Credit Card Miles and Points in DivorceIt is well known that when parties divorce, there will be an equitable distribution of the marital assets and debts that the parties acquired during the marriage. Many people also know that it rarely matters whose name that the asset or debt was acquired in.

I cannot stress enough that the preparation of a financial statement, or a Case Information Statement, is perhaps the most important step of the entire divorce process. Getting bank balances and mortgage payoff statements is easy, and tasks that no one thinks twice about. However, there are other assets, or benefits in a marriage that are easily overlooked, and can result in an inequity to a spouse if not considered.

Most of us have a credit card (or two, or three) that accumulate miles which can be traded in for airline tickets, hotel points, or some ability to trade points for something of value.


Continue Reading

The world seemingly resolves around our credit scores. The difference between a good, a fair, and a bad credit score can make a significant difference of hundreds of dollars in monthly payments, and in some cases, being accepted or rejected for loans. Credit is an oft overlooked issue in divorce cases. A positive credit rating is critical to establish a new residence, purchase vehicles, and start a new, single life.

In some instances, the actions of one party can have the effect of damaging the credit rating of the other. This often happens in the context of one party failing to pay the mortgage on the home or other joint responsibilities. This can be due to financial stress of a divorce, such as maintaining two residences, or as a result of intentional, malicious actions of a party.


Continue Reading

College and Divorce in NJIt’s college application time and parents across the state are praying for the essay fairy to arrive and save them. Having gone through it twice, I am sympathetic to all of those who are now going through what is a rite of indoctrination in parenting. Then, just when you think you get a break, now you have to figure out how to pay for it!

Even though those acceptance letters won’t be in the mail until April (unless your student is applying early action, or to a school with rolling admissions), it’s not too soon to start thinking about it. This takes on a whole other level of stress when you are divorced or separated from your child’s other parent.

New Jersey law clearly provides that a divorced or separated parent’s obligation extends to higher education. Unlike our neighbor to the west, support does not stop after high school when a child has the capacity to attend college, or a trade school. Not only is there an obligation to contribute towards college, child support does not end when your child goes off to the dorms. It may change, but it does not end.


Continue Reading

It’s hard to believe that summer is over and I’m already following behind school buses on my way to work. Believe it or not, while fall has barely started, and it’s still almost 80 degrees outside, winter and the holidays are just around the corner. If you don’t believe me, just walk into your local CVS and see all the holiday displays!

Fall also means one other thing: now is the time to start thinking about holiday parenting time and making sure that you and your ex are “good” on the schedule. Most divorced or separated parents do not realize how much lead time is necessary to have a dispute decided by a judge in the event a resolution is not reached between the parents or caregivers. That’s why it’s time to start thinking about these issues now rather than waiting until the end of November, right before Thanksgiving.


Continue Reading

During a divorce, many topics are covered in the Marital Settlement Agreement, and many more when the divorcing couple have children together. This can include child support as well as future college contributions. Depending on the agreement, the divorcing parties may specifically determine the percentages that each will pay for college costs, or will—if the child or children are young—defer setting any percentages until the child is in their senior year of high school. Within these agreements, there is often language that stipulates the children are required to apply for any available financial aid, grants and/or loans. However, does this mean children must be forced to take out loans for an obligation that is intended to part of their parents’ obligation?

A recent New Jersey Appellate Division opinion tackled this complicated question in the matter of M.F.W. v. G.O. In the case, the parties divorced in 2003 when their daughter was 5 years old, and their settlement included an agreement to pay for college and included language requiring that the daughter “…shall apply for all loans, grants, aid and scholarships available to her, the proceeds of which shall be first applied to college costs.”


Continue Reading

The Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court has affirmed a Domestic Violence Restraining Order which had been levied against a husband in the midst of a divorce. The decision, captioned, E.D.B. v. D.S. for privacy reasons, came about when the wife discovered the husband had placed an iPad in their shared home office and an iPhone under his bed in order to monitor his wife’s activities when he was not home. The couple was in the process of a divorce prior to this discovery, but was still living together in the same house with their children.

Continue Reading

In the world of domestic violence law, it is virtually axiomatic that “words alone” may be sufficient for a Court to conclude that a predicate act of domestic violence had occurred. That assumption was upset in the recently decided case of State v. Burket, a non-family law decision.

Continue Reading

Changing American Families

Changing social norms and biological advances in reproductive technology have changed the face of the family, in turn creating legal consequences and implications.

Families formed by non-traditional marriages, same-sex couples, and individuals intending to parent alone may use assisted reproductive technology. Assisted reproductive technology and adoption can help create families who may not be biologically related.


Continue Reading

Baures v. Lewis Standard for Relocation

For just over 16 years, Baures v. Lewis was the standard in New Jersey for allowing a parent to permanently relocate out-of-state with a child against the other parent’s wishes. N.J.S.A. 9:2-2 provides that a parent seeking to relocate and remove a child from New Jersey without the other parent’s consent must show “cause.”

Pursuant to Baures v. Lewis, a parent designated as the Parent of Primary Residence (PPR) could show cause to relocate the children out of state by: 1) demonstrating a good-faith reason for the move, and 2) that the move would “not be inimical to the child’s interests.” The New Jersey Supreme Court has now abandoned that standard in favor of a best interest of the child standard.


Continue Reading