REDUCING THE SPREAD OF CORONAVIRUS: The Marciano Law Firm takes seriously your concerns regarding the spread of Coronavirus, and we have taken measures to reduce the risk of transmission for both our clients and those seeking legal representation. All meetings can be handled virtually via telephone or through teleconferencing apps like Zoom, FaceTime, Skype and others. All documents can also be signed electronically through various E-sign platforms. If you have any questions about our policies and how we can accommodate your needs, please feel free to give our attorneys a call.


Recently, published an article that asked a very timely question: “Do you need a will because of coronavirus?” The reality is that, even if we delete the qualifier “because of coronavirus,” the answer is almost always a vociferous ”yes!” Whether there’s an ongoing pandemic or not, you need a will or trust. Whether you are in compromised health or not, you need a will or trust. Whatever your situation or the world’s situation, it is extremely likely that, if you don’t already have one, you need a will or a trust, and should reach out to an experienced Hoboken estate planning attorney without delay about your goals and needs.

In the article, the author took a look at a couple from Wall in their mid 50s. The couple had no children, but did have some clear estate planning goals, including that they wanted their assets to go to their nieces and nephews after they died. They had not given much thought to estate planning prior to the pandemic, and had created neither wills nor a trust, according to the article.

The article gives readers much food for thought. For one thing, the article touched upon the concern that many who are motivated to obtain a will or trust may be feeling right now; which is, can I still get a will or trust with the current restrictions in place?

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One of the things about which the law is abundantly clear is that a parent has a legal obligation to support their minor children. What is not always so clear, however, is exactly how that support should be calculated. Sometimes, parents may try to dodge paying child support (or enhance the amount of child support they receive) by purposefully reducing their workload… or by not working at all. When they do, the law has a solution for that — something called “imputed income.” If your child support case involves an issue of imputed income – whether that income is to be imputed to you or to your child’s other parent – you need an experienced Hoboken family law attorney on your side to handle all of the legal and factual intricacies involved with winning an argument about imputed income.

Generally speaking, child support is calculated using the parents’ actual incomes and the child support “guidelines,” which are set by court rule. Sometimes, though, actual incomes won’t yield a fair outcome. If, for example, a father who is a litigation attorney freely leaves his Bergen County law practice to take a job teaching surfing lessons on Long Beach Island, then the law may look at that parent and say he is “voluntarily underemployed.” When that happens, the court can impute income to that parent at the level he was earning before the job change.

In a scenario like that, the court may calculate the father’s support using, instead of the sum the father actually earned from his teaching job, a figure equal to what father earned his last year as an attorney. The same thing may happen when a parent decides to stop working completely, which is called “voluntary unemployment.”

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When people think of a divorce, they often think of a process that is highly combative and highly stressful. For many divorcing couples, there can be a better way than an extremely contentious adversarial process. Using mediation may allow you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse to work together in an emotionally healthier way to reach a collaborative solution that often proves to be more lasting than solutions arrived at through contested litigation. Even if you decide to go the mediation route, you still will need legal services from a knowledgeable Hoboken mediation attorney, in order to be sure you are prepared for your mediation hearing, and also to be sure you are getting a mediation settlement agreement that accurately reflects the solutions you and your spouse reached in the hearing.

Very recently,’s consumer affairs column touched on divorce mediation. The information is timely because the first quarter of any year is one of the most popular times for couples to begin pursuing a divorce.

The information is useful because not all divorcing New Jersey couples may know that there are alternatives to going through a prolonged, stressful and costly adversarial process in order to arrive at closure. Some people may see that and think… I know about uncontested divorce in New Jersey, but that’s just for divorcing couples who agree on everything, right? My spouse and I are definitely not in that situation, so what other options do we have?

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When you’ve decided that you are ready to start estate planning, it is important to choose carefully. You need someone to listen to your circumstances, needs and goals, to provide you with clear, understandable advice about how best to achieve your objectives, and then to provide you with the legal documents needed to meet your goals and distribute your property according to your wishes.

Amidst the countless New Jersey estate planning attorneys providing that kind of effective legal representation every day, there is also a significant risk to citizens – particularly seniors – from less scrupulous people. A case that came before the Appellate Division court (Case No. A-4675-16T3), and was earlier reported upon by, laid out a scenario that is common. It started with a representative of an “estate planning” entity coming to the senior’s home. This “estate planner” was a salesperson who persuaded the senior to sign up for estate planning services, which consisted of a living trust and certain other legal documents.

The saleswoman in the case completed an information form and transmitted it to an attorney. The attorney conducted a brief (eight minute) consultation by telephone and then drafted the trust and other documents. After that, the saleswoman returned to the home with the client’s legal documents in order to notarize them. While she was there, though, she also invested several hundred thousand dollars of the client’s money in two annuities that she was authorized to sell. The $222,000 sum represented nearly half of all of the client’s assets outside the value of her home.

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A few years ago, the New York Times published an article entitled, “Aging Parents With Lots of Stuff and Children Who Don’t Want It.” The topic is an issue that, if not uniquely modern, is certain something happening with increased frequency lately. The cold reality is that, just because you value or cherish a particular asset, that doesn’t mean your children will. To avoid your things going to people who don’t need and don’t want them, you need a detailed will or living trust to guide the distribution of your assets after your death, and the right Hoboken estate planning attorney to help you achieve your goals.

More recently, published a letter from a person who had that kind of unfortunate estate planning problem. The author’s father had recently died with no will or trust. When you die with no will, there is a state statute that will guide how your assets are distributed.

In this son/daughter’s case, the intestate process had resulted in him/her receiving the father’s timeshare. There are various ways this could have happened. For example, this could have been the result if the father was a widower and the writer was the father’s only surviving child, as the law would have distributed all the father’s probate assets to the child.

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Businesspeople understand that, when they prepare to sign a commercial contract, they should proceed with great care and caution, as there may be millions of dollars on the line in the fine print of that document. Even if your settlement agreement in your divorce or child support case doesn’t implicate millions of dollars, it is nevertheless just as important and impactful to you (if not more so,) which means that you should take utmost care to protect your financial situation by making sure you are armed with the knowledge you need. That definitely includes advice and counsel from a skilled Hoboken family law attorney.

A good attorney, for example, can potentially save you from the damaging impacts of an incomplete agreement. A case that started in nearby Bergen County is a good example. The couple, A.C. and J.C., married in 1998, had a daughter in 2000 and divorced in 2007. The spouses agreed that the father would pay 100% of the costs of the daughter’s college expenses, up to $30,000 per year, but would provide no other support after the daughter turned 18.

One of the key factors that fueled the parents’ agreeing to these terms was that the daughter planned to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and live on campus. The cost of tuition, room and board, fees and books at FIT in 2016 was just slightly more than $30,000 per year.

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Obtaining a legally recognized name change is important to anyone seeking such action from the legal system but, for some folks, name changes are especially important. For those who seek to make name changes, the legal process in New Jersey is designed to approve most requests. Even though that’s true, it is still very important to be sure you are going about it the right way, so that you can make sure your change will be approved and approval will be achieved as efficiently and stress-free as possible. To ensure this, be sure to contact a knowledgeable Hoboken family law attorney about your situation.

One group for whom a swift and efficient name change is especially important is trans people. Recently, a group of transgender federal inmates filed a lawsuit in Texas after authorities there refused to allow the trans women to change their names legally, according to news reports. Forcing a trans person to use their “deadname” is something so traumatizing as to amount to “psychological torture,” according to the inmates’ attorney.

Obtaining full legal recognition of a new name is also a very important goal for many immigrants. While trans people seek to live their lives free of the torture inflicted by having to use their deadname, immigrants often seek a name change as part of the process of cultural assimilation, helping to enhance their lives both personally and professionally.

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Each family and family dynamic is unique in its own way. Yours may be a blended family, may have people who are not related by blood but definitely are “family,” or may have people who are legal kin but aren’t really part of the family. Any of these scenarios is a good reason to make sure you consult an experienced Hoboken estate planning attorney without delay. The state’s laws that govern what happen to your assets if you die with no will or trust probably won’t do what you want. With the right will or trust, you can make sure that the legacy you leave behind will go to the people you want.

This need to engage in careful estate planning is especially important if you have ongoing financial obligations that are governed by contracts, like a child support agreement. The estate of a Monmouth County man is a good example. K.O. was the father of one son, born to R.L. in August 2000. K.O. also had a daughter, S.O., from a different relationship.

The father and the son’s mother never married, but they did work out a child support agreement in 2008 in New York. That document said that the father would (1) pay $3,000 per month in child support until the son turned 21 or was “earlier emancipated,” (2) would pay $7,500 annually into a college fund for the son and (3) would also cover the son’s child care costs and unreimbursed medical expenses.

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You’ve probably heard the phrase “get it in writing,” which is a commonly used phrase in the world of business. That advice also can apply to estate planning. The best way to make sure that your goals for your estate become reality after you die is to put them on paper while you’re alive. To make sure you have a well-written estate plan that will achieve the outcome you want, be sure to retain the services of a knowledgeable Hoboken estate planning attorney, who can show you the best way to get to your desired goal.

A case from Middlesex County shows the pitfalls that can occur when you don’t put anything in writing. R.F. was a man who died with no will or trust. His only legal heir was a brother who lived on Long Island. R.F. did have a stepson, but he never adopted the stepson, so the stepson was not a legal heir.

Because R.F. left behind no will or trust, all of his assets were distributed by what’s called the “intestacy” statutes. Those are laws that look to identify the closest class of heirs at law, and to distribute the deceased’s assets to them. In this case, that meant a distribution of 100% of the estate to the brother on Long Island.

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The coronavirus pandemic has created massive problems for people in all walks of life. That includes people who have lost someone and now must, in addition to everything else, undertake the process of probate, which has itself been rendered much more complicated by the new COVID-19-based safety requirements. To make sure you are handling the probate process correctly, even in this time of pandemic, look to a skilled Hoboken probate attorney to guide the way.

There’s some very good news for people in nearby Morris County. The Surrogate’s Office there recently created a set of “newly designed COVID-19 compliant probate rooms” and, in conjunction with the opening of those spaces, began accepting appointments for in-person probate in early October, reported. The county has also set up a “fully remote” probate option, which is scheduled to become available in November, according to’s report.

Here in Hudson County, in-person applications remain “suspended… until further notice.” The Hudson County Surrogate’s Office is offering services via telephone, fax, and regular mail, according to the Surrogate’s website.

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