How Unemployment Affects Child Support in New Jersey

Losing a job is stressful for many reasons, but especially so if you are responsible for paying — or if you’re receiving — child support. How your unemployment affects your child support payments depends on your individual situation. However, one thing is certain: New Jersey courts take child support obligations very seriously, so you shouldn’t believe that you can get your support order modified immediately because of a job loss. If you have lost your job and have child support obligations, you should work to find another job immediately. The Continue Reading

Back to School Tips for Divorced Parents

Even though most parents welcome it gladly, back-to-school time can be stressful for everyone in the family. It can be an even more complicated if you’re divorced, so it’s worth it to set some ground rules. Here are some tips that should make sending your kids off to school this year a little less overwhelming: Create a shared calendar online. Using a Google calendar that displays activities online and on your mobile phone helps to ensure that no one misses out on a school activity. You can even send invites Continue Reading

How to Tell if You Are Headed for Divorce

Celebrities have their personal lives played out in the media and because we think we know them, we think we can tell which celebrity couples are headed for divorce. But do you know how to tell if you and your spouse may be taking that same road? Here are some signs: You’re unhappy a lot. Good relationships bring happiness; bad relationships deliver the opposite. If you or your spouse is unhappy a lot of the time — and it’s not because you hate your jobs — then you may be Continue Reading

5 Planning Tips To Prepare You for a Divorce

Good planning is essential to making a successful start to getting a divorce. Even though you may feel you are ready from an emotional standpoint, you need to be sure you are legally prepared before you file for divorce. Here are five planning tips to help you prepare for a divorce: #1: Talk with an experienced divorce lawyer. No one can help you navigate the divorce process better than an experienced divorce lawyer. You need their expertise and the benefit of their experience to guide you and help you avoid Continue Reading

Are You Entitled to a Divorce Do-Over Due to a Mistake?

It doesn’t happen often, but should a mistake in your final divorce settlement happen to you, you definitely want to know how to remedy it. The mistake could occur because of simple human error, or it could have happened because your ex failed to disclose important financial information or intentionally hid assets. So are you entitled to a divorce do-over in New Jersey? The answer is, it depends. Under New Jersey Court Rule 4:50-1, a final order or judgment can be revoked for the following reasons: mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or Continue Reading

How to Make Changes to Alimony in New Jersey

It is not unusual for financial circumstances to change after a divorce, and New Jersey law allows for either ex-spouse to make a request for modification of support, be it a paying spouse who can no longer afford his or her support payments or a nonpaying spouse in need of additional support. There may be a justification for modifying alimony under the following circumstances: Increase in the cost of living Retirement Unemployment or reduction in income for either party Increase or decrease in income for either party Long-term illness or Continue Reading

Guidelines for Social Media Usage During Divorce

More than 72% of Americans are active on social media, making it clear that it has become ingrained in the social fabric of the U.S. For most people, social media is a way of connecting — but if you are disconnecting from your spouse, social media can become downright unfriendly when it comes to providing evidence against you. While most New Jersey divorces are no-fault, fault can be argued by one party to gain an advantage. If one spouse has wasted marital funds, incurs debts without the other spouse’s knowledge, Continue Reading

NJ Domestic Violence Law Applies to More Relationships Than Marriage

Under New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA), domestic violence is defined as the actual or threat of physical, emotional, sexual, or economic abuse of a person by another person with whom they have or have had an intimate relationship. This relationship must be either marriage, divorce, separation, cohabitation, dating, or someone with whom the victim has — or anticipates having — a child in common. Both parties must be over the age of 18 or an emancipated minor. While women are most often the victims of domestic violence, Continue Reading

Grandparents’ Visitation Rights in New Jersey

Grandparents can add a lot to a child’s life, especially when the child’s parents are divorced. Unfortunately, when one spouse divorces another, they often “divorce” their ex’s parents as well. Like every other state, grandparents in New Jersey can go to court to request visitation rights for their grandchildren, even if the custodial parent objects. Our state’s Grandparents Visitation Statute allows a grandparent or a sibling of a child living in New Jersey to apply for visitation. To be successful, the petitioner must be able to provide proof that visitation Continue Reading

4 Ways You Can Hurt Your NJ Divorce Case

Navigating the emotional, financial and legal challenges that come with a New Jersey divorce can be made easier if you avoid making any bad choices or mistakes that can compromise your case. These mistakes are typically made because of misinformation or a lack of understanding about the New Jersey divorce process. This is why it is important for you to have an experienced divorce attorney you can turn to for advice, as he or she will want to help you achieve the best possible outcome. Letting your emotions get out Continue Reading

The Process of Establishing Paternity in New Jersey

In New Jersey, any child born while both parents are married or within 300 days following a divorce or the death of a husband is legally presumed to be the child of the mother’s husband. When a child is conceived out of wedlock or beyond the 300-day timeframe, paternity is established either voluntarily or by a court. Establishing paternity voluntarily To establish paternity voluntarily, both parents must sign a Certificate of Parentage (also known as a “Voluntary Acknowledgement”) through the Paternity Opportunity Program (POP). A Certificate of Parentage (COP) can Continue Reading

Top 10 Things NOT to Do During a Divorce

Divorce is a time of conflicting emotions — anger, sadness, and even relief. Typically, emotions are all over the place, which can make it difficult to make good decisions about issues that will likely have an impact on your life long after the divorce is over. The things you should be doing during a divorce — taking care of yourself and your children, planning for a new financial future, etc. — you probably already know about. But there are also some important things you should NOT be doing during a Continue Reading

How Long Do You Have to Pay Child Support in New Jersey?

New Jersey’s child support laws are a bit more complex than other states, where child support typically ends once the child turns 18 or graduates from high school. Child support laws here are predicated on the belief that both parents have a continual duty to provide support for their children, who are entitled to share in the household income and should not have to suffer economically because of a divorce. At a minimum, New Jersey law requires that child support be paid until a child is at least 18 and Continue Reading

Child Support Guidelines in New Jersey

The amount of child support that a noncustodial parent pays to a custodial parent is typically based on the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. The purpose of the Guidelines is to split the cost of raising children from birth to age 18 fairly between parents — keeping in mind that “fairly” does not necessarily mean “equally.” These Guidelines are based on the premise that the financial support of children is the duty of both parents, and that no child should be an economic victim of their parents . In determining Continue Reading

What Issues Can Be Addressed in a New Jersey Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is essentially a legal contract between prospective spouses that becomes effective once they become married. The reason prenups are so beneficial is that they can provide significant savings in time and money if the couple should divorce in the future, since the issues a court would normally resolve are already addressed in the prenuptial agreement. Some of the most common issues addressed in a New Jersey prenuptial agreement include: The rights and obligations of each spouse when it comes to joint and separate property, including the right Continue Reading

Take These 6 Personal Finance Steps Following a Divorce

While dealing with the emotional side of divorce is probably your top concern when you’re in the middle of it, you must focus on the money side as well to safeguard your financial future. The income that used to support just one household must now support two households, so you need to have a firm grasp on your financial health in order to do more than survive from paycheck to paycheck. Here are 6 financial steps you should take after a divorce: Close any joint accounts. You need to close Continue Reading

Top 5 Ways to Keep a Lid on Divorce Costs

A divorce doesn’t have to wreck your life or your finances if you go into it prepared and focused on the outcome you want to achieve. No doubt one of those outcomes is to keep a lid on the cost of your divorce as much as possible.   Here are five tips to help you achieve this: Keep your mind open. Many people will approach a divorce with preconceived notions of how things should turn out, usually because they have been listening to stories about other people’s divorces. However, every divorce Continue Reading

3 Common Myths About Divorce Mediation

Mediation continues to grow in popularity among divorcing couples, primarily because it is less expensive and less stressful than litigation. Even with these benefits, mediation may not be on your radar because of some common misconceptions about how it works. In reality, mediation can work for just about everyone involved in a family law matter, whether it is a divorce, a child custody dispute, or divorce order modifications. Myth #1: Mediation is only for amicable divorces. This is probably the most common misconception about mediation — that it only works Continue Reading

Strategies for Parenting After Divorce

There’s a reason flight attendants tell passengers to put their own oxygen masks on first in case of an emergency, and then tend to their children: if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t help others. The same reasoning can be applied to parenting after a divorce. Taking care of your children’s physical and emotional needs has likely always been your first priority, but this takes on added importance once you are a divorced parent. You may feel as though you need to “make up” for subjecting them to Continue Reading

How to Tell Your Children About Divorce

One of the things parents dread most about divorce is breaking the news to their children. You are naturally concerned about managing the emotional impact this will have on them, and the best way to do this is to come to the conversation fully prepared. The following tips can help you prepare for this difficult conversation: Be honest and age-appropriate. You must take into consideration your child’s age and development level when talking to them about divorce, and you should be honest — within limits. Your children do not need Continue Reading

How to Spot Hidden Assets in a Divorce

When a divorce looms, it is not uncommon for one spouse to suspect the other is hiding assets in an effort to fatten their share of the marital assets. If you don’t know what to look for, it is easy to be taken advantage of during this fragile emotional time in your life. The best thing to do to prevent this is to be proactive so if you detect signs that your spouse may be hiding assets, you can protect your fair share. Here are some common signs that your Continue Reading

When Fault Matters in a No-Fault Divorce

New Jersey has both no-fault divorce and fault divorce, although fault grounds are rarely used anymore. The causes of action for a no-fault divorce are either irreconcilable differences or separation (living apart for at least 18 months). The grounds for fault divorce include addiction, adultery, extreme cruelty, mental illness, imprisonment, or deviant sexual conduct. As noted, most New Jersey divorces are no-fault, which is generally the best way to go if you have children. It’s hard enough for children to deal with a split; it is even more difficult if Continue Reading

Tips on Helping Your Teen Cope with Divorce

The teen years are difficult enough without having a divorce thrown into the mix as well. Teens typically react to divorce in two ways: (1) being stoic and keeping their feelings in so as not to upset their parents, or (2) being angry at the world. To help your teen navigate the difficulties of divorce and its impact on the family, keep these tips in mind: Be the adult. Older kids often feel they need to play a parental role in comforting parents who are going through a divorce. They Continue Reading

How to Assemble a Divorce Dream Team

Is it possible to “succeed” at divorce? It is if you have the right people behind you, supporting you in three critical areas: legal, financial and emotional. Assembling your “dream team” is something you should focus on as soon as possible after deciding to divorce, as these will be the most important people in your life during this challenging process. Legal support Divorce is a legal process, and your lawyer knows exactly what type of information you need to proceed with your divorce and how to handle the necessary paperwork Continue Reading

Know the Rules for Inheritance and Divorce

Probably one of the most contentious parts of a divorce is dividing a couple’s assets. No matter how amicable a divorce may start out, when it comes time to decide who gets what, things can take a turn for the worse. In New Jersey, inheritances are protected by law — but only if you take the proper steps to keep an inheritance completely separate from joint marital assets. Inheritance prior to marriage If you inherit money or property before you are married, you can maintain sole possession of your inheritance Continue Reading

How to Get a Restraining Order in New Jersey

Sometimes, a restraining order becomes necessary in order to protect domestic violence victims. A restraining order is issued by a court and prevents the person who is named in that order from communicating with the victim and sometimes their children as well. Anyone who has been a victim of domestic violence may seek a restraining order, and if there is a history of violence, the court may also prohibit an abuser from possessing a firearm. Even though a restraining order will not put an abuser in jail (unless he or Continue Reading

Could You Get Stuck with Your Ex’s Debt After a Divorce?

Many Americans carry a lot of debt — credit cards, car loans, mortgage loans, student loans, etc. Even with a healthy income, debt can be difficult to manage. When those debts become entangled with other emotional issues during a divorce, things can turn ugly fast. When you decide to divorce, you not only need to negotiate the division of assets, but the division of debt as well. And if it’s not done correctly, you could get stuck with your ex’s debt after the divorce is final. In an equitable distribution Continue Reading

How to Talk to Your Kids About Divorce

Because divorce is so prevalent in the U.S., there is no shortage of research studies that have been done on the effects of divorce on children. Many experts agree that helping children to cope well begins with how they are told about the divorce. Unless domestic violence is an issue, it is usually recommended that parents tell the children together in a family setting. This helps children understand that even though the living arrangements are changing, the love and security will always be there. It is also important for children Continue Reading

The Important Role of Life Insurance in a Divorce

Life insurance plays an important role in the divorce process, but is often overlooked amid other concerns like custody, alimony, splitting up assets, and acclimating to a new life. Life insurance is particularly important if there are minor children, and to protect the financial interests of both spouses. Here are four things you should do about life insurance if you’re going through a divorce: Change beneficiaries. The primary beneficiary on your life insurance policy is probably your spouse. Once the divorce is final, you will probably not want your ex Continue Reading

10 Common Mistakes to Avoid When You Divorce After 50

The divorce rate in the U.S. is declining for every age group except one: those over 50. This wave of “gray divorce” can be particularly harmful to divorcing couples that have to split retirement accounts and other assets with not too many years left before retirement to make up the shortfall. Don’t compound the problem by making any of these 10 common mistakes: Failing to know your finances. It’s not unusual for one spouse to know more about a couple’s finances that the other spouse. If you are the spouse Continue Reading

5 Things That Affect the Impact of Divorce on Your Finances

Beyond the goal of making your divorce as amicable as possible, you should also try to avoid having your divorce be financially ruinous to either one of you. However, there are five circumstances — several beyond your control — when the timing of your divorce may have a bigger impact on your wallet than you are prepared for: When the real estate market is unstable. During a buyer’s market, real estate prices suffer and you can go through the equity you’ve built up in your home if you try to Continue Reading

What You Need to Know About Social Security and Divorce

Late-in-life divorces often raise concerns about the division of retirement assets like IRAs, 401(k)s and pensions. Many older couples also wonder about what impact, if any, a divorce will have on their Social Security benefits. It’s a valid concern whether you are getting a divorce now, or you were divorced decades ago. Because so many women have been in the workforce now for several decades, most can qualify for Social Security benefits on their own records. In order to receive Social Security benefits on your own record, you must have Continue Reading

Why a Prenuptial Agreement is Smart Planning

There is nothing romantic about a prenuptial agreement, but there are several things that are very practical about prenups that make them a smart planning tool, especially for those who are entering marriage with significant personal assets. In the eyes of the law, marriage is a contract and a prenup should be considered as an addendum to that contract that can benefit both parties in the case of a divorce. At its most basic, a prenuptial agreement defines how assets are to be divided should a marriage end in divorce Continue Reading

Tips on Dividing a Jointly Owned Business Following Divorce

Couples who own a business together face unique challenges when going through a divorce. There is no doubt a concern on whether or not the business can survive a divorce. Will it be divided equally? Sold and the assets split? Exactly when is a business considered marital property? These are all issues to be resolved during a settlement negotiation. The first step is to get a professional valuation done of the business. It must be determined what type of asset the business is — marital property that is jointly owned, Continue Reading

3 Reasons Why You Need an Attorney in Divorce Mediation

If you and your spouse have decided on divorce and chosen mediation as a way to reach a settlement agreement without having to bear the cost of going to court, you have made a wise choice. And while a mediator can help you make the necessary decisions and negotiate all the paperwork, there are still three very good reasons why you should have a consulting attorney at your side during the mediation process: 1. Tailored legal advice. A mediator’s role is to be neutral throughout the process. While he or Continue Reading

Debt and Divorce: What You Need to Know

If you are headed for a divorce, you may be thinking more about the division of your marital assets than what will happen to your debt. But just like assets, debt is also subject to division in a divorce. There are two kinds of debt: marital and non-marital. Marital debt is any debt you incurred together during your marriage — mortgage loans, car loans, credit cards, etc. Non-marital debt is debt that was incurred prior to the marriage or after you and your spouse separated or divorced, and belongs to Continue Reading

Divorce Mistakes That Women Make

It is an unfortunate fact that many times, women fare worse than men financially in a divorce. There is no question that divorce is traumatic, and that you will have to make some of the most important decisions of your life at a time when you are most stressed. It helps to know the most common divorce mistakes that women make so you can avoid them: Not understanding your family’s finances. While much has changed when it comes to gender roles, it is still usually men who control the finances Continue Reading

Divorce Mistakes That Men Make

Divorce is never easy, but many men make it more complicated for themselves by committing a number of the following mistakes: Not controlling your anger. Tempers tend to flare during a divorce, especially in the early stages. You could say or do something that could come back to haunt you later in court, so one of the best things you can do is to control your temper and walk away from any volatile situation. Even if your spouse is being completely unreasonable, keep telling yourself to stay calm and reasonable. Continue Reading

How to Get Through a Divorce Without Going Broke

From a financial standpoint, getting a divorce means that all your combined assets and collective income will be divided and your living expenses will increase since you will be supporting two households instead of one. This may leave you wondering if it’s possible to get through a divorce without going broke. While a divorce will cost you something, it doesn’t have to cost you everything if you follow these tips: Be prepared. Prior to meeting with your attorney, prepare all the financial information he or she will need to pursue Continue Reading

How to Plan for a Divorce: A Checklist

One of the worst feelings you can have when going through a divorce is not being in control. Of course, you cannot control everything about your divorce, but if you plan ahead for what’s coming, it will prepare you for what is really important: making good decisions that will have a lasting impact on your life. Here’s what you need to do: Understand the types of divorce in New Jersey. If you and your spouse can agree on alimony, property division, and child custody and support, you may qualify for Continue Reading

Tips for Reducing the Impact of Divorce on Your Small Business

If you own the business and are in the process of getting a divorce, you are likely — and rightly — concerned about what kind of impact your split will have on your company. If you are searching for some ways to lessen the impact of a divorce on your business, here are some tips: Collect your business records. One of the first steps in protecting your business assets is to get organized. Gather all relevant business records, including accounting records, financial statements, loan documents, banking statements, and any other Continue Reading

What Happens When Good Credit Marries Bad Credit?

According to most matrimonial experts, differences about money are the leading cause of conflict in a marriage – and a leading contributor to divorce. As divorce lawyers, we see many more people at the end of a marriage than at the beginning, and many of them had no idea of their spouse’s financial habits prior to marriage. And that is something that can – and should – be fixed. So what if you have good credit and marry someone with bad credit? First, you should know that credit reports are Continue Reading

How to Co-Parent Effectively After a Divorce

While you may or may not be involved in a contested child custody case as part of your divorce, you should understand how the Court makes custody decisions. The Court reviews all the information regarding your child using the “best interests of the child” standard. Included in that review, when necessary, are each parent’s decisions, judgments, and conduct involving their child(ren). As much as we would like all child custody issues to be resolved amicably in every child’s best interests, that isn’t always the case. DO keep a parenting journal. Continue Reading

4 Potential Pitfalls That Could Hurt Your Child Custody Case

If a child custody dispute looms in your future, it is important that your attorney be able to present your parenting judgments and decisions in the best possible light. The following is a review of the potential pitfalls that can occur during a custody case so you know what to avoid: Significant Others. While you are certainly free to have a social life while your case is pending resolution, please be careful of how your new significant other interacts with your children. Because your family law case is likely to Continue Reading

Universal Risk Factors for Divorce

Although every divorce, like every marriage, is different, most relationship experts agree on the most common risk factors for divorce. These include: Lack of emotional support When spouses don’t support each other’s individual dreams and goals, there’s a good chance the marriage will fall apart. Being dissatisfied with who your spouse really is – either by trying to change them or belittling them – makes it extremely difficult to maintain a loving, supportive relationship. Illness The promise of “through sickness and health” is beautiful, but not all relationships can withstand Continue Reading

How the Divorce Process Works in New Jersey

Once you’ve made the decision to end your marriage, understanding how the New Jersey divorce process works will help prepare you for what lies ahead.  While the attorney you choose to represent you will be helping you every step of the way and preparing you for what is to come, it’s still good to know what to expect. Residency requirement At least one of you has to have been a New Jersey resident for at least one year in order to meet the residency requirement for filing for divorce in Continue Reading

What to Do If You’re Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence

Many studies have shown that domestic violence continues to be a big problem in the U.S.  The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) keeps track of national statistics on domestic violence and reports that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of intimate partner violence. While the problem is prevalent in our society, there are also occasions when one party is falsely accused of domestic violence.  When this happens, it is usually an attempt by the other party to gain an advantage in divorce Continue Reading

What is Parental Alienation?

The effort of one parent to turn a child against the other parent has become known as “Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)”, a disorder first identified by psychiatrist Dr. Richard A Gardner in the 1980s in association with the growth in child custody litigation. Dr. Gardner, who was a clinical professor in Columbia University’s Division of Child Psychiatry, was a consistent advocate for fathers in custody battles.  Later research done into PAS has shown that a child’s alienation from one parent is usually the result of systemic dysfunction within a family Continue Reading

Money Tips for Women Facing a Divorce

There are several reasons why women may wind up worse financially in a divorce than men.  First, women typically earn less than men, making less than 80 cents for every dollar a man earns, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Secondly, women are often the primary caregivers for children and aging parents, which can necessitate time off work, often impacting career advancement.  Interruptions in work history can also mean lower lifetime earnings and lower retirement benefits. If you are a woman headed for a divorce, you should consider these Continue Reading

How to Get Financially Ready for a Divorce

Untangling two lives is never easy, but untangling two people’s finances can get especially messy.  Before any final agreement is reached on spousal and child support, you need to prepare your finances for what’s to come.  Here’s how: Beware of friends’ advice.  Divorce is different in every state and for every couple, so take advice you get from a friend with that proverbial grain of salt.  You should rely on advice regarding your divorce from your attorney, who is experienced with how the divorce process works in New Jersey. Keep Continue Reading

Top 5 Divorce Tips for Men

Men and women are different, and that doesn’t change when it comes to divorce, which can impact men differently than women.  A post on the Good Men Project website reveals some of the issues men have to deal with and provides the following tips: Don’t move out immediately.  While it may seem like a good idea at the time you are going through a divorce, moving out is not always the wise move for men.  First, there’s the financial — you will need to think about paying for both homes. Continue Reading

Tips for Gaining Financial Security After a Divorce

Dealing with the emotional stress a divorce brings is the #1 thing most splitting couples worry about, but a close second is money. If you’ve been through a divorce, you know how difficult it can be to try to sustain two households on the same income. If you’ve never been divorced, you’ve still heard the horror stories about wrecked finances. It’s enough to make you wonder if it’s even possible to get through a divorce without taking a big financial hit. Here are some tips that can help you stay Continue Reading

Prenups for Seniors: How to be Wiser the Second Time Around

Does the adage, “older but wiser” apply to the fact that those over the age of 65 choosing to live together rather than marry has doubled in the U.S. in the past 10 years?  It probably does for those who have gone through a divorce and experienced the pain that their finances have suffered. Today, seniors who decide not to marry do so for a number of reasons, but chief among them is their concern about their personal assets.  Those over the age of 65 have accumulated more wealth than Continue Reading

Tax Considerations When You’re Getting a Divorce

Divorce changes so many things in your life, but one of those you may not be thinking about is how it affects your taxes.  Here are some common tax issues you will want to address during and after a divorce: You can file jointly until the divorce is final. If you have separated and are in the process of getting a divorce, you may already consider yourself to be single.  However, the IRS does not.  You may file your taxes jointly if you are legally still married on the last Continue Reading

Enforcing Child Support: How to Deal with a Deadbeat Parent

Whether you were married and are now divorced — or if you were never married but are no longer together — if you and a former partner have children together, you both bear a legal responsibility to provide the basic necessities for your children.  Unfortunately, too many children are going without the financial support they need when a parent fails to live up to a court order to pay child support. However, there is good news for these children.  There are laws in place in every state and at the Continue Reading

10 Things to Do If Divorce is in Your Future

When you got married, you probably never thought about divorce being part of your future. Sadly, for millions of couples, divorce will become a part of their stories. If you are thinking about getting a divorce, here are 10 things you need to do that will help you feel more in control and make the process easier on yourself and your family: Talk with a divorce attorney. Before you take any action, you need to get the lay of the land, and that means talking with a divorce attorney. By Continue Reading

Tips for Making Your Divorce Go Smoothly

There are many reasons that marriages fail. Even if you and your partner have done all you can to make things work, sometimes divorce is inevitable. And when that’s the case, you should want your divorce to go as smoothly as possible, especially if there are children involved. Here are some tips on accomplishing your goal: Build a good support system. You will experience feelings of sadness, anger and loss, so finding a good support network of friends, family and even professional advisors is important to help you cope. Avoid Continue Reading

Divorce Lawyers Reveal the Biggest Mistakes That Could Cost You in Court

While many divorce settlements are reached outside the courtroom, if there is a chance that your divorce will not be one of them, you need to know what to expect in court. A recent Huffington Post article provides tips from divorce lawyers to help you avoid making a big mistake that could cost you: Go to court without an attorney. An experienced divorce attorney already knows the inner workings of the legal system — the process, the judges, how to present a good argument — and that knowledge can be Continue Reading

Do Parents Have to Pay for College After a Divorce in New Jersey?

For the last 35 years, New Jersey courts have typically viewed higher education as a necessity and required parents who divorce and are still financially able to contribute to the cost of a child’s college education. There are a number of factors the court weighs in determining if parents should pay for a child’s college education, including: If the parents would have paid for college if they were still married; If the parents have instilled an expectation in the child that he or she should attend college; How much financial Continue Reading

How New Jersey Alimony is Calculated

If you are considering or are currently going through a divorce in New Jersey, alimony will be one of the factors that is likely to play a large role in your divorce negotiations. Unlike some other states, New Jersey courts do not use specific alimony calculators to determine support. Instead, a judge will weigh 13 factors equally (unless the findings of fact or conclusions of law dictate otherwise) in making a support determination. Under N.J.S.2A:34-23 (b), these factors include: The actual need and ability of the parties to pay; The Continue Reading

How the New Tax Law Affects Alimony Payments in NJ

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in late 2017 and signed into law by President Trump stipulates that for all divorce agreements entered into after Dec. 31, 2018, an ex-spouse paying alimony will no longer be able to deduct it from his or her federal income taxes. The ex-spouse who receives alimony will potentially benefit since he or she will no longer have to declare alimony as income and pay taxes on it. In short, this new change in the federal tax law shifts the tax burden of alimony Continue Reading

The 5 Reasons You Need a Divorce Attorney

If you were only married for a very short time, have no children or assets, and just want to walk away with no financial obligations to each other, you may be able to divorce with little legal help. However, a majority of married couples looking to split do not fall into these categories. Even if you think your divorce will be easy, there are still five very good reasons to hire a divorce attorney: Experience. Representing yourself in a legal proceeding is intimidating. The judge will not cut you any Continue Reading

How Classic Cars are Appraised in a Divorce

When a New Jersey divorce involves assets like a classic car collection, the value of these assets must be determined before a property settlement is reached. In the absence of a pre-nuptial agreement assigning ownership of the car(s) to one spouse, the collection can be considered marital property and added to the list of marital assets that must be divided. The first step is to have a professional appraisal done. It is not unusual, especially in contentious splits, for both sides to obtain separate appraisals from a professional, especially if Continue Reading

What You Need to Know About Retirement Benefits & Divorce

New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, requiring that all marital property be divided fairly — which does not necessarily mean divided equally. Marital property consists of all the assets and debts a married couple acquires either together or as individuals during the marriage. Retirement accounts are typically one of the major assets married couples have. These accounts are considered marital property if they were acquired during the marriage or if a spouse was added to an existing plan after the marriage. Couples who divorce as they are nearing retirement Continue Reading

Tips for Choosing a New Jersey Divorce Lawyer

Probably the most important decision you will make when you’re going through a divorce is the choice of who will represent you. You want your divorce lawyer to do the best job possible for you, so you first need to decide the type of attorney you’ll need — a tough litigator if things are going to get nasty, or an attorney who can get things done quickly? How important is it to you that your lawyer is compatible with you — someone who understands your feelings about the divorce? It Continue Reading

The Potential Effect of Cohabitation on Alimony in New Jersey

When alimony is included in a New Jersey divorce settlement, both the paying and the receiving ex-spouses may wonder what the potential effect is on the paying of alimony if the receiving spouse enters into a cohabitation arrangement with a new partner. The answer can be more complicated than you might imagine. In 2014, New Jersey overhauled its divorce and alimony law. The new statutes detailed several factors that a court must consider when determining if the relationship between an ex-spouse receiving alimony and another person can be considered cohabitation. Continue Reading

What Happens to the House in a New Jersey Divorce?

When it comes to marital assets, the family home is typically the single largest asset for a divorcing couple. It is also the one that usually causes the most conflict, especially if minor children are involved. Many times, people want to keep the house without fully considering the financial consequences of their decision and instead make this choice based on emotion alone. There are several factors that should be examined when determining whether or not to keep a house in a divorce or sell it and split the proceeds. These Continue Reading

Financial Tips for Couples Going Through a Divorce

Divorce can be draining, both on your emotions and your finances. But with the help of an experienced divorce attorney and some planning, there are ways to gain control over your divorce while ensuring your bank account doesn’t suffer too much. Here are some financial tips for divorcing couples: Plan. Set goals for where you want to be after your divorce and then make a plan to meet those goals with some help from your divorce lawyer and a financial planner. These professionals can help you keep focused on the Continue Reading

Tips for Parenting After a Divorce

Parenting after a divorce is never easy. After all, when you and your spouse decided to have children, it was with the thought that the other one would always be there. And even though your ex may still be there for your children, he or she is not there in the same way to help you through the pitfalls of parenting. If your goal is to find a way to successfully co-parent your children and create an environment conducive to a happy childhood despite your divorce, follow these tips: Be Continue Reading

Where Should You Live During and After a Divorce?

Deciding where to live both during and following a divorce is an important decision most people don’t think about until a time crunch forces a decision. When you’re make an important decision under pressure, you don’t always make the best decision for yourself and your children, either for now or for the future. There are three choices you have: staying in your current home, buying a new place, or renting. Here are the pros and cons for each: Staying in your home. If you still have children living in the Continue Reading

Who Gets the Art in a High Profile Divorce?

An article in the February 2018 issue of Town & Country Magazine reported on several high-profile divorces where expensive art collections played a major role in the proceedings. Harry and Linda Macklowe, who are divorcing in New York after 58 years of marriage, have a collection valued by some at $1 billion. Both sides are hundreds of millions of dollars apart on the valuation of the art collection, which includes works by Picasso, Warhol, Twombly, Rothko and Giacometti. Also at issue is who was most responsible for building the collection. Continue Reading

Who Needs a Prenup?

Many people believe prenuptial agreements are only for the wealthy with substantial assets to protect, but the truth is that a prenup can be used strategically for circumstances that have nothing to do with money: If you own or start a business. In many states, a business started during a marriage is considered community or marital property, which means that it is owned by both spouses and will be divided if they divorce. If the business began before the marriage, but grew substantially during the marriage, its appreciation in value Continue Reading

5 Things You Should Know About Divorce After 50

No matter what age you are, divorce is never easy. But those who divorce when they are over 50 after spending 20 or more years together face some special hurdles. Here, from a recent article at, are five things you should know if you’re divorcing later in life: The impact of your divorce on adult children. Older couples that have waited to part until the children were grown are often surprised to find how impactful their divorce is on their adult children. Kids who still live at home see Continue Reading

Avoid These 5 Costly Divorce Mistakes

Beyond the emotional toll of divorce, there are some financial missteps that can leave you in even worse shape if you don’t know how to avoid them. Here are five costly divorce mistakes to watch out for: Staying in a home you can’t afford. Many divorcing couples with children want to keep the family home intact in the belief that it will provide some needed stability. Unfortunately, because there are now two households to maintain on the same income, it may no longer be possible. Plus, the additional financial stress Continue Reading

What Kids Want Divorcing Parents to Know

Divorcing parents are naturally concerned about the impact of the divorce on their children, and what better resource for those answers than children who have lived it themselves? The Huffington Post recently asked eight writers who grew up with divorced parents to share their best pieces of advice: You have not failed as a parent. Many divorcing parents believe they have failed their children. The truth is, if you can still be a good mom or dad as you go through the pain and stress of divorce, you actually gain Continue Reading

The Financial Impact of Divorce on Older Couples

The divorce rate is rising most rapidly among the 50+ age group in the U.S., and financial experts are advising boomers to look at tax and retirement consequences when creating a favorable settlement for both parties. Here are some tips: Create a financial plan – focus on long-term planning versus short-term gain. The last several years have had a dramatic impact on a lot of boomer’s assets, and one of the biggest concerns for divorcing boomers is if there will be enough to support both spouses. Before negotiating a settlement, Continue Reading

Tips for Helping Your Child Through a Divorce

No matter how amicable your divorce, there is no question that it will have some sort of effect on your children. They will undoubtedly experience sadness, anger, and worry — many of the same emotions you are experiencing as well. If your divorce is contentious, the strife between parents will only make it more difficult for your children to cope. Their emotions may manifest in more destructive ways as they mirror the rage and anger of their parents. However, there are ways to help your children cope with your divorce Continue Reading

How to Find Hidden Assets in a Divorce

Although it is unwise and can result in hurting your case if discovered, many divorcing spouses make it a point to try to hide assets, usually prior to a divorce action that they know is going to occur. Experience has shown that the more time they have before a divorce is filed, the more likely they are to attempt to hide assets from the other spouse. Here are some tips on how to find hidden assets in a divorce: Tax returns – one of the first things divorcing spouses must Continue Reading

How to Create an Effective Parenting Plan

If you are going through a divorce and have children, one of the most critical tasks that lies ahead of you and your soon-to-be ex is to develop an effective parenting plan. A parenting plan is an agreement between parents that outlines the custody of their children, and will cover practical arrangements such as who has the children on which days. A parenting plan will also cover the decision-making process for the children’s education, health care, religious training, and other life decisions. If possible, it is always better for parents Continue Reading

Making a Modification of Support Request in New Jersey

It is not uncommon for financial circumstances to change following a divorce, and there are divorced people on both ends of the spectrum who are seeking modifications – paying spouses who can no longer afford their support payments and nonpaying spouses in need of additional support. New Jersey divorce law does make it possible for changes to be made to original support or custody orders, including both child support and spousal support. Child Support Modification When it comes to child support modification, there is a legal standard that must be Continue Reading

Make Changes to Your Insurance Policies Following a Divorce

There are a number of different insurance policy changes that need to be made once a divorce is finalized. These include: Auto insurance – Many couples are both listed on the car insurance policies for all their vehicles, but most do not know that a change in the ownership of a vehicle will necessitate a change of who holds the policy. You will probably want to remove your spouse from the policy on your car anyway, to protect yourself against liability in case he or she gets into an accident. Continue Reading

How to Save Money During a Divorce

It may seem to you as if getting a divorce is a double whammy – one hit to your emotions and another hit to your bank account. However, there are some ways that those who are undergoing a divorce can save money. Here are some tips for easing the financial pain of a divorce: Try to work out agreements in advance. If you and your soon-to-be-ex can have reasonable discussions about property division, alimony, child custody and child support, this can save you some serious money. The more you are Continue Reading

How to Avoid Common Divorce Mistakes

The process of getting a divorce is fraught with emotion and it is easy to become overwhelmed by both the legal and financial issues surrounding divorce, which can lead to costly mistakes. Here’s how to avoid some of the most common divorce mistakes: Have realistic expectations. Many people – especially those who feel they have been “wronged” by their ex – think they will walk away from a divorce with whatever they want. This is almost never the case. Keep your expectations realistic and focus on doing what you can Continue Reading

What You Need to Know About Child Custody and Relocation

If your ex-spouse is planning to move with your child out-of-state – or if you want to move and take your child with you – you need to understand the legal ramifications of child relocation and how it impacts your rights as a parent. Moving a child out of state is usually a very emotional decision. There may be many good reasons for it – a new job, a desire to be closer to family, or even the need to make a fresh start. However, if you are the custodial Continue Reading

Tips for Successfully Getting Through a Divorce

While making the decision to get a divorce is difficult in and of itself, going through a divorce can take a substantial emotional and financial toll if you are not prepared. Here are some tips for successfully navigating your way through a divorce: Find a good divorce lawyer. Talk to people you know who have gone through a divorce and you will find that many of them who got through it safely give a good bit of credit to finding a divorce attorney that they trusted and liked. Of course, Continue Reading

There’s More to Alimony than Standard of Living

In the State of New Jersey, when determining whether a litigant should be granted alimony, the courts must analyze and apply the fourteen factors enumerated in the alimony statute N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23: 1. The need of one individual for support and the ability of an individual to pay; 2.The length of the individuals’ marriage or their civil union; 3. The age and health of the individuals; 4. The standard of living established during the course of their marriage and the possibility that each individual can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living, Continue Reading

In the News: Grandparents’ Rights

On January 12, 2016, the New Jersey Supreme Court reached a decision in the Major vs. MacGuire case. This decision brought to light an important subject—grandparents’ rights—and the Supreme Court established a roadmap to be used for addressing procedural issues in grandparents’ rights cases. What do we mean when we say “grandparents’ rights”? Grandparents may have the right to see their grandchildren. According to the Grandparent Visitation Statute, N.J.S.A. 9:2-7.1, a grandparent or a child’s sibling may an application to obtain visitation and it is their burden to prove by Continue Reading

How to Use Your Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits to Help Settle Your Divorce

In negotiating a divorce settlement, if either spouse is a U.S. Armed Forces service member, and he or she receives benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, keep in mind that these may be transferable to all eligible close family members. Under The Post-9/11 GI Bill (38 U.S. Code § 3020), a service member can receive up to 36 months of educational benefits, which can be used for up to 15 years after the member has been discharged from active duty. And if this individual meets specific requirements, the benefit can Continue Reading

Pope Francis Stresses the Importance of Mercy for Divorced People

The leader of 1.2 billion Catholics has released a ground-breaking apologist’s exhortation on modern family life titled Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love). Pope Francis made headlines in early April with a new directive aimed at making the Catholic Church more accepting and forgiving of divorced people.   Throughout the comprehensive, reform-minded document, the Pope examines many of the pitfalls of modern life and establishes a theme of tolerance for all types of families. The lack of family cohesiveness clearly troubles the pontiff, who lamented that many families are compartmentalized, barely Continue Reading

What Does New Jersey’s New Child Support Bill Mean for Your Family?

On January 19, 2016, Governor Christie signed into law S-1046/A-2721, affecting the termination of child support and medical support. The new law provides that the payor’s obligation to pay child support terminates automatically (without an order of the court) if and when a child turns 19, marries, dies, or enters the military service unless there is an existing written agreement or order that specifies another end date. For families whose child is already over the age of 19 — Child support will end on February 1, 2017, rather than on Continue Reading

New Jersey Military Divorce

This Blog piece focuses on New Jersey Military Divorce. NJ is currently is home to military personnel serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. Military service can be hard on families. One or both spouses’ service in the military can affect your New Jersey divorce, child support, or custody matter. Getting advice from a New Jersey attorney with experience in military divorce is crucial to resolving all of your alimony/spousal, child support and other related financial issues, as well as protecting your parental rights and custody and Continue Reading

Murphy and Cistaro Family Law Blog

This Blog piece focuses on New Jersey Military Divorce. NJ is currently home to military personnel serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. Military service can be hard on families. One or both spouses’ service in the military can affect your New Jersey divorce, child support, or custody matter. Getting advice from a New Jersey attorney with experience in military divorce is crucial to resolving all of your alimony/spousal, child support and other related financial issues, as well as protecting your parental rights and custody and Continue Reading