Photo of Louis M. Ragone

Louis M. Ragone is a member of Stark & Stark’s Family Law & Divorce Group where he concentrates his practice on all aspects of divorce litigation, including but not limited to child custody, alimony, child support, and equitable distribution issues. Mr. Ragone handles post-judgment litigation, including cases involving the emancipation of a child, custody or support modification, child support enforcement, college contribution, and relocation applications.

This week, The Supreme Court of New Jersey delivered a monumental win for victims of sexual assault.

The Court’s unanimous decision in C.R. v M.T. set a new precedent for courts in deciding whether an alleged victim of sexual assault was too intoxicated to give consent—more specifically, the ruling clarifies the required burdens of proof in cases where the alleged victim seeks a restraining order under the Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015 (SASPA).

Continue Reading Supreme Court of NJ Sets New Precedent on Sexual Consent and Intoxication

Alimony in New Jersey is subject to modification, suspension or even termination if an alimony payor can show that their former spouse is cohabitating.

What Is Cohabitation?

Most understand that alimony will cease if a former spouse receiving alimony gets remarried. Cohabitation, on the other hand, occurs when a divorced party doesn’t legally remarry, but chooses instead to enter  a mutually supportive and intimate personal relationship, which is normally associated with marriage.

Some of these cohabitating former spouses delay or forego marriage by design, knowing that their alimony will cease if they take the next step and remarry.

In order to counteract this possibility, the legislature in New Jersey has enacted a law which allows alimony payors to seek to have their alimony obligation decreased, suspended, or even terminated if they can prove that their former spouse is cohabitating.

Continue Reading Cohabitation in New Jersey: The Playing Field Leveled with Temple v. Temple

Several months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the daily lives of most people have changed in many ways. With many people still desiring to find companionship, dating websites and mobile applications have provided somewhat of a substitute for traditional in-person dates, which are no longer feasible during the pandemic.

What happens if the relationship you’ve developed in these virtual settings goes awry, and the continued virtual contact becomes unwanted, threatening, malicious, and/or harassing? Can you obtain a restraining order to prevent further contact?

Continue Reading Domestic Violence: What is a Dating Relationship?

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

The world is increasingly becoming a smaller and more accessible place. Globalization and international employment opportunities have made it common for people to move or be transferred to foreign countries. The increased possibility of living abroad combined with marriage and/or children may result in complex issues. Which country’s laws apply if one parent takes a child out of the United States? What if an international custody dispute materializes?

Continue Reading International Child Abduction and the Hague Convention

Domestic violence exists and is real, and unfortunately, is common. This blog is not meant for the traditional domestic violence victim. The rights of true victims are rightly met with protections from the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, which allow for the implementation of a Final Restraining Order that prohibits contact and the presence of the perpetrator away from the victim.

Instead, this blog is to recognize that not all domestic violence complaints (referred to as Temporary Restraining Orders) are based on legitimate allegations warranting permanent relief with a Final Restraining Order and, moreover, have been used “as a sword as opposed to a shield” by purported “victims” at times notwithstanding the incredible burden Final Restraining Orders carry.

Final Restraining Orders in New Jersey, unlike in other states, are permanent. Many people understand the main purpose of a Final Restraining Order from its name’s literal interpretation, namely, that it keeps one person from being in the presence of or contacting the other person.

Continue Reading Protect and Defend Yourself from Domestic Violence Complaints: They Mean More Than You May Think