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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.


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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.


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With the upcoming Powerball jackpot being the largest in history ($1.5 billion), the issue of whether a lottery prize is subject to equitable distribution is certainly relevant, and may be a very real issue for some lucky winner(s). The answer to that inquiry is “it depends.” It depends on when the Complaint for Divorce is

Divorce can be an extremely stressful experience, but often the best way to stay calm is by preparing yourself with as much information as possible. When first setting up an initial consultation with a divorce attorney, a staff member from the attorney’s office will need to run a “conflict check” to ensure that there is no pre-existing reason that would prevent that attorney from representing you in your family law matter. If there are no conflicts, you will be contacted to set up an appointment for an initial consultation.

At an initial consultation, you should be prepared to discuss the circumstances of your case. This part of the process is simply a conversation between you and a potential attorney. You should be the one doing the majority of the talking at the initial consultation, and the attorney should be listening to you, and taking notes. The attorney will also be asking you questions to make sure they have all of the necessary information about your circumstances.


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As John S. Eory, Esquire previously blogged, Governor Chris Christie signed into law changes to our alimony statute on September 10, 2014.

Prior to the new alimony statute, the law of the State of New Jersey surrounding the issue of an alimony recipient’s cohabitation was defined by our Courts.  Under the previous case law, if a recipient of alimony was cohabitating with a paramour, the payor of alimony could file an application with the Court to modify or terminate their alimony obligation.  Modification or termination of alimony depended on a two prong burden-shifting test, the first of which required a finding of “cohabitation” of the dependent spouse by the Court.  Such a finding gave rise to the rebuttable presumption that the financial needs of the dependent spouse have been reduced.  The burden of proof shifted to the dependent spouse to show that his or her economic circumstances were not improved as a result of the cohabitation.  This second prong consisted of a fact-specific evaluation of the reduced financial need of the dependent spouse based upon the economic effect of his or her cohabitation.
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In New Jersey, college costs and child support for an unemancipated child are generally considered as two discrete, yet related obligations imposed on parents. The duty of parental support may include responsibility for the higher education costs of unemanicipated children. In evaluating the claim for contribution toward the cost of higher education, the Court will consider the following factors:
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A person seeking to modify their alimony obligation must prove that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred warranting a modification or termination of alimony. In certain circumstances, good faith retirement at age sixty-five may constitute a substantial change in circumstances. Once the payor has met their burden of proving that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred, a plenary hearing should be held to determine whether the advantage to the retiring spouse substantially outweighs the disadvantage to the payee spouse.
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