FAQs

Can I move out of state with my children if I am the custodial parent?

Does a father stand any chance of being awarded custody of the children?

How long will the divorce take?

How much will this divorce cost?

What are the grounds for divorce?

What if I inherited or was gifted money or property during the marriage?

What is the divorce process?

Will I be charged with desertion if I move out of the marital home/apartment prior to getting divorced?

Will my spouse have to pay my legal fees?


CAN I MOVE OUT OF STATE WITH MY CHILDREN IF I AM THE CUSTODIAL PARENT?

New Jersey law does not permit you to move the children’s residence out of the State unless you obtain permission from the non-custodial parent, or unless you obtain a court order allowing you to move, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 9:2-2. The purpose of this law is to ensure the non-custodial parent’s right to have an ongoing relationship with the child is maintained.

If you do so without permission, this interference with custody can be severe i.e. be criminally charged with kidnapping, custody could be immediately awarded on a temporary basis (which could be made permanent) to the other parent. 

Whether you are the custodial parent seeking to relocate with a child to another State or the non-custodial parent seeking to preserve your ongoing relationship with a child, you should contact our experienced child custody attorneys at Bielan, Miklos & Makrogiannis, P. C.


DOES A FATHER STAND ANY CHANCE OF BEING AWARDED CUSTODY OF THE CHILDREN?

The short answer is “yes”.  New Jersey Custody laws are gender neutral, and premised on what is in the “BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD”. The minute your child is born, both parties have Joint Legal Custody of that child.  If a custody action ensues, New Jersey law puts both parents on equal footing.  There is NO PREFERENCE over one parent.

The attorneys at Bielan, Miklos & Makrogiannis, P.C., have successfully represented men and women in custody cases throughout Hudson, Berger, Monmouth, Middlesex, Union, Passaic, and Ocean Counties.


HOW LONG WILL MY DIVORCE TAKE?

The New Jersey courts have mandated that no divorce should take longer than a year from the date of the filing of the complaint for divorce. Occasionally, however, a case can take longer than a year. This usually depends on the complexity of the case or if the matter has not settled and will need to proceed to trial. If the matter goes to trial, from our experience at Bielan, Miklos & Makrogiannis, P.C., those matters can take between one to two years.

In our experience, the length of your divorce will depend on the willingness of the parties to be reasonable and cooperate with one another. A typical case can take between three to ten months from the date the divorce complaint was filed. If both parties work together cooperatively with a minimum of issues, a divorce may take a matter of months. 


HOW MUCH WILL THIS DIVORCE COST?

Because divorces can range from very simple legal matters to that of complex ones, it is impossible to provide a universal answer to the question, “How much does a divorce cost?” A good, experienced attorney that practices family law will rarely tell you the exact cost of a divorce, nor will they quote you a flat fee, unless the matter is completely and unequivocally settled.  In a typical divorce case, an attorney would typically charge an hourly rate requiring a client to make an advance payment, called a retainer, in which your legal fees and expenses will be deducted from this payment.

After you consult with one of our experienced family law attorneys at Bielan, Miklos & Makrogiannis, PC, and we hear the particulars of your matter, we can usually give you a general idea or an estimate as to what your divorce would cost. The reasonableness of the parties and the amount of court appearances will certainly have an impact on the cost of your case. In addition to legal and administrative fees, you may be required to pay for other expenses. This includes filing fees, mailing costs, photocopying, and experts that may be required to provide evaluations on assets, custody, etc. All of this, as well as, the specifics of our rates, and the details of our agreement will be put into a written retainer agreement which we will carefully review with you and answer any questions you may have. 

It is rare that you will need to hire us on the same day you consult with us.  We encourage every potential client to go home and “sleep on it” before hiring us or any other attorney because it  is such a personal and expensive decision.  Waiting a day or two to make that decision in most cases will not affect your case.  We are extremely competent and confident that we will do the very best work on your behalf and we want you to have that same comfort level before you make such an important decision. 


WHAT ARE THE GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE?

In the State of New Jersey there are specific recognized grounds, or reasons, for divorce. These are:

  • Irreconcilable Differences
  • Adultery
  • Deviant Sexual Conduct
  • Extreme Cruelty
  • Habitual Drunkenness
  • Voluntary Addiction to Narcotic Drugs
  • Institutionalization for Mental Illness
  • Imprisonment
  • Desertion
  • Separation

Your divorce attorney at Bielan, Miklos, & Makrogiannis will help you understand each of the categories above and which would be your best and most appropriate option in filing for a divorce as each case is unique.


WHAT IF I INHERITED OR WAS GIFTED MONEY OR PROPERTY DURING THE MARRIAGE?

If you keep the gift or inheritance separate from the marital assets, then it is considered your separate property and “should” not be subject to equitable distribution when you divorce, regardless of when you received it. If you receive a $50,000 cash inheritance when you are first married, and you deposited it in a bank account with only your name on it, then 15 years later you get divorced, it should not be considered a marital asset.


WHAT IS THE DIVORCE PROCESS?

The first step in the divorce process is finding a divorce lawyer whom you feel will best represent your interests. Once you have established the grounds for divorce, your attorney will file a Complaint for Divorce and several other documents. The Court then assigns a docket number to the case. These documents are then served on the other spouse, after which a response is filed with the Court.

Once all filings are complete with the Court, the "discovery" phase begins in which documents, including financial records, are gathered and examined, interrogatories are answered, experts are retained and depositions may be taken. After completion of discovery, the case may be scheduled with a Matrimonial Early Settlement Panel. This is a panel of attorneys who volunteer their time to help you settle the financial issues of your case by providing recommendations. If the financial issues of your case do not settle at the Early Settlement Panel or shortly thereafter, you will be required to attend mandatory economic mediation as a last attempt to settle the financial issues of your case. Shortly thereafter, a trial date will be assigned. A Final Judgment granting the divorce will ultimately be signed by a judge presiding over your matter in Family Court.


WILL I BE CHARGED WITH DESERTION IF I MOVE OUT OF THE MARITAL HOME/APARTMENT PRIOR TO GETTING DIVORCED?

New Jersey is a “no fault” state.  A court will not punish you if you move out of the home prior to the divorce.  HOWEVER, you should never do this without obtaining the benefit of an attorney’s advice.  While the court will not look upon you disparagingly for moving out, strategically, it may not be the wisest move and may cost you more money over time, or hinder your time and relationship with your children unless a temporary, well documented agreement is in place before you make the move.  You may also be in a situation where it will not affect any outcome and therefore you would be able to move out while the case is pending, but again, the wisest move would be no move until you had one of our experienced family law attorneys at Bielan, Miklos & Makrogiannis, P.C., review your circumstances. 


WILL MY SPOUSE HAVE TO PAY MY LEGAL FEES?

Sometimes, if you earn significantly more income than your spouse does, then you may be ordered to pay a portion of your spouse’s attorney’s fees, regardless of who initiated the divorce proceeding, and regardless of the reason for the divorce (i.e. your spouse is unfaithful).  In addition, if your spouse repeatedly violates Court Orders or is repeatedly difficult with the court i.e. not filing papers on time, the Court may order your spouse to pay your legal fees, regardless of his/her income.