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Back in 1985, a famous country music performer, Reba McEntire, released a song with the lines, “Somebody should leave…but which one should it be?” Regrettably, failed marriages like this fictional one are a sad reality for many couples in New Jersey. Before you make the decision to be the “somebody” who should leave your marital home, you owe it to yourself to consult a knowledgeable Hoboken divorce attorney. Depending of the specifics of your situation, moving out of the marital home may ultimately be the wrong decision, even if it is the less painful one in the short term.

In New Jersey prior to 2007, you often had to prove that your spouse was “at fault” before a court would give you a divorce. In some foreign countries, you still do. Abandonment is one common way to do that. Back in late November, according to a report in The Tribune, a husband in India won his divorce case after alleging that his wife left for Dubai one day in 2015, taking all her belongings with her, with no “provocation or reason,” and never came back. The judge sided with the husband, ruling that the wife failed to provide “any reasonable cause due to which she had to live separately from the” husband.

Here in New Jersey, getting a divorce in a circumstance like this can be much simpler today. New Jersey law allows spouses to pursue a “no-fault” divorce, which means that you don’t accuse your spouse of some failure, but merely allege irreconcilable differences. However, the law does still allow spouses to pursue an at-fault divorce, and one of the causes available is abandonment or desertion. This fact may give you serious pause if your marital relationship has broken down and you are considering moving out.d

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The law is ever-changing. This is one of the many reasons why it is so important to have a knowledgeable family law attorney on your side. You may think that you may understand how the law works with regard to alimony or child visitation or property division or some other family law issue, but your understanding may be incomplete or, worse yet, based on an outdated version of the law. Your skilled counsel will be both up to date on the law, and also aware of how to use those changes to your maximum benefit.

One of the areas of the law where changes have been occurring in New Jersey is alimony. In September 2019, New Jersey’s significant alimony reform law turned five years old. The law enacted several important changes to the law surrounding alimony but, as some recent Appellate Division court decisions have highlighted, some aspects of the alimony law that existed prior to the enactment of the reform law continue to be in effect today. A Hoboken alimony lawyer can explain how certain provisions of the law may affect you.

One of the very important pieces of the alimony reform law related to the set of circumstances under which a supporting spouse could get his/her support obligation terminated. Under the old legal rules, courts presumed that alimony should be permanent. In this circumstance, by “presumed,” we mean that the law required judges to give a supported spouse alimony for life unless the supporting spouse had enough evidence to affirmatively prove that there were special circumstances present and those special circumstances dictated the award of something other than permanent alimony.

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If you studied Shakespeare in English class, you may remember the lines from Romeo and Juliet that say “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.” If you’ve studied Dale Carnegie, you may have crossed a quote from the famed lecturer that says a “person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

Unavoidably, names are important things. After a divorce, you are, of course, free to change your name. However, what options do you have when it comes to your children’s names? Does the law allow you to change their names, too? The answer is “Yes, potentially.” To make sure you have what you need to win this kind of name-change case, you should be sure you have skillful representation from an experienced Hoboken family law attorney to give the court what you need to succeed.

Recently, the Appellate Division court had to address this issue. The couple at odds were ex-spouses who separated after only five months. At the time the couple separated, the wife was four months pregnant. Two weeks after the separation, the couple agreed to a consent order. Paragraph 10 of that order laid out the first, middle and last names to be given to the unborn child.

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Back in the summer, celebrity gossip site TMZ (along with probably countless other sources) reported on the breakup of the eight-month-long marriage of actor Liam Hemsworth and singer Miley Cyrus. According to the TMZ report, the couple had created and signed a prenuptial agreement before they wed. Additionally, each had kept his/her earnings separate during the duration of the marriage. As a result, “there won’t be a fight over money,” the report indicated.

Even if you’re not a couple of multi-millionaires (or even if you are,) there may be good reasons to create what’s called an “antenuptial agreement,” also sometimes known as a prenuptial agreement or premarital agreement. However, what do you do if you’re already married and didn’t create a prenuptial agreement, but now you realize that you probably would have benefited from one? Are you out of luck because you’re already married? No, there are still options. Contact a knowledgeable Hoboken family law attorney and find more about what tools may be able to help you.

One of the tools that is available to you after you’ve already gotten married is something called the mid-marriage agreement, or intra-marital agreement. Mid-marriage agreements can be a great way to protect your interests in an existing marriage, even though the marriage may be successful and nowhere near being “irretrievably broken.”

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Grandparents are integral members of many families. They provide love, support and an important tie to a child’s ancestry and heritage. Nevertheless, in New Jersey, a grandparent (or great-grandparent) who wants a judge to order visitation, assuming the child’s parents are considered fit by the law, has to clear a fairly high hurdle.

That hurdle is high because the law recognizes that one of the fundamental rights of parents is the right to raise their children in the way that they think is the best. Courts will only force parents to go against their own preferences in very limited circumstances. Opportunities do exist for such a court order in some circumstances so, whether you are the grandparent seeking visitation or a parent who opposes visitation, it is important to consult with a knowledgeable Hoboken child custody attorney about your situation.

A case that was decided by the Appellate Division court recently is a good example of how high this hurdle is. F.S. was a man who had several children, including a daughter with S.P.M., two sons with A.K. and a stepson (A.K.’s son) whom F.S. was in the process of adopting.

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Ideally, in a perfect set of circumstances, two spouses going through a divorce will work together collaboratively and maturely to resolve their legal issues in the divorce (such as division of assets, alimony and child issues) in a mutually respectful way. Sometimes, though, that just isn’t “in the cards.” Even if your spouse is approaching your case in a calm and collaborative way, but especially if they’re not, you need to make sure your rights and interests are protected by having an experienced Hoboken family law attorney on your side during every step of the divorce process.

The case of S.G. and F.G. was not one of those “calm and collaborative” cases. Both spouses accused each other of domestic violence. The wife falsely accused the husband of sexually assaulting her. The wife also threatened the husband with a knife.

Additionally, she reportedly destroyed certain computerized financial files of the husband. These computer files weren’t just any financial files, though. They were “spreadsheets and other documents” tracing the husband’s pre-marital assets. When it came time to distribute assets in the divorce, the wife asserted that those assets were actually marital ones and should be divided between the two spouses in the divorce.

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Recently, a member of the New Jersey Senate proposed a bill that would streamline the legal process for the spouse or civil union partner of a biological parent to adopt his/her spouse/partner’s child. The bill, if passed, would set up a speedier process through which same-sex spouses and same-sex civil union partners could adopt the other’s biological child conceived through assisted reproduction, insidernj.com reported.

At this point, you may be wondering, “well, with marriage equality the law of the land in all 50 states after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges ruling in 2015, the need for going through the trouble and expense of adopting my spouse’s child isn’t there anymore, right?” Well… no. As the senator’s bill recognizes, there are still plenty of very important reasons why it could benefit you and your family to go through the adoption process. Contact an experienced Hoboken family law attorney to discuss your specific situation and learn more about the best path for you.

Before the Obergefell ruling, there were some very good reasons for you — if your child was biologically related to your partner but not to you — to go through the legal steps to adopt that child. The law in all states gives legal parents some very strong rights when it comes to their children, including the right to shut out those the parent doesn’t want in the child’s life. If you’re not a legal parent or guardian, you don’t have those rights — which means you are at risk of being the one “on the outside looking in.” Biological parents automatically have that legal status. Non-biological parents, like stepparents, do not have that same level of legal recognition.

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Once upon a time, the idea of a prenuptial agreement carried mostly negative connotations. The stereotype was that the people who got a prenuptial agreement (also known as an antenuptial agreement or pre-marital agreement) were either greedy and rich spouses trying to avoid sharing the wealth or else worried wealthy people seeking to protect themselves from a “gold digging” soon-to-be spouse. As you can see, this stereotype is fueled by an over-sized dose of cynicism.

The reality is actually much different, and more people are realizing that. According to a recent report, more spouses-to-be are seeking the benefits that a prenuptial agreement can offer. One thing to keep in mind if you’re considering signing a prenuptial agreement is what an impactful decision that is. Once you’ve signed the agreement, your options for getting it invalidated later are fairly limited. (This, by the way, is another reason why you shouldn’t go into the process alone but be sure you are represented by a skilled Hoboken family law attorney.)

According to that recent report, 62% of lawyers who responded to an American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyer survey reported an increase in the number of clients requesting services related to establishing a prenuptial agreement. One attorney, who noted an uptick in prenuptial agreements among second marriages, concluded that spouses had negative memories of their previous divorces and “don’t want the uncertainty of having a judge decide their fate.”

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Alimony law has undergone a number of changes in the last few years as a result of actions taken in Trenton as well as Washington. A few years ago, changes in state law erected some important and substantial new restrictions on alimony. On top of that, the more recent federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ended the obligation for recipients of alimony to pay federal taxes on that money (for divorce agreements occurring in 2019 or later.)

So, now more than ever, it is very important if you’re getting alimony, to make sure you understand what will and won’t trigger an end to your alimony. In other words, whether you are in the process of working out a divorce agreement in your pending case, or you have an existing agreement in your already completed divorce, look to the advice and counsel of an experienced Hoboken family law attorney to help you make certain that you know what your options are.

One common thing that triggers an end of alimony is the recipient’s remarriage. Of course, that leads to another question — which is, what exactly constitutes a remarriage? In the case of one Camden County couple, W.S. and C.S., that question was the key to their case.

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A receipt lists the typical costs of sending your child to college.

In most divorce situations, the more collaboratively the two spouses work to craft a solution with which both are comfortable (or as comfortable as possible,) the better. That’s especially true if the two are not only spouses but also parents. Collaboration often equates to longer lasting solutions that are more healthy and productive for both spouses involved.

Working collaboratively can save spouses a lot of time and money. However, there are some savings that may not be worth it. One way that some spouses may try to save money in working out a settlement agreement is doing so without legal representation. While some divorcing couples may be able to navigate the process on their own, proceeding without the right Hoboken family law attorney is filled with possible risk.

When it comes to negotiating your divorce settlement agreement, the advice and advocacy of your attorney can be essential. If the agreement you sign isn’t what you really need, there can be serious problems down the road. Look at the case of S.B. and M.E., a couple from Hudson County who had two children together. When they ended their marriage in 2001, theirs was an uncontested divorce. They worked out all their issues in a settlement agreement.

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