Articles Posted in custody

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Nothing is more precious to us than our children. The Supreme Court of the United States has established the right to know one’s children as a fundamental Constitutional right. In New Jersey the9-08-3-300x225 right to know and raise one’s children is firmly entrenched in statutory and case law.  In our mobile society the right to know one’s children post-divorce has often come in conflict with the post-divorce business or social needs of the parents.  New Jersey, like many North Eastern states, has a highly transient population who has come here for business or personal reasons and may find business or social needs more compelling than identity to the State as home. When parents of children feel compelled to move, there is often contention over the impact of such a move on custody of the children.

We call these matters Relocation cases and it is not surprising that these matters can be hotly contested.  Over time, the New Jersey Supreme Court established a standard called the Baures standard (created in the case of Baures v. Lewis, 167 N.J. 91 (2001)) to control how such matters were to proceed when the “primary physical custodian” of the children sought to relocate outside of the state of New Jersey.  Simply put, under Baures if the custodial parent could establish that he or she has a “good faith”  basis for the move and the move was not inimical to the child’s best interest, the burden of proof would then shift to the non-moving, noncustodial parent to prove why the move should not occur. The burden of evidence needed to stop such a move once the prima facia case was established by the custodial parent was nearly impossible.

Recently, we reported on an Appellate Division decision in the case of Bisbing v Bisbing, 445 N.J. Super. 207 (App.Div. 2016),  in which a wife who negotiated a custody agreement with her former husband that allowed for relocation within months of the divorce judgment sought to relocate with the children to another state.  The Appellate Division reversed the trial court decision which applied the Bauer standard, reasoning that if the Wife had perpetrated a fraud on the Husband by allowing the Wife primary physical custody of the children and agreeing to the Bauer standard while the Wife knew that she was moving, then the Bauer standard had to be supplanted by a more stringent “best interest of the child” standard.   Hence, the Appellate Division established two standards for relocation, one applicable to cases in which there was no fraud, and then a higher standard when there was fraud when the original custody agreement was established.

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Earlier this month, a March, 2017 written opinion by family court judge the Honorable Russell J. Passomano, J.S.C. was approved for publication in the matter of BG-v-LH (FM-07-468-13).   In this published opinion the court addressed issues of296050aba1c021ff4a7e4cab0ed498d2-1-300x200 jurisdiction in a custody and parenting time dispute where one party had relocated with the children out of the state of New Jersey, but the parties had reached an agreement as part of their divorce that future custody disputes would be decided under New Jersey law and in New Jersey courts.  This case contains a detailed analysis that a family court undergoes to resolve jurisdiction issues and the application of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.

In this case, the parties married in 1993 and had three children.   By the time of the litigation the eldest child was an adult living in Israel, while the younger two lived with Plaintiff in Massachusetts.    The middle child was disabled and confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak or use his hands due to cerebral palsy.

In October, 2013 the New Jersey family court entered a final judgment as to custody and parenting time.  That custody judgment contained the defendant’s consent to allow the plaintiff to move with the children to Massachusetts no later than the beginning of the 2014/15 school year.  The judgment also contained the parties’ agreement that until the children were attending college or no longer living at home that the parties would maintain a residence no further apart than the 280 mile distance between the Boston area and the Northern New Jersey area.  The judgment set forth a parenting time schedule for Defendant and a holiday schedule, with the parties sharing use of a specialized van in order to accommodate the middle child’s special needs.  The parties consented to continued jurisdiction in New Jersey, and contained the parties’ irrevocable consent to submit to the jurisdiction of the courts of New Jersey for any future custody and parenting time disputes, as long as one parent resides in New Jersey.

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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

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There is a saying among realtors that the first offer is usually the best offer. Why is that?  Because the first offer is made when the property is freshly on the market. When real estate sits buyers6a3146dbdf81597192112ac03d77c7e4-300x200 become suspicious. There is also the cost of holding the property to factor in.  The first offer likely saves the seller from incurring more tax, mortgage, utility and upkeep costs. There is a lot to be said about the psychological benefits of a fast deal as well. No worry, no uncertainty, no sleepless nights. Continue reading

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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

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Weddings rings and large bills of money

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

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Domestic-violenceThe time period in the lead up to and immediately after a couple separates is more likely than not rife with conflict. Unfortunately, the conflicts, whether verbal and/or physical, can rise to the level of abuse that is tantamount to domestic violence. Recently, a New Jersey family court in Ocean County issued an unpublished opinion is the case of AS-v-VS, FM-15-923-17, which is illustrative about how a family court judge handles a domestic violence complaint, especially in proximity to the filing of another family court matter. Continue reading

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A new situation comedy is about to premier on HBO simply titled “Divorce” starring Sarah Jessica Parker, who also serves as an executive producer. We all know that divorce is a serious, life-altering event. Like many situation comedies that find humor in dysfunctional marriages or family situations, it is understandable why television would want to extend those notions to the divorce arena. While litigants may not see the humor of it, many times we as lawyers, looking at it from the outside, shake our head in disbelief of the types of things that otherwise good and reasonable people will do or say to try to get back at, or get one over on, their spouse, a person they used to love but now despise. Continue reading

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The Presidential election is about a month away, and one of the major issues of this election has been immigration.   Immigration is regulated under federal law, chiefly under the Immigration and

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Nationality Act (INA), enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1952, and the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1986 in an effort to curb illegal immigration.   The U.S. Supreme Court has has almost universally overruled any state’s efforts to regulate immigration, not only based upon the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, but also to ensure a national standard on immigration rather than various patchwork laws by the individual states.  Family law, however, is an area that falls into the control of the individual state’s authority to legislate and govern. Continue reading

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On September 20, 2016, the Internet was buzzing with reports of Angelina Jolie-Pitt filing for divorce from her long time partner of twelve years and husband of two years, Brad Pitt. The demise ofJoliePitt Angelina Jolie-Pitt’s and Brad Pitt’s two year marriage raises questions about the division of their assets in divorce. “The couple have six children together–and more than half a billion dollars worth in cumulative earnings,” according to Forbes.com. “Since their marriage in 2014, the duo have earned a combined $117.5 million before taxes and fees, per Forbes’ estimates. Continue reading

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When you mention Private Investigators in the context of a matrimonial dispute, most people think of what is portrayed in movies or in television of a gumshoe Detective tailing a car or hiding in the bushes, trying to get the goods on a suspected cheating spouse. While hiring a private investigator to determine whether a spouse may be engaged in an adulterous relationship remains a common reason to do so, there are a multitude of other reasons why the use of a private investigator can be an important tool for the client as well as the attorney in the preparation of a matrimonial case. This blog post will discuPrivate Investigatorss some of these circumstances, as well as some practical and legal considerations affecting the use of private investigators. Continue reading