What are the limits to confidentiality at divorce mediation? This issue is of growing interest given the rise of mediation as a sensible and cost-effective alternative to divorce litigation.
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.”
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.
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.
Traditional fault divorce is generally viewed as a time consuming, expensive, and very public way to end a marriage. Couples who once shared homes, finances, and families suddenly find themselves as adversaries, fighting to divide the life they built together. Finances, and families, are often shattered by divorce. Divorce arbitration has been used for many years to resolve various legal issues.
Divorce attorneys are increasingly viewing arbitration as a viable alternative to a court divorce trial. Divorce arbitration can help couples avoid a time-consuming, expensive, public trial in return for the efficiency, privacy, cost-effectiveness, and informality of arbitration.
In a case of first impression in New Jersey, the mother of a 16- year-old minor has been granted the right to legally change his first name from Veronica to Trevor. The court’s decision in the matter of Sacklow v. Betts was approved for publication on June 28, 2017 which gives it enhanced status in the legal community.
Because the case involves a minor child and his parents share legal custody – and disagree to some extent as to whether he should be permitted to change his name from Veronica to Trevor – the court exercised its role as parens patriae. In doing so, the court made its own findings of fact to determine to whether the name change is in Trevor’s best interests.
Many people contemplating divorce do not realize that if they are unable to reach a settlement, the result is a full trial before a judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey.
It is critical to understand what occurs during a divorce trial – and what does not occur – and to be prepared.
First, a trial is not is not like a television drama or reality show. It is a highly structured event, subject to state laws and local rules. Witnesses testify and documents such as financial statements, appraisals, and other records are entered into evidence as exhibits, subject to the New Jersey Rules of Evidence. Not all evidence or testimony is admissible as evidence at trial. The most common example is hearsay testimony; that is, testimony concerning a statement made outside of court that is being offered for the truth of the statement. Continue Reading What Happens if a Divorce Goes to Trial?
Divorce arbitration is an effective method of dispute resolution which has been recognized by the New Jersey Supreme Court as an alternative to conventional litigation. Given the severe backlog in the New Jersey court system and the difficulty obtaining consecutive hearing dates and receiving timely decisions, more divorcing parties are turning to arbitration to resolve their disputes. As a certified divorce arbitrator, I will describe what arbitration is (and isn’t) and explain how it functions.
First, it is important to distinguish arbitration from mediation. While mediation involves the assistance of a third party “neutral” to encourage and facilitate a resolution, arbitration is akin to litigation on an expedited basis. In other words, at the conclusion of an arbitration hearing the arbitrator renders a decision just as would a judge hearing the case.
In a case of first impression entitled D.W. v. M.W., the Hon. Lawrence Jones, J.S.C. (Ocean County), has warned parents that their right to attend their child’s Little League games was in potential jeopardy due to “inappropriate public criticism and disparagement of coach decisions.”
The case, which has not concluded with a formal legal opinion, brings to attention a pattern of conduct referred to by Judge Jones as Little League Parent Syndrome. The “syndrome” goes beyond Little League and has in fact reared its head in a variety of children’s sporting events—sometimes with devastating results.
As some readers may know, our Social Security system permits a divorced person (once eligible for benefits in the normal course of events) to receive the greater of (a) the amount he/she would be entitled to in their own name or (b) 50% of their ex-spouse’ benefit provided that the parties had been married for at least ten years and the person has not remarried.
Although New Jersey law generally holds that the marital partnership terminates upon a filing for divorce, the parties remain legally married until the subsequent entry of a Judgment of Divorce.