Marital settlement agreements often provide that a party can suspend, modify or terminate the obligation to pay alimony if the recipient spouse “cohabits” with another person. Currently, cohabitation under New Jersey law is defined as “… a mutually supportive, intimate personal relationship in which a couple has undertaken duties and privileges that are commonly associated with marriage or civil union but does not necessarily maintain a single common household.” The reality under New Jersey law is that proving cohabitation can be difficult as noted in the recent New Jersey appellate case of Landau v. Landau.
New Jersey law allows the award of attorneys’ fees in divorce and other family actions in certain circumstances. Courts looks at several factors including the parties’ behavior in terms of the positions they take in litigation. Acting in bad faith in pursuing or defending an action can have a significant influence on a court’s decision to award attorneys’ fees in favor of one party and against the other party.
Although New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA) specifically allows for restraining orders in the event of harassment, proving that harassment has taken place is one of the most challenging aspects of a domestic violence trial. It is difficult as New Jersey law requires proof that the aggressor actually intended to harass the party seeking protection.
If your divorce involved children, the New Jersey Courts required you and your former spouse to resolve legal custody and parenting time issues. No matter how much thought went into your custody and parenting time plan, however, it is not unusual for parents to seek modification(s) after the divorce. A recent New Jersey Appellate Division case highlights the challenges that come with modifications of parenting time Orders.
A recent New Jersey case addressed a disturbing scenario for any parent. In E.S. v. C.D., a nanny was fired for assaulting a child. After being fired, the nanny began harassing the child’s parents. The parents sought a restraining order against the former nanny under the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (hereafter, the “PDVA”), even though the PDVA does not specifically include parent-nanny relationships. Before the trial Court could even address the merits of the request, it had to determine for the first time whether the PDVA applied to solely economic relationships.
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