The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued a troubling decision last week, in which it ruled that an order preventing a parent from posting about his children on social media violated the father’s constitutional right to freedom of speech. Even if the court entered the order in question to protect the child, this decision will no doubt reverberate throughout the country, and be the subject of similar cases in which parents in the midst of nasty custody battles seek to wage their wars publicly.

Continue Reading Parents: Is Your Freedom of Speech Worth the Welfare of Your Child?

While restraining orders pursuant to the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act exist to protect real victims from abusers, there have been occasions where restraining orders have been obtained with embellished or fabricated allegations. A purported victim may attempt to obtain a restraining order in order to gain an advantage in a custody litigation or to force the alleged abuser from the home. An alleged abuser would then have to defend themselves in court. The initial restraining order is deemed “temporary” and is subject to a subsequent hearing where a judge in the Superior Court of New Jersey will determine if a “final” restraining order should be issued.

Continue Reading Family Law and COVID-19: What Happens If a Restraining Order Is Issued Against You?

New Jersey, like most of the United States, has been given “stay-at-home” orders designed to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the general public. However, to a victim of domestic violence who is trapped in perpetual proximity to their abuser, these “stay-at-home” orders actually equate to the notion of a lose-lose decision: Stay at home and be abused, or leave home and expose themselves to a deadly virus and a world that has largely closed its doors.

Continue Reading Family Law and COVID-19: Protections from Domestic Violence

What do you do if the novel coronavirus has shut down your employer, caused a furlough or your termination, or has otherwise suddenly left you without income to pay child support and/or alimony? What do you do if you are the recipient of alimony or child support and now have to figure out how to pay bills and make ends meet without support from your child’s parent or ex-spouse?

A pandemic like this has far reaching economic consequences in these family law issues and can significantly strain both the payor and the payee.

Continue Reading Family Law and COVID-19: Alimony and Child Support

Legal custody is the hallmark of co-parenting. Both parents should confer and attempt to agree on issues pertaining their child’s health, safety, education, and welfare, all in the name of their child’s best interests. The decisions you and the other parent make about your child during this coronavirus pandemic may or may not place them at a higher risk of contracting the virus, which certainly makes these decisions more critical and imparts upon the duty to discuss these decisions with your child’s other parent. Surely, if a child or parent contracts the disease, legal custody would mandate that joint legal custodians discuss and agree upon how to handle any parenting time and health related issues, but it also remains prudent to discuss and attempt to agree upon a plan of action ahead of time.

Continue Reading Family Law and COVID-19: Legal Custody and Parenting Time

Yesterday, news broke that Jeremy Renner, well known for his role as Hawkeye, asked the Los Angeles court to lower his child support payments as a result of his unexpected financial strain from the coronavirus. The Marvel actor claims that his income will be substantially lower due to the fact that the film and television industry has either cancelled or postponed filming due to the coronavirus. As a result, he is asking the court to modify his child support obligation.

Continue Reading Marvel Actor Seeks Reduction in Child Support Due to Coronavirus – Should You?

The coronavirus pandemic is creating special challenges all of us, but in particular for parents of children who are separated or divorced. In many districts, schools are closing for several weeks, but there are still many employers who have not. In the case of first responders, healthcare workers, or other essential employees, employers cannot allow their employees to work remotely from home.

Continue Reading Parenting Time Considerations During the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic

The divorce is almost over. You have finished negotiating alimony. Child-support has just been calculated and you have finally figured out who is going to take Aunt Millie’s China. The end of the stressful negotiations with your almost ex-spouse is almost at near when your attorney turns his or her attention to life insurance. It’s probably the last thing you want to hear about. Particularly if you are a relatively young individual, this is just one of those “lawyer details” that you really don’t want to pay attention to.

Unfortunately, this is one of the most over-looked issues which can come back to haunt litigants. Tragedies do happen, and when there is an unexpected death, it can have a monumental impact on property settlement agreements, particularly when a settlement contains provisions relating to child support and of children and college expenses. No one wants to think about death, and certainly most people don’t want to think about it when they are already in the process of grieving the end of a marriage. However, not having protection against the possibility of one parent or former spouse dying can be catastrophic for the survivors later on.

Continue Reading The Death in the Details of the Divorce