Category: Matrimonial Law

Prenuptial Agreements 101

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Prenuptial Agreements 101

Newly engaged individuals often wonder whether a prenuptial agreement is necessary or appropriate for them. Truly, anyone who is interested in entering into a prenuptial agreement should consider one. It is not a prerequisite to be wealthy in order to consider one. Some examples of those who may be particularly interested in entering into a prenuptial agreement are business owners, those entering into a second (or subsequent) marriage and those who expect to inherit or already have inherited monies from his or her family.

The Ins and Outs of Prenuptial Agreements

In New Jersey, prenuptial agreements are governed by the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, N.J.S.A. 37:2-31 et seq. Prenuptial Agreements are open to any engaged couple that wishes to address the following issues

  • The future division of assets upon a separation event;
  • Alimony;
  • Estate rights;
  • Ownership and property rights as to property acquired during the marriage in joint name and in individual names;
  • Any other issue they wish to address that does not go against public policy*

* It is important to note that couples can never address issues related to children, including custody and child support, in a prenuptial agreement because that is void under public policy. Meaning, Courts are required to protect children’s best interests, and children cannot be contracted for.

*New Jersey case law also provides that once cannot waive future marital interest in an ERISA retirement plan

Requirements for a Valid Agreement

Under NJ law, the following elements of a prenuptial agreement checklist are required for an agreement to be found valid:

  • A signed writing by both parties;
  • Full financial disclosure of each party’s income, assets and liabilities;
  • Voluntary entry into the agreement (no fraud or duress);
  • Representation of counsel by each party (unless one party voluntarily and knowingly agrees to waive his or her right to counsel, in writing)

Choice of Law

Parties are able to designate a specific state to govern their agreement and to continue to govern their agreement in the future, should any issues or disputes arise. Typically, choice of law will be the same state as the state that drafted the agreement as that is typically where the parties are residing at that time. New Jersey is one of 28 states that has adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. This Act serves to provide universal application to enforcing prenuptial agreement terms. While the states that have adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act may vary in their requirements for enforceability, all 50 states recognize prenuptial agreements. This means that even if parties enter into an agreement in New Jersey and designate New Jersey as the governing state in their agreement, New Jersey law would control (subject to the new state’s specific requirements as to enforceability).

Let Us Help You With Your Prenuptial Agreement

As you can see, the proper drafting of a prenuptial agreement is key to its enforceability in the future. For more information regarding prenuptial agreements, contact 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 email, visit our website, or call our office at 908-575-9777.

Should I Get a Prenup?

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Should I Get a Prenup?

Should I Get a Prenup? 3 Ways to Decide

If you are planning on marrying the love of your life, you may be considering whether a prenup, or prenuptial agreement, is necessary. These legal agreements are put in place to safeguard your assets from a prospective spouse in the event of divorce.

According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, more than half of family law attorneys report a significant increase in the number of prenuptial agreements. In other words, if you are wondering whether you should get a prenup, you are not alone. Let’s take a quick look at whether a prenuptial agreement makes sense for your unique situation.

Are You Looking for a way to Protect Your Hard-earned Assets?

If you have savings, investments, real estate, or other items of value, you should give serious consideration to establishing a prenup prior to marriage. Meet with our New Jersey family law attorneys, and we will custom-tailor a prenup that identifies each spouse’s assets so those assets can be retained as individual property if a divorce occurs.

You shouldn’t rely on a judge to safeguard your hard-earned assets. If you end up divorcing, there is a good chance a judge will rule that your assets are mutually held property, resulting in your ex-husband or ex-wife receiving half of your assets. Opting for a prenuptial agreement with the help of our Somerville attorneys can set clear boundaries to establish which assets are your own, as opposed to those that are mutually held.

A Prenup Helps You Avoid the Absorption of Your Spouse’s Debt

If your future spouse has accumulated debt or plans on taking out a line of credit or student loan, you are likely wondering whether this merits a prenup. If you divorce, there is a chance a judge will rule that you are responsible for your spouse’s car note, tax lien, credit card debt, student loans, and other financial commitments. Lean on our Morristown family law attorneys to craft a prenuptial agreement unique to your marriage, and strict rules will be established to keep personal debt with the individual responsible for the financial obligation.

Should I get a Prenup When my Spouse has one or Several Children from Another Relationship?

Nowadays, it is not uncommon for adults to have one or multiple children from a prior relationship. However, you should not have to pay to raise kids that your spouse brought into this world before meeting you. Our New Jersey family law attorneys are here to create a prenup that establishes specific rules regarding how child support will be used for kids from a prior relationship. Furthermore, if you have one or more children from a prior relationship, a prenup will establish the specific assets that will be set aside for your kids. This way, your new spouse will not be able to lay claim to assets designated for your kids from another relationship.

Schedule a Consultation with the Attorneys at Lyons & Associates

Our legal team is here to help you determine if you need a prenuptial agreement. If it is determined that establishing a prenup is prudent for your specific situation, we will draft this important legal document on your behalf. Our New Jersey family law attorneys tailor the nuances of each prenup to the needs and desires of each specific client.

The bottom line is, if you are pondering the question, “Should I get a prenup?”, you can likely benefit from one. Our New Jersey family law attorney is here to establish your prenup, help with divorce, adoption, domestic disputes, and other legal matters. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. You can reach Lyons & Associates, P.C. by dialing (908) 575-9777. If you prefer to reach us on the web, fill out our online contact form, and we will be in touch at our earliest convenience.

Why Do Divorce Rates Increase in January?

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Why Do Divorce Rates Increase in January?

January is referred to as divorce month by news and media outlets because this is when many divorce filings take place. There are several reasons why more couples separate right after the New Year. Spouses tend to stay together during the holiday season to preserve a sense of happiness for their family, especially when they have children. On top of this, divorce can be costly and with many other expenses during the holidays, couples may want to wait. Buying gifts, travel expenses, and high utility bills add up, and the expense of a divorce may need to be postponed. Others put it off simply because the season is so busy. Decorating, planning meals, baking, cooking, and attending events can all be pleasantly distracting.

Keeping the marriage intact until the holidays are over may not be the best idea, either way. If the couple is arguing, it can ruin everyone’s holiday. Even if they are not fighting, family members, especially children, can perceive when something is wrong.

Signs of Marital Problems

Spouses that are concerned their marriages may be failing can look for certain indicators. When a couple often fights over money, it could be a clear sign of marital problems. One or both parties may instigate the issue, with behaviors like overspending, hiding money, or making big purchases without talking it over with the other person. A certified financial planner explained in Business Insider that money is an emotional issue and that it comes down to the breaking of trust.

Feelings of unhappiness or a lack of fulfillment also lead to marriage failure. Some spouses feel that their marriages have not met their expectations, including situations where one is the sole provider and the other is home, caring for the children. Frequent fighting over major issues is another sign, although the silent treatment can be even worse. When couples stop talking for extended periods of time, there is likely a deep-rooted problem.

One Step at a Time

Married couples that experience serious relationship issues may want to take things slowly rather than split up right after the holidays. Rather making decisions based on emotions, it makes sense to look at things from a practical standpoint. Some couples choose counseling or therapy and manage to hold their marriages together.

Morristown Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Help Clients With All Types of Divorce Matters

When it is time to initiate divorce proceedings, reach out to an experienced Morristown divorce lawyer at Lyons & Associates, P.C. When all other options have been exhausted and divorce is the only choice, a qualified divorce lawyer can be of service. Morristown Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Help Clients with All Types of Divorce Matters.

We will walk you through the divorce process and explain the next best options. Located in Somerville and Morristown, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains. For a free consultation, call us at 908-575-9777 or complete our online form.

The Advantages of Hiring a Certified Matrimonial Attorney

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The New Jersey certified matrimonial law attorneys rigorously work with clients on matters of marital law.When a marriage begins to dissolve, it can seem like the end of your hopes and dreams and the world as you know it. Yet during that highly emotional time, you need to do everything you can to protect your children, your home, your lifestyle, and your finances. You may not be thinking clearly, and so choosing the right lawyer at a time like that may be challenging.

The good news is that the State of New Jersey has made your choice easier, by bestowing Supreme Court Certifications upon certain lawyers who have gone through rigorous training and passed stringent qualifications.

When you choose a Certified Matrimonial Attorney, you know that you are choosing someone who understands everything about the specialty area of matrimonial law.

Becoming a Certified Matrimonial Attorney

The requirements for becoming a Certified Matrimonial Attorney include:

  • Being a member in good standing of the New Jersey bar for more than five years
  • Demonstrating a substantial level of experience in matrimonial law
  • Continuing to fulfill all ongoing education requirements
  • Undergoing strict vetting to ensure the lawyer has experience in handling different types of family law cases
  • Passing a written examination on matrimonial law
  • Receiving favorable evaluations by judges and other lawyers

There are approximately 75,000 active lawyers in the state of New Jersey, and many of them will tell you that they are qualified to practice matrimonial law. However, out of that large number there are only two percent that are certified.

When you choose a certified lawyer, you are choosing someone who has proven their proficiency in family and matrimonial law.

The Personal Touch and Professional Representation

The New Jersey family law and divorce lawyers at Lyons & Associates live by the mantra of “personal attention for personal matters.” That means that we understand you are going through a deeply personal experience – one that is rife with mixed emotions and uncertainty. We strive to ensure that your experience will be free of fear, by providing answers to all your questions, offering compassionate and insightful guidance, and providing fierce advocacy for your rights.

Two members of our team are Certified Matrimonial Attorneys:

  • Managing Partner Terry Lyons, a founding member of the firm, is a renowned author and lecturer who devotes much of her free time to charitable works. She was recently honored by the American Institute of Family Law lawyers as one of the “top 10 best female lawyers.”
  • Will Lemega, a Senior Associate, is a skilled trial lawyer who focuses his practice on complex matrimonial and family law matters. In 2018 he was honored as a New Jersey Super Lawyers Rising Star.

The New Jersey Certified Matrimonial Law Attorneys at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Work to Help Clients with Matters of Marital Law

Going through a divorce or dealing with any marital law matter can be both confusing and stressful. Our New Jersey Certified Matrimonial Law Lawyers can bring confidence and peace-of-mind to a complicated, often frightening process. Please contact Lyons & Associates, P.C. at 908-575-9777 or contact us online.

Lyons & Associates, P.C. is conveniently located in Somerville, to serve clients throughout New Jersey including Bridgewater, Basking Ridge, Chatham, Madison, Mendham, Morris Plains, Morristown, Parsippany, Randolph, Rockaway, Short Hills, South Plainfield, and Somerset.

Client Alert – Pension or Retirement Assets with QDROnow.com

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New Jersey Divorce Lawyers Post Client Alert - Pension or Retirement Assets with QDROnow.comAny person who had their pension or retirement assets handled by the company “QDROnow.com” should seek immediate help from matrimonial counsel. The owner of QDROnow.com, Robert Hetsler, is now accused of embezzling millions of dollars from client retirement assets. Read more here.

Contact the skilled New Jersey Family Law Attorneys at Lyons & Associates, P.C. if you have any questions about how you might be impacted and how to proceed in dividing retirement assets. Please call us at (908) 575-9777 or contact us online

I Received a Bad Ruling, Can My Case Be Opened Again?

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New Jersey family law attorneys represent divorcing couples and handle appeals. If you have an issue before the court, at some point your matter will be adjudicated and a Judge will make a ruling and issue a final order. Sometimes, that decision may not be to your liking, and you make think that the Judge was flat-out wrong. The question then becomes: what happens now? Short of accepting the decision, you do have options. One of those options is to file a Notice of Motion for Reconsideration.

4:49-2 states:

“Except as otherwise provided by R. 1:13-1 (clerical errors) a motion for rehearing or reconsideration seeking to alter or amend a judgment or order shall be served not later than 20 days after service of the judgment or order upon all parties by the party obtaining it. The motion shall state with specificity the basis on which it is made, including a statement of the matters or controlling decisions which counsel believes the court has overlooked or as to which it has erred, and shall have annexed thereto a copy of the judgment or order sought to be reconsidered and a copy of the court’s corresponding written opinion, if any.”

This means you can file a Notice of Motion for Reconsideration and essentially request that the court review their decision. The above stated R. 4:49-2 deals with reconsideration of final orders, which are not taken lightly by the court. The court will not allow you to simply make the same argument and hope you can convince them to rule differently. In order to be successful, you must show that the Court has expressed its decision based upon a palpably incorrect or irrational basis, or that it is obvious that the Court either did not consider, or failed to appreciate the significant of probative, competent evidence.

Filing a Notice of Motion for Reconsideration is not always the appropriate method if you are not satisfied with your result, but it can be an effective means if used properly. There is a process and procedure for everything and it is important that you properly determine whether or not filing a Notice of Motion for Reconsideration, or a different application, is next best step for you. To contact a member of our legal team, please contact us online or call Lyons & Associates at 908-575-9777 to schedule an appointment.

Written by: William P. Lemega, Esq.

Legislation Regarding Marriage by Minors

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Mendham Family Law Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Provide Experienced Counsel in All Matters of Family LawMarriage by minors has been in the news recently as some states introduced legislation aimed at prohibiting child marriage. Until now in New York, minors as young as 14 were permitted to marry. New changes abolish marriage for 14-16- year-olds and allows 17-year-olds to marry if they have both judicial and parental consent.

The New York state Republican led Senate passed the bill, as did the State Assembly, which is controlled by the Democrats. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo supports ending child marriage and is expected to sign the bill into law.

Across the bridge in New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie conditionally vetoed a bill introduced by Republican Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz that would have banned marriages by minors in New Jersey. Munoz was moved by stories told at a committee hearing last year of minors being forced to marry for religious reasons. Unchained at Last is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of the still widespread practice of child marriage in the United States. According to their executive director, Fraidy Reiss, almost 3,500 marriages with a partner under 18 took place in New Jersey from 1995 to 2012. Most of the minors in the marriages are girls married to adult men.

Christie proposed changes to the current law that would ban all marriages for minors under 16 and require judicial consent for any 16 and 17-year-olds seeking to marry. He pointed out that New Jersey law permits 16-year-olds to consent to sex and obtain an abortion without parental consent, and that no state bans marriages for minors completely.

Amy Paulin, the New York Assemblywoman who sponsored the bill, called child marriage “coerced marriage,” saying, “it condemns young women to a life they did not choose.” Experts on family law also agree that girls forced to marry as teenagers endure social, educational, and financial burden as a result. Some girls are forced to marry cousins from abroad to get a green card and permanent residency in the United States for the husband. Previously in New York, a girl could marry at 14, but could not legally divorce until 18, and most domestic violence shelters cannot accept victims under 18. Now the changes to New York state law mandate that a 17-year-old that marries can also divorce.

In New Jersey, some pro-life supporters and politicians sided with Gov. Christie saying that a pregnant teen should be able to marry so that the baby is not born out of wedlock. Christie said that although he agrees that minors need to be protected, the bill was too severe because “it does not comport with the sensibilities and, in some cases the religious customs, of the people of this State.”

New Jersey Assemblywoman Munoz was disappointed by Christie’s conditional veto and had anticipated being first in the country to enact a law banning marriage for minors. Instead, the President of the National Organization for Women of New York, Sonia Ossorio, said in her praise of Gov. Cuomo, “New York is poised to lead the nation in recognizing child marriage as a violation of human rights.”

Mendham Family Law Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Provide Experienced Counsel in All Matters of Family Law

At Lyons & Associates, P.C., we give personal attention to every client and are committed to successfully resolving your case. Call 908-575-9777 to schedule a free and confidential consultation about your case with an experienced Mendham family law lawyer, or contact us online.

Bridgewater Divorce Lawyers: Divorcing After a Long Marriage

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Divorcing After a Long MarriageCouples that have been together for decades are not untouched by divorce. Studies show that “gray divorces” are actually on the rise. Couples over 50 who end their marriage are currently the largest divorce demographic. Empty nesters are more likely to part ways once the kids have gone and they realize they have little in common. Divorce is simply more acceptable nowadays, and the idea that you are morally obligated stay with your partner “til death do you part” is less realistic.

Following are some tips for those going through a “gray divorce” to come out on the other side happier than ever.

Do Not Tackle Finances on Your Own

Finance matters may be the most complicated part of a divorce for couples married for 20, 30, or more years. Couples going through divorce later in life may be retired and living on a fixed income. The income once used to fund a single household must now stretch for two. A financial planner or divorce lawyer experienced in “gray divorce” will help you establish your cash flow, assets, and expenses and determine a budget that works for your post-divorce lifestyle.

Consider Relocating

In many cases, it just does not make financial sense for either spouse to keep the marital home. The expense of maintaining it is not feasible when income is now divided. Many people going through divorce later in life opt to downsize to smaller, more affordable homes. In conjunction with the growing trend of senior divorce, many baby boomers decide to live together in roommate situations. If you go this route, protect yourself with a legally-binding lease agreement. Saying goodbye to your family home can be difficult, but it is also a symbolic way to begin your new life.

Do Not Be Afraid to Rejoin the Workforce

Divorced seniors who suddenly find themselves with less income and new expenses may need to go back to work. This does not have to be a daunting proposition. Seniors do not necessarily have to return to the high-stress occupation they had before retirement. Many companies, especially retail, offer flexible positions for college students and older Americans that may not need a full-time schedule. Public schools offer aide or substitute jobs for a few hours of additional income every week. Work-from-home jobs are another option offering extra income without the commute or time commitment.

Bridgewater Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Help Those Divorcing Later in Life

 Divorcing later in life has its own challenges, but your new life can be as exciting and fulfilling as ever. Our skilled and compassionate New Jersey divorce lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. will work to ensure you achieve the best resolution possible. We will handle your divorce in New Jersey with knowledge and compassion, while protecting your interests. Call our Somerville, New Jersey offices at 908-575-9777 or contact us online to begin. We proudly assist clients throughout New Jersey, including the towns of Somerville, Somerset, Mendham, Bridgewater, and Woodbridge.