneys. It is also not uncommon for the firm to be re-retained by former divorce and family law clients when new issues arise. Mr. Brown has offices in East Brunswick, Freehold, and Red Bank, and he represents people in family law matters in Middlesex and Monmouth Counties, as well as elsewhere in New Jersey. You can contact Mr. Brown at 732-613-0066 or through the form online to set up a free appointment with a divorce attorney in Middlesex County.