Category: Family Law

COVID-19 Co-Parenting Crisis Planning: Name a Temporary Guardian & Have a Child Power of Attorney

It could be that up till the COVID-19 pandemic, the relationship between the co-parents was amicable and not a high-conflict custody matter.

COVID-19 Co-Parenting Crisis Planning: Name a Temporary Guardian & Have a Child Power of AttorneyWith no clear end to the current COVID-19 lockdown in New Jersey, many grandparents or co-parents who have separated, divorced, had their civil union dissolved or are unmarried parents living in separate households have been impacted by the coronavirus and shelter-in-place orders, and are struggling to keep to their visitation agreements and upcoming vacation plans in place. With no official guidance to enforce child custody arrangements or even manage the financial aspects of child support and alimony support payments. It could be that up till the COVID-19 pandemic, the relationship between the co-parents was amicable and not a high-conflict custody matter.

Those that wish to keep to their parenting time agreements, not violate a child custody agreement or risk a contempt of court claim, or the implication of parental alienation, may fear their child becoming infected by a parent not practicing social-distancing, or said parent’s circle of friends. As each parent tries in their own way to prioritize their child’s best interests and express their own needs, they often struggle to communicate their uncertainties and maintaining civility.

If you are wondering how the continued shelter-in-place order will effect your current legally-binding co-parenting agreements or how to handle the possibility of you or your co-parent getting sick during these unstable times, you are not alone. Flexibility, collaboration, clear communication, and the ability to compromise with your co-parent are proactive key components to keeping everyone safe.

Can I Arrange a Power of Attorney In Case I or My Co-parent Gets Sick?

As COVID-19 infection rates risks fall, the ease of restrictions in some states has resulted in new coronavirus cases, thus increasing the overall potential for infection. If you or your co-parent falls ill or for some reason are unable to provide 100% care for your child, the NJ Dept. of Children and Families (DCF) is now recommending parents put a Child Power of Attorney in place naming a temporary guardian for their child(ren).

Can I Arrange a Power of Attorney In Case I or My Co-parent Gets Sick?Unfortunately, without a contingency plan in place or parents planning for the unexpected, if a parent falls ill with COVID-19 and no temporary guardian has been established, the child may be put in foster care. In order to avoid unnecessary trauma to your child and an overload of the foster care system, parents should consult a trusted family law attorney in order to name a suitable temporary guardian of their own choosing and develop a COVID-19 Family Prep Kit with the appropriate important family documents. Pursuant to NJ Rev Stat § 3B:12-39  a power of attorney plan ensures that your child(ren) will be cared for and if necessary, have access to medical treatment.

Contact a Monmouth County Temporary Guardian & Child Power of Attorney Lawyer Today

At The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC we are ideally equipped to protect your relationship with your child and deal with tough questions like these. We understand how to identify each client’s unique concerns and needs when deciding child custody, and how to craft a plan of action that is in the best interest of our clients and their children.

Contact us online or call our Brick or Sea Girt office at (732) 812-3102 today to arrange a safe, secure, convenient, free and confidential virtual consultation via Skype, Zoom or Google Hangouts, to discuss your unique needs, concerns, and situation when it comes to any kind of child custody matter.

Bitcoin Assets and Divorce Attorney Monmouth and Ocean County NJ

As times change and technological advances seem to arise almost daily, the equitable distribution of assets during a divorce is more challenging than ever.

Cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin can be tough to trace when one suspects that a spouse or partner is hiding their true financial worth by using this unregulated monetary system.  Here at the Law Offices of Peter Bronzino, we are aware of how complicated the process can be.  Read on to see the warning signs if your spouse is using Bitcoin to hide assets and how we can help you reach a fair settlement.

What are Bitcoins?

Bitcoin Assets and Divorce Attorney Monmouth and Ocean County NJBitcoin is a worldwide digital currency developed back in 2009, which has seen an increase in almost mainstream popularity over the past year or so. The Bitcoin exchange is completely decentralized, meaning there are no attachments to banks or governments.

There is no compelling reason to give names when managing in Bitcoins; all that is required are the person’s wallet IDs. It is additionally a lot simpler to move Bitcoins out of the country, making them significantly harder to find. This anonymity, the lack of paper trail that would typically be found through conventional transactions and the current lack of regulation is why divorce attorneys are concerned that these transactions could provide new opportunities for a divorcing spouse to be disingenuous in regard to their assets. The following tips can help you and your attorney discover any virtual money that your spouse has not disclosed.

Bank and credit card records show a transaction with a cryptocurrency exchange.

Certain online sites work as the section point for a great many people keen on acquiring or exchanging Bitcoin and other advanced monetary forms. Trades include Coinbase, Binance, Etoro, Coinswitch, Luno, and PaxForex. All it can take is one exchange in “typical dollars and pennies” to enter this new universe of Bitcoin, where untold computerized cash can be acquired. So in the event that you see any crypto action, anyway slight, it is deserving of further examination — particularly if your partner excluded it from the Case Information Statement. Each crypto wallet (where computerized money is kept) accompanies a one of a kind “key” that would then be able to be followed to show all exchanges related to the wallet.

History of large Amazon Purchases

History of large Amazon PurchasesSome crypto companies allow trades that permit clients to obtain a computerized wallet with restricted proof of identity required (sometimes just an email address.) In order to hide their holdings, some spouses rather than buy more Bitcoin and put it in their wallet directly, they interface with a Bitcoin client in one of the numerous client gatherings who is happy to receive merchandise that will be paid in Bitcoin to the purchaser. It goes like this:  Person A who wants to keep their Bitcoin transactions under wraps, buys several large items for Person B.  Person B then deposits Bitcoin into their online wallet and the transaction is practically invisible. Check Amazon, eBay, and other online vendors. Has your companion made unordinary or huge purchases of items that have never been brought to your home? Are there names and addresses in your Amazon account dispatching list that you don’t recognize?  Should you not have access to those accounts, your lawyer can request it during divorce disclosure.

The presence of crypto exchange apps or digital wallet apps your App store account.

It is likely your spouse has a crypto banking app on their phone. If you share the same phone account, you may be able to access the history of all apps downloaded to any phones on your plan. If you are not able to obtain this information on your own, your attorney can add to this to items to be produced during discovery.

Bank accounts show large singular cash withdrawals or a pattern of smaller withdrawals of similar size.

This kind of pattern warrants further investigation. What was the money used for? Trading cash for Bitcoins is one possibility, but there are many more. Transferring cash to a Paypal account is another red flag. What was the purpose of this transfer and to whom is the money going?

Secretive behavior with account statements.

Has your partner become secretive about financial statements?  Maybe the password for your online banking has been changed and your spouse shrugs it off as some technological glitch, promising to contact the bank later that day. Call your bank and credit card company to request copies be sent directly to you for all joint accounts. Let your attorney know as soon as possible so that steps can be taken to make your spouse produce the paperwork for all joint accounts.

Retain a Wall Township Divorce Lawyer TodayThe New Jersey Law Journal recently tackled the issue of the impact of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency on divorce. Although Bitcoin is largely anonymous and difficult to trace, when it enters digital space, it is traceable. For example, if it can be proven that large amounts of money have been transferred through currency exchange, your attorney or a financial forensic analyst can support your accusation. A good divorce lawyer will be able to advise you on the best approach with regard to proving the existence of assets in Bitcoins. Although digital currencies may be harder to value than more traditional assets such as stocks, shares, and property, this does not prevent the court from determining a fair evaluation.

Retain a Wall Township Divorce Lawyer Today

At Bronzino Law Firm, our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients across the Jersey Shore in Point Pleasant, Toms River, Jackson, Wall, Sea Girt, and Brick favorably and effectively divide marital assets during a divorce or mediation process.

To schedule a consultation with a member of our firm today regarding your asset doubts, please visit our online form or call us at  (732) 812-3102 to learn more about your options.

Child Custody and Parenting Time Agreements During the Corona Virus in Monmouth and Ocean County NJ

Experienced Family Law Attorney Providing Advice on Child Custody Agreements Issues during this difficult time in towns including Wall, Sea Girt, Brick, Toms River and across the Jersey Shore

Child Custody Agreements During the Corona Virus in Monmouth County NJThe Covid-19 pandemic has turned personal and collective systems upside down from the inside out. Old ideas of normalcy at work, at home, and with loved ones have been completely dispelled, globally. Navigating these times of physical, emotional, and financial upheaval test the resilience of even the most even-keeled individuals. Add having to navigate custody agreements and parenting time schedules to the mix, and one may feel completely overwhelmed.

We’re here to let you know that there is a structure already in place on which you can rely: the one you and your ex or co-parent set up when you determined custody and parenting time agreements and which is court-ordered. Though a State of Emergency and Stay-At-Home orders were issued in New Jersey, no official change was made to court orders. That means that when in doubt and if at all possible and safe, sticking to your established routines are going to be the surest way to navigate this pandemic with ease and grace.

What if my co-parent and I are unable to navigate our parenting time agreement during the pandemic?

If it is impossible or unsafe for you and your co-parent to stably carry out the court-ordered parenting time agreement due to travel restrictions, etc, you will need to work together amicably to determine an alternative. Because the New Jersey Courts have not issued an easing of court orders to meet the unique needs of this time, you are technically still on the hook for ensuring that the agreed-upon schedules are carried out.

What if my co-parent and I are unable to navigate our parenting time agreement during the pandemic?If it is impossible for you or your co-parent to physically be present to carry out the schedule, work together to come up with alternative means of passing the time together, such as video or telephone calls. While this doesn’t beat the real thing, it is an important stabilizer for your child and shows a reasonable attempt to carry out the court-ordered procedures set forth in your custody and parenting time agreements.

In April, The New York Times reported that many parents were taking advantage of the nationwide shelter-in-place orders to prevent exes who had legal right to see their children from coming into contact with them, claiming the risk of contagion as the reason. While this concern is reasonable, and co-parents could work together on a case-by-case basis to find safe alternatives, using the Coronavirus crisis as a means of unjustly withholding legal rights of a co-parent could be reprimanded in New Jersey Court. If you believe that your rights to see your child have been withheld by your co-parent, contact your family law attorney to learn your rights at this time and what next steps can be taken to claim your rights as a parent.

Tips on addressing some of the challenges of co-parenting during the Pandemic

There are many ways that you and your co-parent can work together to navigate this trying time, even bonding as a family unit in doing so. Below are some tips for how to work together to create a steady and healthy experience for your child in these unsteady times:

  • Remember that you and your co-parent are on Team Child. Whatever your differences, in one (very important!) respect, you and your co-parent are partners. You each want what is best for your child, so if you rally around that remembrance and become thought- and action-partners to provide the most stable and nourishing experience for your child that you can, you’ll watch your child flourish in the bonds created and grow yourselves, too.
  • Consult a Child Custody Attorney in Ocean County TodayDevelop shared routines that empower your child and create a sense of consistency across spaces. Use the need for additional hygienic safety to help create a sense of agency in your child. Give your child jobs such as a counter cleaner, shoe sprayer, or soap pourer when they are at both homes. They will be proud of themselves and understand their role in keeping the family safe.
  • Communication and consistency matter. Make sure you each communicate openly to your child – in an age-appropriate way – about what is happening and how you’re all working together to stay safe and healthy.

Work together with your co-parent to develop the routines, systems, and emergency procedures that you will share across homes, and write them down.

Consult a Child Custody and Parenting Time Attorney in Monmouth and Ocean County Today

At Peter J. Bronzino, Esq, we support our clients in Ocean County towns such as Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey in navigating their New Jersey custody arrangements and parenting time agreements in this uncharted territory of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Contact a member of our team today to set up an online consultation and discuss the court-ordered ramifications of your custody agreement and any concerns you have about meeting them safely. Please contact us online or through our Brick, NJ offices by calling (732) 812-3102 today for a confidential consultation; we look forward to serving you.

Protecting your privacy during your Ocean and Monmouth County Divorce

Being in a marriage with an abusive spouse is a constant cause of stress and worry. Call our Brick or Sea Girt offices today.

Protecting your privacy during your Ocean and Monmouth County Divorce The decision to separate, start the divorce process, or dissolve a civil union can be both traumatic and emotional challenges. If the relationship produced children then further steps must be taken regarding child custody, child support, parenting time arrangements, the equitable distribution of marital assets, spousal support or alimony, and resolving marital debt.  The impact the added stress this litigation might have on your personal life may mean you not only sharing your thoughts and feelings about the latest legal developments with your family on the phone, but also via your social media platforms, and by extension your co-workers and numerous social media followers. The lack of discretion and activity on your social media platforms can have profound legal implications in family court as any text, social media posting, or picture going back years in your social media history can be presented as evidence by your soon-to-be-ex or subpoenaed by a savvy criminal investigator in a domestic violence case.

One doesn’t have to be a celebrity or influencer to worry about family, friends, future employers, or romantic partners becoming curious or googling your name and learning less than stellar aspects of you, your divorce, or personal life.

At Bronzino Law, LLC, we will carefully hear you and provide the information you need to make the most informed decision for yourself and your family. Call us at (732) 812-3102 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a confidential consultation today, and allow us to be your trusted and experienced advisor who will help protect your rights.

7 Reasons Why Keeping Your Divorce Private is a Sustainable & Healthy Strategy Moving Forward

  • Protects children from high-conflict custody matters by presenting a united front committed to their best interests as well their emotional well-being & mental stability
  • Provides a healthy basis for your future co-parenting relationship, as well as effective and transparent communication
  • Could result in a more fair financial settlement
  • 7 Reasons Why Keeping Your Divorce Private is a Sustainable & Healthy Strategy Moving ForwardReduce the likelihood of parental alienation
  • Allows an opportunity to manage realistic expectations and improve the possibility of having a more positive start with your next romantic partner or new dating relationship
  • Helps you to establish boundaries with your soon-to-be ex and limit the type of information & details you share among with for emotional support
  • Enables you to more maturely view the bigger picture of how to manage challenges and obstacles with aplomb, and without the need to fight dirty.

Pursuing a Dignified Divorce Benefits the Privacy of all Parties in NJ

All divorce proceedings and related documents eventually become part of the New Jersey Family court records and are potentially accessible by the public. Detailed information about each parties’ assets, debts, misbehaving, infidelities, child custody matters, as well as testimony from babysitters, teachers, therapists, family friends, and other family members.

The increasingly common choice of “irreconcilable differences” for parties filing for divorce as the grounds for their New Jersey divorce, means per Groh v. Groh, 439 N.J. Super. 186, 191 (Ch. Div. 2014) that people cab “end their marriages in a common dignified manner without having to engage in hurtful and unproductive mudslinging over who was at fault for the failure of the partnership.”  This reduces the likelihood of sensitive personal information being revealed and increased litigation costs if your divorce attorney must file an application to seal court records or limit the disclosure of information.

CONTACT A BRICK, NJ FAMILY LAWYER TO REVIEW THE DETAILS OF YOUR CASE

Bronzino Law, LLC could be a vital resource during and after your divorce. We will help you understand all the available options. Reach out today to learn how we can protect your rights and help you gain a fresh start. You don´t have to handle this difficult situation on your own. Without the support of a skilled attorney, you risk losing the hope for a better child custody or divorce arrangement. We have successfully represented hundreds of clients in Ocean and Monmouth Counties as they navigated the challenges of divorce.

Contact us online today to schedule a free and confidential consultation, or call one of our convenient offices located in Brick or Sea Girt, NJ at (732) 812-3102.

High-conflict Co-parenting Attorneys during COVID 19 Monmouth and Ocean County NJ

Whether you have separated from your ex amicably or on less friendly terms, co-parenting in the time of Covid-19 is not easy.

High-conflict Co-parenting Attorneys during COVID 19 Monmouth and Ocean County NJThese are trying times for the whole planet. We are in a transition globally to a more sustainable and community-connected way of life that we did not pay much attention to before the Coronavirus. However, some are using this opportunity for self-reflection and reorganization of priorities and values, and others are allowing the emotional – and financial – instability of these times to get the best of them, projecting their fears and stresses onto those they love most.

In some cases, it can be downright traumatic, depending on the circumstances you face. When you have an ex who is driven to high conflict, however, and you are attempting to navigate the safety and security of your family while having to put out relational fires, you can feel overwhelmed. So what do you do in the case of a high drama co-parent? How can you make co-parenting work, so that you all get through the pandemic safely and somewhat emotionally intact? Below is a list of tips for navigating these choppy waters.

Communicate from an anchored place.

Probably the single most important focus for navigating this time of co-parenting with a high-conflict ex is open communication. Prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the environment created when you do communicate: if you know that insults, withholding of information, or some other form of verbal abuse are commonplace in your attempts at communication, prepare your own vessel to be a grounded receiver. Commit to taking extra time for self-care during this time, even if it seems impossible to fit into your schedule. In order to communicate wisely, you will need all of your wits about you, so self-care rituals such as a daily yoga and meditation practice, spending time in nature, ample hydration, and seeking the support of a therapist are all top priorities.

Put it in writing.

Expect that communication is going to break down into the same old hurls of insults and verbal injuries. Don’t bite. The goal of communication with your ex at this time is developing and following a protocol that ensures that your child, and you both, are safe. When this shared goal is kept in mind – and reminded for the benefit of both parties often – everyone benefits and communication is generally steered towards solutions-based thinking.

Put in writing your plans for how to safely shuffle your child throughout their day. Consider the following items:

  • Put it in writing.What are the safety procedures for leaving each house?
  • What are the safety procedures for arriving at each house?
  • Who will sanitize the surfaces of the house, and how often?
  • What are protocols for face touching in the car between houses?
  • How can you standardize safety and sanitation practices and jobs across houses, so your child feels a sense of consistency and personal empowerment for helping in the sanitation practices?
  • What are the rules for social distancing?
  • How will online education be handled? Create a set schedule of hours in which the child will partake in online learning, and agree that each parent will be fully available to support that learning.
  • What are the protocols if one of the family members begins to show symptoms of illness?

When the above considerations are kept in mind, the focus of negotiations between exes remains centered around the safety of their child. Put these agreements in writing, and have each parent sign them. This will allow you to simply refer to the agreement in the future when conflict arises.

Stick to your parenting time agreement as much as possible.

At this time of upheaval, a child may get thrown particularly out of balance, because so many of the steady containers that support their consistent growth – home, school, extracurricular activities – are revoked or changed. This can cause emotional instability in your child that may certainly affect your own ability to deal with conflicts that arise. While we navigate this pandemic, it is important to keep as many routines and rituals as intact as possible. Your court-approved parenting time agreement is a great place to start. What schedules is it possible to retain? This consistency is crucial to your child at this time.

Seek legal support.

In the case of conflict that simply can’t be resolved by keeping communication focused on the facts and not reacting to the hostile communication of your ex, you can seek the support of your attorneys to engage in mediation or develop an emergency parenting time agreement for review by the court. If your ex is refusing to follow the established custody agreement, you have the right to go before a judge in an online hearing and argue why you feel it is best that your child be with you alone at this time. This would be a last resort, however, as the process for scheduling healing is more delayed due to current restrictions.

Monmouth Parenting Time Lawyer Help You Navigate through these unprecedented times

At Bronzino Law Firm, our team of attorneys is committed to supporting our clients across Point Pleasant, Brick, Wall, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County Areas in working with their co-parent to carry out custodial agreements and navigate revisions to court-ordered routines that may be necessary.

To schedule an online consultation with a member of our firm regarding your co-parenting needs during this time, please visit our online form or call us at  (732) 812-3102 to learn more about your options.

Parental Alienation Impacts Child Support and College Payment Monmouth and Ocean County NJ

Today, we’re going to focus on alienation as it specifically affects a divorced parent’s legal responsibility to help their child pay for college expenses.

Parental Alienation Impacts Child Support and College Payment Monmouth and Ocean County NJDuring this groundbreaking time of the Coronavirus pandemic, co-parents everywhere are navigating new challenges to parenting time agreements in New Jersey. In order to properly address quarantines, curfews, and other restrictions that may impact our capacities to uphold our parenting time agreements, it is important to educate ourselves about what the current laws are in New Jersey surrounding custody arrangements and co-parenting. We do so to ensure that our actions and any revisions to the court-ordered agreements we make are within the scope of legality, and if changes to parenting time agreements are necessary, we can contact our attorneys for support. We also do so to understand our legal options in the case that the financial and emotional instability caused by the pandemic adversely impacts our relationships with our exes, creating tension or downright conflict.

One custody and child support a law that does not apply to the vast majority of co-parents – but that may arise as an issue for some high-conflict parents during this testy time – is parental alienation.

What is alienation?

New Jersey law defines parental alienation as a form of emotional abuse. It is a custodial parent’s manipulation of a child by vilifying the other parent. The purpose of this defamation is to turn the child against the other parent. The effects of this kind of action can be lasting. Psychologists have labeled Parental Alienation Syndrome as a harmful physical and psychological estrangement that can have lasting socio-emotional effects. Edward Kruk, Ph.D., writer for Psychology Today, wrote,

What is alienation?“For a child, the biopsychosocial-spiritual effects of parental alienation are devastating. For both the alienated parent and the child, the removal and denial of contact in the absence of neglect or abuse constitute cruel and unusual treatment…. As a form of maltreatment, parental alienation is a serious child protection matter, as it undermines a basic principle of social justice for children: the right to know and be cared for by both of one’s parents.”

As a result of the severe impact parental alienation can have on a child, New Jersey courts are tightening their approach to dealing with parents who engage in parental alienation techniques. One of the primary ways is adjusting the timeline for which the non-custodial parent is required to paying child support and even shifting their requirement to help pay for their child’s college education.

What is New Jersey law regarding college support?

According to New Jersey law, each parent must financially support their unemancipated child’s college education. During the divorce and custody proceedings, the arrangements for this support, which is considered part of child support payments, are made as part of the divorce resolution. Those arrangements are sometimes simply named in a custody agreement, or they are laid out specifically in financial terms. Most agreements layout that the college selection process will involve both parents.

In the case of parental alienation, one example of which was the New Jersey Appellate Division ruling on Weinman v. Weinman, a judge can overturn a parent’s requirement to pay child support past the age of 18 and contribute to the college fund if they have been effectively alienated from the child’s life over the course of the divorce.

Retain a Wall Township Parental Alienation Lawyer TodayIn Weinman v. Weinman, the mother had pressed estrangement of her children from their father over many years through tactics of parental alienation. During repeated and documented occasions, the father had attempted to participate in the lives of his children, in addition to abiding by the required child support payments. Because of the mother’s impact on the children, the children did not accept the father or his attempts to participate in the college decision-making process when the time came.

A New Jersey Family Court found that, as a result of the documented parental alienation that had taken place estranging the father from his children, he was not required to support his otherwise unemancipated children through college. The New Jersey Appellate Division upheld the ruling.

Retain a Wall Township Parental Alienation Lawyer Today

If as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, you are unable to see your child and you sense that parental alienation tactics are being used to estrange you from your child, don’t hesitate to reach out to a qualified attorney today. They can help you navigate the situation to salvage your relationship with your child before it is too late or seek legal retribution for emotional abuse.

At Bronzino Law Firm, our team of attorneys is skilled at handling parental alienation issues across the Jersey Shore in Point Pleasant, Toms River, Jackson, Wall, Sea Girt, and Brick.

To schedule a consultation with a member of our firm today regarding your custody tribulations, please visit our online form or call us at  (732) 812-3102 to learn more about your options.

Shared Custody and Co-parenting Issues During COVID-19 Pandemic Brick and Sea Girt NJ

Monmouth and Ocean County Family Attorney helping clients best to navigate this trying time of raising children with an ex or other co-parent, and keep your family safe

Helping Monmouth and Ocean County Parents with Shared Custody and Co-parenting IssuesThe time of the COVID-19 pandemic is an unstable time in our collective history. The instability and stress that are the root and the effect of these times are felt across the globe. Everything from personal and family health, finances, and employment have been shaken to the core. If you are co-parenting during this time, your stresses in helping your family stay safe are greatly amplified, as you can never be completely sure that your co-parent has taken the necessary precautions to protect themselves and your children from the Coronavirus. In order to ensure that all of you are as safe as possible, and to prevent the spread of this highly contagious virus, it is imperative that you have a system of coordination and open communication with your co-parent.

Unify with your co-parent in holding your child’s health as the most important thing.

During this time, collaboration is key to ensuring your child’s health, and your own. If you have a testy relationship with your co-parent, now is not the time to argue. In fact, it is the time to supersede all ill feelings and work together to develop a system of preventative health and flow to your routine that keeps you safe from this highly contagious virus. Remember that COVID-19 spreads often in the absence of symptoms, so a jointly-developed system of procedures is essential. What are house entry and exit procedures? What do you do with shoes and clothes when you arrive home with the child, no matter to which home? What are house cleaning procedures for keeping the surfaces free from contamination? Consider all necessary precautions when developing your co-parenting systems for keeping your child safe, including those recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.

Communication is key.

Communication is keyDuring unstable times such as these, communication is key to keep everyone in the family safe. This means both communications with your co-parent and communication with your child. Because a child is already experiencing the instability of a move between houses, it is important to be open about what is happening with the COVID-19 pandemic to explain why you are taking extra precautions; this will help them feel grounded and anchored.

Work as a team – co-parents and children – to develop a proactive system of pickups and dropoffs, sanitization processes for leaving and arriving home, and an emergency action plan in the case that anyone develops symptoms of COVID-19. When communication between co-parents leads to systems of safety that are carried out in both homes, a child may even feel bolstered in their sense of ‘togetherness’ and family. Utilize these two-home systems of safety and hygiene to empower your child to take their health into their own hands. Giving them jobs around the house (that they are responsible for in both houses) creates coherence among homes and gives them a sense of agency.

Maintain established parenting time agreements and court-ordered custody agreements as much as possible.

For many, this is a time of total upheaval. Those who are navigating changes in their own personal and professional routines and lifestyle as well as juggling a custody arrangement with a co-parent are especially affected. For this reason, maintaining as many court-ordered custodial systems as safely possible at this time can prevent unnecessary additional stress.

Contact a Child Custody Lawyer in Brick and Sea Girt NJ TodayParenting time agreements were established to create a sense of stability for your child and for you. They create a rhythm and routine that helps a child feel emotionally safe. If you and your co-parent agree that it is safe to move the child back and forth between homes, and you have set up systems in your own life and your agreed-upon time with your child in order to prevent the spread of the virus, it can be immensely stabilizing for the child to feel the normal routine playing out, even amidst an abnormal global backdrop.

So what if it’s not safe or possible for the parenting time schedule or regular custodial visits to take place?

Be flexible.

See your co-parent as the partner they are in raising your child. If you are unable to visit your child due to the pandemic, or you have your child full-time due to the quarantine, thought partner with your co-parent to develop ways to make ‘visits’ possible. Set up a nightly storytime on a video call, or have daily play breaks outside where you each exercise together, again on a video call.

Contact a Child Custody Lawyer in Brick and Sea Girt NJ Today

At Bronzino Law Firm, our attorneys are committed to supporting our clients across Spring Lake, Toms River, Point Pleasant, Brick, and Ocean County in navigating their custodial agreements and parenting time agreements as necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To meet online with a member of our firm today regarding your co-parenting situation, please contact us today or through our Brick, NJ office at (732) 812-3102.

Saving Time in your Monmouth and Ocean County Divorce

Attorney Peter Bronzio, Esquire has been helping clients and their families in and across Monmouth County to reach effective resolutions in divorce proceedings.

Saving Time in your Monmouth and Ocean County DivorceFrom filing to final decree, the average divorce in New Jersey takes about 12 months. As a complicated life-altering legal matter that can trigger feelings of liberation, loss, and depression, divorce encompasses the equitable distribution of property, debts, and assets, child custody arrangements, child support, and if necessary alimony or spousal support.

Essentially, the length of the divorce litigation case depends on the intention of the parties involved. The more both parties are able to agree or compromise, the less time-consuming and possibly less traumatizing the divorce will be for all those involved, and the more potentially stable and less disruptive the child’s life will be.

Whether you prefer your divorce be heard before a judge (i.e., contested or uncontested), or you pursue a discrete, more expeditious, and less formal alternative method like arbitration or mediation, an experienced divorce attorney can provide you with guidance and support throughout this difficult time to ensure that your interests and those of your children are protected.

Bronzino Law Firm has been helping clients and their families in and around Ocean and Monmouth County to reach effective resolutions in divorce proceedings. He is passionate about client service, immediate follow-up, and providing you with all of the information that you need to make sound decisions. To discuss your case with Mr. Bronzino, contact him at (732) 812-3102.

7 Time-Saving Strategies For a Less Expensive and More Civil Divorce

  • Begin with the end in mind. Positively and honestly envision what you want your post-divorce financial and personal life to be (i.e., co-parenting relationship, custody goals, budget/financial situation, and future romantic partners)
  • Focus on your children, their needs, and what’s in their best interest in terms of parenting time, maintaining stability, and equal access to both parents
  • Hire an experienced, knowledgeable, and trusted family lawyer who will ensure your interests, protect your rights and will work on behalf of the best interests of your child(ren)
  • Take inventory of your assets. Determine each party’s actual income, marital property versus separate property, debts, and stock options, for a more transparent and equitable distribution that ensures that neither party suffers undue economic damage as a result of the divorce
  • Explore mediation or arbitration to eliminate obstacles, find agreeable terms, and resolve issues in a more transparent and cost-effective manner before a divorce complaint is filed
  • Remember self-care and to take time out for your own mental health, so as to maintain a healthy parent-child bond that doesn’t encourage or result in parental alienation with your soon-to-be-ex. If possible, retain a therapist
  • Resist the urge to post about your divorce litigation on social media platforms, or seek advice from family or friends, since it could be inaccurate, harmful to your case, used against you during the divorce process, your children may see it, and it may not benefit your ability to move forward with future relationships

Consult with a Linden, New Jersey Divorce Lawyer Today

At Bronzino Law Firm. we have extensive experience resolving both no-fault divorces as well as fault-based divorces for clients Point Pleasant, Brick, Wall, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County Areas.

Bronzino Law Firm understands exactly how difficult the divorce process can be for you, both financially and emotionally, and takes that into account by offering compassionate legal service and charging fair and reasonable rates. Our firm also knows that many attorneys “over litigate” divorce in an effort to prolong the process and charge more, and as such we offer honest counsel when it comes to negotiating your divorce settlement. We tell you when negotiation may be possible, but require extensive time and effort, when certain terms are downright unrealistic, and when an offer is fair and reasonable to you.

To speak with our office today in a confidential consultation regarding your divorce or potential divorce, or discuss other family law options, please fill out our online contact form or call our Linden, NJ office at (732) 812-3102 today.

Domestic Violence Appeals Attorneys Monmouth and Ocean County NJ

Though not a common occurrence, errors by judges overseeing Domestic Violence trials do occur. Such a mistake recently resulted in an appellate court overturning the Superior Court: Family Part ruling in a domestic violence case.

Domestic Violence Appeals Attorneys Monmouth and Ocean County NJThe importance of having a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney can’t be overstated. The minute details that go into the argument of a trial and the expertise required to note the strategies and errors of the opposing party’s attorney and even the court can mean the difference between a trial won and a trial lost – or an opportunity for appeal missed.

Appeal of Final Restraining Order Issuance in NJ

In February 2020, an appeal was submitted contesting a ruling from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Essex County. The Superior Court had issued a Final Restraining Order (FRO) against defendant L.F. in protection of her son, J.F. The FRO was a progression of the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) that had been in place.

In the Superior Court case, the son, J.F., presented testimony that his mother had followed his wife when she left her house, and that his mother had stationed her car outside of their house for many hours at a time on various occasions. This testimony lent itself toward a ruling for the issuance of a FRO.

However, proper court procedure was not followed by the judge. In fact, there were multiple failures by the judge to adhere to procedural justice. For example, the judge did not inform either party of their legal right to cross-examine the opposing party. Cross-examination is considered “the ‘greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth,’” a statement made famous in California v. Green, 399 U.S. 149, 158 (1970). This absence of essential process in itself warranted reversal of the lower court’s ruling and remand of a new Superior Court trial.

Additionally,  the court did not ask the defendant if she had any questions for the plaintiff. After the ruling was made, the defendant was asked if she had any questions about the ruling, and she attempted to add evidence and speak to her son’s criminal record:

Appeal of Final Restraining Order Issuance in NJThe Court: Do you have any questions, [L.F.]?

L.F.: I have the letter for my co-worker. I know the decision [to issue a FRO] is made. I can’t do anything. But, who has the criminal record here is him. Not me. After 2014 I —

The Court: The Court has accepted —

L.F.: I never followed his wife.

Given that she had not been given an opportunity to enter this evidence before the ruling was made, as well as speak to her son’s record and therefore a potential lack of credibility, she was denied due process under New Jersey law. All defendants have the right to exhaust all questions and enter all defense before a ruling is made.

It is often the case that in a Superior Court trial, the judge has some management to do, and therefore may take procedure a bit into their own hands. As the appellate judge noted in Franklin v. Sloskey, “[w]e understand that in a pro se trial a judge often has to focus the testimony and take over the questioning of the parties and witnesses. This should be done in an orderly and predictable fashion, however, and not at the expense of the parties’ due process rights.” 385 N.J. Super. 534, 543 (App. Div. 2006)

New Jersey Appellate Court Reverses FRO as a Result of Procedural Errors

As a result of the procedural errors of the Superior Court judge, the New Jersey Appellate Court reversed the FRO and returned to its prior state, a TRO. The Appellate Court remanded the case to the Superior Court level and directed that a different judge carry out the retrial. In this way, the Appellate Court ensured that the defendant had a fair chance at justice, whether or not the outcome would be different.

The Appeals Courts of New Jersey and the United States are established to ensure that justice has been served at all levels and stages of the trial process. Of course, it is essential to have the support of a quality lawyer working on your behalf, yet the Court itself is responsible for ensuring that your legal rights are clarified and carried out, whether you are the defendant or the plaintiff.

Wall Township Restraining Order Appeals Lawyer Help You Navigate the Process and Protect Your Rights

At Bronzino Law Firm, our attorneys support clients across Point Pleasant, Brick, Wall, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County Areas in all criminal law matters.

To schedule a consultation with a member of our experienced team regarding your case, please visit our online form or call us at  (732) 812-3102 to learn more about your options.

Tax Issues in Divorce Attorney Monmouth and Ocean County NJ

Frequently, couples filing for divorce rarely consider the tax implications and changes in their filings after the divorce is settled.

Divorce Attorney Discussing Tax-Related Issues Monmouth and Ocean County NJHow will alimony change your tax situation? Can both couples claim the children as dependents? When do you have to stop filing jointly? Does sale or equitable distribution of the assets change the amount of taxes to be paid? It is a complex process that requires expertise and knowledge of the changing laws in order to meet your needs and specific situation.

HOW DOES ALIMONY AFFECT MY TAXABLE INCOME?

A major change that came out of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a new tax rule that applies to alimony orders put in place on or after January 1, 2019. Before, the spouse required to pay alimony could deduct payment amounts from their income taxes. The spouse who received alimony had to claim it as income. Couples who divorced prior to 2019 are not included due to what is known as a grandfather clause which creates an exemption based on circumstances that existed previously.

Under new tax rules applied to new orders, alimony payors can no longer claim the deduction; alimony payments remain part of the taxable income. Spouses who receive alimony are not required to claim it as income because that would mean the amount of alimony would be taxed twice, both from the payee and the recipient.

Unfortunately, this new law can affect the way alimony is negotiated making the divorce process more complicated than ever before.  Lump-sum payments of alimony rather than monthly payments are becoming more popular considering the new tax laws.  Negotiating marital assets is another way to handle the present tax situation.  For spouses who receive alimony, any plan must be subject to great scrutiny to ensure their financial security will be safeguarded.

CAN BOTH PARTIES CLAIM CHILDREN AS DEPENDENTS?

CAN BOTH PARTIES CLAIM CHILDREN AS DEPENDENTS?After a divorce complaint is filed, the court may require one spouse to interim support, to maintain as much financial stability as possible during the divorce litigation.  When the court orders this interim support, the judge may not specify that as being for the spouse or the children.  Unless the judge indicates that the interim support is non-taxable, if the recipient spouse does not file a joint income tax return, that interim support received is taxable.

Child support payments determined at the time a divorce is granted are not considered income taxable to the parent who is receiving them, nor the parent paying child support is able to deduct those payments on his or her tax return.

Post-divorce the litigants may have a dispute over deductions or exemptions.  The parent with primary residential custody may claim the children as exemptions on his/her income tax return.   In a settlement, the parties may agree to share the exemptions or alternate them in some way. That agreement should be placed in writing to insure adherence by both parties.

WHEN SHOULD A SEPARATED COUPLE STOP FILING JOINTLY?

This is often a point of contention during divorce litigation when the parties are in the middle of litigation still at tax time.  Should they file jointly?  Should they tile separately?

Your marital status as of December 31 of the tax filing year will determine your filing status for that year. If your divorce is finalized by that date, you must file separately. If that is not the case, and one spouse wants to file a joint income tax return to be able to take advantage of the tax deductions available to married persons filing jointly, that spouse may make an application to the court to either obligate the other spouse to sign a joint income tax return or to have that spouse bear the financial consequence of not signing a joint tax return.   The party seeking to file jointly would have to provide the court with a mock-up of how the returns would appear based on filing a tax return jointly and individually. The spouse objecting to filing a joint return would need to have a reasonable explanation for not wanting to file a joint tax return.

One good reason for not wanting to file a joint income tax return occurs when the other spouse is self-employed or the recipient of a large settlement or inheritance and is manipulating his or her income for tax purposes. Also, as alimony and child support are based on income, filing a report with a lesser amount could be a way to decrease spousal financial obligations.  By filing jointly, the couple could be charged with tax fraud rather than the one spouse who was dishonest in his/her claim.

What Are Tax Considerations for Selling Assets to Distribute in a Divorce?

Wall Township Divorce Lawyer Help You Explore different scenarios related to taxesSome spouses who are divorcing might desire or be forced to sell assets in order to equitably distribute assets acquired during the marriage.  There are serious tax implications to be considered. If a home or other real estate is being sold, there may be capital gains on the sale that must be allocated.  Any stocks or bonds cashed in are also subject to taxation.  Retirement money and 401K’s are distributed equitably and will be charged penalties for restructuring.  In some cases, a capital gains tax is applied so it is important to include them in the tax plan of the divorce settlement.

Wall Township Divorce Lawyer Help You Explore different scenarios related to taxes

Divorce can be stressful, painful, even scary sometimes, but it need not be your burden alone.  There are empathetic, top-notch attorneys with the experience and knowledge to guide you through this difficult time.  If you would like more information, please visit our online form or call us at  (732) 812-3102 to learn more about your options.