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.
Matrimonial law generally encourages couples who separate and divorce to resolve their disputes amicably. However, New Jersey Courts will not blindly enforce agreements, and the Courts have the authority to completely disregard agreements, as demonstrated by a recent New Jersey case involving a separation agreement.
Are “Stipulated Damages” Provisions in Marital Settlement Agreements Enforceable, Even If There Were No Actual Damages?
In New Jersey, Marital Settlement Agreements are contracts that are enforceable just like contracts outside the family law context – with some very important distinctions. Generally, Marital Settlement Agreements are enforceable to the extent they are “fair and...
How to divide assets is one of the most common sources of dispute in divorce. In New Jersey, marital property and debt are subject to equitable distribution, which means fair, but not necessarily equal, division between the parties. While New Jersey law requires the full disclosure of all assets, New Jersey Courts do not independently verify whether a party has fully and candidly disclosed all assets. Instead, it is up to the other party to “fact check” the accuracy of their spouse’s disclosures. An attorney, acting in concert with other professionals, has several methods to verify financial disclosures and find hidden assets.
When divorcing couples have children, New Jersey Courts make decisions based on the best interests of the child. That may include ordering the child and/or the parents to undergo therapy. If the parties refuse to submit to therapy or interfere with a child’s participation in therapy, courts will hold them accountable as evidenced by a recent New Jersey decision involving Court-ordered parent-child reunification therapy.
When a couple divorces, the party required to pay alimony and/or child support typically agrees to take out a specific amount of life insurance to secure his or her support obligations. Generally, the insurance policy names the former spouse or children as the beneficiaries. While a spousal support award may be modified in certain circumstances, it does not necessarily follow that the party’s life insurance obligations also will be reduced as evidenced by a recent New Jersey decision.