Despite the fact that family courts are trending towards making divorce filings public records, there are certain documents that should not, and cannot be disclosed. The most important of these are evaluations that are conducted in custody disputes.

A California appeals court recently ruled that the Los Angeles attorney representing singer Paul Anka’s ex-wife, Anna, in a custody battle acted “maliciously” and ” recklessly” when she disclosed information contained in a confidential custody evaluation from a prior case during a deposition.


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To be or not to be vested—that is the question. Well, at least that was the question considered by a New Jersey appeals court in the recent decision of M.G. v. S.G.

Otherwise stated, the question concerned whether a stock award which was issued to an employee prior to a divorce filing but which was vested after the divorce complaint was filed be subject to equitable distribution between the parties.
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One of the most important things to remember during the divorce is process is that every divorce is different. The process your friend or family member described to you may not be the same for you. Accordingly, although your colleague may have needed an expert for their divorce, you may not. Generally, in cases which involve businesses, high net-worth issues, or contentious custody situations, it could be appropriate or even necessary to have an expert witness.

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Towards the end of 2018, all talk was about the 2018 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act and its changes to the treatment of alimony. The deductibility of alimony for payors (and the inclusion of alimony in income for the recipients) ended in 2018. There were rushes to the courthouse in order to complete divorces. Attorneys were burning the midnight oil to finish settlement agreements, and judges were staying late, often forgoing planned vacations in order to accommodate litigants who settled prior to the New Year.

Now that 2018 is over, it is time to focus on the other changes to the tax code which significantly impact family law cases. These were sometimes overlooked as the focus of the last 12 months was alimony. But the other changes in the law have equally, and in some cases more, important repercussions for families.

Mind you, this blog is in no way a substitute for sound advice from an accountant. It is, however, intended to open eyes to issues which should be raised in a family law case.


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Earlier this month, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife Mackenzie announced their plans to divorce, setting off speculation as to what would occur with their estimated $138 billion in net worth.

From a first glance, you may assume that the Bezos divorce would be much more acrimonious and hard fought than a case involving the typical John and Jane Doe case as the thought may be that there is more to fight for financially.

However, wealth in these incredibly high net worth cases actually removes many of the most challenging issues in divorce like payment of legal and expert fees or trying to continue the lifestyle for both parties with insufficient income from both parties to same to occur. The world’s richest couple will not have these challenges.

Instead, high net worth divorces have a whole different set of challenges that middle-class families typically do not need to consider.


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In an environment of uncertainty for transgender individuals, New Jersey is on the forefront of creating laws which are aimed to support New Jersey’s transgender community. In July of 2018, Governor Phil Murphy signed a package of bills into law which make important changes to records of vital statistics which are effective February 1, 2019.

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I was in the middle of writing a blog about the 2018 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act and the non-alimony changes, when a friend of mine posted something on Facebook. This is friend who contracted a virus when we were in junior high school which left him in a wheelchair. Yet, he has always been one of the most upbeat and inspirational people I have ever known. He posted a list of 8 things to quit in 2019, and I realized it was the basis for my first post of the New Year. The tax laws will just have to wait.

The top 8 things to Quit in 2019, from a Family Lawyer’s Perspective:

Trying to please everyone: I think this is on the top of the list for a reason. It simply can’t be done, so stop trying! It’s impossible in the best of situations, and when a person is going through a divorce or other family law matter, the guilt of unsuccessfully trying to please everybody is simply going to drag you further into morass. Moreover, the reason it’s impossible even in the best of situations is that it’s not your responsibility to please everyone. It’s your responsibility to act fairly, listen to the other person’s perspective with an open mind, and be the best parent, son, daughter, former spouse or partner you can be.


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