Category: Matrimonial Law

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.

New Jersey Divorce Lawyers: Taxability of Pendente Lite Support

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The Devil is in the Details

A very common and valid concern that many women have after the Complaint for Divorce is filed is how, as the lower earning spouse, they will support themselves and their children while the divorce is ongoing.

To remedy their valid concern, their matrimonial attorney will file a Motion for Pendente Lite support. This Motion, when granted by the Judge, will provide the lower earning spouse with temporary monetary support called “pendente lite” support. Pendente lite support is temporary, meant to last for the duration of time up until the Judgment of Divorce is entered.

Pendente lite support is also unallocated, meaning it is not specifically alimony nor child support; it is meant to cover all expenses for the family on this temporary basis.

Unallocated pendente lite support payments are treated as alimony and taxable to the recipient for federal taxation purposes UNLESS there is specific language in the Court Order granting the relief that the award of support is not alimony for tax purposes, is not deductible by the paying spouse and not taxable by the receiving spouse.

See the case of Kean v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 407 F.3d 186 (3d Cir. 2005), wherein the Third Circuit affirmed two consolidated rulings of the tax court, concluding that unallocated support payments received by the supported spouse during tax year 1992 through 1996 met the definition of alimony, resulting in tax deficiency assessments. The court stated that “where support payments are unallocated, as in this case, the entire amount is attributable to the payee spouse’s income.” Id. at 192.

As you can see, the proper handling of a pendente lite support in a divorce matter can have very serious tax consequences. For more information regarding pendente lite divorce matters, contact Lyons & Associates. Our skilled divorce lawyers in New Jersey 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 online or call our offices at 908-575-9777.

 

Woodbridge Divorce Lawyers: Electronic Information in a Divorce

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When going through a divorce, spouses and their attorneys will often try to gather as much information as possible about each other. These days, collecting information often involves a review of the spouse’s online footprint. Electronic communications, including emails, texts, Facebook posts, and Tweets, may all be thoroughly searched for any details that might help explain the failure of the marriage. However, these details can be used to influence the divorce negotiations in unexpected ways.

It is important to control what information you transmit online if you think your marriage may be heading for divorce. Deleting a large number of pictures or texts at once may arouse suspicion of wrongdoing, but there are other steps you can take to keep your communications in check. Keep Facebook posts to a minimum and be sure not to include details about your marriage, your spending habits, or any new relationships. It may be helpful to deactivate your social media accounts temporarily until the divorce is finalized.

Protect Your Information Online

Keeping your online accounts secure can help prevent someone from accessing information that is not shared publicly. Make sure your passwords and security questions are confidential and will not be easily guessed by your spouse. Check the privacy settings on your social media accounts to make sure only the information you want to be shared is available; pay particular attention to which social media activities can be shared by your contacts. Using a new email address for your personal business can help keep your correspondence private.

Having access to email, text, and social media on multiple devices is very convenient, but can make your communications more vulnerable. These devices often sync automatically, which can make information available to others on shared devices. Make sure you know which devices are linked to your accounts and disable any that are not needed. Turning off location tracking can also help you protect yourself.

Your spouse’s lawyers will do their best to gather as much information about you as possible. It is crucial to have an experienced divorce lawyer on your side to help protect your interests. There are some ways of capturing information online that are illegal, and not all information is admissible in court. A knowledgeable divorce lawyer can help navigate divorce laws that are specific to your state.

Woodbridge Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Help Families with Complicated Divorce Matters

Our divorce lawyers in New Jersey at Lyons & Associates, P.C. are here to help if you are going through a divorce in New Jersey. Our dedicated lawyers understand the complexities of New Jersey family law and will help you achieve the best possible outcome. With offices conveniently located in Somerville, we serve clients throughout New Jersey. Call us today at 908-575-9777 or contact us online for a confidential consultation.

 

 

New Jersey Divorce Lawyers: Pet Prenuptial Agreements

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Often overlooked is the equally strong bond between humans and pets. Unlike a child, pets in the eyes of the law are property – not people. As a result, a divorcing couple must choose one spouse to serve as primary caregiver to any shared pets. Much of the guesswork can be eliminated from this painful negotiation with the creation of a pet prenuptial agreement.

A pet prenuptial agreement allows couples to specify in advance who will serve as primary custodian for their fury friend in the event of a separation or divorce. A pet prenuptial agreement will also establish which pets were acquired by one spouse prior to a marriage, and what will become of pets acquired jointly during the marriage. Lastly, a pet prenuptial agreement will specify how much – if any – visitation a non-custodial pet parent will have, and for how long, once a divorce is final.

Divorce is Confusing for Animals, Too

During the initial stages of a separation, primary pet custodians should – whenever possible – show compassion for their former spouse in order to benefit their pet. Because a pet is unable to grasp the concept of divorce, it cannot understand why it no longer sees both caregivers on a regular basis. Moreover, pets are often forced to relocate and adjust to new surroundings. The confusion and emotional turmoil can be overwhelming for pets, most of whom crave stability. Increased access to a former caregiver can help sooth frayed nerves.

New Jersey Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Draft Pet Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

A couple who married without a prenuptial agreement may nonetheless craft a postnuptial agreement specifically covering pets they have since acquired. If you or a loved one is in need of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, the New Jersey divorce lawyers at Lyons & Associates can help. Call us at 908-575-9777 or contact us online to schedule an appointment at our Somerville, New Jersey offices, where we represent clients throughout New Jersey.

Surveys Show Marriage Rates in New Jersey Declining

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In recent surveys, marriage rates were shown to be declining in New Jersey. Individuals are waiting much longer to get married, therefore the median age of people getting married increased. In many cases, individuals chose to never get married and live together instead. The three largest cities with the highest percentage of unmarried individuals are New Brunswick with nearly 70 percent; Camden showing almost 60 percent; and Newark with a total of close to 55 percent. Many other parts of the state from North to South hovered between 25 and 50 percent, depending on the community in question.

Factors contributing to the decline include fallout from the recession, financial issues like struggles with significant student loan debt, and unaffordable living expenses, which lead to individuals resorting to living with their parents. Lingering effects from divorce also come into play in which children who experienced their parents’ divorce feel disillusioned by marriage and decide it’s not a viable option. Although those reasons are understandable, marriage brings a lot of benefits with it like tax breaks, social security benefits, input on legal decisions, health insurance perks, and other rewards not available to unmarried individuals.

If your marriage is faltering, and you discover that divorce is the only suitable option, you need guidance in order to make a smooth transition for you and your family. If you are a single person, but still have questions relating to family law, you should speak with counsel. Our compassionate divorce lawyers at Lyons & Associates, PC are here for you and will assist you with the complex issues that arise in a divorce. For a free consultation, contact us online or at 908-575-9777. We serve residents of New Jersey including the towns of Somerville, Bridgewater, Somerset, Basking Ridge, Mendham and Morristown, Somerset County, Morris County, and Union County.

New Jersey Divorce Lawyers: What If My Ex-Spouse Refuses to Comply With Prior Court Order or Our Divorce Agreement?

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Sometimes people are forced to go back to Court more than once to try to get an Order reinforced.

When a party files an application with a court seeking certain relief, whatever that relief may be, a final judgment or order is issued. When two people get divorced, the terms of that divorce are contained in a Property/Marital Settlement Agreement, which is entered through the court, and of which both parties’ compliance is required. Unfortunately, not all parties comply with this final order. Most times this non-compliance leads more litigation when the party seeking compliance is required to file a post-judgment application.

When a party to a family court order fails to follow the terms of an already issued order, the other party can file a post-judgment application with the court to enforce the order and compel the other party’s compliance. “Post-judgment” just means anything that occurs after a judgment has been issued by a court.

Lucky for the filing party, the power of a court to enforce its orders is beyond question. Board of Educ., Tp. of Middletown v. Middletown Tp. Educ. Ass’n, 352 N.J. Super. 501, 508 (Ch. Div. 2001); D’Angelo v. D’Angelo, 208 N.J. Super. 729, 731 (Ch. Div 1986) (citing Joseph Harris & Sons, Inc. v. Van Loan, 23 N.J. 466, 469 (1957). A litigant may apply for enforcement of an existing order or judgment under 1:10-3, which provides that “[n]ot withstanding that an act of omission may also constitute a contempt of court, a litigant in any action may seek relief by application in the action.” “The scope of relief in a motion in aid of litigants’ rights is limited to remediation of the violation of a court order.” Abbot ex rel. Abbot v. Burke, 206 N.J. 332, 371 (2011) (citing Asbury Park Bd. Of Educ. v. N.J. Dep’t of Envtl. Prot., 369 N.J. Super. 481, 486 (App. Div.), aff’d in part, 180 N.J. 109 (2004)).

If your adversary is ever in violation of a prior court order or agreement, and you are unable to remedy this non-compliance through negotiation or mediation, you must seek enforcement of that order through the court. If you or someone you know has questions about their adversary’s non-compliance with a prior court order and are seeking enforcement of same, contact one of the skilled attorneys at Lyons & Associates at 908-575-9777. You can also fill out our online intake form.

Written by: William P. Lemega, Esq.

Bridgewater Divorce Lawyer: When Getting a Divorce…Think About Social Media!

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Everyone these days uses some type of social media. People post pictures, vacations, and many life events. However, those seemingly harmful posts can come back and bit you when you least expect it.

For example, suppose your child plays ice hockey and winds up with a broken arm? While you are in the doctor’s office getting it casted, you take a picture and post it on Facebook. Perfectly innocent, right? Well, it may not seem that way to a judge at a custody hearing for your son. Your ex-husband may present that picture as evidence in court and claim you are not taking proper care of your son.

What about a picture of you and your new boyfriend on a cruise together? Maybe there is a battle going on in your divorce about the amount of alimony you are receiving. This picture appears on Facebook and your husband’s attorney asks questions such as “Who paid for this trip?” “Where did the funds come from?” “Who watched your children while you were on the trip?” “Who paid the babysitting fees?” Just from that one picture came at least four questions from the other attorney.

What about such issues as adultery? Suppose you are at a party with your paramour and someone innocently takes a picture of a couple at another table. In the background is you kissing your paramour. Now there’s evidence that a relationship is going on or at least, that you’ve been cheating on your spouse. Such a picture can be presented in court as evidence.

Bottom line-BE CAREFUL! People think it’s fun to post things online. We all want the world to know what we are doing. However, posting pictures makes things easier for our angry spouses. All of this can be used as proof or evidence of what’s happening in our lives. Can it be twisted into something it’s not? Absolutely! It’s important to think before you post! Remember – A picture’s worth a thousand words!

Experienced New Jersey Family Law and Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates

If you need more information regarding the use of social media in divorce please contact the Law Office of Lyons & Associates. At Lyons & Associates, we represent men and women throughout New Jersey who have unresolved family law matters, including divorce. We place a premium on personalized service and attention. For a private consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 908-575-9777.

Written by: ChrisAnn Wright, Esq.

Somerville Divorce Lawyers: What’s a Post Nuptial Agreement?

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Many people have heard of a prenuptial agreement, but most haven’t heard of a post-nuptial agreement. A post nuptial agreement is just as it sounds, an agreement between two married people usually made to preserve and/or designate their assets that they sign after they already are married. In the state of New Jersey, many assets such as the family home, a business or even a vintage automobile are subject to equitable distribution. That means if it is acquired during the marriage it is an asset that belongs to both people and upon divorce will be equitably distributed between the parties.

Often, if one spouse acquires something special or works very hard in one particular area, he or she may want the option of keeping that asset in the event the couple divorces. For example, if the wife was previously a stay at home mom and started a small business while she was at home, she may want to protect that business in the instance of divorce. It may be that her children are now in high school and she is no longer working from home but now has her own office space, her own employees and is earning $60,000 per year. Naturally, she would want to keep that business and not have any portion of it distributed to her spouse. One avenue to do this would be to have Lyons & Associates draft a post-nuptial agreement.

A post nuptial agreement should not be in contemplation of divorce, but should be done to protect or designate ownership of assets acquired during the marriage. A couple may be perfectly happy when they draft a post nuptial agreement; they may just be looking out for their own interests. There are four requirements to have a legally valid post-nuptial agreement;

  1. Independent counsel for both parties; in other words each party should have their own attorney review the agreement with him or her.
  2. Fair and equitable terms; the agreement should not be skewed to benefit only one party. It should be fair to both parties.
  3. There should be no coercion or duress; one party should not be threatening divorce if the other will not sign the agreement.
  4. Full disclosure by both parties; if the Court finds that funds or information were being hidden from the other spouse, they will not enforce the agreement. It is very important both sides disclose all of their assets.

Often an agreement such as a post-nuptial takes a lot of pressure off of the parties, especially if the marriage is not going well. It allows the parties to work on fixing the marriage and moving forward without taking into account the financial repercussions of a divorce.

In addition, a post-nuptial agreement can also be helpful when one or both spouses have children from a prior marriage. A spouse may want to preserve a certain asset so that the child can inherit it without input from the new spouse. People have many different reasons for preserving their assets. At Lyons & Associates we can help you work through those reasons and develop a solution that is right for you.

Contact an Experienced New Jersey Family Law and Divorce Lawyer at Lyons & Associates

To obtain additional information about family or divorce law in New Jersey, or to discuss how we can assist you with your situation, please schedule a confidential consultation with New Jersey family law attorney Terry Lyons or one of our experienced New Jersey divorce lawyers by calling (908) 575-9777, or filling out our intake form. We provide personal attention for your personal matters.

Written By: Chris Ann Wright, Esq.

When is it Appropriate to File an Emergency Application, Also Called Order to Show Cause?

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There are two types of temporary applications in family court: emergent and non-emergent.

A non-emergent motion is an application that can be made in Family Court in which the applicant requests specific relief from the Court. Pursuant to R. 5:5-4(c), Family Court motions are deemed to be twenty-four day motions, meaning that the application must be filed at least twenty-four days before the scheduled return date. That is the soonest the Court will make a ruling on your application, but the reality is that most rulings are not made until well after the twenty-four day period for a variety of reasons.

If the relief you are requesting is emergent and you cannot wait a minimum of twenty-four days before obtaining said relief, you must file an Order to Show Cause.

There are different types of Order to Show Causes that can be filed based on the specific type of relief you are requesting. In order to grant emergent relief, New Jersey law holds that the movant must demonstrate that:

(1) the preliminary restraints are necessary to prevent irreparable harm;

(2) the legal rights underlying the claims are settled;

(3) the material facts are uncontroverted and demonstrate a reasonable probability of ultimate success on the merits; and

(4) the relative hardship to the parties in granting or denying relief favors granting the relief. Crow v. DeGioia, 90 N.J. 126, 132-34 (1982). The irreparable harm must be imminent, concrete, non-speculative, and the harm must occur in the near, not distant future. Subcarrier Communications v. Day, 299 N.J.Super., 634, 639 (App. Div. 1997). “Harm is generally considered irreparable in equity if it cannot be redressed adequately by monetary damages.” Crowe, supra, 90 N.J. at 133-34.

It is important to note that the Court has deemed it improper to use an Order to Show Cause to modify support obligations. Wei v. Wei, 248 N.J.Super. 572 (App. Div. 1991)

In today’s society of instant gratification and perpetual impatience an Order to Show Cause could be seen as an attractive option regardless of circumstance, as it offers immediate relief. However, if your application fails to present objective evidence of immediate irreparable harm, it will be denied.

Contact the New Jersey Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, PC, Today

The important thing to realize is that there are different factors that can contribute to what type of application is appropriate to file. Please contact us online or call an experienced family law lawyer at Lyons & Associates today at 908-575-9777 to schedule an appointment to ensure that you proceed correctly.

Written By: William P. Lemega, Esq.

Discuss Love, Money and Divorce

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It may come as no surprise that money was identified in a recent study as the number one cause of divorce. Researchers found that it didn’t really matter if the couple was considered affluent or poor, the lack of money to live the expected lifestyle or differing values in how money is spent often led to irreconcilable differences. Family therapists recommend a number of strategies for avoiding a monetarily-motivated divorce:

  • Openly discuss your finances and come to agreements—Too often, spouses talk about financial problems, but don’t agree upon a course of action. Then, when one party spends or refuses to spend, the other party becomes resentful.
  • Allow some financial freedom, even if it’s small—Both parties to a marriage need some discretionary income. If one party controls all the discretionary income, that party controls all the power, and the other party will become resentful. Some experts recommend separate accounts for personal discretionary spending, as it allows independence and avoids incessant checking and other behaviors that can erode trust.
  • Balance financial independence with accountability—If you are afraid to tell your spouse that you spent money on something, you shouldn’t have spent the money. Be willing and proactive about disclosing your expenditures. It builds trust, and will help you from wasteful spending.
  • Live within your means—Set a budget and live within it. You can even allot some amount for discretionary spending within the budget.
  • Don’t spend when you are unhappy—You can’t solve emotional problems with money. Furthermore, you can’t buy your way around communication problems. Finally, don’t spend to punish your spouse, or withhold promised dollars to gain an advantage
  • Be willing to say when you believe you are contributing more than your fair share or getting less than you deserve.

Contact the Experienced New Jersey Family Law Lawyers at Lyons & Associates

Contact our office online or call us at 908-575-9777 to schedule a confidential consultation. Lyons & Associates, PC, serves the entire state of New Jersey including Somerville, Bridgewater, Somerset, Basking Ridge, Mendham and Morristown.