Blogs, News and Events

What do I do if I am having custody problems involving COVID-19?

6/26/2020
Given COVID-19 crisis, there has been a recent rise in what are called emergency motions called Orders to Show Cause (OTSC), where one parent may live near New York, for example, or is a hospital worker and the other parent is not. One of the parents may refuse to allow the hospital worker parent to see their child because they fear infection from the other parent. The first place to look is your divorce agreement, if your child arose from a marriage and you are now divorced. If there exist no previous court orders regarding custody, the standard the courts use is potential harm to the child. If there is material disagreement between the parents as to possible harm to the child, one party should file an emergency application (OTSC), which is typically heard the day it is filed on a temporary basis. Within a short time of the emergency hearing, the Court will order a full hearing from both parties and their attorneys. OTSC applications are most common if one parent is leaving th

Relocating Out of State with Your Child

3/17/2020
If you are considering divorce or separation, and would like to move with your child out of New Jersey, many factors must be considered before you make that decision final. Under New Jersey law, N.J.S.A. 9:2-4(c), a parent cannot permanently relocate out of New Jersey absent a court order, or consent of the other parent. Further, if you seek to relocate, you must be prepared to show that the relocation is in the “best interest” of the child or children you plan to take with you. A 2017 New Jersey Supreme Court decision called Bisbing v. Bisbing changed the way relocation cases are handled. In the past, there was a presumption that if the primary custodial parent was moving out of state and this move was in the best interest of the parent moving, then it would follow that it was in the best interest of the child. Bisbing changed this focus to the “best interest” of the child, aligning with many other states in the country. Courts are now required to use a “best interest e

The Cost of Divorce- What am I Looking At?

1/28/2020
Be wary of divorce websites that claim you can get a divorce for less than $300 in New Jersey. To file for divorce in New Jersey, you must pay a filing fee of $300 to be mailed in with your divorce complaint. You can add another $25 if you have children involved in the divorce. So, at minimum, you are looking at $325 if you decide to complete and file for divorce without counsel.
Like everything, the cost of your divorce is based upon the complexity of your matter: Are their children? What kind of assets and debts do the divorcing parties have? The length of the marriage? Are there any medical issues or disabilities to consider?
The expense of your divorce, if you hire a lawyer, will certainly be more expensive. However, you are paying the lawyer for their time and expertise in guiding you through one of the most stressful times in any person’s life. Divorce ranks up there with death of a spouse and death of a child as to life’s most stressful events. Having s

Things to Consider Before Separation (and Divorce)

11/12/2019

1. If you have children, do not leave the marital residence until you have an agreed and signed parenting time plan detailing when each party can spend time with the children. It is much easier to leave the home then to get back in once you have left. New Jersey does not recognize legal separation, but the parties can privately contract an agreement, called a Consent Order, laying out various issues such as parenting time and child support.

2. Sanitize your online profile. In any custody fight, the first thing your opposing counsel will look for is dirt that you have posted online. This can harm your chances of getting an acceptable custody decision from the Court.

3. Begin saving a war chest for pending legal fees and all other costs that will now be your sole responsibility to pay.

4. If your marriage is not irretrievable broken, find a good marriage therapist and give it every chance in the world. Also, find and employ a good child the

Domestic Violence – End it!

10/15/2019

Domestic Violence Is All Around Community

  • In the U.S. approximately 1.5 million women are raped and/or physically assaulted by an intimate partner.
  • Over half of female homicide victims were involved with their killers. Over 12 times as many women were murdered by a man they knew than were killed by male strangers.
  • One out of every three pregnant women is a victim of abuse.
  • 50% of all women who are murdered in this country are killed by a boyfriend or husband.
  • 25% of college females have sexually assaulted. 84% of these victims knew them men that hurt them.

Domestic Violence is Learned Behavior

  • Children are seven times more likely to grow up and repeat the same behavior as adults if they were raised in an abusive family.
  • Violence is almost always repeated in a relationship. It almost never happens “just once”.
  • The cycle of violence is repeated from gener

Common Adoption Types in New Jersey

9/25/2019

There are three common types of adoption in New Jersey.  Private adoption, grandparent or family member adoption, and step-parent adoption. 

Private adoptions usually take place through an agency, the birthparents and the prospective parents.  Adoptions can be open, semi-open, or closed.  This describes the contact the adoptive family has with the birthparent(s) and whether the transfer of the child goes to the agency first before being placed or is placed directly from the birthparents to the adoptive parents with agency supervision.

Families or individuals looking to make a forever home for a child have to proceed through various steps and an evaluation called a home study in order to become adoptive parents.  New Jersey requires all adoptions have a home study. A home study is an evaluation of the adoptive applicant’s potential to be a suitable parent for a child.  The home study includes various interviews with the family, a home visit, and joint intervie

Custody and Co-Parenting Tips for Back to School

9/8/2019

The new school year is here.  For many families, this means organizing calendars, setting up school activities, and parent-teacher conferences.  When a child’s parents no longer live together and the parents are either separated or divorced, the challenges for back to school can become exponentially more complex.  Below are a few tips that can make this time of year less challenging.

Download A Co-Parenting App

In a previous blog posting, we discussed and reviewed various apps made specifically for parents who live apart and must co-parent.  These smartphone apps help with communication, scheduling, medical appointments, and keeping your child’s day to day activities in order.

Keep in Mind the Big Picture

When co-parenting, the two options are either the parents agree, or they must return to court and seek assistance with the judge.  Parenting is typically set out in Settlement Agreements under custody and parenting time.  Life changes and o

Important and Unique Issues to Consider in a Military Divorce

7/25/2019

The honorable men and women who serve in our armed forces also run into various problems related to their service.  Some of these issues get less press than Post-Traumatic Stress (PTSD) or the failing veteran’s system to provide for their healthcare.  When it comes to divorce and child support, they have unique issues to be addressed.

Child Support

Those who serve in our military do not receive pay in the same way that most Americans do via a bi-weekly paystub followed by a year end W-2.  The military receive what is called basic pay, which is taxable by the federal government.  However, they also receive special untaxed income called unearned income under the IRS tax code.  Common examples are Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA), and Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS). These are military terms for free meals and housing that are offered to military personnel.  

Divorced Families and Summertime

7/10/2019

Summer vacation is difficult to plan when you are dealing with separation and divorce. Mix in work, camp, and sports and before you know it, you are dealing with smaller windows of time and schedule limitations. Keeping your special time for summer vacation fun is the most important thing of all. Here is the key: Be mindful of all parties and be open minded to all ideas.

Your children are out of school and all that matters to them is having fun. They want to be with their friends and not be split up by parents who don’t get along. They want to be busy and active, yet love to sleep and relax. Below are a few helpful hints:

Schedule your time wisely

Being prepared is half the battle. During the days when you don’t have your children, keep up with your housework so that when you do have them you can have total quality time. If you have conflicting schedules with step children and other parents, try to adjust your schedule so that you can all get more time to

Celebrities Are Human Too- Celebrity Custody Wars

6/24/2019

It only takes a moment to be reminded that celebrities and sports stars are as human as the rest of us and go through the same ups and downs that we all do.  Despite the money and power celebrities have at their fingertips, Steve Jobs famously wore the same simple turtle neck, tennis shoes and jeans the everyday day of his life. Unless you have been living under a rock, you know Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are both facing time in a federal penitentiary for fraud.  And like the rest of us, celebrities have vicious and ugly custody battles over their children.

If a couple cannot effectively co-parent following a break-up, then lawyers and courts become involved in making decisions for them.  Many times, if a judge must make a decision, neither party will be happy with the outcome.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have six children together. For years they seemed like the quintessential happy family, wit