Blogs, News and Events

Staying Healthy as a Single Parent.

9/27/2020
If you’re physically and mentally healthy, your child is likely to happy and healthy too. If you have a healthy lifestyle, it helps to create a healthy and loving environment for your children. Showing your family that you take care of yourself creates a good example for your children. Keeping physically and mentally healthy means the following: • Making sure you get enough sleep • Eating well and exercising • Taking care of your mental wellbeing. Cook Healthy, Eat Healthy Healthy eating and drinking gives you the energy to accomplish things and enjoy your life. Healthy eating involves eating the proper foods and avoiding unhealthy foods and alcohol. Stay Fit with Regular Activity Household chores like vacuuming and washing windows burns calories. Get up and get moving. Take long walks and bike rides with your children. Cleaning, pulling weeds or mowing the lawn can be the equivalent to a good workout. Physical activity will lif

Layoffs, Furloughs and Child Support

9/4/2020
Being laid off from a job is difficult. It affects the whole family emotionally, physically, and financially. Managing your budget, applying for assistance and searching for other jobs is a full-time job in itself. If you have children, you have additional issues including child support and custody. It is important that you fully understand your obligations and requirements and what you need to do. What happens when you no longer have the ability to pay child support due to a layoff or furlough? Child support is a court determined amount paid to the custodial parent to help with the care and expenses of a child or children. You must formally seek a modification of your child support order if you wish to have your payments reduced and modified. The income of both parties is used to determine the specific amount of child support along with the amount of overnights each parent has with the child. Once a court has ordered child support, it will not stop if you lose your job. Failure

Back to School Activity Planning for Divorced Parents in 2020

8/24/2020
Given the unprecedented times that we live, “back to school” is a term that brings about far greater stress on families in 2020 than any other year during our lives. Parents must contend with children attending school in a virtual model, a traditional model, or some combination of the two. With the COVID-19 pandemic, a few additional things must be added to the “to do” list for this coming school year. Review- Back to school is a good time to re-read your Parenting Agreement and the definitions and requirements for both parties. In the main, either both parents agree to a decision or a judge must decide in court. The family courts remain open and have adjusted well to the pandemic in New Jersey. Reviewing your agreements is even more reason to avoid any problems before they arise and before anyone commits to an activity, only to find later that the decision must be retracted. Activities- If your Parenting Agreement requires you to

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