Category: Child Visitation
Understanding Prenuptial Agreements in Monmouth and Ocean County NJ
Read on to learn what a prenuptial agreement is, why it is used, and myths about prenups that may impact your premarital decisions.
Prenuptial agreements have gotten a bad name in modern culture because it appears to be a death sentence for a marriage – before the marriage has even begun. This is not the case. A prenuptial agreement serves many purposes, and its use is not solely to ensure that, in the case of a separation, each party will walk away with pre-determined assets still in their possession.
What is a prenuptial agreement?
A prenuptial agreement, or ‘prenup,’ is a legal contract a couple enters into before joining together in marriage or civil union that provides them with certain controls in their marital legal rights, whether the marriage ends in death or divorce. New Jersey law sets certain legal precedents regarding the rights of a spouse in the case of separation by death or divorce, including division of assets, the right to seek alimony, and fair distribution of the estate of the spouse. A prenuptial agreement, however, can supersede those precedents
Prenups provide legal rights to couples regarding more than simply division of assets, however. Read on to learn some common myths about what a prenup is – and isn’t, and the reality of prenuptial agreement.
Myths about prenups
Fact or Fiction? The existence of a prenuptial agreement means the marriage will end up failing
This is, of course, fiction. There are many reasons a prenuptial agreement is a wise contract into which to enter, and fearing for the worst is rarely one of them. According to Business Insider, there is no conclusive evidence that the presence of a prenup results in a higher divorce rate.
Fact or Fiction? Only people with lots of money enter into prenuptial agreements
This, too, is fiction. Because the legal rights addressed in a prenup cover more than the division of assets, they are not all about big money. Prenups include legally-binding agreements from whether a spouse will be legally entitled to alimony payments in the case of a divorce to who will get the pets. They can outline how assets will be separated amongst any children and how shared debt will be handled. Because a marriage or civil union is a business partnership, a prenup acknowledges the many financial and non-financial assets to be considered in a partnership, and upon its termination.
Fact or Fiction? New Jersey prenups can include child custody arrangements in the case of divorce
This is false. The New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part holds children at the central consideration in all divorce and custody arrangements. Because the court uses this ‘best interest of the child’ standard, they must take into account the living situation each parent would offer the child at the time of the divorce, no sooner. The inclusion of a child custody arrangement in a prenuptial agreement would be invalidated by a judge.
Fact or Fiction: A prenup can be drawn up and signed without a lawyer in New Jersey.
This is factual. New Jersey law mandates that prenuptial agreements must be in writing and signed by both spouses, and included an attached statement of the assets addressed in the agreement. While New Jersey couples are encouraged to seek the support of an experienced family law attorney before submitting a prenuptial agreement to the State, it is not legally required. If one spouse hires an attorney and the other does not, a statement of acknowledgment and consent to not having an attorney must be filed as part of the prenuptial agreement. After the entry of a prenuptial agreement into law, it can only be amended or nullified with signatures from both spouses.
Fact or Fiction: If you decide later that you want legal right over your assets after you get married, you can simply sign a post-nuptial agreement.
Easy there! It is not as easy to protect your assets after you get married as that. Any assets that you have accrued between your marriage and the time you decide to arrange a postnuptial agreement are considered marital assets, and as such, they are shared equally. The process of determining what assets will remain with whom will likely require the support of an attorney, and open communication and amiability between spouses.
Get in touch with a Wall Township Prenuptial Agreement and Family Law Attorney Today
At Bronzino Law Firm, our experienced attorneys support clients in Point Pleasant, Brick, Wall, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County Areas in their marriage and family arrangements, including prenuptial agreements.
Separation and Parenting Time Support When Raising a Teenager
Instructing parents going through separation or divorce while raising a teenager in Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey
Separation from a spouse can upend even the most together person. In addition to all of the legal considerations and steps that must be taken to finalize the divorce and fairly distribute marital assets, one must tend to their own emotional, physical, and mental health – all of which can be upended by such a stark transition.
This is simply the personal process; add children to the mix, and the process of divorce is an experience that can shift family dynamics, and not just for the better. When you are divorcing and there is a child involved, it is imperative that you keep their stability and wellbeing at the center of all consideration. When the child is a pre-teen or teen, there are additional hurdles to maintaining stability, especially emotional. Anyone who has or has ever been a teenager knows that drama is a byproduct. The following considerations will help you navigate separation from a spouse while strengthening your bond with your teenager.
Seek the support of a parenting counselor
Committing to seek the support of a New Jersey parenting counselor with your ex can make the road to stability for you both – and your teenager – a much smoother process. A parenting counselor is trained in developing systems and norms with separated parents that ground co-parenting in common goals, visions, and routines. The parenting counselor is not there to discuss why you separated, though they will be able to help facilitate discussions regarding differences of opinion about how to raise the child. A parenting counselor is there to offer practical support while keeping a child-centric, age-appropriate focus for the co-parenting planning.
Set up shared systems and routines
Having shared systems in place is key to a stable environment for a teen splitting time between parents. Shifts in hormones, as well as the drama and stress that today’s teens face, in addition to the divorce, make for trying atmosphere within and around them. Have as many grounded routines as possible in place in both homes, so your teen feels a sense of consistency and safety despite an inwardly turbulent experience. As part of your custody arrangement, you will develop a parenting time agreement with your former spouse. Be as detailed as possible about arrangements for co-parenting, and be willing to update it as you try it on and get a feel for what works – and what doesn’t work – for your teen and you both.
When common systems are in place, it makes it easier for you as a parent to check in with your teen about how their time with their other parent was, as you have a frame of reference and a sense of understanding of what your child’s day-to-day flow is like.
Communication is a key component
During the time following a divorce – and the entirety of a child’s teen years – communication can be the last thing you want to engage in. This time, however, is the most important time to be in open and compassionate communication with your ex and child. Remember that you and your ex are now partners in raising your child; as such, focus communication around how to make the process of co-parenting more smooth. Consider the relationship one of the colleagues, and brainstorm ways to make co-parenting more streamlined and your teen’s emotional, mental, and physical health more robust.
If communication with your ex is difficult because of a trying divorce, remember the principles of Nonviolent Communication:
- Use “I” statements, sharing how you feel (I feel calmed…)
- Be specific about behaviors or actions that you perceive to be helpful or unhelpful to your capacity to support your teen the most effective possible (…when I see you take initiative on scheduling transportation.)
- Open up and let your ex know how you would like to feel (I would like to feel this calm regarding weekend visits…
- Make specific and measurable requests (…could you please suggest one specific time on Saturday mornings for a drop off each week?)
Ultimately, your former spouse and you are on the same team. Regardless of what has caused the separation, remember that you can come together to ensure the wellbeing of your teen at this important time in their growth and development into a kind, capable young adult.
Seek advice from an experienced Brick NJ Divorce, Custody, Support, and Family Law Attorney today
At Peter J. Bronzino, our attorneys support clients across Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey in their custody arrangements and the development of parenting time agreements.
Brick and Sea Girt NJ Same-sex Divorce Attorneys
Monmouth and Ocean County Divorce Lawyers discuss potential roadblocks that divorcing same-sex spouses may come across
Going through a divorce is difficult for anyone involved. It comes with emotional, mental, physical, and financial stress that can turn your world upside down. Often, there are complicating factors that make a divorce even more difficult to navigate, such as when children are involved. Another example is two spouses of same-sex divorcing. Their stresses may be augmented due to a few additional complications in the process.
Dividing Assets Prior to Legalization of Same Sex Marriage
One of the most difficult hurdles that many divorcing same-sex couples in New Jersey face is the division of their assets. New Jersey legalized same-sex marriage in 2013, relatively recently for many LGBTQ couples. Couples who have a longstanding relationship and many shared assets accumulated over the years will have a harder time legally dividing those assets, as their union was not recognized until their marriage was legalized in 2013 or later. As CNBC noted in its 2017 report “Same-Sex Divorce Poses Complications for Some Splitting Couples,” court systems don’t have a standard method of determining how assets are split from a couple that has been together for longer than their legal recognition. According to the report, some courts may accept, given proof, that the relationship functioned at the status of marriage, albeit unofficial, before the passage of the 2013 Garden State Equality Law. In such a case, the judge may consider all assets acquired since then shared assets. This certainly isn’t the standard, so a divorce involving a long-term relationship that has only been legalized in the last few years could mean a dependent spouse losing entitlement to many of the ‘shared’ assets.
State-to-State Discrepancies in Same Sex Marriage Law
States have dealt with the issue of same-sex marriage differently from state to state over the past decades. Until the Defense of Marriage Act was found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and repealed in 2013, determining that the federal government cannot discriminate against a gay, lesbian, or queer couple for the purposes of federal legal rights and protections, same-sex couples have had to navigate their relationships differently. Even after DOMA was overturned, it took years for many states to legalize same-sex marriage, though domestic partnerships may have been legally recognized. Until 2015, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states in Obergefell vs. Hodges, couples who moved between states over the course of their relationship or were in states in which domestic partnership – or nothing – was legal had to live between blurred lines in the recognition of their union.
According to Forbes, one of the main difficulties same-sex couples face is that before the DOMA was repealed, many couples obtained the legal status of a domestic partnership. After the repeal, some states automatically converted domestic partnerships to marriages. However, some did not. This means that upon divorce, some couples have to terminate the marriage and terminate the domestic partnership.
The complications that a long-term, interstate relationship can add to a divorce are many, though they can be navigated and resolved with the support of a skilled divorce attorney who is knowledgeable in the state and federal legal timeline of marriage law before the federal blanket legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015.
When children are involved
As with any divorce, the inclusion of a child complicates matters. This is especially the case if the child was adopted before the marriage was legalized in New Jersey. The parent who has legal guardianship rights of the adopted child may receive custodial rights in a divorce if, at the time of adoption, the couple was not married.
If one member of the couple is the biological parent of the child, they will likely be granted custodial rights unless the other parent has undergone the process of adoption. This means that the other spouse is not required to pay child support after a divorce, though they may also not have custodial or even visitation rights after the divorce if there is no legal relationship between spouse and child. In order to have custodial rights or visitation rights – and pay child support, the spouse must have adopted or taken steps to adopt, or have obtained a parentage judgment.
CONTACT A BRICK, NJ SAME SEX DIVORCE ATTORNEY
At Bronzino Law, LLC, our team of divorce attorneys serves clients across Monmouth County and Ocean County towns including Neptune, Manasquan, Point Pleasant, Toms River, Brick, Asbury Park, Wall and more in all divorce and child custody matters.
Feel free to call our Brick or Sea Girt Bronzino Law, LLC office at (732) 812-3102 for a free and confidential virtual consultation today to discuss your specific situation when it comes to any kind of divorce or family law matter.
Parenting Time Attorneys During the Corona Virus in Monmouth County NJ
Assisting co-parents during this difficult time riddled with uncertainty in towns including Wall, Seagirt, Brick, Toms River and across the Jersey Shore
The coronavirus has wrought havoc on the whole world. People are losing their lives by the thousands, and worldwide, leaders are ordering that people shelter in place so as not to spread the highly contagious virus at a continuously exponential rate.
In the face of the virus, separated couples everywhere are wondering what this will mean for their co-parenting agreements. Because of the shelter in place orders, usual legally-binding Parenting Time agreements are off the table, and children must stay where they are.
In Philadelphia, one parent sought legal counsel when, after returning from abroad in March, her ex insisted that she spend two weeks in self-quarantine to ensure that she hadn’t contracted the virus. The advice she received was not heartening: there was no way she could argue her ex’s refusal to provide access to the children in court.
This parent isn’t alone. Around the world, parenting time is being replaced by phone calls and video chats. Alternatively, some separated couples are even considering co-living arrangements so that they can both be with the kids. Whatever the makeshift arrangements are that are being made between exes globally, legal considerations are not on the table. In a crisis such as this one, in which more cases of the virus are being discovered every day, doing what is in the child’s best interest – which is always the first priority of a custody arrangement – has little to do with prior legal arrangements.
Are parents breaching parenting time agreements by following shelter in place orders?
Unfortunately, some parents are taking advantage of the shelter in place orders to withhold legal visiting rights from their ex. In support of parents attempting to navigate conflicting legal orders and an invisible contagion, attorneys are reminding their clients the importance of not making assumptions about the health of a co parent’s home or be lax about measures taken to ensure that their children are not exposed to anyone who has not abided by the shelter in place orders.
Attorneys also recommend that clear documentation be kept about the revised custody schedule and any communication with the co-parent that results in revision to the court-ordered custody arrangement.
Co-parents can assume that in order for a court to receive a complaint for breach of custody agreements, there must be an emergency or clear evidence of willful non-compliance.
What is New Jersey law surrounding co-parenting?
So what are laws regarding co-parenting? What would a co-parenting agreement look like in New Jersey in the absence of a pandemic throwing all bets off the table?
A child custody arrangement is set up to ensure the well-being of the child. In New Jersey, as part of the divorce proceedings, a “parenting time” agreement is developed. This is part of the court-ordered custody arrangement, whether or not a parent is the custodial parent (live-in) or the non-custodial parent. A skilled divorce attorney can support a separating couple in developing a parenting time agreement that suits each of their schedules and needs and also represents a priority for the well-being of the child.
Parenting time agreements work in consort with the following custody arrangements:
- Sole Physical Custody: Sole physical custody means that the other parent is strictly limited by law in the amount of parenting time they are allowed to spend with their child. The visits may be supervised or unsupervised, depending on the ruling of the court in the custody hearing. New Jersey Family Part court does orient itself with ensuring that both parents spend time with the child, even if the time is supervised.
- Shared Physical Custody: Shared physical custody means that each parent spends an equal amount of time with their child, according to a schedule that has been determined by the parents and their attorneys and approved by the court. Common schedules include alternating weeks with either parent, months at a time of visit with each parent, etc. A couple must take into account the emotional, physical, social, and academic needs of their child in order to make the best decision on their behalf.
- Residential and Alternate Residential Parent: In this agreement, one person is the custodial parent, meaning that the child lives with them. The alternate residential parent visits based on a regular schedule, which often includes some alternating weekends and summer vacations.
Even in this time of uncertainty, depending upon the circumstances, parents can be penalized for being in breach of their parenting time agreement. Having the support of an experienced divorce attorney is essential at this time.
Contact a Co-parenting Time Attorney in Ocean County Today
At Peter J. Bronzino, Esq, our New Jersey divorce attorneys are committed to supporting our clients throughout Ocean County towns such as Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey in matters regarding custody agreements and parenting time schedules.
To speak with our firm today regarding your parenting time agreement and modifications to its schedule due to these extenuating circumstances, contact us online or through our Brick, NJ offices by calling (732) 812-3102 today for a confidential consultation.
Custody and Parenting Time Attorneys Monmouth and Ocean County NJ
As part of the divorce proceedings, a couple with children will prepare for a custody hearing to legally determine whether the couple will share custody, or whether one parent will have sole custody.
What is the difference between physical and legal custody?
Parents with legal custody can make legal decisions on behalf of their children, such as medical decisions and schooling matters. If parents have joint legal custody, both can legally weigh in on those matters that impact the child. If there is a major difference of opinion, the agreement is set up so that the courts can resolve the matter. A parent with physical custody means that the child lives with them. Parents who have joint physical custody share the time living with their child either through nesting, in which the child lives in the marital home, and the parents switch off; or the child moves to the homes of either parent during the set time.
What is a parenting time plan in a New Jersey custody agreement?
A child custody arrangement is set up in the best interests of the child. In New Jersey, regardless of the amount of time a parent spends with their child as outlined in a shared custody agreement, whether or not they are the custodial (live-in) parent or the non-custodial parent, the court system refers to this time as “parenting time.” Co-parents can structure this time in any way that works for them. Examples of parenting time shared custody arrangements include
- Shared Physical Custody: In this agreement, each parent spends an equal amount of time with their child. Traditionally, this looks like alternating weeks; however, some children fare better with shorter time periods away from either parent, and some fare better with the stability provided by physically remaining in one parent’s home for longer, such as a month at a time.
- Residential Parent and Alternate Residential Parent agreements: In this case, one parent is the primary custodial caregiver of the parent. The other, or ‘alternate,’ has a more traditional schedule of visitation, spending every other weekend, perhaps, with the child, as well as partial summer vacations.
- Sole Physical Custody: As one could imagine, when one parent has sole physical custody, the other parent is strictly limited in the amount of parenting time they are allowed to spend with the child. Depending on the conditions of the sole custody ruling, these visits may even be supervised. New Jersey Family Part court tends to lean toward both parents having some form of contact with the child, even if it must be supervised.
Are time frames each parent has custodial rights written into the custody agreement?
In the case of both joint physical and joint legal custody agreements, there are clauses written in that determine the amount of time each parent has with the child. This could be laid out as a schedule in addition to a percentage time frame. Because a custody agreement is a legally binding, each parent by law must abide by the time constraints ordered by the court.
Can a parent be penalized for breaking a New Jersey Parenting Plan?
If either parent strays from the court-ordered schedule, they are legally in breach of the law and can be penalized. This could play out in civil court or criminal court depending on the conditions of the breach. If the deviance from the court order is severe, such as removal of the child from the home and travel to an undisclosed location or a location outside of New Jersey, the parent could be arrested for kidnapping and face criminal charges.
If one parent is in breach of the parenting time schedule built into the custody agreement, the other parent has the legal right to request enforcement of the current custodial order from the New Jersey court. In addition to determining whether civil or criminal legal action needs to be taken out against the law-breaking parent, the court may also rule that the petitioning parent receives some sort of compensation for the time lost with their child, which may temporarily shift the legally mandated parenting time schedule.
Having the support of an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney during the process of negotiating the parenting time schedule with one’s ex and their legal team, as well as in the case of a breach of the agreement, is important to ensure that your rights and the wellbeing of your child are met.
Seasoned Custody Attorney protecting the rights of you and your children
At Peter J. Bronzino, our New Jersey divorce attorneys are skilled in supporting families across Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey as they undergo the process of negotiating custody agreements and parenting time schedules.
Our direct approach ensures that the best interests of the child and the rights of our parent clients are met in compatible ways.
Brick NJ Divorce Attorneys identify and fight for what is important to you
Educating Clients in financial issues throughout Ocean County towns such as Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey
Although not always expected, divorce or civil union dissolutions are more acceptable today than in the past, but when deciding child custody, child support, distribution of marital property, or alimony things can become more complicated. Some things are easily negotiable, and other things just aren’t. That’s why it’s a good idea to speak with an experienced family law attorney before you enter into negotiations with your spouse or partner. That way you’re aware and better prepared as to what your negotiating points and areas of compromise are.
Divorce can significantly impact your physical, psychological, and emotional well-being and fighting for certain assets may end up end costing more than they’re worth in legal fees.
Creating a foundation for a property settlement agreement generally means you have some flexibility, and you and your legal counsel can negotiate various creative solutions designed to specifically address your unique needs and those of your children if you have any. At the end of the day, some things just aren’t all that negotiable, and it’s worth considering which efforts are worth your time, money, and energy.
If you are considering a divorce, or are currently going through a divorce, look no further than the Bronzino Law Firm. We handle all family law and divorce-related matters, including post-divorce modifications for clients across Ocean County and Monmouth County.
For many Ocean County and Monmouth County residents, Attorney Peter J. Bronzino has been that dependable and tenacious advisor. Peter Bronzino personally handles all divorce case, prides himself on keeping his clients informed and involved in all matters, and is ready and willing to speak with you however is most convenient including e-meetings and Facetime.
9 Things Worth Fighting For When You Divorce
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Childcare, Medical Expenses, and Extracurricular Activities
- College Expenses
- Alimony & Spousal Support
- Business Valuation of Family Businesses
- Martial Home and Other Properties
- Marital Debt
- Equitable Distribution of Retirement Assets & Pension Benefits
Is it worth it? The True Cost of a Contested Divorce
A contested divorce – where the spouses disagree on the settlement terms or the divorce itself – can cost you tens of thousands of dollars. Your legal counsel can provide useful insight about the value of the items in question, and if it’s necessary to go to court over them. Their insight is designed to guide you through your divorce as quickly and inexpensively as possible.
Contact an Ocean and Monmouth County Divorce Attorney Today
As you can see, there are a great many issues to decide, and if necessary, fight for when settling a divorce. Even in an uncontentious or uncontested divorce, the sheer amount of paperwork, court document filings, and procedures to follow can be overwhelming, especially if you are working a full-time job.
Family Law attorney Peter J. Bronzino has extensive experience helping clients with all divorce-related matters across Ocean County, NJ including Brick, Jackson, Toms River, Wall, Ashbury Park, and Point Pleasant.
Our experienced full-service New Jersey law firm does not offer a one-size-fits-all-divorce strategy. Instead, we get to know the people we represent, determine what is most important to them in the divorce, then work with them to develop a strategy designed to meet their individual goals and needs.
With experience handling high-net-worth divorces involving the division of family-owned businesses and properties as well as diverse investment portfolios, Peter Bronzino has the experience and legal knowledge necessary to help you with any divorce issue.
Discuss Child Custody-Related Challenges with a Brick and Sea Girt Family Lawyer
Bronzino Law Firm educates and guides parents through child custody matters that can become some of the most contentious issues addressed in Ocean and Monmouth County NJ family court
Child custody battles often leave scars that may take years to heal if ever. Despite this custody battles are sometimes unavoidable in situations where you expose a safety risk to your kids, if your ex is obstructing your visitation time or if co-parenting is next to impossible. Through mediation and other forms of low conflict resolution is preferred whenever possible, in many cases going before a judge maybe your best option for safeguarding your relationship with your child, and in some cases, the very safety of your child.
Whether you are the initiate or respondent to litigation it is important to know what you’re fighting for. It is critical to enter court with compelling evidence and clear goals. For example, if your ex has been denying you access to and visitation with your child you will need to provide the court with evidence that shows the parenting time that was purposefully blocked or interfered with.
Define your Goals and Remain Focused on the Children
Moreover, your goals entering any proceeding must be clear. Are you seeking sole or primary custody and if not how much parenting time does you feel you will need to be able to meet not only your child’s but your emotional needs. You should be able to back this information up with an unambiguous statement to the judge that you’re there because you want your current parenting time plan to be enforced or that you need changes to be made. It is critical to stay focused on your main points and not wander into other issues that may not be relevant.
Expect the Worst from Opposing Counsel and Document any Poor Parental Behavior
Given the raw emotion involved in child custody cases, you should expect that things could get ugly. Depending on the nature of your battle, you may need to face assertions from opposing counsel that are at best unflattering to you and your parenting, and at worst, completely untrue. Despite this, you must stay calm and work with your attorney to provide evidence to refute any invalid claims. On the other hand, you will have to truthfully document all your ex’s parental shortcomings to bolster your claims and your case overall. An experienced attorney can help you prepare your statements so that they are pertinent and impactful.
Tips for Navigating Child Custody Cases in Monmouth and Ocean County NJ
- will help you feel more in control. If you are not a naturally organized person this may sometimes be difficult but it is always helpful. Putting all documents in a notebook or file folder that you keep in a designated space will give you the peace of mind of knowing that when and if they are needed they will be available and at hand.
- your work on your child custody case from the rest of your life because living your custody battle 24/7 will cause you untold stress that can lead to both physical and psychological health problems. Being rested is incredibly helpful for keeping your thoughts clear and focused.
Practicing strategic communication…
- can help to minimize drama and unnecessary conflict. Avoid face-to-face and phone contact as much a possible until your matter has concluded. In cases where your ex persists in writing or texting inflammatory messages or threats, Do Not Respond. In many cases, your former spouse or partner may know exactly what buttons to push in order to illicit a response. Do not take the bait. Simply print out messages and give them to your attorney. If communication is needed to be brief, informative and neutral in tone.
- is essential. Given that you cannot pour from an empty cup, your own health and mental well-being are critical. Don’t forget to stay up to date with medical and dental care as well as eat and sleep properly. It is recommended to shift your focus to other, positive activities whenever possible such as social engagements, hobbies, exercise, and meditation. If you feel embattled emotionally, see a therapist who specializes in high-conflict divorce.
Remember good preparation, a good mindset, and an experienced attorney are your best assets when dealing with any child custody issue.
Contact a Wall Township Child Custody Lawyer Today to Help Navigate the Challenges Ahead
If you or a loved one are going through a child custody dispute it is critical to have effective legal counsel and representation at the outset or as soon as possible. At Bronzino Law Firm, our team of attorneys is experienced in supporting and fiercely representing our clients in child custody proceedings in Toms River, Point Pleasant, Brick, Wall, Sea Girt, Spring Lake and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County Areas. No matter your situation you don’t have to confront it alone.
Sea Girt Mediation Attorneys Discuss the Value of the Process No Matter the Outcome
Family Law Attorneys and Mediation Attorneys Helping Clients in towns throughout Ocean and Monmouth Counties
During a divorce, tensions are very often high. The emotional tensions that often run between partners and the pure logistics of potential settlement, including all related factors such as child custody – decisions that impact the future well-being of your family – can feel overwhelming and like too much to juggle. Even expertly navigated, divorce has many emotional ramifications. For this reason, couples often resist the suggestion of mediation, either because they believe that it will have no real positive effect, or because the emotional toll it will take is too much to handle.
Despite natural resistance to the concept of mediation, it is important to consider the benefits of it as a tool for a deeper understanding of one’s own and one’s partner’s needs and priorities. It may also provide invaluable information that can be used to expertly navigate the divorce proceedings and ensure that decisions that are of the highest benefit to everyone involved are made, absent of any emotional manipulation that can often color such a process. The American Psychology Association has conducted ample research and reported the conclusion that mediation is a powerful ally to support psychological well-being for all parties during a divorce.
The main issues usually addressed during mediation are child custody and support, distribution of property, retirement savings, and taxes; and with the facilitated support of a mediator as opposed to a litigator, steps can be taken toward an agreement on all of those fronts.
Why consider mediation during a divorce:
As you and your loved ones navigate the terrain of legal separation, consider the following reasons to include mediation as a tool for amicable and informed divorce.
- At its core, mediation provides couples the opportunity to speak their truths.
- This means that you may learn aspects at the root of your partner’s issues that you weren’t before able to clearly see.
- Invoicing your own reason for divorce, you may find clarity regarding issues that may inform the settlement offer.
- You may learn what is important to your partner as it relates to the settlement.
- Your partner may propose a settlement during the mediation as a result of new information and understanding that comes through or the meeting on amicable terms. Even if it is not a settlement you would agree to, it can serve as a grounded starting point from which to further negotiate.
- You may receive information regarding the legal basis for your partner’s claim.
- This may provide powerful insight towards a fair settlement agreement.
- This may support you in developing a strong defense in court.
- Mediation may save you money. The average cost of a mediator is $300/hour, while litigation is an average of $300-350 per hour (per person).
The Duncumb Center for Conflict Resolution at the Abilene Christian University conducted a study regarding the effects of mediation during a divorce proceeding. Lead researcher Lori Shaw noted that the study found an average cost savings of about $680 when mediation was engaged as opposed to traditional litigation. There was also a time savings of between two and four months when mediation was involved.
As one can imagine, mediation can also have powerful effects on child custody agreements. The Duncumb Center study found that more joint legal custody awards were made in mediation than litigation, a powerful argument for mediation in consideration of your whole family’s health and well-being.
Some statistics show that mediation leads to an agreement in 50-80 percent of cases. Even if an agreement isn’t reached, valuable information can be ascertained and an important connection made as a separating couple.
Contact Us Today for a Consultation to Discuss Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution
Peter J. Bronzino, our founding attorney has extensive experience helping to separate parents across Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey come to an amicable divorce agreement, including mediation services, drafting divorce agreements and negotiating with a partner’s attorneys, and drafting comprehensive child support agreements.
Our unique approach focuses on finding solutions that ensure the wellbeing of all parties and the stability of the family for an amicable and cost-effective divorce.
Dating as a Single Parent Reviewed by Brick Child Custody Lawyers
Advising Clients in towns throughout Ocean County towns such as Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey
Dating can be empowering and boost one’s self-esteem when compared to the unappreciated, undesired and out of control feeling one going through a divorce might experience. The emotional stress and financial strain of a divorce or a civil union dissolution can make the idea of dating or get into a new relationship unthinkable, but for many, it can be seen as a breath of fresh air and a chance for a new beginning. As a single or soon to be single parent, one hopes that their new partner shares a respect for parenthood, an understanding for the complexities of child custody, has patience for the challenges of co-parenting, and a sense of personal boundaries when it comes to custody arrangements, financial responsibilities of child support, and the emotional well-being or best interests of their child. Whether the new partner understands it or not, they must respect the importance of this parent-child relationship and how it may impact various aspects of their new relationship landscape.
Things To NOT DO Prior to or Soon After Your Monmouth County, NJ Divorce
Your children and their best interests are your number one priority. As it relates to your new romantic partner, DO NOT:
- under any circumstances, bring them to court
- allow them to contact your spouse whether by post, phone, text, email or social media
- create a dating website profile
- showcase your new romantic relationship, as if you are already divorced
- spend marital money on your romantic partner
- allow them to parent or discipline your children
Can Dating Negatively Impact my Point Pleasant, NJ Child Custody Matters?
Significant others can potentially have an effect on child custody in certain circumstances if it impacts the child’s best interest. If one parent is spending a substantial amount of time with the new love interest, especially at the expense of quality parenting time with the children, then the judge may take the relationship into account. If the new partner engages in domestic violence or substance abuse, this potential danger to the children due will be taken into account not only informing the initial custody order but if one parent must ultimately return to court to modify the parenting schedule to keep the children safe from the new significant other. In brief, parents need to make sure that the behavior with the new boyfriend or girlfriend is not disruptive to a child, as the child’s needs must take priority above the parent’s desire to start entering a new relationship.
What is the ‘revolving door’ syndrome?
The ‘revolving door’ syndrome occurs when children seem to constantly be meeting a series of new dates, week after week. This is not fair to the children. If you are on friendly terms with your ex, many relationship experts suggest discussing with them how new partners are introduced, so you both adopt a similar approach. It may also be possible to consider the option of meeting the new partner before they are introduced to the children. The sudden introduction of a new person can be awkward and is not necessarily fair to the children or yourself.
In New Jersey, there have been legal and moral debates regarding to what extent children of marriage should be exposed to their parent’s new romantic partner, during a separation or once divorced has been finalized. Some couples may have a “paramour clause” or “DeVita restraint” in their divorce or custody order that restricts the parties’ ability to expose the children to new romantic partners. Named after DeVita v. DeVita, 145 N.J. Super. 120 (App. Div. 1976) recent case law indicates that the attitude of the courts is changing with the times.
In Mantle v. Mantle, an attempt to enforce a DeVita restraint came before the court. Although the divorcing couple agreed to an indefinite ban on exposing their child to a new romantic interest, the mother alleged her ex was allowing his new girlfriend to have contact with their child during his parenting time. This was despite the girlfriend not doing anything deemed inappropriate or harmful to the child. Although both parties agreed to the “Devita” clause, the court refused to enforce it, noting that the DeVita case law no longer reflected societal norms and that it was no longer unusual for new romantic partners to spend the night, even in the absence of marriage.
To that end, the court agreed that future DeVita clauses must be reasonable and based on the best interest of the child. In addition, the judge decided the parents may introduce new partners to the child after six months, and those partners may start spending the night after a year.
If you are in a similar situation and are unsure what to do, speak with a family therapist, who can help you decide (based on your unique situation) the most appropriate way introduce a new partner into the children’s lives and lessen the amount of fear, discomfort, and uncertainty the child may experience
A Dangerous Mix: Dating and Parental Alienation Allegations in Toms River, NJ
Even in the most amicable divorces, co-parenting relationships can be stressful and cause parents to behave irrationally, resulting in high-conflict custody situations or parental alienation. Parental alienation is any action (or inaction) intentionally or unintentionally taken by one parent which results in their children harboring negative feelings towards their other parent. Many former or soon to be ex-spouses, may have struggled to cope with physical versus legal custody matters. Though some parents may intentionally try to sabotage their child’s relationship with the other parent, others may not even realize that what they are doing is considered parental alienation when they speak negatively about the new love interest(s) of their ex-spouse. New Jersey family courts frown heavily upon parental alienation, and legal action such as a child custody modification may become necessary in order to make sure the child’s best interests are met.
Is Dating in During my Divorce Considered Adultery in Ocean County, NJ?
When a party begins a divorce action, the marriage is considered “dead.” Starting over can do wonders for your mental health and sense of self-worth. Since divorce can be a long process, it comes as no surprise that some people may start moving on before or during the divorce. By embracing positivity one can set the scene for an amicable divorce and rational decision-making process.
Though technically, getting a bite to eat or seeing a movie isn’t considered adultery, even if the participants have more than friendship on their minds, most dating experts and experienced family lawyers recommend waiting until your divorce is finalized before your begin pursuing new romantic interests. Some people might think that adultery is only committed when sexual contact is made between a married individual and someone who is not their spouse, not really considering non-consummated “affairs of the heart” can be just as emotionally damaging to the trust and longevity of a relationship.
What Financial Impact Could Dating or Adultery Have on my Brick, NJ Alimony or Spousal Support?
One should not underestimate the effect dating might have on the other party’s emotional state; which can impact that person’s decision making in the divorce process and cause them to take unreasonable positions regarding alimony and spousal support because they are angry or upset.
Adultery, in general, does not increase the amount of spousal support one might receive. Since New Jersey is a no-fault divorce state, if one spouse alleges adultery, the name of the new significant other needs to be included in the divorce pleadings. In addition, if the cheating had a detrimental financial impact on the marriage (i.e., lavish spending or gift giving) or personal property was somehow dissipated for the benefit of the extra-marital relationship, it may be possible for the court to take that into account.
You may lose your alimony if you are cohabiting with a partner in a marital-type relationship. Accordingly, you need to remain cognizant of how living with your new partner may affect the amount of alimony you receive in divorce or whether your ex-spouse can make an application to terminate alimony based on your cohabitation after divorce. It is important to note that this is a one-sided consequence. If you are paying alimony, feel free to date to your heart’s content – it won’t affect your obligation to pay your ex-spouse alimony.
Contact Us At Our Brick Or Sea Girt Office Locations
At the Toms River, NJ law office of Peter J. Bronzino, we understand how important your children are to you, and we are ready to work with you to pursue a co-parent or child custody arrangement that works for you and your children.
Premarital Agreement Attorneys in Ocean and Monmouth County
Serving Clients in towns including Asbury Park, Wall, Toms River, Brick, Sea Girt, Manasquan, Neptune, Spring Lake, Brielle, and more
Before a couple marries, they have the option of signing a premarital agreement, which is a written contract that explains each party’s rights and obligations in the marriage. The year 1988 saw several states, including New Jersey, pass the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act for the purpose of governing the laws of Prenuptial Agreements (also known as “prenups”). Since that time the number of prenups drafted has increased at a steady rate.
However, there are many pitfalls that many couples fall victim to when it comes to prenuptial agreements. It is critical that before anyone enters into any prenuptial agreement that they have good experienced legal counsel. This will go a long way to assuring that the agreement represents your needs and what you want. It will also make sure that the agreement is enforceable.
In short, a prenup is an agreement between potential spouses made in consideration of marriage and effective upon the marriage itself. The subject matters that are addressed in a prenup vary from agreement to agreement and are often as unique as every marriage. However, commonly the agreement will include provisions for division of property as well as child/spousal support in the event of a divorce. The purpose of a prenup is to ensure that whatever assets you enter the marriage with you also leave the marriage with as well as avoiding the problems that a messy and contentious divorce can cause.
What aspects need to be addressed when crafting an enforceable Pre-nuptial agreement?
Any legal and enforceable prenuptial agreement must be documented in writing. It is common for couples to have verbal agreements about what should happen in the event of divorce with properties, child custody, and spousal support. However, if the terms and conditions of the prenup are only verbally agreed on, they are considered invalid.
In a written and enforceable pre-nuptial agreement, a statement of each spouse’s assets must be attached prior to the marriage to ensure that those assets remain with the respective spouse. Another required formality is that both spouses must sign the agreement. If the agreement is not signed in by each spouse, it is considered invalid and unenforceable. It is highly advised to have a New Jersey family law attorney guide you in the crafting of the agreement. The qualified and experienced attorney will know that the agreement should represent all of the following:
- The rights and obligations of each of the parties with regards to any of the property of either or both of them whenever and wherever acquired or located;
- The right to buy, sell, use, transfer, exchange, abandon, lease, consume, expend, assign, create a security in, mortgage, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control property
- The division of property in the event of separation, marital dissolution, death or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event
- Spousal support modifications or eliminations
- The crafting of a will, trust, or other arrangement needed to carry out the provisions of the agreement
- Ownership rights in and disposition of the death benefit from any life insurance policies
- The laws governing the construction of the agreement
- Any other matters, including personal rights and obligations that are not in violation of public policy
Frequently asked questions about pre-nuptial agreements in New Jersey
When entering any legal contract it is common to have questions about the nature and effects of the contract. The most common questions associated with a pre-nuptial contract are as follows:
Will entering into a premarital agreement affect the right of child support?
When does the premarital agreement take effect?
A premarital agreement becomes effective the moment that you and your spouse are legally married.
Can changes be made to our premarital agreement once we are married?
It is possible to amend your prenup once you and your spouse are lawfully married. However, it is important to note that should you choose to make any changes, all changes must be recorded in writing. Furthermore, each party must sign the amended agreement, acknowledging any and all new additions to the asset list or initial provisions.
Uniform Premarital Agreement Act: Section 38
When is a premarital agreement unenforceable?
According to section 38 of the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, a prenuptial agreement is unenforceable if one party in the contract can prove the following:
- The party executed the agreement unwillingly or under duress.
- The agreement was unjust at the time the enforcement was sought.
- That party, before the agreement, took effect.
- Was not provided with full and fair disclosure of the earnings, property and financial obligations of the other party.
- Did not, in writing, voluntarily and expressly waive any right to disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party beyond the disclosure that was provided.
- Did not have, or reasonably could not have had, sufficient knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other party.
- Did not consult with independent legal counsel or did not voluntarily and expressly waive, in writing, the opportunity to consult with independent legal counsel.
Moreover, if the marriage is found to be fraudulent or void for some other reason (I.e. one party was already married), the prenup agreement is only enforceable to the extent necessary to avoid what the court may find to be an unjust outcome.
It is important to remember that with prenups, as with any legal contract, effective representation at the crafting of the contract is a critical aspect of how fair it will be and how well it represents your individual needs and concerns going forward.
Contact a Toms River Prenuptial Agreement Attorney Today
While having agreements such as a prenuptial in place before a marriage occurs offers numerous benefits, creating and finalizing the contract can be a sensitive and delicate process. Our prenup lawyers are well aware of the nature of these situations and the need for discretion.
At Peter J. Bronzino we are committed to helping you produce an agreement that not only protects each parties’ interests and assets but one that mutually agreeable. Call (732) 812-3102 to schedule your consultation!