Category: Matrimonial Law

New Jersey Divorce Lawyers: Big Changes to Palimony Agreements

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On September 25, 2014, the New Jersey Supreme Court by way of Maeker v. Ross breathed new life into palimony agreements. A palimony agreement is an agreement, oral or written, between two non-married parties living in a marital-like relationship wherein promises are made regarding the financial support or division of assets between one another. In 2010, the New Jersey legislature enacted an amendment to the Statute of Frauds requiring these promises be in writing and signed by the individuals making the promise. The issue presented in Maeker was whether this amendment applied to palimony agreements entered into before the amendment was enacted in 2010 rendering any and all oral palimony agreements invalid. We now know the answer is NO.

Prior to the amendment, under Kozlowski v. Kozlowski, 80 N.J. 378 (1979), an oral or written promise of lifetime support by one cohabitant to another in a marital-like relationship would be enforced, if one of the partners was induced to cohabit by the promise. The court held that the right to such support is found in contract principles and that the contract may be either express or implied. This principle has been upheld consistently by the Courts.

Now, as a result of Maeker, any oral promises for support made prior to 2010, do not have to be in writing to be enforced, permitting applications for enforcement. However, any promises for support made after 2010 are required under the amendment to be in writing.

Contact the New Jersey Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C.

If you or someone you know has a question regarding palimony or any other divorce or family law matter, contact the skilled attorneys at Lyons & Associates, P.C., 908-575-9777 for a consultation. You can also fill out our online intake form.

Written by: Kristyl M. Berckes, Esq.

New Jersey Divorce Lawyers discuss Divorce, Remarriage, and Sticky Issues – How a Popular Band’s Rift Can Teach Divorcing People a Lesson

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Kiss was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame. However, Kiss decided not to perform at the ceremony. Why turn down such an honor? Because the Hall of Fame were inducting ONLY the original band members; however, two of the original Kiss members were long ago replaced by others.

Kiss co-founders Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley respectfully declined to perform, because they felt that it would be disrespectful and hurtful to their current band mates. Controversy surrounding this “non-event” went viral on Twitter and the blogosphere, with fans arguing about the pros and cons of performing with the original four band mates, versus performing with the current, long-standing lineup.

Through it all, Simmons and Stanley kept mum on the topic of the former original band mates, respectfully noting they will accept the award, but not dishonor their current band mates by playing with their former band mates.

So, how is this situation, and Kiss’s actions in the face of controversy, instructive to those divorced, or going through a divorce, or to those who are remarried? Being in a band can be similar to being in a marriage. You think together, create together, travel together, earn money as a group, and at times even live together for extended stretches. It is inevitable that this close proximity will also result in arguments, and in some cases, escalate to a breakup.

When you divorce, in most cases, you don’t want to be ‘hanging out’ with your former spouse, save for necessary mutual social occasions. Once remarried, your new life more pertinently involves your new spouse. And it’s not appropriate for others to insist that you bring your former spouse along to events, especially when you are well into a successful and happy remarriage. This is, in essence, what the Hall of Fame was asking Kiss to do.

Kiss, despite their raucous performances onstage, showed a lot of class and respect. They were never rude in public about their former band mates. Rather, they congratulated them publicly but politely held their ground without calling anyone “wrong” or “bad.” They were respectful of both their old ‘spouses’ – the original band-mates – and their new ‘spouses’ – the longstanding newer members. Kiss managed to maintain a fine balance, honoring both the old and newer members with their actions.

When you have been divorced, the takeaway from this tale could be don’t badmouth your ex; also, don’t allow pressure from others to force you to participate in activities with your former spouse, to the exclusion of your current spouse, even if people, such as kids or friends (or in the case of Kiss, some fans) want things to be “the way they were”. Because not honoring the present properly could lead to another divorce.

Contact Lyons & Associates to Speak With Experienced New Jersey Divorce Lawyer

At the Somerville, New Jersey, Woodbridge divorce lawyers of Lyons & Associates, we use our legal experience to make the traditional and the LGBT custody, support, and dissolution and divorce process as pain-free as possible. We bring a high level of personal attention to every case we handle. To schedule an appointment, contact us online or call our office at 908-575-9777.

New York Brothers Up to No Good in NJ Divorce Case

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 The brothers, 34-year-old Avrohom Goldstein and his 31-year-old brother Moshe, were not leading anyone to the Promised Land with their capers. Rather, they were heading down the road to extortion, to which both pleaded guilty.It’s not often that you hear of a man being forced into divorcing his wife through threats of violence. And yet, in a Trenton, NJ, courtroom, two Brooklyn brothers have confessed to attempting to force a Jewish man into giving his wife a religious divorce by threatening him with violence.

Evidently, the two have done such a thing before, because they admitted to having assaulted a Brooklyn man in an effort to extract a divorce in 2011. They each face a maximum of 20 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines, upon sentencing this month.

Another troubling fact of this case is that knowledge of these men came about because of an undercover sting operation. The sting involved an FBI agent communicating with two rabbis, likely in the same religious sect as the two brothers, seeking help in getting a divorce, which is known as a “get.” The rabbis could also go on trial.

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

If you or someone you know has questions about a “Get,” an annulment, or other type of religious or civil divorce, then contact Lyons & Associates to talk with experienced New Jersey divorce lawyers at the Somerville, New Jersey, family law firm of Lyons & Associates, we use our legal experience to make the custody, support, and divorce process as pain-free as possible. We bring a high level of personal attention to every case we handle. To schedule an appointment, contact us online or call our office at 908-575-9777.

New Jersey Divorce Lawyers: Is it Illegal to Record my Telephone Conversations with my Estranged Spouse in New Jersey

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Clients often ask whether they are able to legally record their telephone conversations with their estranged spouses. Obtaining recordings of statements from an estranged spouse can often be helpful in a divorce proceeding. In addition to written statements like text messages, emails or postings on social media, recorded telephone conversations and voicemails can be extremely harmful to a litigant’s divorce case as well, or helpful depending on whether you are the litigant who made the statement. As an example of just how significant recorded telephone conversations can be in custody litigation. Just look at the telephone conversations that Mel Gibson’s estranged girlfriend recorded just a few years ago where Mr. Gibson’s messages left the listener wondering whether the Oscar winning actor was actually completely insane. One can only assume that the telephone recordings were quite helpful to Mr. Gibson’s estranged girlfriend in securing a favorable settlement of the custody litigation and other financial issues ancillary to their case.

According to The New Jersey Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act N.J.S.A. 2A:156A-3, any person who, “Purposely intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept any wire, electronic or oral communication…. Shall be guilty of a crime of the third degree.” In other words, generally it is illegal to record telephone conversations without the other party’s consent in the State of New Jersey. However, such recording is permitted and legal where the person recording the conversation is not acting on behalf of the state and

where such person is a party to the communication or

one of the parties to the communication has given prior

consent to such interception unless such communication is

intercepted or used for the purpose of committing any

criminal or tortious act in violation of the Constitution or

laws of the United States or of this State or for the

purpose of committing any other injurious act. N.J.S.A.

2A:156A-4d.

In other words, if you are a party to the telephone call, you are permitted to record the telephone conversation even without the other party’s consent. Therefore, during divorce or custody litigation, parties should be wary that his or her estranged spouse may be recording their conversations since such recordings could ultimately be used against him or her in proceeding. Furthermore, even though a parent is not technically a party to a telephone conversation between one parent and a child, that parent may be legally permitted to record a telephone call between his or her former spouse and their child based on the doctrine of “vicarious consent.” Since, “…children lack the legal capacity to consent, courts have held that a parent or guardian may authorize the recording of his or her minor child’s conversations.” D’Onofrio v. D’Onofrio, 344 N.J. Super. 147, 155 (App. Div. 2001). However, the parent recording the call is not always legally permitted to record the calls. To legally record the call, the recording parent must have a “good faith, objectively reasonable basis for believing that it is necessary and in the best interest of the child to consent on behalf of his or her minor child to the taping of telephone conversations.” Id at 156. In other words, a parent who seeks to record a telephone call between his or her child and a third party must have a good reason for doing so. For example, in D’Onofrio, the father recorded telephone calls between his daughters and their mother after several limitations had already been placed on the children’s mother during the parties’ divorce proceeding due to the mother’s history of depression, suicidal tendencies, and hurtful behavior towards the children. Id at 156-157. The Appellate Division found that the father in D’Onofrio, had a good faith, objectively reasonable basis for believing that it was necessary and in the children’s best interests to record the children’s telephone call with their mother and therefore found that the father did not violate the New Jersey Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act. Id. If you are in the midst of a divorce or custody litigation, it could be helpful to record telephone conversations with your estranged spouse or between the children and their parent, but you should speak with your counsel first.

Contact Lyons & Associates Today

If you or someone you know has a question about whether he or she is legally permitted to record telephone conversations with his or her former spouse or between their child and a third party, then call the skilled lawyers at Lyons & Associates, at (908) 575-9777 for a consultation today. You can also fill out our online intake form.

Written by: Mark T. Gabriel

New Jersey Family Law Firm: Governor Christie Signs Bill Strengthening the Enforceability of Premarital Agreements

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This year Governor Chris Christie signed a bill that amends both N.J.S.A § 37:2-38 and N.J.S.A § 37:2-32 to strengthen the enforceability of premarital agreements. Prior to the enactment of the new law, N.J.S.A. § 37:2-38 provided that premarital and pre-civil union agreements could be set aside by a court if deemed, at the time of enforcement, to be “unconscionable.” The purpose of the amendments to the statute is to protect the enforceability of prenuptial agreements, regardless of the parties’ circumstances at the time of the divorce.

The revisions brought about three major changes to the statute: (1) The determination of unconscionability is based on the circumstances that existed when the agreement was signed — not when enforcement is sought. (2) A court’s discretion in determining unconscionability is limited to the grounds set forth in N.J.S.A. § 37:2-38(c), full disclosure, independent counsel, waiver in writing. (3) The new standard applies only to prenuptial agreements executed or amended after June 27, 2013. Therefore, any person who is asked to amend their prior prenuptial agreement should take caution and be aware that they will now be subject to the stricter standard. The bill also amends N.J.S.A. § 37:2-32 by narrowing the definition of unconscionability.

Contact the Bridgewater Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates Today

If you or someone you know has a question about the recent change in divorce law or prenuptial agreements, call one of the skilled attorneys at Lyons & Associates at 908-575-9777. You can also fill out our online intake form.

Woodbridge Family Law Lawyers: Financial Restraining Orders in New Jersey Divorce Cases

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Preserving the Financial Status Quo During a Divorce Proceeding

In most marriages, and in most divorce proceedings, one spouse has more access to and information about the marital assets and liabilities than the other one. This inequity can often lead to abuse or exploitation, as the party with greater knowledge may be able to hide, transfer or spend assets without the knowledge of the other party. In an effort to promote fairness and minimize the risk that one party will get an uneven share of marital property or debt, most states, including New Jersey, require that the financial status quo remain.

This blog post provides an overview of how to make that happen. If you have additional questions or concerns, contact Lyons & Associates online or call us at 908-575-9777.

The Automatic Temporary Restraining Order

When a party files for divorce, that party can also request that the court issue an order to prevent asset dissipation, and to make sure that both parties have access to funds, which will go into effect as soon as the judge signs the order.

The terms of the order may vary from case to case, but the objective is to prevent a party with access to joint financial accounts or assets from transferring, using or otherwise keeping them out of the marital estate. The order may also restrict parties from using joint credit cards or otherwise incurring new marital debt. The order will often prevent parties from changing bank accounts, selling or giving away marital assets, or changing beneficiaries on life insurance or other documents. Parties are also typically prohibited from pledging marital property as collateral for a loan or debt. If you or someone you know is worried about how their finances will be handled during divorce, then they should call Lyons & Associates.

Contact the New Jersey Family Law Office of Lyons & Associates

At Lyons & Associates, we bring a high level of personalized service and attention to men and women in New Jersey. To schedule an appointment, contact us online or call our office at 908-575-9777.

Somerville Family Law Lawyers: Same – Sex Marriages Begin in New Jersey – the 14th State to Recognize Such Unions

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New Jersey is the 14th state to recognize same-sex marriages. The New Jersey Supreme Court denied the state’s request to temporarily prevent such marriages. Although Governor Chris Christie’s administration appealed the decision, he later withdrew the legal challenge to a court ruling abolishing the state’s ban on same-sex marriages. New Jersey has recognized civil unions between same-sex couples since 2007, after the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the state must allow same-sex couples all the rights and benefits of marriage. As far as state rights and benefits went, civil unions and marriages differed only in label. Now, New Jersey has joined 13 other states – California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington — as well as the District of Columbia – to allow same-sex couples to marry. In addition, Illinois also recently passed legislation legalizing same-sex marriage that is awaiting the governor’s signature.

Under New Jersey law, Civil Unions will not automatically convert to marriages. Civil unions remain valid, and couples may continue to enter into civil unions if they so choose. A civil union couple will have to apply for and receive a marriage license, and thereafter engage in a marriage ceremony, in order to receive a marriage certificate.

Contact Experienced New Jersey Gay and Lesbian Family Law Firm of Lyons & Associates

To obtain additional information about gay and lesbian family law rights in New Jersey, or to discuss the particulars of your situation, please schedule a confidential consultation with New Jersey family law attorneys Lyons & Associates by calling 908-575-9777, or fill out our intake form. We provide personal attention for your personal matters.

New Jersey Divorce Lawyers: Vegas Style Wedding Here in NJ??

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Everyone knows you can get married instantaneously in Las Vegas, but what is the wait time to get married here in New Jersey, and what should you do if you realize that you probably took the leap too soon?

The wait time for a New Jersey marriage license is 72 hours. As such, it takes three days from the date you apply for the license until the date you can get married. (There are some exceptions to that waiting period, but they require you to make a special petition to a Superior Court Judge.)

This past summer, Governor Chris Christie vetoed a bill that would have eliminated the three-day waiting period for marriage licenses in New Jersey. The bill’s sponsors thought it would have given Atlantic City a boost as a wedding destination similar to Las Vegas. Christie, when vetoing the bill, said couples should exercise careful deliberation and use thoughtful consideration before entering into a marriage that is expected to last a lifetime. Christie says the bill would have facilitated “hasty marriages.”

Even with the waiting period, many couples decide that their marriage was a huge mistake. Under New Jersey law, couples may file for a no-fault divorce if there is no blame placed on either party of the marriage. The benefit is that you do not need any proof or support that one spouse was responsible for the marriage ending. No-fault divorces can be based on irreconcilable differences or separation.

Also, the shorter the marriage, the more likely that you can get divorced cheaper and cleaner than if you instead have a longer marriage.

Contact the Lyons & Associates

If you have questions about whether a no-fault divorce is right for you, call divorce and family law attorneys Lyons & Associates for a consultation today at 908-575-9777. You can also fill out our online intake form.

GAY MARRIAGE IN NEW JERSEY – AT LEAST FOR NOW

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Effective immediately, same sex couples can marry in the Garden State. In order to do that, they first need a marriage license. Couples who want more information on how and where to get a marriage license in their home county can visit THIS LINK.

Approximately three weeks ago, a lower court had ruled that gays must be permitted to marry, and Governor Christie had filed an appeal. Governor Christie also had asked the higher courts to stop marriage licenses from being issued while the appeal was going on, but the higher courts rejected that short-term request, paving the way for gays across New Jersey to wed right away.

It is important for gays in New Jersey to understand that, while they can get licenses and can get married now, they still could find themselves in legal limbo again later if down the road the State Supreme Court decides to invalidate the marriages. That final decision is not likely to happen for about a year, or even longer.

In the meantime, and until the upper courts rule otherwise, wedding bells are pealing across New Jersey.

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

To obtain additional information about gay and lesbian family law rights in New Jersey, or to discuss the particulars of 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.

Lyons & Associates serves the entire State of New Jersey including Somerville, Bridgewater, Somerset, Basking Ridge, Mendham and Morristown, Somerset County, Morris County and Union County