Articles Posted in Visitation

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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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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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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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The 18th century educational writer, W.E. Hickson, is credited with popularizing the proverb: “’Tis a lesson you should heed: Try, try, try again. If at first you don’t succeed, Try, try, try again.”  On IMG_0187June 10, 2016 the New Jersey Appellate Division decided the case of KL-v-DL, in which after nearly three years of continuous litigation, a father succeeded in having the trial court reconsider its prior order relating to additional visitation with his daughter.  The protracted litigation began not long after the divorce complaint was filed on June 14, 2013.   Continue reading

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547eb27fd9ff1_-_gays-and-baby-0810-3-lgn[1]In a recently published decision, D.G. and S.H. v. K.S., FD-1386-14S, the Honorable Stephanie M. Wauters, J.S.C., issued what could prove to be a groundbreaking decision as the definition of family continues to develop and evolve with the ever changing times.  The original ninety-six page decision decision was abridged to twenty-two pages for the published decision in this matter. In this particular case, the Court was presented with a situation the litigants creatively referred to as a “tri-parenting” relationship, wherein three friends agreed to conceive, raise and take care of a child, O.S.H., together as one unit in two households.  Continue reading

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Earlier this month, the New Jersey Appellate Division took up the issue of whether or not a litigant living as a fugitive outside the United States has standing to challenge a default judgment entered by the trial relating to custody and support. The case of Yvietta Matison v. Mark Lisantary, involved an appeal by the father from the trial court’s June 20, 2014 order denying his motion to vacate a May 1, 2013 default judgment, which awarded the mother palimony and custody of the couple’s twin children, who were born in 2004. The court based its ruling on the facts submitted by the mother because the father did not participate in the litigation. According to the mother, “Before she came to the United States in March 2006, the father purchased a home valued at approximately $1.9 million in Franklin Lakes and paid for substantial renovations to the home. He also provided a nanny, interior decorator and secretary. During this time, [ the father] returned to Europe to conduct business and [the mothejudger] remained in the Franklin Lakes home with the children and the nanny. He subsequently sold the property, and plaintiff and the children moved to Tenafly where the children were enrolled in private school. [The father] continued to provide support to plaintiff from abroad. Continue reading

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You know the song: “Here’s the story … of lovely lady …who is bringing up three very lovely girls. . . Here’s the story of a man named Brady who was raising three boys of his own. . . .” Most of us are familiar with the television show “The Brady Bunch”. In the show, Mike Brady had three sons from a previous relationship (Greg, Bobby and Peter Brady), and Carol Brady, his wife, had three daughters from her previous relationship (Marcia, Jan and Cindy).   They became what is popularly referred to as a “blended family” upon the marriage of Mike and Carol. Carol’s daughters took Mike’s last name and the family became known as “The Brady Bunch.” Mike and Carol’s respective children also referred to their stepmother and stepfather as “Mom” and “Dad”. Continue reading

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Frequently, clients come to me complaining that their spouse or partner is exposing their children to dating relationships or conversely ask what should be their response to a spouses objection. Generally I advise that one should follow a common sense approach, meaning one should look at the effect on the children and not rush to judgment automatically, contrary to the position of one’s spouse. I think it is fair to say in general that children should not be exposed to serial partners who are all introduced as mom’s or dad’s new best friend. Continue reading

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IMG_1446Parental disagreements as to a child’s upbringing are probably about as old as humankind.  Nowhere are these conflicts more prevalent than in today’s modern society where children are bombarded with content from the internet, television, phones and  computers.  Parents often disagree on what content is appropriate and inappropriate for their child to see and hear.  Rock and Roll has been a controversial subject dating back to the 1950s and remains one today.  While the burnings of records of the “Devil’s Music” are no longer taking place on Main Streets across America, many parents still struggle with the idea that the content of the music of the pop stars that their young children idolize is not age appropriate for their child.  The concept is  nothing new and can become further complicated when the parents are divorced. Continue reading