Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving asks us to count our blessings. In that tally, we include not only our families and friends, but the relationships of trust and support that we have built with our clients. We appreciate the confidence you have placed in us, and we will continue to work hard to deserve that confidence.

We hope that this holiday offers you the chance to enjoy time with the people for whom you are most thankful. Happy Thanksgiving!

Relocating with a Minor Child after a New Jersey Divorce

Child Relocation in New JerseyThings change—it’s just a fact of life. Maybe you’ve been through a divorce and there are minor children involved and you’ve set up custody and visitation, all based on the assumption that you’ll both live close enough to each other that it will work out. But then something happens—you get offered a promotion or a new job, but it’s in another part of the state or the country. Maybe a family member has health problems and you want to move to be close to them. What about custody and visitation? Can you pick up move for any reason? Can you relocate at all?

Moving Away from Your Ex in New Jersey

The first thing to remember is that all decisions about custody and visitation in New Jersey must be based primarily on what the court considers to be the “best interests of the child.” Accordingly, whether a move will be beneficial to one of the parents is not a primary concern. Furthermore, New Jersey courts tend to believe that the child’s best interests are served by having both parents close by.

Under New Jersey law, if your minor child was born in the state or has lived in New Jersey for at least five years, you must obtain either the permission of the other parent or the approval of the court to relocate out of state. The same requirement will apply to a move within the state, if the distance is sufficient to necessitate a change in the existing parenting plan.

In the absence of consent from the other parent, the court will look at a number of factors to determine whether a move would be in the best interests of the child:

  • The likelihood that the custodial parent will allow, encourage and facilitate a positive relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent
  • The effect the move will have on the relationship between all parties and between extended families
  • The child’s preferences (typically only if the child has reached sufficient age and maturity, often 12 years of age)
  • Whether the child would be moving when entering the last year of high school
  • Whether the child has needs or talents that mandate accommodations, and whether such accommodations exist in the destination

Contact Attorney David M. Lipshutz

We will only take your case if we know we can help. For an appointment, contact our office online or call us at 856-627-1990. We are available to meet with you Monday through Friday, between 9 am and 5 pm.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! 2018

The Legal Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey

Legal-Grounds-for-Divorce

Like all other states, New Jersey allows you to file for a “no-fault” divorce. Under the concept of a no-fault divorce, there’s no need to identify any cause of the marital breakdown, other than to state that there are “irreconcilable differences.” You can, however, file an “at fault” divorce, where the court makes a determination as to who brought about the dissolution of the marriage. Attributing fault can give you an advantage in the divorce proceedings, leading to a more favorable custody ruling or a better marital property settlement.

To obtain an “at fault” divorce in New Jersey, you must state legal grounds for the divorce. In New Jersey, proof of the following may be sufficient to allow the court to grant a divorce for cause:

  • You and your spouse have maintained separate residences for at least 18 months (technically, this is considered “no-fault”)
  • Your spouse forced you to participate in a “deviant sexual act”—unfortunately, the law is not very clear as to what qualifies as “deviant”
  • One spouse had an extra-marital affair
  • Your spouse has left the marital home and has been gone for at least 12 months
  • Your spouse has a substance abuse problem—drugs or alcohol—which has persisted for more than 12 months
  • Your spouse subjected you to a level of physical abuse and/or mental cruelty that made it unbearable to live with him or her. You may also seek an at-fault divorce if your spouse has endangered your life in any way.
  • Your spouse has been institutionalized for a mental health problem for a minimum of 24 months consecutively after you were married and before you filed for divorce
  • Your spouse has been incarcerated or has been sentenced to a term of 18 months or more after the date of your marriage.

Contact Attorney David M. Lipshutz

We will only take your case if we know we can help. For an appointment, contact our office online or call us at 856-627-1990. We are available to meet with you Monday through Friday, between 9 am and 5 pm.

Your Rights in a Child Custody Matter in New Jersey

Child-Custody-Matter-in-New-Jersey

When you are involved in a divorce proceeding and there are minor children in the home, you’ll need to come to an agreement about who will have custody and what visitation will look like. As a parent, you want what’s best for your children, but you also want to play a meaningful role in their growth and development.

Physical Custody vs. Legal Custody

The first thing you need to understand is that the law makes a distinction between physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to where the child resides most of the time, i.e., where the child would consider “home” to be. In most instances, the court will grant primary custody to one of the parents and allow visitation with the other parent. In determining which parent will have primary custody, the court will give priority to “the best interests of the child.” (See our discussion below).

Legal custody, on the other hand, refers to each parent’s right to participate in the decision-making process with respect to things like health, education and religious training. As a general rule, the courts prefer to grant joint legal custody, so that both parents are involved.

The Best Interests of the Child

When making decisions that have an impact on minor children, the courts in New Jersey are bound to promote the “best interests of the child.” As a general rule, the “best interests of the children” are served by encouraging regular contact with both parents. The court will also look at specific criteria, including:

  • The age, gender, and physical and mental health of the child
  • The mental and physical health of both parents, including the ability to parent, as well as any allegations of domestic violence or abuse
  • The respective lifestyles of both parents, including alcohol, tobacco and drug use or inappropriate exposure to sexual matters
  • The emotional bond the child has with each parent
  • The ability of the parents respectively to provide for the child’s financial, physical and emotional needs
  • The lifestyle and routines to which the child has become accustomed
  • The impact that changing the child’s residency would have
  • The preference of the child, if the child has reached a certain age, typically 12 years of age

Contact Attorney David M. Lipshutz

We will only take your case if we know we can help. For an appointment, contact our office online or call us at 856-627-1990. We are available to meet with you Monday through Friday, between 9 am and 5 pm.