Articles Posted in Divorce

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Kate Spade’s recent suicide has been the subject of widespread speculation in the news. How could it be that this attractive and successful icon of fashion would take her own life? After all she soldfile4801310649783-300x249 her business for billions. She was attractive, popular in the media and in the “right” social circles. She had everything to live for including a 13 year old daughter with whom she had a loving relationship.

The simple answer offered by friends and family was she suffered for years from depression. Depression is an epidemic in this country. One in six Americans report taking some form of psychiatric drug, while it is estimated that sixteen million Americans are severely depressed.   We will never fully know what caused Kate Spade to take her own life however we do know that she was going through a potential divorce.

According to the experts, divorce, the loss of a loved one and leaving a home are the three most powerful stressors or triggers that can lead to a situational or clinical depression. Kate Spade left a suicide note assuring that her death was not her daughter’s fault. I suppose it is fair to say that her suicide was nobody’s fault; perhaps it was inevitable. However, it does offer a cautionary tale.  Whether you are contemplating divorce because you see no other solution to your marital problems, or you are being told by your partner that they want a divorce, you are dealing with life altering, highly emotional issues.  Divorce can offer a fresh start, and some view the prospect of a new beginning positively.  However the prospect of divorce and the actual process can become extremely stressful. Divorce naturally leads to one taking account of physical possessions, the cost of living and triggers economic concerns and uncertainty.  Even in those rarefied matters were economic concerns do not factor into the equation, Divorce causes us to take inventory of our relationships with our: children, families, friends and community. We also tend to take stock of ourselves. This inevitable introspection can easily veer sideways.

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If only for a sliver of time, a joyous occasion made everyone in the world forget all of its trials and tribulations. North Korea, Gaza, the Mueller investigation, MS13 – mere distractions. A dividedRoyal-wedding-300x169

nation, a divided world came together as one to witness the Royal Wedding between Price Harry and Meghan Markle to share in the magic, the pageantry, their unbridled love. Questions like whether there was Russian collusion or if Iran has nukes were insignificant when compared to what kind of wedding gown would Meghan be wearing, who was on the guest list, or what color pocketbook would the Queen be carrying. What else would be important enough to get me up at 4am on a Saturday morning? As I am still basking in the afterglow (i.e. hangover) of the Royal Wedding festivities, the family lawyer in me caused me to ponder some important (although many would say crass and heartless) questions. What is the likelihood that Harry and Meghan will live happily ever after? Did they sign a pre-nup in the tragic event they do not?

Historically, divorce was frowned upon when it came to members of the Royal Family. King Henry VIII went so far as to break away from the Catholic Church and turn to beheadings to rid himself of unsuitable wives. The Church of England’s opposition to divorce among Royals necessitated an Act of Parliament in order for couples to formally divorce. Even after divorce became legal, it was not until the middle of the 20th century that divorce became an accepted reality, and its stigma lessened – mirroring to a larger extent the attitudes toward divorce in this country. The divorce rate in England is similar to that of the United States; however, if the track record of the Royal Family is any guide, the likelihood of Harry and Meghan’s marriage enduring is not very positive. Just look at Queen Elizabeth’s children: Princess Anne – divorced; Prince Charles – divorced; Prince Andrew – divorced. Are there reasons for this – living in a fishbowl; having to conform strict rules and norms; maintaining the jet-set lifestyle? While most of us will never experience these things, their impact upon a relationship and marriage must be significant. Just ask the late Princess Diana. Furthermore, while this is the first time down the aisle for Prince Harry, Meghan Markle’s prior marriage ended in divorce, and statistically, the divorce rate for second marriages is higher than for firsts.

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During the New Year’s season we often reflect on the blessings we have received over the course of the last year and give thanks. Many of us visit family during this time and if we are fortunate enough our parents. This past week, the Sixth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the United States District Court in the case of Sun Life Assurance Co. v. Jackson that involved the distribution of a deceased father’s life insurance policy proceeds to his daughter even though he failed to change the beneficiary designation to his daughter from his brother. Continue reading

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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. Continue reading

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Summer is over. The kids are back in school. The normal routine has returned to your life.  This is a comparatively calm time for most households. There are fewer stressors, a little more “me time”0HFF1UYS9S-300x200
and a lot less “rock ‘n roll” than during the summer.  It is a good time to take stock of where you are, what you have accomplished and for those with marital difficulty the State of the Union. Continue reading

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In the case of Slawinski v. Nicholas, 448 N.J. Super. 25 (App. Div. 2016), the Appellate Division addressed a dispute involving parents who entered into a consent order establishing rights to grandparent visitation but then later wished to abrogate those rights. In this case, a motion was brought by the mother to terminate the visitation rights of the fraternal grandparents, claiming that the children were being harmed by the visits. The Appellate Division reversed the decision of trial court and stated that a parent could not unilaterally modify the consent order granting rights of grandparent visitation. The Court rejected the mother’s argument that, “[T]here is no burden that [mother] has to do anything other than say this is not working out, I tried.” The Appellate Division addressed grandparent visitation, as follows: Continue reading

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For attorneys and litigants alike, the legal fees attendant to the handling of a divorce matter are an important consideration. When it comes to legal fees, time is money. Because our Rules of Court prohibit the handling of divorce cases on a contingent fee basis, legal services are billed based upon the actual time spent working on the case at an hourly rate and charged against an initial retainer amount to be paid by the client. When prospective client asks how much in legal fees the divorce will cost, I explain that there are too many variables to give a precise estimate, including the number and complexity of the issues involved, the level to which those issues are contested, the reasonableness of the other spouse and/or attorney in regards to their positions, cooperation and/or course of conduct during the process, and the extent litigation or court involvement is needed to resolve those issues. 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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image1-232x300On Friday, billions of people around the world observed the Christian Holy Day of Good Friday. It marks the day that the Trial of Jesus of Nazareth occurred and when he was sentenced to death for failing to deny that he believed himself to be the Son of God. Christians believe that Jesus willingly suffered and died by crucifixion as the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of humanity (1 John 1:10). Easter Sunday celebrates Jesus rising from the dead, an event which is referred to as the Resurrection. Set in the springtime every year and often close to the Jewish Holy Day of Passover, Easter symbolizes a time of rebirth and renewal. Holy Thursday, which occurred yesterday, marks the event of the Last Supper of Jesus and his Apostles, during which the group were celebrating a Passover Seder when Jesus informed the group that he would be betrayed by his followers. Continue reading