Blogs, News and Events
What is "Domestic Violence"?
The National Domestic Violence Hotline (www.ndvh.org) defines domestic violence as "a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner." In other words, domestic violence is "a pattern of coercive behaviors that one person exercises over another."
If you are in a relationship or situation that feels abusive, it is important that you seek help and know the resources available to help you and your children.
There are several types of abuse.
Emotional Abuse- If your partner does any of the below, you may be in an emotionally abusiv
Clean Out Your Legal Closet in the New Year
As the year turns over, it is time to take stock of many things; new year resolutions, cleaning out the actual closet, and gathering documents for your 2018 federal and state tax returns. There are also legal issues that everyone should consider to ensure they are properly protected along with their children. Two of the most common is ensuring your will is properly updated and reflects your current living situation, is reflective of any tax changes under the IRS code, and encompasses all parts of your estate (assets and property). Far too many people wait until they are in the midst of a health scare before thinking about what options exist or what kind of care they or their loves ones would want. A recent survey found that 90% of Americans believe end of life discussions are very important to have with their loved ones. However, only 30% actually have had these discussions with family.
Another item that is commonly overlooked is updating your child support payments to ensur
The Frightening Side of Being the Target of A Child Abuse Investigation
Sadly, many times a parent or adult finds themselves on the wrong end of a child abuse allegation. Under New Jersey State and federal law, any allegations of child abuse, regardless of how remote or unlikely, must be investigated by the relevant agency or jurisdiction. In New Jersey, investigating allegations of child abuse falls to the Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP & P), formerly called DYFS, is responsible for investigating any and all allegations of child abuse in New Jersey.
An institutional abuse Investigative Unit (IAIU) team will be dispatched to the home or hospital where the child is located. They are not required to notify you in advance of their arrival. They do not need a warrant to enter your home once an abuse allegation has been filed. Once there, they will perform interviews with all involved parties, including doctors, nurses, parents, and any other witnesses to the alleged abuse.
Typical investigations are generally required
Happy Holidays With Children and Divorce
by Keith Hofmann
How do handle the holiday season with your children. Your emotions are flying high, yet you still want your little ones to believe in this magical time of year.
Below are a few tips on helping you, your spouse and your children how to get through this upcoming holiday season:
Plan: Don’t wait till the day before. Do it now. If you and your spouse can’t come up with a mutual plan, contact your divorce attorney, so that a plan can be worked out. Your attorney may need to go to court to assure you that you can see your children during the holidays.
In most cases children should see both parents: Most divorce agreements will alternate the holidays from year to year. If you are in the middle of your divorce and all of this is new, you ma
Facts About Adoptions
As families across the U.S. celebrate National Adoption Day, it is important to remember certain factors regarding adoptions.
Domestic vs. International
The difference between these two types of adoptions and the experience for waiting parents can vary greatly. Domestic adoptions are done by statute in New Jersey under the 1994 Adoption Act. This act requires “the best interest of the child” to be the paramount guide post. Placement is made through private or public agencies assisting the adoptive parents to locate and effect the adoption, or through the state foster care system and Department of Child Protection and Placement (previously known as “DYFS”).
International adoption varies by the law of the foreign country. The United States has recently seen a decrease in American families adopting internationally due to changes in foreign law-making foreign adoption costlier and more difficult. This change has been attributed to
10 Tips to Identify & Combat Domestic Violence
Domestic violence (DV) matters are the most severe and traumatic area that a family law attorney can handle as part of their practice. Some family attorneys refuse to take DV matters because of this reason.
DV victims and perpetrators come in many shapes and sizes, although the majority of victims are women in a relationship, either married or unmarried. New Jersey reports an average of 70,000 reported cases of DV each year, but the vast majority of abuses go unreported. However, the #MeToo movement has brought about increased attention to DV abuse in the past year, which can lead to further awareness and positive change.
There remains an ever-growing victim population that is trapped in abusive relationships, including the aged, disabled, and financially indigent who do not seek help because of shame, isolation, or financial reasons. Below are ten helpful tips to empower yourself and break the chain of abuse:
The 5 Mistakes People Commonly Make During a Divorce
1. Leaving the Home During the Divorce
If you have been living with your spouse and children while your divorce is ongoing, it is common for one party to either voluntarily move out of the home or be pushed out of the home. Absent issues of domestic violence or concerns about child safety, judges are hard pressed to order a parent to leave the marital home against their will. Until a plan can be established between the parties addressing various issues such as custody, parenting time, child support, etc., it is advisable to remain in the home. Once a party moves out of the home, it is much more difficult to move back in.
2. Social Media
Be sure to keep your online presence clean and professional. A common question to ask oneself is “would my post to Facebook embarrass me if it were read/shown at church?”. Particularly in child custody disputes, each p
Permanent Alimony for Lengthy Marriages is History
If you have not yet heard, New Jersey did away with permanent alimony in 2014. This means that marriages of significant length can no longer be awarded alimony for an indeterminate amount of time. The statute was changed to limit alimony terms to the length of the marriage for all marriages under 20 years, barring extreme circumstances.
The New Jersey Legislature removed the term "permanent alimony" and instead used "open durational" alimony. Open durational alimony is for those marriages greater than 20 years, absent various exceptional circumstances existing. Those divorcees paying permanent alimony may now apply to have alimony end upon reaching the federal retirement age of 67.
There are five types of alimony currently recognized in New Jersey: pendente lite, open durational, limited duration, rehabilitative, and reimbursement. Alimony received, unlike child support, is taxed as income under the IRS tax code. Each type of alimony is intended to
What to Expect From Your Initial Meeting with a Family Attorney?
For many people, this meeting is their first contact with an attorney and can occur during one of the most stressful times in a person’s life; divorce. Some clients come to the meeting ready to file divorce papers the day they meet with the attorney, while others have been served papers and are looking for guidance as to what to do next. Others may be considering divorce, or shopping around and interviewing with a few attorneys before making any decisions. Before walking in the door, you should already have had a discussion with the law firm when scheduling the appointment to know if you will be expected to pay for the consultation, and the rate/flat fee you will be charged.
As a potential client, even if you do not end up retaining the attorney, your discussions with the attorney are still protected under the attorney-client privilege. When meeting with the family law attorney, particularly during the initial consult, the attorney should be doing more listening than talki