Articles Posted in College Expenses

Published on:

Despite the recent heat wave, Fall has arrived. Besides the presumably cooler weather, when the calendar hits September, we can always look forward to a number of things – school starts, rush hour traffic resumes, shorter days, etc. However, for us lawyers September brings with it the annual amendments that have been approved by our Supreme Court to the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey. Unlike last year, a number of these recent Rule Amendments directly impact upon Family Part Practice. A number were in response to statutory changes that recently went into effect. In light of the number involved, I will summarize and discuss these Amendments over the course of several blog posts. Court-Rules-2018-300x300

First, there have been a number of significant changes to Rule 5:3-5, the rule dealing with attorney’s fees, retainer agreements and withdrawal of counsel in Family Actions. Under Rule 4:42-9, an allowance for the awarding of attorneys fees in Family Actions is expressly authorized. Rule 5:3-5 set forth the procedural and substantive prerequisites and requirements for such fee applications, not only referring to the factors enumerated in the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC 1.5(a)), but the provisions of Rule 4:42-9(b), (c), and (d).  Rule 4:42-9 (b) requires that all applications for the allowance of fees be supported by an affidavit of services addressing the factors in the RPC 1.5. Notwithstanding the fact that reference to this Rule was included already, the Supreme Court felt it prudent to repeat the language of Rule 4:42-9 (b) almost verbatim as new subsection Rule 5:3-5(d), and thereby avoid any doubt that all such applications for the allowance of fees be supported by an affidavit of services. As a result, former subsection (d) became subsection(e), dealing with withdrawal from representation.

In actuality, the most significant amendment to Rule\5:3-5 was the addition of subparagraph (e)(3) dealing with the handling of motions to withdraw from a procedural or scheduling basis. Often a breakdown in the attorney/client relationship occurs during the midst of the divorce litigation. Sometimes this occurs when there are other disputed issues that are being brought before the court by way of motion. The problem which often arose was how these substantive disputes would or could be addressed where a breakdown in one party’s attorney/client relationship had also lead to an application to withdraw or to be relieved being filed.  The new Rule 5:3-5(e)(3) attempts to address this predicament. This Rule provides that upon the filing of a motion or cross motion to be relieved as counsel, the court, absent good cause, shall sever all other relief sought by the motion or cross motion from the motion to be relieved as counsel, and whereby the court would first decide the motion to be relieved and, in the order either granting or denying the motion to be relieved include a scheduling order for the filing of responsive pleadings and the return date for all other relief sought in the motion or cross motion. This is obviously designed to avoid situations where the party and/or counsel are forced to address substantive matters when there has been a apparent breakdown of relationship and/or conflict between a party and his or her attorney at that juncture.

Published on:

This week the Northern Hemisphere celebrated the Summer Solstice which marks the longest day of the year and the official start of the summer season. The month of June also brings with it the end of the school here in New Jersey and the many high school graduations. In New Jersey, approximately 70% of those graduates are enrolled to start college in the months ahead. For most families, once the euphoria of graduation wears off and celebratory balloons begin to deflate, it does not take long for the anxiety related the costs, both emotional and mainly financial, associated with a child[en]’s attendance at college to set in. The stress associated with the process can also be magnified in situations where the parties are divorced. Continue reading

Published on:

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

Published on:

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 aroseCollege-Student-Discounts-300x300
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

Published on:

Reiterating the opening to my colleague, Padraic F.X. Dugan, Esq.’s blog outlining the history of U.S. file0002135280483-214x300Supreme 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

Published on:

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 divorcedfile000195499258 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

Published on:

On March 17, 2016, the New Jersey Appellate Division issued an unpublished opinion in the case of Parrish v. Klugar 2015 WL 10488423 (App. Div. 2016).   In the Parrish case, the father appealed IMG_2849from an August 18, 2014 post-judgment Family Part order that denied his motion to emancipate his then twenty-one-year-old child, ordered the parties to cooperate with a parenting coordinator and abide by her recommendations, and directed the parties to “‘return’ to a psychologist for updated psychological evaluations for themselves as well as their two younger children, then ages thirteen and twelve. Continue reading

Published on:

In 2014 my colleague wrote an excellent blog entitled “When Does Child Support End?-Shifting the Burden”, which discussed New Jersey law on the emancipation of a child and the termination of child support.    Another colleague has further blogged about the payment of college expenses by divorced parents.  You may also recall a 2014 case filed in New Jersey by Rachel Canning, who moved out of her parents’ home because she did not want to abide by their rules, yet filed an application to compel her non-divorced parents to pay for her college expenses and support. Continue reading

Published on:

file0002022362803 As my colleague, Mr. Dugan has touched upon in prior blog posts, divorced parents can be required to provide a college education (sometimes even an advanced degree) to their children, in addition to having to pay child support under New Jersey law.   The Honorable Lawrence R. Jones, J.S.C. has offered additional insight into this issue in  the case of Black v. Black, published on June 13, 2014.  More specifically, Judge Jones addressed the relationship required between a child and the divorced parent from whom the child seeks a contribution to college expenses. Continue reading

Published on:

On April 28th 2014 the Appellate Division issued an unpublished decision in the post-judgment case of Fox v. Fox, A-2339-12T1, 2014 WL 1660394 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div.). The Appellate Division reversed and remanded the trial court’s decisions to deny Dorothy Fox n/k/a Lamuraglia’s motion to modify child support. Ms. Lamuraglia was seeking to terminate her child support on the grounds that the child was about to start college. Continue reading