Category: Mediation

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.

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.

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.

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.

Understanding Prenuptial Agreements in Monmouth and Ocean County NJ

Read on to learn what a prenuptial agreement is, why it is used, and myths about prenups that may impact your premarital decisions.

Prenuptial Agreements: Fact and FictionPrenuptial agreements have gotten a bad name in modern culture because it appears to be a death sentence for a marriage – before the marriage has even begun. This is not the case. A prenuptial agreement serves many purposes, and its use is not solely to ensure that, in the case of a separation, each party will walk away with pre-determined assets still in their possession.

What is a prenuptial agreement?

A prenuptial agreement, or ‘prenup,’ is a legal contract a couple enters into before joining together in marriage or civil union that provides them with certain controls in their marital legal rights, whether the marriage ends in death or divorce. New Jersey law sets certain legal precedents regarding the rights of a spouse in the case of separation by death or divorce, including division of assets, the right to seek alimony, and fair distribution of the estate of the spouse. A prenuptial agreement, however, can supersede those precedents

Prenups provide legal rights to couples regarding more than simply division of assets, however. Read on to learn some common myths about what a prenup is – and isn’t, and the reality of prenuptial agreement.

Myths about prenups

Fact or Fiction? The existence of a prenuptial agreement means the marriage will end up failing

This is, of course, fiction. There are many reasons a prenuptial agreement is a wise contract into which to enter, and fearing for the worst is rarely one of them. According to Business Insider, there is no conclusive evidence that the presence of a prenup results in a higher divorce rate.

Fact or Fiction? Only people with lots of money enter into prenuptial agreements

Only people with lots of money enter into prenuptial agreementsThis, too, is fiction. Because the legal rights addressed in a prenup cover more than the division of assets, they are not all about big money. Prenups include legally-binding agreements from whether a spouse will be legally entitled to alimony payments in the case of a divorce to who will get the pets. They can outline how assets will be separated amongst any children and how shared debt will be handled. Because a marriage or civil union is a business partnership, a prenup acknowledges the many financial and non-financial assets to be considered in a partnership, and upon its termination.

Fact or Fiction? New Jersey prenups can include child custody arrangements in the case of divorce

This is false. The New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part holds children at the central consideration in all divorce and custody arrangements. Because the court uses this ‘best interest of the child’ standard, they must take into account the living situation each parent would offer the child at the time of the divorce, no sooner. The inclusion of a child custody arrangement in a prenuptial agreement would be invalidated by a judge.

Fact or Fiction: A prenup can be drawn up and signed without a lawyer in New Jersey.

This is factual. New Jersey law mandates that prenuptial agreements must be in writing and signed by both spouses, and included an attached statement of the assets addressed in the agreement. While New Jersey couples are encouraged to seek the support of an experienced family law attorney before submitting a prenuptial agreement to the State, it is not legally required. If one spouse hires an attorney and the other does not, a statement of acknowledgment and consent to not having an attorney must be filed as part of the prenuptial agreement. After the entry of a prenuptial agreement into law, it can only be amended or nullified with signatures from both spouses.

Fact or Fiction: If you decide later that you want legal right over your assets after you get married, you can simply sign a post-nuptial agreement.

Get in touch with a Wall Township Prenuptial Attorney TodayEasy there! It is not as easy to protect your assets after you get married as that. Any assets that you have accrued between your marriage and the time you decide to arrange a postnuptial agreement are considered marital assets, and as such, they are shared equally. The process of determining what assets will remain with whom will likely require the support of an attorney, and open communication and amiability between spouses.

Get in touch with a Wall Township Prenuptial Agreement and Family Law Attorney Today

At Bronzino Law Firm, our experienced attorneys support clients in Point Pleasant, Brick, Wall, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County Areas in their marriage and family arrangements, including prenuptial agreements.

To schedule a consultation today with a member of our team regarding your prenuptial agreement, please fill out our online form or call us at  (732) 812-3102 to discuss more details about your case.

Hidden Assets in Divorce in Ocean and Monmouth County NJ

Studies show that dissolving marriages that include a large number of assets are often more susceptible to one or both partners hiding assets in order to maintain more than their fair share in the split.

Hidden Assets during the Divorce Process in Ocean and Monmouth County NJThe details of any divorce are complex. They take a toll on the mental, emotional, physical, and financial health of an individual. When the divorce is not amicable, however, stress increases and the risk for damaging behavior is higher as well.

Studies show that dissolving marriages that include a large number of assets are often more susceptible to one or both partners hiding assets in order to maintain more than their fair share in the split. This illegal trickery is not only limited to high-asset divorces, however. Many spouses, especially those that do not have a respectful relationship with their exes, attempt to hide assets during the divorce process. Read on to learn more about what happens if you are found to hide assets and some ways to suspect if your ex is hiding assets during your divorce proceedings.

What are the potential consequences of hiding assets?

Withholding assets is a dangerous move because it is illegal. When you and your spouse file a financial affidavit with the New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part that outlines all of your marital assets, each of you signs it. Submitting a signed affidavit to the court signifies that you swear all information is true. If you are hiding assets from your spouse and legal teams, as well as the Court, this constitutes an act of perjury.

If you are found to have committed perjury, you will be found in contempt of the court and punished in a variety of ways: either by a penalty or even by incarceration. N.J.S.A. 2C 28-1 notes that perjury is a third-degree offense in New Jersey. Someone convicted of perjury in New Jersey could face up to 3-5 years in jail and fines of up to $15,000.

A judge also has the legal standing to determine what to do with the assets a spouse attempted to hide if they were discovered. Hidden assets face the potential of being stripped completely, instead of being more fairly distributed if they had been disclosed.

How are assets often hidden?

If you are in the process of divorce, you would hope that your spouse is being honest in their disclosure of their assets. However, that’s not always the case. There are some common ways that spouses hide assets that can be investigated if you suspect that your spouse isn’t reporting the full extent of assets that you have a legal right to share in the split.

Hiding money at the office

  • This is a very common move and rests on the assumption that a spouse will not investigate assets that may reside – or be stashed – at the place of employment. Using business to withhold assets could also look like temporarily storing funds in a business bank account or safety deposit box. If your spouse owns a business and you suspect foul play, it is wise to talk to your divorce attorney to discuss legal steps you can take to ensure you receive your fair share. One such way is having counsel serve subpoenas upon the business or bank.

Use the IRS to hide funds

  • How are assets often hidden?It’s risky, but a spouse may underreport their income so that their ex’s attorneys and the courts believe they have less money coming in than they actually do. They will then file amended taxes after the completion of the divorce proceedings to rectify the ‘error.’ Additionally, if assets are tied up with the IRS because they have been used to overpay taxes for the coming years, these shared marital funds used for personal gain could be hidden unless investigated.

Transfer of assets to family or friends

  • A quality divorce attorney is going to seek the tax records of your spouse for the last many years to determine what accounts have existed to house assets. If there is a discrepancy between past accounts and amounts and present, or accounts are not listed in the financial disclosure statement, your attorney will have reason to follow up on this red flag.

Custodial accounts

  • Some spouses may open up a custodial bank account or an account under their child’s name to make it look like the money belongs to the children and is not a shared marital asset.

‘Friendly loans’

  • A stealthy spouse may ‘loan’ money to a friend or family member that they will soon reclaim. Keep a close eye on bank accounts to ensure that this doesn’t happen.

Retain a Brick and Sea Girt Asset Division Attorney Today

At Peter J. Bronzino, our attorneys support clients across Ocean County, NJ including Brick, Jackson, Toms River, Wall, Asbury Park, and Point Pleasant in all divorce and child custody needs.

Our unique and thorough approach ensures that our clients receive their fair share of the marital assets in a divorce.

To schedule a consultation with a member of our team regarding your divorce, please contact us online or through our Brick, NJ offices today at (732) 812-3102.

Will my Retirement Account/401k/IRA be Protected in my Divorce?

Learn from an Ocean and Monmouth County Divorce Lawyer, some strategies for maintaining your hard-earned savings when you legally separate from your partner.

Protecting your Retirement Savings during a DivorceThe process of divorce is full of moving pieces that can wreak havoc on your physical, mental, and emotional health. Having a skilled divorce attorney can ensure that financial distress doesn’t have to be part of the separation, too. The separation of assets is a key piece of any divorce, and when you have been in a marriage for a substantial amount of time, chances are that you will have a large 401 (k) as a marital asset. How do you protect your retirement savings from being taken in the divorce?

Determine how you would like to handle your divorce: in court or out of court in settlement

The direction you choose to take in your divorce proceedings will impact how you go about handling the division of assets – and the protection of your retirement savings. If you choose to go through the courts to finalize your division of assets, ensure that you properly and transparently report all assets. A judge who learns that a person has been hiding assets will likely rule in favor of awarding an amplified amount to the spouse.

If you and your spouse decide to settle the division of assets outside of court, the process will likely be more rapid and less costly. This is a great option for a couple who is still on amicable terms. Because the proceedings are not open to the public and driven by a New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part judge, a separating couple can experience a much more flexible process, in many ways setting their own rules. The finalized agreement is, of course, subject to approval by the court.

In order to ensure a just division of assets and the protection of retirement savings, however, it is imperative that you ensure a fair settlement and, if possible, not take cash, or lump sum, payout, as it is subject to steep penalties. At the end of it all, one who receives a lump sum ends up receiving much less money and, unless immediate cash is required, loses out on their fair share in the division of assets.

Be aware of your assets, including your retirement funds

Be aware of your assets, including your retirement fundsA divorce is a business transaction. While it is emotionally trying and exhausting of physical, mental, and financial resources, it is ultimately a legal arrangement to determine who takes what in the split. As such, it is important to make sure that you are clear about what your marital assets and your shared debt are. It is also important to have a firm handle on what your personal assets are, as they may be taken into question during the course of the divorce proceedings. What was the balance of your retirement savings when you got married? What is it now? Taking the initiative to know this information will save you stress and potentially money in the long run.

Check your prenuptial agreement

All income added to a 401 (k) during the course of a marriage is considered a marital asset and is therefore considered to be shared with your spouse. In the absence of a prenuptial agreement, the court will take responsibility for dividing the assets among spouses. If you and your spouse signed a prenuptial agreement, however, the court will rule based on the legally-binding agreements outlined within.

Be aware of the Qualified Domestic Relations Order

A spouse may take a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to their ex’s employer to ensure that they receive their fair share of the retirement account. A Qualified Domestic Relations Order is a court-ordered document that enables the spouse’s retirement administrator to swiftly and legally transfer retirement funds into the partner’s bank account. The entitled amount will reflect a deduction if you have paid into the retirement fund of your spouse during the course of your marriage.

Attempting to hide or resist marital assets such as retirement funds in order to improperly protect shared marital assets is not worth it. Seek the support of a skilled and experienced divorce attorney to help you protect as much of your assets as you can while complying fully with New Jersey Divorce Law and avoiding lengthy and potentially costly litigation with your spouse.

Contact A Brick Retire Savings Attorney Today

Attorney Peter J. Bronzino is committed to serving our clients across Spring Lake, Sea Girt, Point Pleasant, Toms River, and the greater Ocean County area in all divorce and family law cases.

Our unique approach supports our clients’ financial wellbeing, leaving them to focus on their emotional and physical wellbeing as they move into the next chapter of their life.

To schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced member of our firm regarding your divorce case or settlement, please contact us online, or through our Brick, NJ office at (732) 812-3102.

Ways to Safely Exit the Home of an Abusive Marriage Attorney Brick and Sea Girt NJ

Being in a marriage with an abusive spouse is a constant cause of stress and worry.

Getting Out of an Abusive Marriage: Ways to Safely Exit the HomeThe helplessness that can overwhelm an abused partner – whether that abuse is mental, emotional, or physical – can weigh a person down until they feel even more trapped than they already are. Additional worries such as what to do about money if you are financially dependent, or what will happen in a custody proceeding if you have children, can upend even the most practically-minded person. Having a clear head and strategically planning an exit are essential for your family’s safe exit from an abusive marriage. Even in the absence of threats or actuality of physical harm if you attempt to leave, as a manipulation tactic to get you to stay, it is important to be highly cautious and plan every move.

In order to safely leave the shared living space and eventually the marriage, consider using the following supports:

  • Contact a Domestic Violence Hotline – There is a myriad of domestic violence hotlines whose counselors are specifically trained to support your safe transition out of abusive shared living space and ultimately a relationship. They will help you put together a step-by-step plan for your exit that includes invaluable considerations that you may have overlooked, such as what to put in your overnight bag, where to find emergency insurance, what paperwork to travel with, where local lines of support can be found, and what type of shelter to seek when you leave. This process of organizing the exit into a manageable task will immediately ground you.

The New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached 24 hours per day at 1-800-572-SAFE (1-800-572-7233).

The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached 24 hours per day at 1-800-799-7233.

Things to take into account if suffering from abusive behavior

  • Subtly prepare your children to leave – It is not wise to let your children know that you are all going to be leaving. However, you do want to ensure that they know important information such as how to spell their first and last name, what their address is, and what to do in the case of an emergency. This emergency preparation would include both what to do, such as ‘run to a specific neighbor’s house,’ and who to call, ‘911.’
  • Keep track of instances of abuse – Documented evidence of abuse can be used to convict a partner of a domestic violence charge. While your first priority is to get your family safely out from under the same roof as the abuser, having documentation of their mental, emotional, and physical forms of abuse will support your case later down the road. This paperwork is one of the documents to keep in the overnight bag you have packed and ready to go.
  • Contact a family law attorney to file a restraining order – Having the support of a family law attorney to ensure that you and your children are legally protected from the advancement of your partner during the divorce process is essential. An experienced member of the team will facilitate the process of filing a restraining order with the New Jersey Municipal or Superior Court.

Filing a Restraining OrderFiling a Restraining Order

It is important to have the legal support of a professional during this process because filing for a Temporary Restraining Order with the New Jersey Superior Court Family does not automatically ensure that a Restraining Order will be immediately placed on the abuser unless the plaintiff shows physical injury. As such, for your safety and that of your family, it is important that you seek professional support to ensure that a Restraining Order, either Temporary or Final, is placed from the outset.

  • Stay vigilant about protecting your preparation process – One thing many abusers have in common is that they use threats to manipulate the other person to stay. This often takes the form of the abuser snooping through emails, phones, and computers to find reasons to allege any infidelity to the abusive relationship. Do all of your research regarding the exit from the home on another computer, such as that of a trusted friend or the community library. While it is important to keep your plan as secret as possible, if possible, keep at least one friend or family member abreast of your evolving plans, perhaps even providing them with important documentation in the case of emergency.

Facing an Abusive Marriage? Contact Us At Our Brick Or Sea Girt Office Locations

At Peter J. Bronzino Law Firm, our family law attorneys are experienced in protecting our clients in Brick, Spring Lake, Asbury Park, and all of Eastern New Jersey in all matters of domestic violence and abuse in the home.

Our approach places the safety of our clients at the center, ensuring that they can safely exit an abusive situation and be legally protected throughout the process of separation and divorce, equipped with the resources they need to have mental, emotional, and physical support and safety.

To meet with an experienced member of our firm today regarding your marital abuse, please please contact us online or through our Brick offices at (732) 812-3102.