I was at a social event recently. A woman attending that event, after learning that I was a divorce attorney, came up to me. She told me that her ex-husband had just filed court papers seeking to modify or terminate her alimony payments. With indignation in her voice she explained that “He can’t do that because I have permanent alimony!” It was obvious that this person had taken the word “permanent” literally, and believed that her alimony rights were forever immutable. She seemed genuinely shocked when I explained, without getting into the details of her case, that even “permanent” alimony may be modified or terminated upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances. Continue reading
This week the media was abuzz with news of the demise of another celebrity marriage, this time with the separation of professional basketball player, Carmelo Anthony, from his wife Lala
Anthony. The Anthony’s have been married since 2010 and have a 10 year-old son. Their potential divorce raises questions about what would happen with their assets and who would get custody of their son in their divorce, were such a case to arise in New Jersey. Continue reading
Several weeks ago my colleague, Elsie Gonzalez, Esq., wrote a blog post discussing the recent Appellate Division case of Ricci v. Ricci, A-1832-14T1 decided on February 9, 2017. That matter arose
as a result of a child bringing an action against her divorced parents seeking contribution from them for her college expenses as well as other relief. Although the circumstances and reasons for same were in dispute, the child had moved out of her mother’s home at age 19 and moved in with her paternal grandparents. The parents filed a Consent Order declaring the child emancipated. The child subsequently filed a motion seeking to intervene in the matrimonial matter, seeking to vacate the emancipation Order and for contribution towards her college educational expenses, initially for the community college she was attending. Continue reading
Reiterating the opening to my colleague, Padraic F.X. Dugan, Esq.’s blog outlining the history of U.S. Supreme Court decisions regarding the fundamental right to parent one’s child, he wrote: “United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote on behalf of the Court in the case of Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000), that ‘the interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children — is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court.’ Justice O’Connor went on to cite other decisions like Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923), wherein the Court recognized ‘that the ‘liberty’ protected by the Due Process Clause includes the right of parents to ‘establish a home and bring up children’ and ‘to control the education of their own.’ Continue reading
I understand why you might not want to read this but . . . tax season is upon us. While I am an attorney specializing in family law, I frequently come into contact with other areas of law, such as criminal law, school law, health law, real estate law, elder law, bankruptcy law, and so on. While I am not a tax attorney, tax considerations do come into play in family law, especially divorces, sometimes by circumstance and sometimes by necessity. Please note that I am not an accountant, and your divorce attorney is probably also not an accountant. I do not intend this blog to be legal or accounting advice. If you have any questions about your tax obligations you should definitely consult an accountant. Continue reading
New Jersey Govenor Christie has signed into law N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.67 which significantly modifies the current law related to the duration and termination of child support obligations.
“operation of law” when the child either: (1) dies, (2) marries, (3) enters military service or (4) reaches 19 years of age. Emancipation traditionally occurred upon: death, marriage or military service. However prior to the modification of this statute, emancipation presumptively occurred at age 18.
More than ever it is not that unusual for a father to learn that the child he has been ordered to provide child support for is not his biological child. Instinctively, it would be equitable to assume that a man who is not the biological father of the child should not have to pay child support once paternity is negated. Concerns of paternity fraud are easier than ever to confirm because DNA testing kits are now available for purchase in most major drug stores. However, having a DNA test revealing the biological father of a child does not necessarily mean that a court ordered child support obligation is going to dissolved by the family court. Continue reading
On August 9, 2016, the New Jersey Appellate Division Committee on Opinions approved for publication the Trial Court opinion of the Hon. L.R. Jones, J.S.C. in the case of Harrington-v-Harrington, in which the court analyzed the situation divorced families face when one of multiple children is emancipated and the effect that emancipation has on child support due on behalf of the unemancipated children. The Court held: Continue reading
Allocation of higher education expenses for the children of divorced or non-married parents continues to be an area of litigation and developing law. This week, the Appellate Division approved for publication the case of Avelino-Catabran v. Catabran, in which the Appellate Division addressed the interpretation and enforcement of a Property Settlement Agreement between divorced parents that provided for allocation of college expenses not covered by a student’s financial aid package, where a parent had taken out PLUS loans. The Court also addressed the support of college age unemancipated children where one child resided with one party outside of the U.S., and the other child resided at college in New York. Continue reading
It is that time of year when us practicing New Jersey attorneys submit our registration renewals and pay any required fees in order to continue to be able to practice law for the coming year. Despite its trials and tribulations at times, practicing Family Law, and assisting my clients through what is an often difficult, emotional and challenging set of life circumstances, it is not only rewarding and satisfying, but is a privilege as well. Indeed, the ability to practice law is considered a “privilege” and not a “right.” Like many other professions, attorneys must be licensed to be able to practice their profession after satisfying various rules and requirements established not only by the profession’s governing body-in this instance, the New Jersey Supreme Court- but by the State as well. Besides such occupational licenses, there are numerous other types of licenses that the State may issue, whether they be licensed to drive, participate in recreational activities (i.e., hunt, fish, operate a boat, etc.) Continue reading