Category: Marital Assets
Prenuptial Agreements for Those Considering Remarrying in Ocean and Monmouth County
Brick Divorce and Prenuptial Agreements Attorneys Serving Clients in Ocean and Monmouth County
People are building careers, marrying later in life, amassing assets and owning their first homes at a younger age. As serial marriages and life expectancies increase, in addition to people bringing significant assets into their committed relationships or civil unions, it makes perfect sense to start talking about your long-term financial futures together. Seeing friends and family go through the divorce process, couples are more aware that marriage does not mean “happily ever after” and want to take the steps to protect themselves. In considering a prenuptial agreement, they may want to establish the ground rules of how finances will be dealt with in the marriage, property and asset division or even attempt to understand their responsibilities for dividing debt, in the event of a divorce.
Through savings, investments or a longer work history, middle-aged individuals and senior citizens are likely to have more significant assets at stake than their younger counterparts, as well as other financial obligations (i.e., alimony or child support, and real estate) or business investments they may want to leave to their children.
Though it wouldn’t be recommended for one party to straight out ask their significant other to sign a prenuptial agreement, open and honest communication about their respective finances, plans, and values never hurts.
What Significant Factors Often Prevent Seniors in Sea Girt, NJ From Remarrying?
A traumatic marriage or a nasty divorce can contribute to seniors being reluctant to take another trip down the aisle. Fear of losing various medical insurance or Social Security benefits, spousal pension payments or the termination of alimony are a few other reasons.
They will be among the first to tell you that failing to carefully consider the economic consequences of a late-life divorce, can pose harsh consequences for seniors, especially those who may live on a fixed income.
Though seemingly unromantic, many seniors opt for cohabitation agreements which allow them to keep their assets separate and any inheritances for their family intact.
If you or someone you know are unsure if a prenuptial or a cohabitation agreement would more appropriately address your financial concerns, you should consult an experienced family law attorney that has a lot of experience drafting both.
Changing Face of Alimony: Divorce is Getting More Expensive For Women in NJ
While it was almost exclusively men who paid their exes spousal support, as women earn more, head households and are breadwinners in their relationships, the financial dynamic has changed. This shift is best seen in high-profile female celebrity divorces (i.e., Britney Spears, Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez, Janet Jackson, and Sherry Sheppard). More woman with an eye to the future, seek creative agreements which protect them, their assets, and any potential family inheritances.
A 2018 study of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) found that among their members:
- 54% cited an increase in the number of mothers paying child support in the past three years,
- 45% saw a rise in women being responsible for alimony, and
- 78% saw an increase in parents sharing custody of children.
Practical Tips For Talking to Your Partner About a Prenup in Ocean County, NJ
If this isn’t your first rodeo, and you have a previous high-asset divorce under your belt or had to divide your retirement assets, you have learned that it may help to have a heart-to-heart about ensuring the financial well-being of your future marriage.
Be sure to:
- discuss the topic early and well advance of the actual wedding date.
- adopt a conversational tone and explain the purpose.
- be upfront about your reasons and fears.
- really listen to your partner’s feedback.
- encourage your partner to share their own ideas.
- try not to get emotional if your partner seems resistant to the idea.
- ask questions about your partner’s objections, concerns, or beliefs.
- take this chance to resolve any misunderstandings.
By being transparent, providing full financial disclosure, and seriously considering several scenarios that could affect future finances and support after a divorce, this practical look at the financial aspects of marriage and divorce could have the positive impact of making couples take a more realistic assessment of what’s overall best for each of them. If nothing else, a more slowed down approach could mean more thoughtful drafting of a prenup both parties can be satisfied with.
Contact a Monmouth County Family Law Attorney to properly File Your Case Today
A marriage can affect every aspect of your financial life. It´s recommendable to sit down as a couple to learn more about each other’s present financial situations and future goals together. Once you have organized your pros and cons, talk to specialized attorney Peter Bronzino who will guide you in your process.
Deferred Compensation in Divorce Attorney in Ocean and Monmouth County NJ
Serving clients throughout Brick, Sea Girt, Toms River, Wall Township and the Jersey Shore
Much like other complex assets, New Jersey law considers retirement accounts eligible for equitable distribution during the course of a divorce or civil union dissolution. They may even be seen as an income stream for the purpose of calculating spousal support and child support. Assets such as real estate holdings, investment portfolios, and family businesses and business partnerships first need to be accurately valued, then separated into marital and private ownership. Only then can they be divided in a “fair” manner. No asset is too complex or intermingled for our qualified attorneys to properly value, provide experienced legal advice on, and subsequently divide in an equitable manner favorable to you.
At The Bronzino Law Firm, our retirement asset division legal team believes in simplifying the asset division process for our Ocean and Monmouth County clients from towns including Sea Girt, Asbury Park, Neptune, Brick, Wall, Point Pleasant, Toms River, Jackson, Manasquan, Brille, and the surrounding communities. Our firm does not provide one-size-fits-all legal solutions like some larger firms. Instead, we take pride in working closely with our clients to deliver uniquely tailored legal service that addresses their individual needs and concerns.
What is Deferred Compensation?
Many businesses offer unique assets like benefits, bonuses, profit units, incentives, and other forms of remuneration to attract and retain top employees. This portion of an employee’s compensation is set aside to be paid out at a later date, usually when they retire. Taxes related to this particular income (i.e., bonus deferral plans, pension plans, stock options, retirement plans, etc.,) are “deferred” until it is paid out, often reducing the tax burden.
With additional resources such as financial experts, our attorneys can help you navigate a complex financial and legal landscape and find clarity in your rights, so you can move on from your marriage.
What are Qualified and Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation Plans?
Qualified retirement plans have contribution limits, are offered to all employees and are taxed when the contribution is made to the account, such as for:
- Traditional IRAs
- Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) IRA
- Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRA
Non-qualified deferred compensation (NQDC) plans are offered to executives and key employees. As there are no limits on contributions, these plans allow the company to postpone payment of some compensation, while giving the recipient a way to save more for retirement than a qualified plan, such as with a:
- Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan (SERP)
- Savings Accounts
- Money Market Mutual Funds
- Certificates of Deposits (CDs)
What is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order or QDRO?
QDROs cover plans which are qualified due to the fact that plan participants still owe taxes at the time they withdraw funds. Retirement assets are highly regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the IRS and cannot be divided at any time. Distributions or withdrawals from most retirement plans often carry significant tax implications and penalties. QDROs are court orders which allow retirement assets to be distributed without the usual tax implications. Since early withdrawal often carries a minimum 10% mandatory penalty in addition to whatever else you might owe in taxes, if your retirement plan distribution is done through a QDRO during divorce litigation, it will not be considered taxable.
To avoid these issues, if you are a spouse eligible to receive all or a portion of a retirement account, your Sea Girt retirement plan asset division attorney can seek a QDRO for a judge to sign.
What About My Spouse’s Vested and Non-Vested Compensation?
Vested Compensation is compensation available now because of the specified amount of time for that particular asset has passed. This type of asset distribution is often pretty straight forward and easy to handle. The courts will determine the value of the compensation and:
- require that it be cashed out or have the stock options exercised or
- award it to the employee spouse and have equivalent assets awarded to the other spouse
Non-Vested Compensation can be a bit more challenging as they have not yet reached the specified amount of time, and as such are not a tangible asset that can be distributed. In some cases, the non-employee spouse may not be eligible for the full amount, only for the time period “earned” during the marriage, in which that particular asset was deferred.
Will Setting Up a Callahan Trust for Non-Vested Compensation Assure A Fairer Division of Assets?
In some circumstances, where the asset remains non-vested, the employee spouse can buyout the non-titled spouse from his/her share by valuing the asset using the current market value and deducting the applicable taxes or by holding the asset in a constructive Callahan Trust, for the other party. By setting up a trust one avoids some risk and the perception of any unfairness due to the potential loss and speculative value of the assets.
Contact Us At Our Brick Or Sea Girt Office Locations
Our Toms River equitable distribution and retirement asset attorneys will help you through the sensitive legal process to ensure fairness and the equitable distribution of stock options, retirement plans and other forms of deferred compensation, that may be in question.
Maintaining Status Quo During Divorce in Monmouth County NJ
Providing Divorce Clients with Financial Advice Across Spring Lake, Toms River, Point Pleasant, Brick, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County Areas
Status Quo After Filing Divorce
During a divorce, the “Status Quo” of the marriage must be maintained, meaning whatever was happening before the divorce was filed, must continue. If you were paying your wife´s car insurance, you have to continue paying your wife´s car insurance. If you were paying your husband´s cellphone bill, you have to continue paying your husband´s cellphone bill. If you were paying the mortgage, you have to continue paying that mortgage.
Let Our Ocean County Divorce Attorneys Guide You and Your Finances Today
At Bronzino Law Firm, LLC we have served many clients through the divorce process and helped successfully resolve financial disputes in towns such as Spring Lake, Toms River, Point Pleasant, Brick, and the greater Ocean County area.
No Fault Divorce and Irreconcilable Differences Attorney Ocean County NJ
Serving Clients in Ocean and Monmouth County towns including Toms River, Wall, Asbury Park, Point Pleasant, and Brick, NJ
Grounds for Divorce in Ocean and Monmouth Counties
New Jersey is generally a no-fault base state when it comes to the grounds for a divorce complaint. What that means is that it generally does not matter who files first or why are you filing. When we use no-fault grounds of divorce most people plead irreconcilable differences, which means that you did not get along for a period of six months. It´s subjective and no one can question you on that.
Contact an Monmouth County Family Law Attorney to File a No Fault Divorce Today
At Bronzino Law Firm, we have extensive experience resolving no-fault divorces filed under irreconcilable differences for clients in towns across towns including Toms River, Wall, Asbury Park, Point Pleasant, and Brick, NJ
To speak with our firm today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your irreconcilable differences and no fault divorce, please contact us online, or through either our Brick, NJ office or our Sea Girt, NJ office at (732) 812-3102.
Arbitration Modification and Appeals Attorney Brick NJ
Serving Clients with offices in Sea Girt and Brick across Monmouth and Ocean County NJ
While going through the divorce process or any other family law dispute can seem challenging, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods such as mediation, collaboration, and arbitration can be seen as viable and effective ways of resolving family law issues. Though the concept of a quick, inexpensive divorce option can be attractive, many people do not realize that arbitration awards do not need to specify findings of fact or conclusions of law; and unlike a court order, an arbitration award is subject to a very narrow and limited review on appeal.
Any time you are resolving the life-changing and complex issues that come with any divorce, it is highly recommended that you work with an experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney in order to better understand your rights and options, and protect you and your family’s legal and financial futures.
At Bronzino Law Firm, our attorneys have extensive experience acting as independent legal counsel during the arbitration process for clients in Monmouth County, Ocean County, and across the Jersey Shore. Our firm is dedicated to providing highly attentive and effective family law counsel in all manner of situations, including arbitration, mediation, collaboration, negotiation, and litigation.
Contact us today at 732-812-3102 to discuss your individual needs and concerns when it comes to arbitration or whether or not an arbitration award can be set aside, vacated or corrected. We can help you resolve family law matters you may have, in a free and confidential consultation with a member of our legal team.
Enforcing an Arbitration Award Ocean County NJ
Have you recently gone through the arbitration process and are unhappy or dissatisfied with award decision in your divorce or civil union dissolution case? Are you disappointed or confused by the outcome of the child support or the amount of your alimony? Are you left wondering “is that it”? Or do you find yourself on the other end of this situation, and the other party has decided they wish to appeal your arbitration award? The New Jersey Arbitration Act (Act), N.J.S.A. 2A:23B-1 to-32 provides the framework for the arbitration process (e., method, conduct, issuance of the award) and standards for confirming, vacating, and modifying the award.
If an arbitrator refused to review evidence related to your issue, was biased or partial to the other party, or acted outside their scope of power, you have a right to appeal that result. While divorce rulings and awards are affirmed more often than they are reversed, there are circumstances where an appeal may be successful.
Modifying Arbitration Awards in Monmouth County NJ
In New Jersey binding arbitration cases, any decisions reached by the judge arbitrator are enforceable and legally binding. Divorce settlements or other awards may be modified at a later time based on a change in circumstance, but binding arbitration decisions cannot be immediately appealed by either party for the sole reason that the decisions are not satisfactory. In order to change the outcome of binding arbitration, a family law appeal must be filed, and the plaintiff must prove that circumstances have changed or the proceedings were somehow unfair or illegal. Modifying an award is possible when:
- figures were miscalculated,
- the arbitrator makes an award on an issue not before them and outside the scope of the arbitration, or
- the award is so poorly written and unclear, that further clarification is necessary to enforce it.
In contrast, non-binding arbitration in New Jersey means either party is free to disagree with the decisions reached, and take their matter to be settled in family court. Since arbitrators are typically retired judges or experienced family law attorneys, the results of arbitration are generally in line with what can be expected in family court.
Appealing or Vacating Arbitration Decisions in Ocean NJ
New Jersey has specific statutes, laws, and guidelines to appeal the arbitrator’s decision and provide for the enforcement of arbitration awards against parties unwilling to comply with the arbitrator’s decision. N.J.S.A. 2A:23B-23 partly states that within 120 days after the award, a party to an arbitration may commence an action for the confirmation of an award and its enforcement, or for its modification, correction or avoidance. Under the New Jersey Arbitration Act, an arbitration award can only be set aside or vacated if:
- obtained by fraud, corruption, or any other undue means,
- there is a finding of bias or misconduct by the arbitrator,
- the arbitrator refused to review evidence related to the issue,
- the arbitrator acted outside the scope of their power,
- there was no valid agreement to submit the issue to arbitration, or
- the arbitration hearing was held without proper notice.
Contact an Arbitration Appeal Lawyer at Our Brick or Sea Girt Locations
At Bronzino Law Firm, we have years experience serving clients in divorce and Alternative Dispute Resolution cases across Monmouth and Ocean Counties in towns including Brick, Point Pleasant Beach, Sea Girt, Seaside Heights, Spring Lake, and Toms River.
We have the practical experience to counsel you on the prospective outcomes of an arbitration award appeal. Our firm prides itself on client-centered counsel in an effort to deliver the most effective possible legal counsel when it comes to the issues most important to you and your family. We focus on providing each of our clients with the knowledgeable, effective, and attentive legal counsel that they need and deserve when it comes to matters so critical to their legal, financial, and familial futures.
To speak with a member of our family law team in a free and confidential consultation to discuss your options for securing resolutions related to arbitration, divorce, custody or any family law matter, please contact us online, or through our Brick or Sea Girt offices today at 732-812-3102.
Attorneys Defend Those Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence in Ocean County NJ
Providing support and counsel necessary to those accused of Domestic Violence in Sea Girt, Brick, Wall, Seaside Heights, Toms River and across the Jersey Shore
For many years domestic violence and domestic violence allegations were not viewed or treated as seriously by the courts and law enforcement as they are today. However, the view of domestic abuse against a girlfriend, spouse, child, or anyone else has changed substantially as we now understand how destructive domestic violence and abuse overall can be both in the short and long term. This has caused the courts to err on the side of caution, and in most cases address an allegation of abuse or violence in the home very seriously. The consequences of a guilty verdict and terms of a Final Restraining Order can be quite severe and do not go away; they are enforced for the rest of your life.
If you have been unfairly accused of committing an act of domestic violence, your future is at stake. You need an experienced and capable lawyer able to protect your rights and prepare a solid defense. The skilled and experienced legal team at Bronzino Law Firm are ready to provide the counsel you need to navigate this difficult process and are prepared to be by your side every step of the way. Call us at (732) 812-3102 or fill out a contact form to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
Why people make false allegations of Domestic Violence
The reasons why someone may accuse an innocent person of domestic violence vary greatly. However, the truth is that falsely accusing someone of a crime is the result of gravely emotional and mental instability that may have been evident in some instances early on in a relationship, but become much more apparent and egregious once things start to fall apart in the home and the prospect or reality of divorce becomes too overwhelming to bare.
Some of the most common instances where we see false allegations made are:
- Attempt to gain child custody or more parenting time
- Attempting to gain a greater share of the property in a divorce settlement
- Revenge for some slight (real or imagined).
No matter the reason, none are acceptable, fair, just, and most of the time they are not legal. Be sure to attack this circumstance swiftly and aggressively with an attorney that you can trust. The consequences of a false conviction resulting in an FRO or Final Restraining Order can and will impact you for the rest of your life. These are not allegations to take lightly just because you know you are innocent.
Defending yourself against False Accusation of Domestic Violence
An effective defense against domestic violence actually begins before any accusations are made and hinges on knowing your partner. Signs of emotional instability and a vindictive personality are not always clear early on in a relationship, however they do tend to become more apparent as the relationship is tested and a prospective end is in sight.
If you feel that your relationship may be turning sour and your partner may accuse you of domestic violence you should:
Notify friends and family members about your concerns.
Keeping those close to you and your relationship informed of your accuser’s erratic and troublesome behaviors, as well as your fears of what they may do, may prepare your family for any false allegations and have them be more inclined to believe your side of the story as well as provide witnesses to help debunk any future accusations.
Change all login information that may be compromised.
This includes bank accounts, computers, laptops, vehicle entrance, hard drives, cell phones, and anything else you can think of that requires your password should be changed as soon as possible. Accusers have been known to send messages from the defendant’s cell phone and then later accuse them of sending threatening messages.
If an allegation has been made or you feel an accusation is imminent you should:
Consult a domestic violence defense attorney.
Even if you are not planning to hire an attorney, though it is recommended, they can give you invaluable information to help you better understand what your options are.
Gather evidence if you are being abused; in most circumstances that is the case.
There have been many cases where the person who is accused of committing domestic abuse is actually the victim of physical and/or emotional abuse. If this is the case, you need to gather as much evidence as you can without putting yourself in danger.
In truth, exposing false allegations of domestic violence is not easy. However, knowing your partner and predicting their actions may go a long way toward bringing the truth to light.
When a “not guilty” verdict still hurts in a Domestic Violence Case
Some might even argue that an underlying predisposition to believe all charges of domestic violence has caused many problems for those who have been and are being falsely accused of such a horrible act or pattern of behavior. When a person charged with domestic violence and is not guilty of their alleged crimes, it does not necessarily guarantee a fair, just, and accurate legal proceeding or verdict. Many unscrupulous spouses and girlfriends have used these allegations to gain an advantage in divorce or child custody court cases understanding full well the power that even an accusation can have.
If an individual is accused and they are lucky enough o prove their innocence through the court proceedings, the negative allegations can still impact their lives and in many cases it does. Sadly, even proof of innocence may not be enough to repair one’s life, reputation, and most importantly their relationship with their children once a person has been accused of these types of crimes.
Contact a Brick and Sea Girt NJ Restraining Order Lawyer
These situations can be very serious as a conviction for domestic violence can mean an unfair judgment of divorce, loss of child custody as well as loss of freedom. For these and many other reasons, if you or someone you know has been accused of domestic violence it is critical to contact an experienced and knowledgeable domestic violence attorney as soon as possible.
For a free initial consultation about your legal options for resolving a domestic violence charge, contact Peter Bronzino today. His experience is what you need during this time of frustration and confusion. Contact us online or call (732) 812-3102 for your free case evaluation with our domestic violence attorneys.
Divorce and Social Security Benefits Attorneys in Brick and Sea Girt NJ
Serving clients in Brick, Sea Girt, Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, and across Ocean and Monmouth Counties
Divorce can be financially devastating to individuals who have been married for a significant amount of time. When considering an alimony agreement during divorce or civil union dissolution litigation, it is important to anticipate your eventual retirement and the potential income stream available to you. With today´s post-divorce life expectancy easily exceeding two decades, whatever amount is finally decided upon, should be sufficient enough to enable you to survive comfortably while still working and throughout retirement.
Retirement assets are subject to equitable distribution between spouses during a divorce. In New Jersey, older couples who have been married for over 10 years may be able to receive a portion of their former partners’ Social Security, pension, and if applicable their military retirement benefits.
At Bronzino Law with offices in Ocean and Monmouth Counties, our family law attorneys have extensive specialized knowledge to discuss, draft and finalize marital agreements of all kinds, and to properly address the issue of alimony in New Jersey.
Collecting Social Security Benefits After a Monmouth County Divorce
In the event of divorce, divorced spouses may still collect Social Security benefits based on their former spouse’s work record, if they are:
- 62 years or older,
- entitled to Social Security benefits, and
- not receiving a higher social security benefit based on their own work history.
Brick Lawyers Help Determine The Start of Federal Eligibility for Benefits
Under federal law the ten year period “clock” begins running the day marriage becomes valid and ends on the day the divorce is final; which is generally the day the court grants the divorce. Technically, it is possible to remarry the same person and still be eligible, if the time in the first marriage and the second marriage both add up to ten years.
How do I apply to recieve an Ex-Spouse`s Social Security?
Applying for benefits can be a relatively simple process. Visit www.socialsecurity.gov and submit the following required documents to prove that you are entitled to receive your ex-spouse’s benefits:
- Birth certificate/proof of birth.
- Proof of citizenship.
- W-2 forms or self-employment tax forms from the previous year.
- Copy of the marriage certificate.
- Copy of the final divorce decree.
Can Early Retirement impact my Benefits?
If one spouse retired before the age of 65, a New Jersey court will consider the reasonableness of the retirement and the retiring spouse’s motivation, in order to balance the interests of the retired person against the interests of the spouse needing support.
A spouse who retired early, as a result of health concerns, extreme physical demands of their former job, or due to a large financial incentive, may not necessarily have to pay alimony at the pre-retirement level, especially if the reduction on the supported spouse may be minimal.
Will I still receive Social Security Benefits if my ex-spouse is deceased?
If your ex-spouse has passed away, you can still receive any benefits that they might have accrued under Social Security, if you two were married at least 10 years. In some circumstances (i.e., a disability) it may also be possible to collect the benefits earlier, at age 60 or even younger, at age 50.
Can I Still Receive Benefits if Married a little under 10 years?
- you actively care for your ex-spouse’s children,
- the children are disabled or under 16 years of age,
- the children can receive child support benefits based on your ex’s work record,
- the benefits you receive are payment in exchange for caring for the children, and
- the benefits you receive will end once the youngest child turns 16.
In addition, if you had been married 9 years when a divorce complaint is filed, and the divorce decree is issued six months later, neither marital partner can claim 50% of their ex-spouse´s social security benefits because the length of the marriage will be 9.5 years or 6 months short of eligibility.
Contact Ocean County Divorce and Social Security Lawyers Today
The timing of and approaches to divorce and division of assets can become very complicated. It is important to consult a divorce attorney who is experienced in divorce law and who understands how divorce can affect your income and benefits options for the long term—including those related to income generation after retirement.
In any divorce, there is a great deal of uncertainty. Questions about alimony often compound unresolved issues about your future, your rights, and your responsibilities. Fortunately, with a seasoned divorce attorney on your side, you can make informed, confident decisions that best serve your interests.
Contact the Monmouth law offices of Peter Bronzino at 732-812-3102 today, to understand your available options. One of our New Jersey divorce attorneys will answer your questions and provide you with a cost-free initial consultation.
Financing Your Ocean County Divorce
When a person is unhappy in their marriage and starts considering a divorce or civil union dissolution, often the next questions that often arise are surrounding what the financial implications are, how much will the total process cost and how will the individual pay for it. Unlike the actual wedding itself, most couples may be less eager to solicit financial assistance from family, friends, or take out a bank loan. Knowing your family´s true and accurate financial situation and educating yourself about matrimonial retainer fees, can help reduce any concerns you may have about securing legal representation, and financing your divorce.
If you are considering a divorce, or are currently going through a divorce, look no further than the Bronzino Law Firm. We handle all divorce related matters including child support, child custody, division of assets, alimony and spousal support, and 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 and his team of Family Law Attorneys take a collaborative approach on all divorce cases, pride themselves on keeping clients informed and involved in all matters, and are ready and willing to speak with you over the phone, via a virtual meeting, or at one of the two offices conveniently located in Brick and Sea Girt.
Evaluating the Cost of Divorce in Monmouth County, NJ
Aside from the emotional toll divorce often takes on one´s psychological and physical well-being, the financial costs of divorce in New Jersey is unique to each couple and comes with its own specific facts and circumstances. Factors such as the type of divorce (no fault vs fault divorce), the distribution of assets, assignments of alimony and child support, child custody, and using expert testimony (e.g., tax professionals or real estate professionals) or child custody experts, can significantly increase the amount of negotiation required among the lawyers or in front of a family court judge. Disagreements, lack of consensus, and the number of motions or hearings can also result in additional legal fees.
Retainer Agreement vs Contingency Fee with Your Brick NJ Divorce Attorney
A retainer fee is an advance payment similar to a “down payment”, in that it may cover a portion of the overall attorney fee that the client pays the attorney before hiring them. Although the fee varies from attorney to attorney, some attorneys have established fixed retainer amounts for given services and stick to those amounts.
Since attorneys bill on an hourly basis, the retainer fee will be determined by your attorney and is based on the anticipated amount of hours your attorney expects to invest in your case. Often, a retainer will not cover the entire cost of your divorce and more funds will need to be deposited as the divorce proceeds; how you will replenish that fund (if necessary) should also be stated in your agreement.
As work is completed, the money is withdrawn off of the total retainer amount and detailed records are kept and recorded to accurately outline this process. Clients will receive an accounting, usually monthly, stating the details of the work performed and the amounts paid out of the retainer, as well as the balance remaining. Some will work with you on monthly payments toward that retainer.
A contingency fee agreement, is most commonly used in civil cases such as personal injury, workers compensation, or employment law claims. In these types of cases, the attorney’s fee is “contingent” upon the amount of damages or overall compensation the client is awarded. Contingency fees are not permitted in family law matters in New Jersey, so each party almost always pays a retainer fee to their respective attorneys to begin the divorce process.
Paying for a Divorce Attorney in Point Pleasant, NJ
In New Jersey, each party is entitled to use marital funds for divorce litigation. The Family Court may direct each party to sell or mortgage various assets or property to enable both parties to finance their legal costs.
Fortunately, due to N.J.S.A. 2A: 34-23 the New Jersey Family Court can compel a spouse with more income or financial standing to pay, in part or in full, for the other spouse’s attorney. For spouses with less financial standing, it makes the financial aspect of litigation process more equitable, “reasonable and just.”
Contact an Ocean and Monmouth County Divorce Attorney Today
There are numerous factors when considering if to proceed with divorce litigation. Whether you choose mediation or it´s an uncontested divorce, the vast amount of paperwork, court document filings, and procedures to follow can be overwhelming, especially if you already work 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, and Point Pleasant.
Our 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, the family law attorneys at the Law Offices of Peter Bronzino have the experience and legal knowledge necessary to helping you through this complicated time in your life.
5 Types of Alimony Ocean and Monmouth County
Alimony and spousal support is often thought of as a singular concept, and in some ways, this is true. Alimony is intended to provide a former spouse or partner with the financial support they need. However, few people know that there are actually no less than five (5) types of alimony in New Jersey. These can range for life long alimony arrangements for spouses who were married for decades to short term solutions for those who were married a relatively short time. Today, we will be reviewing the different types of alimony arrangements available to divorcing couples in our state.
Open Duration and Limited Duration Alimony Lawyers
The most “traditional” forms of alimony are considered open or limited duration. These types of agreements may be used for marriages lasting only a few years or multiple decades. Our Middletown alimony lawyers may help clients seek alimony agreements including:
Open Duration Alimony
Formerly known as “permanent alimony”, the name was changed as part of the 2014 NJ Alimony Reform to clarify that open duration is in fact, not permanent. Open duration alimony has no set end date, and may be paid until either party passes away, or experiences a major financial or other life change, or they just mutually agree to modify and/or terminate their agreement.
Limited Duration Alimony
Similar to open duration alimony, limited duration alimony has the added detail of an explicitly stated end date. Limited duration also is eligible for early termination or modification dependent on the nature of your circumstances.
Temporary, Rehabilitative & Reimbursement Alimony Lawyers Brick NJ
In addition to the more well known forms of alimony, there are three types of alimony which are used for more specific situations. Our Monmouth County alimony attorneys may suggest the following for certain clients:
Temporary Alimony During Divorce
Divorce proceedings have the potential to take many months or even years. In these cases, it may be essential to reach temporary agreements for child custody, child support, and alimony. These agreements may be reached through a formal hearing or outside of the courtroom with the assistance of a Monmouth County divorce lawyer.
For marriages which were shorter in length, the court may award rehabilitative alimony. This form of spousal support is intended to allow a spouse to reenter the workforce and/or retain his or her financial independence after a divorce.
Many marriages include a spouse making career, educational, or other financial sacrifices to help support their spouse. In these cases, it may be possible to “reimburse” those sacrifices through a reimbursement alimony agreement. This form of alimony may include complex financial calculations to determine an appropriate financial value for the spouse’s sacrifice.
Questions about Alimony in New Jersey? Contact our Brick Alimony Attorneys Today
Alimony attorney Peter J. Bronzino takes pride in serving local Ocean and Monmouth County communities such as Brick, Sea Girt, Brielle, Point Pleasant, Bay Head, Manasquan, Toms River, and across Eastern New Jersey. Attorney Bronzino believes in providing clients with the personal attention and professionalism they need and deserve. Find out why our clients and their families have taken the time to write testimonials after their divorce and family law legal concerns were resolved. Whether you are going through a separation, divorce, or any other family law dispute, our firm will fight to protect your legal rights.
To learn more about Alimony in New Jersey, please contact our Brick or Sea Girt offices by calling (732) 812-3102 today for a free and confidential consultation.
Monmouth County Cohabitation and Alimony Lawyers
Alimony can be terminated, modified or suspended based on a finding of cohabitation. Cohabitation is usually defined as two people who are living together, in a serious committed relationship that there’s financial interdependence. If you believe that your ex-spouse is cohabiting and you are paying out money then you should file an application with the court to modify or terminate your alimony. The burden after you provide any proofs that you have shifts to your ex-spouse to proof that they are not cohabiting.
Application to Modify or Terminate Alimony Based on Cohabitation
Definition of Cohabitation in NJ
The definition of Cohabitation as defined in New Jersey is as follows: “mutually supportive, intimate personal relationship in which a couple has undertaken duties and privileges that are commonly associated with marriage or civil union.”
Factors the Judge will Consider when Ruling on Cohabitation
- If the couple shares finances like joint bank accounts or shared holdings and/or liabilities
- If the couple share responsibilities for living expenses
- Recognition of the relationship by family and social circles
- Whether or not the couple is living together, and if not, the frequency of contact, and the duration of the relationship in question
- If the couple shares household chores
- Any other evidence the court deems relevant
A common misconception occurs when a couple does not live in under the same roof “full-time”, and based on that fact the couple feels that they are protected from any financial implications that would arise from a cohabitant relationship. Instead of drawing a hard line on the concept of “full-time”, the courts will consider a number of different factors when determining and ruling on cohabitation and a potential impact on alimony.
How Can Cohabitation in Ocean County NJ Affect my Alimony?
If a party who is paying alimony to a former spouse believes that that spouse has entered into a relationship and shares a space as a cohabitant with another adult, the supporting party may wish to pursue an alimony modification petition. A paying spouse will have to file a motion to modify or terminate alimony and set a hearing before a judge. If the court decides that a supported spouse’s new boyfriend or girlfriend is cohabitating, a judge may reduce, or in some cases end, spousal support.
In the case of a remarriage, proving that the dependent spouse now has another source of financial support, and thus may no longer require as much as support as is currently being paid in the existing agreement, is relatively straightforward.
“Prima Facie” and The Discovery Process
In the case of cohabitation, however, proving that cohabitation exists can be somewhat more difficult. For example, it may be particularly difficult to know, or prove, whether or not your former spouse is sharing a bank account with their new partner. This is where the legal idea of “prima facie” comes into play. Prima facie involves the process of essentially vetting the case or the argument and determining whether or not to move it into the discovery phase.
Once in the discovery phase, you and your attorney will be awarded the opportunity to pursue and review necessary documentation, depose witnesses, and obtain the evidence necessary to definitively prove that a cohabitative relationship exists, one which warrants a modification to your existing alimony agreement. It is highly recommended that you retain counsel who, at this point in the process, will be looking into bank records, pay stubs, privately owned business records, living expenses, payment of living expenses, and most importantly you will conduct legal interviews in the form of depositions. In most circumstances, this information is difficult to dispute and it is very clear that cohabitation has occurred and even the length of time the couple has been under the same roof.
How to Modify Alimony Based on Cohabitation in Toms River NJ?
There are a number of cases that helped establish this precedent for determining cohabitation, and the New Jersey Case Law groups said cases together and provide the legal definition in New Jersey’s alimony statute N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(n). Here is a basic look at the process, that should be prepared, reviewed, and delivered by an experienced Ocean County Attorney.
- A paying spouse will have to file a motion to modify or terminate alimony and set a hearing before a judge.
- If the court decides that a supported spouse’s new boyfriend or girlfriend is cohabitating, a judge may reduce, or in some cases end, spousal support.
- Courts will typically reduce a spousal support award by the amount of the cohabitant’s monetary contributions.
- Couples can include a provision in their divorce settlement or final divorce judgment that makes cohabitation a triggering event to terminate alimony.
- In cases where the divorce order is silent, a cohabitation relationship may still be enough to justify a reduction in spousal support.
Contact a Wall NJ Cohabitation and Alimony Lawyer Today
Attorney Peter J. Bronzino has received countless favorable reviews from past clients, their words speak for themselves. If you are looking for an experienced, knowledgeable, hard-working and tenacious alimony attorney, look no further. Bronzino Law Firm is ready to begin advising you and fighting for your rights today.
To schedule a free and confidential consultation with our offices today, contact us online or through our Brick, NJ office at (732) 812-3102. We also handle modifications of existing alimony agreements, as well as enforcement of alimony when your ex is not complying with the agreed upon terms.