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 NextAvenue.org, 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