Category: Alimony

How Alimony Affects Child Support in NJ

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How Alimony Affects Child Support in NJ

Divorce proceedings can be complicated, particularly when there are children involved. Several factors determine child support in New Jersey, including income level and custody percentage.

However, your alimony costs can also affect your child support payments. Work with an experienced lawyer to learn how much your child support payments will be and how alimony can affect them.

Understanding the Impact of Alimony on Child Support in NJ

The courts calculate child support in New Jersey as a percentage of your income. However, within their calculation are the expenses necessary to support your child. For example, your payment for health insurance is included. If childcare is necessary, that would be included.

New Jersey uses the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines to calculate child support. Basically, the guidelines are compilation of all the expenses necessary to raise a child based on your income as parents. It is for that reason alimony is included as a portion of income along with other factors such as the number of overnights you spend with your child each year and any special needs your child may have.

Depending on the amount of alimony received, it is possible the amount of child support received may be lower. Conversely, if you pay more alimony, you may pay less child support. It is also important to note the guidelines take into account pre-existing child support orders from another relationship and/or alimony orders from a previous relationship.

Determining Your Alimony Payments

There are several types of alimony ordered by New Jersey Courts. During your divorce proceedings, the judge might order pendente lite, which exists as a measure to support a spouse during the divorce process, in other words, until the Judgment of Divorce is entered.

Once you are divorced, a person may receive one of four different types of alimony. Limited Duration is for a defined period of time which is usually based on the length of the marriage. Rehabilitative Alimony is also for defined period of time during which a spouse will learn new skills that allow him or her to become financially independent.

If your spouse supported you financially during schooling, the judge might award Reimbursement Alimony. For example, if your spouse paid for rent and your medical school tuition, but your divorce begins just before you start working, you will likely need to reimburse them.

Lastly, you might be awarded Open Duration Alimony. This type of alimony is usually only awarded if the marriage lasted longer than 20 years or the spouse receiving alimony is disabled.

Determining Your Child Support Payments

It’s best to work with an experienced divorce lawyer if your divorce might involve alimony and child support payments. Your lawyer can help you determine how much alimony you will likely need to pay, and how that affects any child support payments.

Child support also depends on factors like the number of overnights each parent has, how many children you have, previous child support payment orders, both parent’s incomes and how much an intact family would spend on their children in a similar financial situation.

It’s important to remember that your ex-spouse’s new partner’s income will not affect your child support payment calculation if your spouse remarries.

If your financial situation drastically changes, you can apply to the court to change your child support payments.

Schedule a Free Consultation

If you are considering divorce and have children, it’s best to consult with a lawyer before signing any official agreements. Particularly if you are a stay-at-home parent or are underemployed to care for a family member, you should seek legal advice about alimony and how that might affect child support in New Jersey.

The team at Lyons & Associates, P.C., is knowledgeable about all aspects of divorce in NJ. Call our law firm today at (908) 575-9777 or contact us online to set a date for your free consultation and learn more about how alimony and child support works in New Jersey.

Alimony in NJ: What You Need to Know

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Alimony in NJ: What You Need to Know

Alimony in NJ is a complicated topic. Whether or not you’ll receive support, how much, and for how long, depends on many factors.

If you’re getting divorced, and during your marriage, you didn’t work outside the home or substantially supported your spouse’s education, consult with a family lawyer with experience in alimony cases.

How Alimony in NJ Is Calculated

Alimony, or spousal support, is monetary support for an ex-spouse after a divorce. Multiple factors influence the type and amount of maintenance ordered, including the length of the marriage, age and health of the spouses, ability to pay, parental responsibilities, past support, and time out of the workforce.

The New Jersey alimony statute includes five types of alimony: pendente lite, open durational, rehabilitative, limited duration, and reimbursement alimony. It is possible to receive multiple types of support, depending on circumstances.

  • Pendente Lite
    Pendente Lite, or temporary alimony, is only active before the divorce is finalized. If one spouse is financially dependent on the other, pendente lite supports assists the spouse financially until there is a settlement agreement or an order of the court.
  • Open Durational
    Open durational alimony is rarely ordered, and usually only when the couple has been married for more than 20 years. Many times, despite the name, open durational alimony ends when the supported spouse remarries or depending upon the circumstances, the paying spouse retires.
  • Rehabilitative Alimony
    Rehabilitative alimony supports the education or job-training of the dependent spouse, to allow him or her to enter the workforce and be self-sufficient. Rehabilitative alimony can be modified if the supported spouse fails to meet the conditions and is limited to a specific time frame.
  • Limited Duration Alimony
    Like rehabilitative alimony, limited duration alimony is ordered for a specific amount of time to help the dependent spouse reenter the workforce and become financially independent.
  • Reimbursement Alimony
    Unlike the other types, reimbursement alimony cannot be later modified. If the dependent spouse financially supported the other through advanced education, under the expectation that he or she would benefit in the future then reimbursement alimony may be appropriate.

For example, if you financially supported your spouse through medical school and you divorce you may be entitled to reimbursement alimony.

Should I Go Through The Courts?

NJ alimony laws, unlike child support laws, are not calculated based on income. There are two ways to determine alimony. You can go to the court, where a judge will determine the type, length, and amount of alimony. To make his or her decision a judge will consider the factors enumerated under N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23. Or you can sit down with your spouse and your lawyers and create an agreement together.

Both options are valid, and which route you take depends on your position. Work with your lawyer to determine which course will benefit you the most or request a modification to your alimony order if there is a change in your circumstances.

Alimony payments by the paying spouse are not tax-deductible if your divorce was finalized after January 2019.

Ensure You Get The Alimony You Deserve

The alimony laws in NJ are complicated. If you believe you are entitled to alimony, contact Lyons & Associates, P.C. online or call us at (908) 575-9777 for a confidential free consultation.

Our lawyers are fully knowledgeable and experienced in all aspects of family law, including in the intricacies of alimony. We will work diligently to get you the best financial outcome possible in your divorce.

Can I Modify My Alimony Payments due to Covid-19?

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Senior Associate- Marissa Del Mauro

Written by Marissa Del Mauro

We are living in unprecedented times as the global pandemic of Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc on our family, friends and neighbors. In New Jersey, we are into week 9 of a state-wide quarantine that has left a significant number of New Jersey residents furloughed, terminated or sustaining an income reduction. According to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, as of May 7, 2020, the New Jersey Department of Labor has distributed $1.9 billion in income-supplementing benefits since the COVID-19 pandemic began in mid-March. Since COVID-19 hit New Jersey in mid-March, 1,018,785 unemployment claims have been filed, by far the most ever recorded for a similar period.

This now begs the question for New Jersey payors of support, “Can I modify my alimony payments due to having suffered a job loss, furlough or income reduction due to Covid-19?” The answer lies in the current New Jersey statute N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(k).

When a non-self-employed party seeks modification of alimony, the court shall consider the following factors:

(1) The reasons for any loss of income;

(2) Under circumstances where there has been a loss of employment, the obligor’s documented efforts to obtain replacement employment or to pursue an alternative occupation;

(3) Under circumstances where there has been a loss of employment, whether the obligor is making a good faith effort to find remunerative employment at any level and in any field;

(4) The income of the obligee; the obligee’s circumstances; and the obligee’s reasonable efforts to obtain employment in view of those circumstances and existing opportunities;

(5) The impact of the parties’ health on their ability to obtain employment;

(6) Any severance compensation or award made in connection with any loss of employment;

(7) Any changes in the respective financial circumstances of the parties that have occurred since the date of the order from which modification is sought;

(8) The reasons for any change in either party’s financial circumstances since the date of the order from which modification is sought, including, but not limited to, assessment of the extent to which either party’s financial circumstances at the time of the application are attributable to enhanced earnings or financial benefits received from any source since the date of the order;

(9) Whether a temporary remedy should be fashioned to provide adjustment of the support award from which modification is sought, and the terms of any such adjustment, pending continuing employment investigations by the unemployed spouse or partner; and

(10) Any other factor the court deems relevant to fairly and equitably decide the application.

In cases where the changed circumstances arise from the loss of employment, the length of time a party has been involuntarily unemployed or has had an involuntary reduction in income shall not be the only factor considered by the court when an application is filed by a non-self-employed party to reduce alimony because of involuntary loss of employment. The court shall determine the application based upon all of the enumerated factors, however, no application shall be filed until a party has been unemployed, or has not been able to return to or attain employment at prior income levels, or both, for a period of 90 days. The court shall have discretion to make any relief granted retroactive to the date of the loss of employment or reduction of income.

As to self-employed payors, N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(l) provides:

When a self-employed party seeks modification of alimony because of an involuntary reduction in income since the date of the order from which modification is sought, then that party’s application for relief must include an analysis that sets forth the economic and non-economic benefits the party receives from the business, and which compares these economic and non-economic benefits to those that were in existence at the time of the entry of the order.

Finally, as to both non-self employed and self-employed payors, under N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(m), when assessing a temporary remedy, the court may temporarily suspend support, or reduce support on terms; direct that support be paid in some amount from assets pending further proceedings; direct a periodic review; or enter any other order the court finds appropriate to assure fairness and equity to both parties.

Whether you are non-self employed or self-employed, it is important to note that it is a case-by-case, fact sensitive analysis as to whether your current furlough, job loss or reduction in income due to Covid-19 constitutes a significant and permanent decrease in your income that would modify your support payments. In some cases, a furlough and income reduction may be seen as a temporary change in circumstance as a countless number of companies and businesses have instituted such measures to say afloat. That being said, as a court of equity, our family courts in New Jersey have the equitable power to fashion temporary remedies to suspend or reduce support and impose other remedies as they see fit.

It is important for payors of support in New Jersey to speak with knowledgeable lawyers who stay current on New Jersey law and the impact of Covid-19. For more information regarding the effects of Covid-19 on support payments and modification of support payments in New Jersey contact the Law Office of Lyons & Associates, P.C. At the Law Office of Lyons & Associates, our team represents payors of alimony and child support throughout New Jersey. We place a premium on personalized service and attention. For a private consultation, contact us by e-mail, visit our website, or call our office at 908-575-9777.

Will the court consider my spouse’s adultery when determining my alimony obligation?

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Will the court consider my spouse's adultery when determining my alimony obligation?

Generally speaking, adultery has no bearing on the amount or duration of alimony awarded by the court or as to whether alimony should be awarded at all.

In Mani v. Mani, 183 NJ 70 (2005), the New Jersey Supreme Court found adultery or other types of marital fault are irrelevant when considering the amount of alimony that is to be awarded except in two narrow circumstances. The first instance is where the fault has affected the parties’ economic life. The second instance is where the fault “so violates societal norms that continuing the economic bounds between the parties would confound notions of simple justice.” See Mani v. Mani, 183 NJ at 72.

With the exception of the above instances, in most cases where adultery has occurred and can be readily proven,the amount or duration of alimony will not be affected. For example,if the spouse that committed adultery was the spouse receiving alimony and adultery was considered a factor in awarding alimony,the receiving spouse could become destitute or a public charge. Under New Jersey case law,this would be a violation of public policy and is not allowed. In addition,if adultery was a factor in awarding alimony,many more alimony cases would be litigated so as to prove fault and possibly lessen the amount of alimony to be paid. This would put an undue burden on our court system.For practical reasons like these,it is not likely the court will change this ruling any time in the near future.

At Lyons & Associates, P.C., we place a premium on personalized attention for your personal matters. For a private consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 908-575-9777.

What is Uncontested Divorce?

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What is Uncontested Divorce?

Uncontested divorce is not necessarily amicable, but it can save you and your spouse time and aggravation if you can agree on most of the major issues in a divorce settlement and avoid litigation.

Litigated Divorce versus Uncontested Divorce

Litigation occurs when two spouses cannot agree on the basic terms of a divorce, such as the division of assets and child support and custody issues. When two parties cannot agree, they will argue before the judge on the contested issues, who will then determine the outcome based on state law, equity precedence, and the best interests of the children.

An uncontested divorce can be beneficial when both parties are on equal footing either financially or emotionally. In an uncontested divorce, the parties will come to an agreement on the financial and child custody issues ahead of the hearing date. Often, the parties will mediate with attorneys. Parties may be more apt to settle on certain issues when attorneys give advice about how a judge may decide the issue if the matter goes before the court. It can also save time and money if the spouses can agree without litigation.

Typical Issues Addressed in a Divorce Settlement Agreement

Some of the main issues decided in a divorce include:

  • The division of debt
  • The division of property
  • Whether one spouse is entitled to a portion of the other’s pension
  • The amount and duration of alimony
  • The amount and duration of any child support
  • Custody issues, including parenting time and responsibilities

Divorces where there are little assets and no children will likely have less issues when deciding the details of a divorce settlement agreement. If there are any obvious inequities among the parties, despite their agreement, the judge in the divorce proceeding may question the parties to help determine if they have entered into the agreement willingly and to see if the agreement is fair and equitable.

Hiring a Divorce Attorney

Where both parties have different attorneys representing their interests, the judge will be less likely to question the terms of a settlement. If both parties are unrepresented, a judge may ask more questions to make sure one party was not coerced into the agreement.

Even if you and your spouse agree on the terms of your divorce settlement, it is always a good idea to have an attorney review it before filing it with the court to help determine if it generally comports with state laws and guidelines.

Morristown Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Guide Clients Through Contested and Uncontested Divorces

Understanding the issues that must be resolved is crucial to an inclusive divorce settlement agreement. If you are contemplating filing for divorce, the Morristown divorce lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. can guide you through the process. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 908-575-9777 today. Located in Morristown and Somerville, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains.
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Can Limited Duration Alimony be Modified?

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Senior Associate- Marissa Del Mauro

Written by: Marissa Del Mauro

An award of limited duration alimony sets alimony for a finite period of time. Meaning, at a date agreed upon by both parties and set forth in the parties’ Marital Settlement Agreement, the alimony will terminate.

Despite the finite date set in the Marital Settlement Agreement, the New Jersey alimony statute as codified under N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(c) provides for the opportunity for limited duration alimony to be modified based upon either changed circumstances or the nonoccurrence of circumstances that, at the time of the entry of the award, were contemplated to occur in the future. The specific language of the statue is as follows:

“An award of alimony for a limited duration may be modified based either upon changed circumstances, or upon the nonoccurrence of circumstances that the court found would occur at the time of the award. The court may modify the amount of such an award, but shall not modify the length of the term except in unusual circumstances. In determining the length of the term, the court shall consider the length of time it would reasonably take for the recipient to improve his or her earning capacity to a level where limited duration alimony is no longer appropriate.”

Examples of changed circumstances may be a loss of income by the recipient or a significant increase in the income of the payor. The nonoccurrence of circumstances that were anticipated at the time the agreement was written may be the inability of the recipient to obtain employment at a certain level income by the agreed upon end date of the alimony payments. An example of such nonoccurrence of circumstances could be the inability of a recipient to obtain a nursing job making a certain amount of money after she is finished earning her nursing degree.

It is important to emphasize that the amount of limited duration alimony may be modified, but the duration of the payment shall not be modified unless unusual circumstances have occurred.

When drafting language in a Marital Settlement Agreement, it is best practice for the parties to agree upon specific language that would be representative of changed circumstances, anticipated circumstances that were taken into consideration to occur in the future, and unusual circumstances that would warrant a review of the length of the award.

As you can see, the proper negotiation and drafting of a Marital Settlement Agreement pertaining to limited duration alimony is imperative. For more information regarding divorce and alimony, contact the legal team at the Law Office of Lyons & Associates. At the law office of Lyons & Associates, we represent men and women throughout New Jersey who have unresolved family law matters. We place a premium on personalized service and attention. For a private consultation, contact us by e-mail, view our website at www.lyonspc.com, or call our office at 908-271-8998.

Going Through a Divorce While Pregnant

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Going Through a Divorce While Pregnant

The decision to get a divorce is often one of the most difficult decisions one can face. It can become even more difficult if this decision is reached during pregnancy, a period already associated with some of life’s most physically demanding and emotionally draining concerns. Some States do not allow divorce during pregnancy but NJ does.

… Continue reading

Will I Still Receive Alimony If My Ex-Spouse Remarries?

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Will I Still Receive Alimony If My Ex-Spouse Remarries?

Woodbridge divorce lawyers help clients with alimony when their ex-spouse remarries.When couples divorce, one spouse often pays the other alimony for some time. This financial support helps recipients until they can support themselves as a single person. There is often some confusion about what happens to alimony when a former spouse remarries, which is usually included in a divorce settlement agreement or can be followed by your state’s alimony laws.

Types of Alimony

Before we explore how a remarriage impacts alimony, let us consider the different types of spousal support you might receive in New Jersey depending on your situation:

  • Pendente Lite or temporary support: Temporary support helps the lower-earning spouse during the divorce process. If you cannot agree on the terms of temporary support while your divorce is pending, you need to go to court.
  • Limited Duration Alimony: Alimony that lasts for a pre-determined amount of time and automatically ends on the date ordered by the courts or the date agreed upon by the parties.
  • Open Durational Alimony: If the parties had a long term marriage (20 years or more) and one spouse is unlikely to be able to support him or herself in the lifestyle the couple enjoyed during the marriage, the lower earning spouse may receive alimony indefinitely.
  • Rehabilitative Alimony: This type of alimony bridges the gap for a spouse that needs time, education, or training to renter the workforce and become self-supporting.
  • Reimbursement Alimony: Reimbursement support is paid to a spouse who gave up their own career goals to enable their spouse to achieve theirs. It compensates the lower-earning spouse for their sacrifice.

Cohabitation and Alimony

Alimony can be affected when one spouse finds another partner. Unless specifically noted in a divorce settlement or judgement, cohabitation alone, may not be enough to terminate alimony. However, the paying spouse can ask the court to reduce, or possibly terminate, alimony if their ex-spouse’s new partner contributes to the household expenses.

Alimony After an Ex-Spouse Remarries

In most cases, when the paying spouse remarries, he or she continues to provide alimony for an unmarried ex-spouse. When the supported spouse remarries, New Jersey law ends alimony as soon as their marriage or civil union is official. If alimony is being paid through Probation and/or the supporting spouse’s wages are garnished, the supporting spouse needs to file a motion in court. It should be noted there are a few exceptions when it comes to alimony after an ex-spouse remarries.

Woodbridge Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Help Clients with Spousal Support Concerns

If you have alimony concerns, the Woodbridge divorce lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. can help. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 908-575-9777 or contact us online. Located in Somerville and Morristown, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains.

Job Loss During Divorce

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Job Loss During Divorce

New Jersey divorce lawyers fight for fair spousal support during divorce.When a couple is going through a divorce, there are a number of issues to be ironed out – primarily around finances and spousal support payments. If there are children involved, then child custody & support are also decided. Divorce can get even more complicated if one of the spouses loses his or her job.

A court will usually determine an amount per month to be paid as spousal support to the lower earning spouse by the higher earning spouse. That amount is based on the higher earner’s salary as compared to the lower earner (or non-earner). Support is usually for a specific number of years. There are limited exceptions to this – as on the case of a marriage that lasted for more than 20 years. In this case, support payments are sometimes permanent.

How Do Courts View Job Loss During Divorce?

Some spouses try to avoid meeting their fair share of financial obligations in a divorce settlement. For example, it is not uncommon for the higher earning spouse to end up with a significantly lower salary during divorce negotiations as compared to beforehand.

When courts decide divorce issues, the aim is to ensure that families (especially children) are able to maintain the lifestyle they were accustomed to prior to the divorce. The courts want to see as little disruption to children’s lives as possible.

When deciding support amounts, a judge will examine the circumstances around any change in employment. Significant reductions in salary or job loss during a divorce proceeding are subject to intense scrutinization. The judge will ask why a spouse lost his or her job or changed jobs.

Courts look more favorably on a situation where unemployment is related to a general downsizing as compared to misconduct. Similarly, courts tend to be more lenient if the newly unemployed spouse makes diligent efforts to gain reemployment at a salary comparable to the salary at their prior job.

Determining Earning Potential

Courts can impute a latest salary on record, a recently reduced salary, or earning potential when calculating support payments of an unemployed or underemployed spouse. It is important to realize that the goal of imputing salary is not to punish the higher earner but to facilitate as smooth a transition as possible for all involved.

Anyone newly unemployed who is getting divorced should make a good faith effort to seek reemployment and keep a record of the effort. Record job-search activities including resumes sent, recruiters contacted, interviews held, networking opportunities pursued, and the like.

Anyone underemployed should be able to justify why the lower salary was accepted. Whether or not a judge believes that the lower salary should be the basis for deciding support will depend on the circumstances.

It can be difficult to determine true earning potential. Using a vocational expert can help. These experts can evaluate the state of the market and establish a certified earnings range commensurate with education and experience.

New Jersey Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Fight for Fair Spousal Support

Our experienced New Jersey divorce lawyers have successfully represented countless clients in their divorce proceedings. Do not let a complicated situation keep you from moving forward with your life. With diligent and careful representation, even complex divorce cases can be resolved. Contact Lyons & Associates, P.C. today by calling 908-575-9777 or completing an online form. Our Morristown and Somerville offices serve clients in Morristown, Somerset, Woodbridge, Rockaway, Short Hills, Morristown, Chatham, Randolph, Morris Plains and throughout Morris County, New Jersey.

Is the Divorce Rate Dropping?

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Somerville divorce lawyer advocate for your rights during divorce.By: Chris Ann Wright, Esq.

Believe it or not the divorce rate in the United States is about 39%. Luscombe, Belinda “The Divorce Rate is Dropping. That May Not Actually Be Good News”, Time Magazine, November 26, 2018. Is that a good thing? Well, yes and no. In reality, millennials are becoming more selective as to whom they marry. Many millennials now cohabit with their significant other rather than marry that person. Statistics show that Americans under 25 years old are more likely to live with their partners rather than marry them. Id.

Many young couples want to be financially secure before they take the plunge into marriage. The average age for men in the U.S. to get married is 30 while for women it is 28. Id. In 2003 the ages were 27 and 25, respectively, which is a three year change in less than 16 years. Id. Interestingly, couples who live together before getting married have roughly the same success rate regarding marriage as those who don’t live together beforehand. Id.

Economically, getting married for many couples can be very scary. The fact that couples are waiting longer to get married carries many implications, one being that many couples do not want to be financially intertwined. Many households today are two income families which means each person comes to the marriage with a sense of “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours”. The days of one spouse staying home to raise the children while the other goes to work are becoming few and far between. In New Jersey, regardless of each person’s monetary contribution to the marriage, most assets and debts are split pretty evenly when a couple divorces. If you’re not married, it’s much easier to pack up your things, take your bank account and walk away.

In addition, in New Jersey when divorcing, one person may have to pay the other alimony or child support and half the debt created accumulated during the marriage. Economically, when people split, they often leave the marriage in a worse financial situation than when they were married. If that’s going to be the case, is it the right decision to file for divorce? At Lyons & Associates, P.C., we can help you with that decision. We give sound advice in many areas including alimony, child support and equitable distribution. Our office places a premium on personalized service and attention and will discuss the pros and cons of obtaining a divorce in your particular situation. For a private consultation, contact us by email or call our office at 908-575-9777.