Category: Mediation

President Biden’s tax plans may affect different elements of your divorce in Toms River, Asbury Park, Seagirt, Point Pleasant NJ

When you divorce, your cash flow inevitably shifts, as do the income taxes associated with marital support you receive or pay.

How do President Biden’s adjustments to tax law affect my divorce in New Jersey?President Joe Biden’s perspectives and actions on tax distribution may affect your preparation for, and process of, divorce. For example, what might changes to taxes mean for your after-tax cash flow and expenses for such things as alimony? Read on to learn more about how President Biden’s tax laws are likely to affect different elements of your divorce, and seek one of our experienced family law attorneys to support you in developing a holistic approach to planning your divorce in New Jersey.

When you divorce, your cash flow inevitably shifts, as do the income taxes associated with marital support you receive or pay. With some shifts to tax law already in place and others likely in the works given the platform on which President Biden campaigned in 2020, here are some elements of your life that may be affected by changes to tax law that you’ll want to take into consideration as you prepare for divorce.

Individual Income Tax Increase

If you have an individual income of over $400,000 per year, your income tax will return to a rate of 39.6 percent, a rate that was reduced to 37 percent by President Trump as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Social Security Tax

In addition to increasing income taxes for those who make over $400k per year, President Biden’s tax plan includes for those earners a 12.4 percent Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (Social Security) payroll tax. This 12.4 percent tax is partially paid by the employer, half. This new financial group creates another edge, or what is called a “donut hole,” to the Social Security payroll tax already in place for earners of up to $142,800. Those who earn between $142,800 and $400,000 are not included in this payroll tax requirement.

Divorcing Couples with Children

The two main changes that involve children in President Biden’s tax plan shift tax credits. As such, parents who are going through a divorce proceeding will need to work together and with their divorce attorneys to consider how much tax credit the custody arrangement they are leaning towards earn and whether it is worth it to augment the proposed custody arrangement to increase the tax credit available to their marital estate.

Child Tax Credit

The Child Tax Credit, or CTC, provides a tax credit of as much as $2,000 for each dependent under 17. This tax credit, put in place by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 as an expansion through which the dependency exemption was eliminated, was eligible for individuals earning a gross annual income of up to $200,000 or a couple with a joint gross annual income of $400,000. On the other hand, the Biden tax plan greatly expands this child tax credit to $3,000 for children between the ages of 6 and 17 – and $3,600 for children under the age of 6.

Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit

Child and Dependent Care Tax CreditThe Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, or CDCTC, vastly expands the number of expenses that qualify, from $3,000 in qualified expenses to $8,000 in expenses that qualify for the credit. If there is more than one dependent, the qualified expenses of $6,000 for multiple dependents increase to $16,000 qualified expenses. Additionally, the CDCTC increases the maximum credit rate from 35 percent of qualifying expenses up to 50 percent.

Itemized Deductions

President Biden’s tax plan places a cap on the tax benefit received for itemized deductions. For individuals who earn more than $400k, this tax benefit is reduced to 28 percent of the value. The plan also reinstates the Pease Limitation on Itemized Deductions for those with a taxable income of more than $400k.

Long-Term Capital Gains

The prior top capital gain rate was 20 percent. However, president Biden’s tax structure hugely increases this capital gain rate to the ordinary income tax rate – 39.6 percent – for those whose income is more than $1 million.

Navigating a divorce in the face of these tax changes requires the support of a skilled divorce attorney to help you navigate the process to ensure the best financial outcome.

To ensure that you navigate your divorce smoothly, it is important to support an experienced family law attorney.

Contact our Divorce Attorney for a free consultation at our Brick Office

Experienced family law and divorce attorney Peter Bronzino, Esq, is up to date with the new regulation you should know when moving forward in your divorce throughout Monmouth and Ocean County surrounding areas, such as Rumson, Brielle, Morganville, Manasquan, and Toms River.

To schedule a free and confidential consultation with our firm today regarding your divorce and family legal issues, please send us a message or call (732) 812-3102 to speak to an attorney who can help.

An experienced Family Law Attorney Will Help you Understand the Different Concepts that may Affect your Personal Case.

If you want a mid-marriage agreement in the Monmouth and Ocean County area, it needs to be crafted fairly and with an eye to an objectively reasonable outcome.

What Are the Key Differences Between a Marriage Settlement, Postnuptial, and Marital Separation Agreement in NJ?Marital settlement agreements (MSA) identify rights and obligations concerning marital assets, debts, equitable property distribution, and, if appropriate, alimony, child custody, and child support. A principal difference among these agreements is when they are made, since they are generally designed to protect assets acquired during the marriage. Often known as property settlement agreements (PSA), they are entered into after divorce proceedings and consequently when the marriage has lost its vitality.

Postnuptial agreements are relatively new types of agreements that couples enter into after they have married or have entered into a civil union. They may also be an intra-marital mid-marriage agreement or even a reconciliation agreement. Such contracts are typically entered into by spouses before the marriage loses much of its vitality. They define certain property rights and other issues such as equitable division of assets, alimony, wills, trusts, and insurance policies but exclude child support and child custody matters.

As addressed in the case of Pacelli v. Pacelli by the Appellate Division in New Jersey, the key to the enforceability of a post-marital agreement is that it is fair and equitable at the time of its entry and remains fair and equitable at the time of its sought enforcement. Under the guise of a mid-marriage agreement and with two children from their ten-year relationship, the husband in this landmark case presented his wife with an ultimatum, “he would divorce her unless she agreed to certain terms regarding their economic relationship. To punctuate his demand, [the husband] moved out of the marital bedroom and into an apartment above their garage.” Feeling forced by the imbalanced economic dynamics and as if she needed to decide between the destruction of their family and the stigma of a failed marriage, or to simply agree, she agreed to her husband’s terms.

Thus the Appellate Court ruled that the mid-marriage agreement signed by the Pacelli spouses fixing the terms of their economic relationship was not enforceable under the law.

What are Other Differences Between a Mid-Marriage Agreement & Property Settlement Agreement?

Often in a mid-marital agreement, couples experience a negative emotional or financial change in the marriage, which necessitates a change. Typically the parties are no longer on an equal footing. One party becomes less interested than the other party in ending the marriage, or one party seems to have more authority or control. This change in dynamics may result in one party, as in Pacelli v. Pacelli, feeling forced or coerced into signing off on a postnuptial agreement.

For a postnuptial agreement to be considered valid in New Jersey, there must at least be:

  • no duress or coercion,
  • equitable and fair terms,
  • independent legal representation for both parties, and
  • full financial disclosures by both parties.

With careful drafting and the appropriate language, a mid-nuptial agreement that takes into account the current marital circumstances, as well as possible future contingencies, is critical to helping to avoid possible pitfalls which may seem unfair if a spouse waives their interest in an asset or business which has later increased in value.

As a reminder, a Property Settlement Agreement (PSA), also known as a Marriage Settlement Agreement (MSA), covers not only the equitable distribution of property but also child custody, parenting time, division of assets (including personal property, heirlooms, real estate like the marital home, retirement assets and pensions, cryptocurrency, and businesses), alimony, and any other additional matter which have to be clarified in the event of a divorce or civil union dissolution.

Regardless of the type of postnuptial agreement, strict standards protect all parties and ensure a smooth divorce process.

How Does a Marital Separation Agreement Differ From a Postnuptial Agreement?

How Does a Marital Separation Agreement Differ From a Post-nuptial Agreement?New Jersey does not have legal separations, so couples seeking to separate can file for a divorce from bed and board. Following New Jersey Statute 2A:34-3, a divorce from bed and board can be granted for the same reasons as a regular divorce. Both parties must request relief and show evidence for reasons which merit the divorce, which will not prejudice either party from filing for a full divorce later.

By preparing a separation agreement, spouses can resolve child custody, child support, equitable distribution of property, alimony, and any outstanding marital debt. Survivor benefits under many pension plans, and certain federal benefits, such as spousal social security retirement benefits, may be preserved during the divorce from bed and board.

Once the separation agreement is notarized, all the debts and assets shared by the couple are considered frozen and divided separately for each spouse. After a divorce from bed and board is granted, all new property rights stop accruing as if the parties had obtained an absolute divorce. Therefore, equitable distribution ends at the time of the entry of the divorce from bed and board. From a purely economic standpoint, the marriage is essentially over.

Although spouses legally separated by Divorce from Bed and Board are not obligated to live together, they are still subject to other responsibilities that come with being married (i.e., remaining faithful and respectful of the other’s wants and needs and assisting the other when necessary.

Contact a Postnuptial Agreement Attorney Serving Couples in Ocean and Monmouth County towns including Toms River, Wall, Asbury Park, Point Pleasant, and Brick, NJ

Postnuptial agreement attorney Peter J. Bronzino takes pride in serving couples from local Jersey Shore communities, including Bay Head, Wall, Toms River, Brick, Beach Haven, Lavallette, and across all of Monmouth and Ocean County, New Jersey. Attorney Bronzino started The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC in 2010 to provide clients with excellent legal protection while dedicating all of his efforts to achieving their desired results when prioritizing their individual needs.

The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC is built on the belief that strong attorney-client relationships lead to greater client satisfaction. We keep clients involved and informed throughout the legal process, allowing us to provide the highest level of focused legal service.

If you are considering drafting or modifying a postnuptial, prenuptial, separation, or cohabitation agreement, please contact us online or through our Sea Girt or Brick, NJ offices by calling (732) 812-3102 today for a free and confidential consultation.

Marital Settlement Agreement Attorneys Guide you through Enforcing a Family Court Order

How Can I Enforce a Family Court Order or Marital Settlement Agreement in NJ?Not all contracts are equal, and what may be considered fair by some may give others pause. When it comes to family law “contracts” or marital agreements such as an MSA (Marital Settlement Agreement) or a PSA (Property Settlement Agreement), it is up to the New Jersey courts to decide if it is enforceable or not. Generally, once an MSA has been executed, it is meant to be a final, binding contract between the parties, which sets forth the parties’ parenting time schedule, child custody arrangement, child support obligations and outlines the parties’ agreement concerning the equitable distribution of the marital property. Absent a strong reason or new evidence to disregard the contract, courts are strongly averse to go against their terms.

These settlements are reached through mutual agreement on a voluntary and consensual basis, with the intent to insure a sense of post-divorce stability and amicability. This is another reason why New Jersey Courts tend to look favorably upon such agreements and are reluctant to unnecessarily disturb or modify them, especially if the outcome was reached with the assistance of legal counsel.

But as with life, things can change significantly, and certain financial or personal events may warrant updating or modifying the original divorce decree. In the circumstances like that, the court has the power to make a post-judgment modification in a more equitable and just way. Almost any aspect of a divorce settlement can be modified, even after the divorce is final.

At the Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, we have extensive experience contesting marital agreements for clients from local Ocean County and Monmouth County communities, including Wall, Spring Lake, Sea Girt, Jackson, Howell, Point Pleasant, Toms River, and across Southern New Jersey. Our firm is built on the belief that a smaller firm size allows us to keep our clients informed and involved throughout the legal process. With this in mind, our divorce and family law firm will take the time to understand you and your family’s individual needs and concerns to provide high-quality, dynamic legal service.

Contact us online or call our office today at (732) 812-3102 to discuss the potential to contest, or defend, the terms of your existing marital agreement in a free and confidential consultation with a member of our qualified legal team.

Typical Areas of Divorce Settlements That Often Warrant Modification in New Jersey

If you agreed to your MSA under duress or coercion, signed a property settlement agreement that is unfair to you, greatly impacted your financial and parental rights and obligations since your divorce, or you let your divorce go to a default judgment, all may not be lost. As we have written about previously, almost all terms of a settlement agreement can be modified if the parties can demonstrate a “substantial change in circumstance,” such as loss of employment, a serious illness or medical condition, remarriage, retirement, and an increase in one’s financial status. As each case varies, filing post-judgment modifications may involve a modified increase or decrease in:

or a change in a:

  • custody arrangement,
  • parenting time arrangement,
  • parental address (i.e., relocation application),
  • child support obligation (i.e., termination of support or emancipation of a child).

Contact a Brick, NJ Divorce Agreement Modification and Enforcement Attorney Today

Our attorneys at Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, have spent years helping clients with divorce order modification and divorce order enforcement issues of all kinds in towns across Ocean County and Monmouth County, including Middletown, Manchester, Berkeley Township, Jackson, Beach Haven, and Brick.

We are a small firm that allows us to provide our clients with the attentive legal service they need and deserve while still charging fair and reasonable rates for our counsel. Attorney Peter Bronzino strongly believes that by keeping each of his clients highly informed and involved throughout the legal process and listening closely to their unique needs and concerns in any divorce or family law matter, he can better work to achieve the type of resolutions that best meets those needs and concerns, and protects his client’s and their family’s legal, financial, and familial futures.

To speak with Peter Bronzino and our legal team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding any post-divorce modification or enforcement issue, please contact us online or through our Brick, NJ office at (732) 812-3102.

Seek the counsel of an Experienced Attorney to File a Restraining Order

Domestic violence is a severe issue in New Jersey and around the country.

Filing a Restraining Order Against an Abusive Partner in NJParticularly in this time of the pandemic, domestic abuse cases have gone up, as couples have been forced into long periods of quarantine together, and job losses have led one partner to take their frustration and fear out on their significant other.

If you are in an abusive partnership, there are ways to get support for a transition out of the relationship. The primary tool is a temporary restraining order. Read on to learn more about obtaining a temporary restraining order (TRO), where to turn for immediate help, and how to formulate an exit plan.

How to Obtain a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in NJ 

In New Jersey, a Temporary Restraining Order is the most important piece of legal documentation that a victim of domestic violence can have. This is because it provides physical space, which is the most fundamental necessity in a dynamic of domestic abuse: the safe container within which emotional healing work and transition forward can occur. With a TRO, the abuser is legally not allowed to communicate with or contact you. They are barred from making physical or technological contact with you in any way.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Jersey court system has reduced hours and caseloads. However, given the severity of the issue, most courts are open to receiving in-person applications for TROs. Contact your county’s courthouse to state that you need to file for a TRO and receive information regarding next steps. You can file a TRO in the county in which you live, the county in which the defendant lives, the county in which any act of domestic violence has taken place, or the county in which you will be relocating to seek safety. Alternatively, if you cannot go to the courthouse physically, you can file for a TRO with the New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part by calling the court during business hours.

As we know, cases of domestic violence that initiate the need for a TRO don’t always occur while the court is open to receive a request for a restraining order. As such, you can go directly to your local police department or call them to file a request for a TRO 24/7 as well. In this case, a police officer fills out the application for a TRO. At the same time, an on-call municipal court judge is called into a video or phone conference to issue the TRO immediately.

Domestic Violence Supports in New Jersey

Sometimes the most difficult step to exiting an abusive relationship is asking for help. There is no reason to be ashamed if you are a victim of domestic violence. Contact one of the myriad supports that are available to provide you resources and guidance in your safe transition out of the shared space and the relationship:

In New Jersey:

NJ Domestic Violence Hotline: 1 (800) 572-SAFE (7233)

Nationwide:

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1(800) 799-7233

Preparing an Exit Plan

When you call a domestic violence hotline, a trained counselor will take your call and provide invaluable information regarding initial steps to take to transition out of an abusive domestic situation, focusing on your safety and covering many bases such as:

  • Preparing an Exit Plan for Domestic Violence in NJhow to financially prepare for an exit from a domestic partnership;
  • what to pack in an emergency overnight bag, including important documents;
  • how to safely and subtly prepare children for a transition;
  • how to ensure that pets are safely transitioned out of the home;
  • what phone numbers to have in your cell phone at the ready;
  • how to let one confidant know your plans so that you are supported by someone knowing your intentions,
  • and what information and documentation to provide them with.

A domestic violence counselor will advise you that, if you have children, it is important not to tell them outright that you are planning to leave home and take them out of it. Instead, you can prepare them for what to do in the case of an emergency, including practicing with them where to go, what their full name and address are (if they are young), and who to call. Because of the complex emotional life of a child and their bond with both parents, speaking only generally with them regarding local contacts in the case of an emergency is essential.

To ensure that you navigate your exit from an unsafe living situation, you must seek the support of a qualified Domestic Violence attorney.

If you have filed a TRO, need to obtain a restraining order, are seeking to leave an abusive relationship and use the law to guarantee your protection, and/or are moving toward divorce, we are on your side.

Attorney Peter J. Bronzino and our firm has a depth of experience representing individuals in divorce, family law, and domestic violence situations in Brick, Sea Girt, Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, and across Ocean and Monmouth Counties.

Contact us online or at our Brick, NJ office today at (732) 812-3102 to schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss your individual restraining order matter or family law concerns.

Filing a Civil Union Dissolution with Your Family Law NJ Attorney

People who have entered one of these arrangements face a different set of laws regarding a separation because federal law does not recognize these unions.

What Is A Civil Union and How Does It Work?

A domestic partnership or civil union develops over time for many couples. Moving in together is the first step. Next, assets are purchased as a group. Then, children may enter the picture. All of this occurs in the absence of marriage. A cohabitation agreement can be written to safeguard the rights and property of both parties in a domestic partnership or civil union.

What Is A Dissolution, And How Does It Work?

What Is A Dissolution?

A civil union pair must file a dissolution complaint in family court under the Civil Union Act to formally dissolve their partnership. Divorce laws and principles control the dissolution process, and a civil union is disbanded in the same manner as marriage is.

The legal issues that a couple has when they leave the state where their civil union was granted, particularly if they transfer to a place where civil unions have never been granted, can be significant. In New Jersey, a civil union’s dissolution is regarded similarly to a divorce. In New Jersey, at least one participant of a civil union must have lived in the state for at least one year before filing a petition with the court to dissolve the relationship. In terms of nullification or dissolution and alimony, asset distribution, and responsibility for the partners’ children, a civil union follows the same procedures and circumstances as a marriage.

Under current civil union statutes, a supported partner may be entitled to spousal support, often known as alimony, based on the couple’s lifestyle during the civil union. The difficulty arises when partners have been “married” before the Civil Union Act’s implementation, similar to fair sharing. If a court merely considers the legal wording of alimony legislation, alimony will be determined only based on the couple’s connection from the beginning of the civil union to the termination date, with no regard for the time spent together.

To put it another way, when a civil union dissolves, spouses are entitled to support in the form of spousal maintenance, child support, custody, and equitable distribution of property accrued during the civil union, just as they would be if they were legally married. Before 2007, it was against the law for same-sex couples to enter into a civil union, which means there is some debate over how to measure a civil union best. Some scholars believe that a couple’s union should begin when they get property and acquire the designation of a legally recognized couple before 2006, rather than when they begin to live together as a pair in a binding agreement.

What Are the Justifications for Dissolution?

Although civil union dissolution in New Jersey is governed by the same laws and regulations as divorce, the reasons civil union couples in New Jersey can request a dissolution are different from those reasons married couples in New Jersey can petition for a divorce. For example, a married or civil union couple can get a dissolution on the following grounds:

  • Irresponsibility
  • Any cruelty to animals.
  • A span of time during which the relationship has been interrupted for a duration of at least 18 months (no-fault divorce in its origins)
  • The habitual use of a substance that impairs the ability to make reasoned decisions
  • Treatment for a lengthy amount of time (a year or more) in a mental health facility
  • For 18 months or longer, there is a prison term.

Civil Unions and Alimony

The fact that three samples are absent from the list has to be noted. These facts are significant in marriage simply when conflicts, deviant sexual behavior, and adultery cannot be reconciled.

Although civil union dissolution in New Jersey is subject to the same rights and duties as divorce, the reasons available to civil union couples seeking a dissolution differ from those available to married couples seeking a divorce. In New Jersey, both married and civil union partners may seek to end their partnerships for the following reasons:

  • Civil Unions and AlimonyAbandonment
  • Cruelty to animals.
  • A period of separation of 18 months or more (the original no-fault divorce)
  • Substance abuse or inebriation regularly
  • Hospitalization for mental illness for a period of 24 months or more
  • A sentence of 18 months or more in jail

Note that three examples are missing from the list. Irreconcilable differences, aberrant sexual activity, and infidelity are only relevant in marriage.

Following the dissolution of a civil union, civil union partners may be entitled to alimony or spousal support, similar to how alimony is considered in divorce proceedings. Additionally, equitable distribution will be established similarly to how it is after a divorce. In New Jersey, the following considerations are considered while determining alimony:

  • The partners’ true financial need and ability to pay;
  • The length of the civil union;
  • The ages and physical/emotional well-being of the parties;
  • The standard of living established during the civil union and the prospect of each spouse’s ability to maintain a standard of living.
  • Earning potential, educational degrees, vocational skills, and employability of the parties;
  • How long the party requesting support has been unemployed.
  • Children’s parental responsibilities;
  • The time and money required to get the needed education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find an acceptable job, the availability of such training and employment, and the possibility of future capital asset and income acquisitions;
  • A history of each party’s financial and non-financial contributions to the civil union, including contributions to the care and education of children, as well as gaps in a personal job or educational opportunities.
  • Income derived from the investment of any assets held by one of the parties;

Contact our Family Law Attorneys for a Free Consultation

Dissolving or ending a committed relationship, whether it be a marriage, civil union, domestic partnership, or simply a long-term cohabitation arrangement, brings with it a whole host of questions and concerns in addition to the inevitable emotional toll. Since the requirements for divorce and civil union dissolutions are alike in many aspects, the way to go about executing this process can be more readily understood. If you are seeking to dissolve a civil union or have chosen to move forward with a divorce, it is paramount to have an experienced divorce lawyer who can assist you with successfully navigating the road ahead.

At Bronzino Law Firm, our attorneys have a wealth of knowledge and skill in the realm of matrimonial and family law. Our team is equally committed to your success in completing the process of divorce or civil union dissolution, and we encourage you to contact us for immediate help in this respect. We take pride in successfully representing clients in Brick, Sea Girt, Toms River, and Wall Township, and across the Jersey Shore.

To get in touch with Peter Bronzino and our legal team in a free and confidential consultation about your divorce or civil union termination, please contact us online or through either our Brick or Sea Girt, NJ offices at (732) 812-3102.

An Experienced Divorce Attorney Will Guide You with Financial Strategies

Money missteps are costly, but knowledge is power. If you are considering a divorce, there are reasonable safeguards to save you money and aggravation and protect you, your mental health, children, rights, and financial assets.

10 Financial Strategies & Wellness Tips to Prepare You for Your NJ DivorceAlthough many couples feel physically distant and emotionally divorced from their partner, they are still married financially. Since a married couple or one in civil union’s assets in New Jersey are divided through equitable distribution, it is even more vital that you start meticulously preparing yourself for the division of assets such as real estate holdings, investment portfolios, retirement accounts, and family businesses and business partnerships to not only to ensure your financial well-being but also to take advantage of any tax benefits therein.

At the Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, we have invaluable experience helping clients understand the property at issue and legally securing what is rightfully theirs. By regularly communicating with clients in a straightforward and informative manner, we can establish what marital property is a priority to you and how to negotiate for that property effectively.

Contact us online or call our Sea Girt or our Brick, NJ office today at (732) 812-3102 to speak with our legal team in a free and confidential consultation regarding the division of your assets and how we can best assist you and your family.

10 Ways to Protect Your Emotional & Financial Well-Being While Preparing to Divorce

Divorce is a chance to start over and begin identifying key building blocks for your ideal future. Now is the time to start focusing on the big picture. Relocation? New career path? A more stable family life for you and your kids? Beginning with the end in mind, the more details you can envision, the more control you can have over the outcome. By taking actionable value-oriented steps now, the less overwhelmed you are likely to feel, the greater your negotiation position moving ahead.

1. Collect, safeguard, & make copies of personal papers & important records

Now is the time to start gathering your personal records, like birth certificates, diplomas, and making a copy of all jointly-owned records like titles, deeds, bank statements, real estate records, previous tax returns, and W2 statements. This type of documentation may be harder to get once the divorce process has started and provides the basis of support issues in your divorce proceedings (i.e., child support, alimony, or college contributions). Provide your spouse with a copy and make sure your copies are stored in a safe location.

2. Make an Inventory of All Marital Property

Make an Inventory of All Marital PropertyDocument marital property, valuable personal property, mementos or irreplaceable items,  and the contents of the marital home by video recording or photographing it together with your spouse, if that is possible. Store the original recording or images somewhere safe, and make an extra copy. If items are somehow “misplaced” from the family home, you’ll have a solid record of what’s missing.

3. Budget. Track Current Expenses and Anticipate Possible Future Ones

If you start tracking your household bills, food, clothing, entertainment, home maintenance, transportation, child care, and anything else that you spend money on, you will be better prepared post-divorce, and this information is necessary for your attorney and later the judge when deciding how to handle marital debt, divide the assets, and whether to award alimony and/or child support. It may be possible to use previous bank and credit card statements to estimate spending before this time period.

4. Separate Debt: Understand Your Current Credit Score & Future Credit Worthiness

Preparing for single life means taking control of and knowing more about finances. This may mean meeting with your spouse to cancel jointly owned credit cards and running a free credit report to get an idea of where you stand as an individual. This is a great opportunity to repair your credit score or to contact a debt collection agency to remove bogus items mistakenly attributed to you.

5. Secure Trusted Financial and Tax Advice

There will no doubt be tax consequences related to your divorce, which can cost you thousands of dollars. In addition, the timing of your divorce will have an impact on eligibility for benefits and taxes owed. It is highly recommended that you consult a trusted accountant and/or financial advisor to assess any tax breaks, exemptions regarding filing jointly or not, complicated tax issues you may be facing, as well as future tax obligations.

It might benefit both parties to stay married till December 31 and file to enjoy a lower tax bracket. In contrast, other couples may prefer to defer their retirement for a year or two so the non-employee spouse to bridge health insurance until age 65.

6. Talk to Your Children and Consider Their Feelings and Concerns

Just know that even in the best situations, there may be increased tension which could lead to fighting in front of your children or the children sensing the discord between you and your partner. Be aware of this, and work to minimize friction. If your children are older your then they will likely have numerous questions and concerns. You and your partner should do your best to listen to them, reassure them, and focus and what’s in their best interest. Custody and child support issues play significant roles in the progress of your divorce and can stonewall financial issues like equitable distribution and financial support.

7. Start Securing Health Insurance

If you are under 65 and not yet eligible for Medicare, you may be wondering how to cover health care expenses. After a divorce, the non-employee spouse often can either continue coverage of the employer plan for 36 months under the COBRA rules and later get their own plan. Do your research. Explore all the options and if your new coverage isn’t as complete as the current, get all your check-ups, vision care, and dental care up-to-date before you switch plans.

8. Hire An Experienced and Compassionate NJ Divorce And Family Law Attorney

Going it on your own or hiring a lawyer who is not uniquely knowledgeable and skilled in family law can cost much more money and unnecessarily increase conflict with your spouse. Make sure your lawyer is on the same page as you, especially if you wish to resolve your divorce amicably or through mediation.

9. Practice Self-care

Set time aside to nurture yourself and support your mental, physical and emotional, well-being. Don’t ignore your most basic needs: healthy food, regular exercise, decent sleep. Your physical wellbeing is the basis for your mental and emotional wellbeing. Making sound choices and practicing self-care will provide you with a decent foundation in the coming days and months.

10. Have a Support System

Contact our Experienced Brick, NJ Family Law And Divorce AttorneysDivorces can be lengthy, traumatic, and emotionally draining. But, you do not have to go through it alone. Instead, start creating and building your network of allies to help you through the challenging moments, which will help reduce the burden. By surrounding yourself with positive family and friends and engaging a mental health professional, you’ll be better able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and be in a better place once the divorce decree has been finalized.

The steps you take now can deeply impact your economic future, do not risk such an important facet of your life by proceeding without a team of experienced family law and divorce attorneys to protect your rights.

Contact our Experienced Brick, NJ Family Law And Divorce Attorneys

At the Bronzino Law Firm LLC, we take pride in having successfully represented clients across New Jersey, including towns like Brick, Sea Girt, Asbury Park, Wall, Manasquan, Neptune, Spring Lake, Brielle, and across Ocean and Monmouth Counties. We will be happy to walk side by side with you to guide you in the details of your personal financial case.

Peter J. Bronzino, Esq. has extensive experience helping clients negotiate, draft, and finalize marital property division agreements, which are both fair and protect the assets they care most about. By consulting with qualified and trusted financial experts, we help properly evaluate complex marital assets, investments, accounts, and debts, thus helping us draft a settlement that protects our clients’ rights and future.

Contact us online or through our Sea Girt or our Brick office at (732) 812-3102 today to schedule a free and confidential consultation regarding your divorce and any issues or concerns you may have.

Divorce and Property Division Handled with Professional and Experienced Knowledge

Providing Professional Divorce Advice on How Property is Split in Ocean and Monmouth County Areas

How Property is Divided in a Divorce in New JerseyIn late 2020, the Institute for Family Studies found that out of every 1,000 marriages that last one year, 14.9 ends in divorce. This statistic was seen as a promising one, as it marked a 50-year low in national divorce rates. However, though the numbers of divorces seem to be declining at a national level, divorce is still quite prevalent. When one or both spouses decide to file for divorce, they are setting up an extensive process to end the legal contract of marriage, which includes the division of marital assets. For each spouse to fairly receive the assets that are justly theirs, the support of a skilled and experienced team of family law attorneys is essential. A skilled divorce attorney knows how the division of property and marital assets is handled at the New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part level, where divorces and custody arrangements are heard. Read on to learn more about how New Jersey Superior Courts handle property division in a divorce.

Community Property Model vs. Equitable Distribution Model

Marital assets are divided according to one of two different models, depending on the state. Some states use the community property model, which evenly divides property and assets between spouses without exception. The community property model is a direct split. However, most states, including New Jersey, follow the equitable distribution model of dividing property and other assets. While the equitable distribution model offers a fair division of assets, it does not necessarily offer an even division of assets. The Superior Court: Family Part is responsible for handling New Jersey divorce and custody agreements and reviews various factors to determine how to most equitably divides assets. While the Superior Court judge is a fair representative of justice in the New Jersey court system, there are many ways to divide assets that require the judge’s subjective determination in the review of the applicable factors. As such, you must have a skilled and experienced divorce attorney representing your rights and your claim to your fair share of the marital assets throughout the divorce process.

What is considered in the equitable splitting of marital assets?

Marital assets are those assets that were shared by the spouses. They could include the marital home, land, autos, savings, and investments, among other shared sites both parties own marital assets, and both have a claim to their shared value when the couple decides to split. Separate assets or properties, on the other hand, are not owned by both spouses. They include assets that one spouse owned before the marriage or a spouse obtained during the marriage from an inheritance or another gift. Inheritances received during the marriage are not shared unless they are invested in a joint venture, at which point the other spouse may have a claim to part. Again, these grey lines in the division of marital and separate properties and assets are why it is important to have the support of a skilled family law attorney during this nuanced process.

A judge will consider the itemized list of marital assets and take the following considerations into account when determining how to justly and equitably divide them:

  • Is there a standing legal prenuptial agreement that addresses the division of assets in the case of divorce?
  • What was the duration of the marriage?
  • What was the status quo, or the standard of living, experienced by the couple during the marriage? The judge will attempt to help each partner maintain that standard of living in divorce by dividing assets to support that or assigning payment of alimony by the breadwinning spouse.
  • How many assets did each partner bring into the marital home at the start of the marriage?
  • How many assets and financial contributions did each partner bring to the marital home throughout the marriage?
  • How was financial support established throughout the marriage for one partner to pursue education, a What is considered when equitably splitting up marital assets?profession, or stay at home to raise a family? Did one partner provide financial support for the other’s professional growth, or did one partner sacrifice their career to raise the family?
  • What is each spouse’s state, physically and mentally? Do funds need to be legally set aside to provide support, such as a trust?
  • Is it necessary to set up a trust for any children of the marriage?

To ensure that your rights are upheld in a divorce, it is imperative that you seek the support of a qualified family law attorney.

Contact our Divorce Attorney for a confidential consultation

If you are navigating a divorce and want to ensure that you receive your fair share of the marital assets in the separation, we are here to support you.

Highly skilled divorce and family law attorney Peter Bronzino, Esq, has the knowledge and extensive experience to assist you with all manner of concerns amidst the divorce process, including the appropriate distributing of your assets. With local offices in Brick, NJ, we regularly assist clients throughout Monmouth and Ocean County areas, including Berkeley, Spring Lake, Toms River, Point Pleasant, Manchester, and Middletown.

To schedule a free and confidential consultation with our firm today regarding your family financial support issues, please send us a message or call (732) 812-3102 to speak to an attorney who can help.

Digital Asset Division and Equitable Distribution of Digital Assets in New Jersey

Helping couples with Dividing Cryptocurrency during Divorce in Brick, Sea Girt, Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, and across Ocean and Monmouth Counties.

Equitable Digital Asset Division: Dividing Cryptocurrency & Digital Property in NJDeciding who gets what (i.e., pets, jewelry, heirlooms, or real estate) is never pleasant, but when faced with determining the true value of digital assets accrued over the life of modern marriage, this can be particularly daunting. With a divorce pending, couples who have woven their lives together in the iCloud will need to take an inventory of all their digital assets in the same way they would other possessions. As technology develops, federal and state laws try to determine how to divide digital assets equitably. As the legal statutes attempt to keep pace with technology, more and more couples are seeking information about the impact of BitCoin, Ripple, LiteCoin, Coinbase, stablecoins, blockchain-based tokens, and other virtual currencies (altcoins, Ethereum, Dash, Monero, ZCash) and virtual assets on the division of their marital property. If you are considering a separation, dissolving a civil union, or getting a divorce, you may have questions about the equal distribution of marital assets in New Jersey or about “What (to do) if one of the parties hides digital assets during a divorce?”.

Experienced Monmouth and Ocean County, NJ Bitcoin & Digital Assets Divorce Attorneys know identifying all of a couple’s assets, especially in potentially high-net-worth couples, can be critical to obtaining an equitable division. This can be made more difficult when one spouse has handled most of a family’s finances and may be suspected of having hidden assets or a digital currency wallet. Dealing with cryptocurrency makes the process even more difficult since this form of virtual money is inherently designed to be an untraceable means of wealth.

So whether you are considering divorce litigation or need the 21st Century will, trust, or estate planning, we can help you.

At the Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, we have extensive experience helping clients and families to fairly and accurately value and divide complex digital assets in towns across Ocean and Monmouth County, including Wall, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, Point Pleasant, Toms River, Asbury Park, Neptune, Brick, Manasquan, Brielle, Jackson, and the surrounding communities. We consult with forensic accountants, computer specialists, and financial consultants to gain the best possible understanding of both the current and future value of all of your financial assets and then work towards securing a favorable and equitable agreement for you.

Contact us online or call our Sea Girt or Brick, NJ offices today at (732) 812-3102 to discuss your unique digital asset questions and concerns in a free and confidential consultation with our legal team.

Does the IRS Define Cryptocurrency as Property Assets Subject to Equitable Distribution?

Is Cryptocurrency an Asset for Equitable Distribution in NJ?Yes. Following IRS Notice 2014-21 and stricter financial reporting standards, digital or virtual currency is to be treated as property for federal tax purposes. It is thus subject to New Jersey’s equitable distribution law. Depending on a particular taxpayer’s circumstances, their cryptocurrency holdings can be classified as either business property, investment property, or personal property.

Which Typical Digital Assets or Digital Property are Subject to Property Division in NJ?

A digital asset is any service or holding that only exists in the online realm. According to the American Bar Association, digital assets which can be divided during divorce litigation can include cryptocurrency as well as other digital property, such as:

  • Frequent flyer miles
  • Social Media accounts (i.e., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest, etc..)
  • Blogs
  • Photo-sharing websites
  • iTunes accounts (i.e., digital audio files and digital movie libraries)
  • Kindle and other e-book accounts
  • Amazon and Audible accounts
  • Netflix and other streaming platform accounts
  • Etsy or eBay storefront
  • Online business websites
  • Gaming libraries, streaming platforms, and sites that use real currency to purchase virtual property
  • Business blogs that produce advertising income
  • Copyrighted material
  • Domain names
  • Email Accounts
  • Dropbox and other data storage/sharing accounts
  • Youtube pages
  • Digital artwork
  • Digital photos

Why It’s Important to Create an Inventory of Shared Digital Property in a Wall, NJ Divorce

Digital and virtual assets can add up. If you or your partner are social media influencers, who have not only dipped an analog toe into the digital cryptocurrency pool but also managed to build up a sizable social media following, the value within your various digital assets will need to be accounted for in the discovery process and disclosed in the Case Information Statement. This helps to assure that a fair valuation of all relevant assets and liabilities can be made.

A knowledgeable Monmouth and Ocean County, NJ equitable distribution and divorce lawyer will help you accurately and truthfully represent your assets and your budget for items such as car payments, rent, mortgage payments, insurance costs, utilities, and much more. Any misreporting, errors or other untruths might be construed as intentional fraud, the consequences of which could mean financial penalties, loss of credibility in the eyes of the court, and having to pay the full legal fees and other incidental expenses of both parties during the litigation process.

Valuing Cryptocurrency For a Toms River, NJ Divorce Settlement

Valuing Cryptocurrency For a Toms River, NJ Divorce SettlementCryptocurrency has an exchange rate and can be converted into dollars. The volatility of virtual currencies has meant that the value has fluctuated wildly over the last few years, one factor that makes valuing cryptocurrency challenging for a divorce settlement. To provide a greater degree of certainty, it may be preferable for crypto assets to be converted into ‘Fair Market Value (FMV) cash and contributed to the asset pool in a more stable form.

Retain a Wall Township, NJ Cryptocurrency and Digital Property Division Divorce Lawyer Today

At the Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, 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 divorce or mediation process.

Contact us online or call us today at  (732) 812-3102  to schedule a free, confidential consultation with a member of our firm regarding your digital asset concerns.

Mediation and Arbitration Attorneys Discuss The Benefits of these Approaches in NJ

Providing Couples with Professional Legal Advice Across Spring Lake, Toms River, Point Pleasant, Brick, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County Areas

Advantages of Mediation and Arbitration in NJMany divorcing couples are looking towards alternate dispute resolution tactics as a means to settle their cases and move on with their lives. Court backlogs and the high cost of contentious divorces have been driving forces in moving couples from traditional divorce tracks to either arbitration or mediation.  Often these two processes are mistaken for each other, but the two are indeed very different. Mediation and arbitration do share some commonalities. Both are confidential, cost-effective, and expeditious alternatives to mainstream divorce litigation.

What Happens in a Mediation?

It is a process in which an impartial third party facilitates negotiations between the litigants. The goal of mediation is to help them reach a mutually acceptable settlement. The mediator does not make the decision that determines the outcome of the case. Rather, the parties – with the assistance of their attorneys – work with a mediator toward a solution with which they are comfortable.

Mediation is often used to amicably resolve disputes between parties that have an ongoing business or personal relationship or have had a significant past relationship, where communication problems exist between the parties, but where the principal barriers to settlement are personal or emotional. It allows for a more collaborative, creative road to problem resolution. Divorce proceedings lend themselves to mediation especially when the discrepancies are few and far between former spouses.

What are the Advantages of Mediation?

In mediation, there is less stress as compared to litigation or arbitration as the process typically resolves the dispute quickly.  Also, the parties have more control over the settlement and the relationship between them has not reached an irreparably damaged state.  Mediation proceedings are also completely confidential.

It is a process by which a neutral third-party or panel considers the evidence presented by the parties and makes a decision that may be binding or non-binding, according to the statute, rule, or the prior agreement of the parties.

What Is Arbitration?

In arbitration, the process requires that each spouse voluntarily submit their divorce matter to a neutral third party, known as an arbitrator, who ultimately renders a final ruling on the settlement.  The arbitrator is mutually selected by the litigants and maybe a matrimonial attorney or a former judge. Key in the selection of an arbitrator is that they are experienced and familiar with the nuances of matrimonial law. There are some instances where the court will appoint an arbitrator when the spouses cannot agree.  The role of the arbitrator is to act much like a judge would during a trial.  The proceedings are usually much less formal than a trial, but the arbitrator does render a decision much in the same fashion as a judge.  The cost of arbitration is usually divided between the parties.

What are the Advantages of Arbitration?

Flexibility

Arbitration proceedings are flexible and more economically feasible compared to litigation.

Time-Consuming

Arbitration proceedings occur at an expeditious rate as compared to Litigation; therefore, it saves time for both parties.

Confidentiality

The disputes which are subject to arbitration are not released to the public.

Arbitrator

The parties have the liberty to choose an arbitrator to handle their dispute.

Enforceability

Arbitration awards are generally easier to enforce as compared to court verdicts.

Arbitration Can Be Tailored to the Parties’ Needs

Unlike trying a case in court, the Rules of Evidence in binding arbitration may be relaxed by agreement of the parties and their attorneys.  A set of rules to follow in the arbitration process can also be agreed upon.  Not only can the parties decide whether or not to keep a “record” of the arbitration, but the parties can also agree on what issues are to be submitted or not submitted to binding arbitration.  On many occasions, the parties may wish to only have several issues involved in their divorce arbitrated, with the remaining issues to either be negotiated, mediated, or decided by the court.  Again, this gives the parties a sense that they are involved in the process and have some control over and confidence in the way their case is being handled.

The Conclusion of Arbitration

At the conclusion of the binding arbitration process, the arbitrator submits a decision. Although the parties can agree on the scope of the appeal of the decision, typically the parties entering binding arbitration want finality and agree that the arbitrator’s decision will not be appealable except under limited circumstances, such as gross error committed by the arbitrator.  The people who take their case out of the court system and submit their disputed issues to arbitration are typically not interested in more litigation or appeals.  They want their divorce case to be over and want finality.  Our court rules also set forth the way the arbitrator’s decision can be converted to a judgment or order, which can then be enforced.

Is Arbitration or Mediation Right for You?

Is Arbitration or Mediation Right for You?The arbitration process is not perfect. As stated above, there is an additional cost involved in submitting your case to binding arbitration. Given the typically limited right to appeal, if the arbitrator makes what you believe is a bad decision, although no gross error was committed, there may be no recourse to alter the decision.  However, often, someone who is simply unhappy with an arbitrator’s decision would have been equally as unhappy with a Court ruling which would likely survive an appeal.

Contact our Mediation and Arbitration Lawyers for a Free Consultation at our Brick Office

If you are interested in settling your divorce dispute without having the stress of a court date far into the future due to full-court calendars, arbitration or mediation could be the answer you are looking for.

At Bronzino Law Firm,  we take pride in successfully representing clients in Point Pleasant, Brick, Wall, Sea Girt, and Spring Lake. Whether you have made the decision to go to court or have contemplated an alternative avenue, we are here to create a plan that is best for you and your changing family.

Contact us online or call us at (732) 812-3102 to learn more about your options and to schedule a free online confidential consultation with a member of our firm regarding your needs during this time.

Child Custody Attorneys Discuss How to Handle Travel and Custody Over Summer Vacation

Providing Parents with Financial Advice Across Spring Lake, Toms River, Point Pleasant, Brick, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County Areas

Joint Custody Raises COVID-19 Concerns as Kids Travel Between Households, Out of State or Abroad for HolidaysAs states open up, the federal government considers relaxing travel restrictions to the Mexican and Canadian borders. Several amusement parks announce plans to reopen; many co-parents are already planning family getaway options, vacations, and travel with their kids outside the country.

As millions of kids across the country divide their time between parents, the upcoming Spring and Summer holidays raise concerns over COVID-19, making what would have previously been a way to make lifetime memories more stressful. Decision making around how best to handle travel-related pandemic precautions is challenging for an individual to consider, but as co-parents who had difficulty agreeing on family issues before separation or divorce, navigating child custody in this COVID era means several other unforeseen issues (i.e., children being silent super spreaders) have turned the concept of family visits and vacation travel into a new battleground.

Differing opinions about the severity of the pandemic and the necessary precautions to take can make co-parenting especially volatile as co-parents weigh the impact on one parental household’s behavior may affect the health of another (i.e., step-siblings or relatives who may eschew masks). Unless your specific COVID-19 era child custody agreement prevents out-of-state travel or has other restrictions, then generally, each parent may choose to travel during the holidays, even though there is a pandemic, whether or not your co-parent agrees.

A lot of proactive, positive co-parent communicative or mediation should protect both families and assure that everyone is on the same page and working to the best of the child. Understandably, parents would be hesitant about their child traveling or going on vacation during this current health crisis.

If this sounds like your situation, take confidence that the Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, located in Brick, New Jersey, can help. Our experienced child custody and family law attorneys stay on top of ever-changing travel bans and guidelines to provide superior legal guidance for your custody matter.

Planning to Travel? Review Your Court Mandated Child Custody Order

Before booking any travel, check the custody order for information regarding the specific details or steps you need to obtain travel consent with your child. This may often require providing a detailed itinerary before leaving and/or 30 days written notice. It is significantly important to comply with the custody order, as the courts can find any parent who does not adhere to it in contempt.

Even among amicably divorced spouses without a custody order in place, it is highly recommended that you obtain written consent from the other party or speak with a compassionate child custody attorney experienced in parenting time and visitation matters, who can help you enforce your parental rights and get court approval to prevent costly misunderstandings and stressful legal disputes.

What Kind of Documentation Does My Child Need for International Travel?

Once travel approval has been obtained, in addition to your child having a valid passport, the traveling parent should also have a signed and notarized letter of consent from the co-parent. Although there is no legal authority in the United States requiring a parent to have a signed consent document from the other parent to travel outside the United States with the children, a parent may still be stopped by Customs and Border Patrol in the United States or the county they are traveling to. This serves to reduce the potential for child abduction or child trafficking claims.

If the child is traveling with one parent or someone who is not a parent or legal guardian or a group, then the United States Customs and Border Protection has listed details that should be included in the letter, such as the:

  • What Kind of Documentation Does My Child Need for International Travel?child’s name
  • child’s birth date and place of birth
  • child’s primary address
  • passport numbers for all travelers or supervising adults in the group (i.e., school groups, teen tours, vacation groups)
  • traveling parent’s name and date of birth
  • travel details (where, when, why)
  • contact details of the parent not traveling
  • notarized signatures of both parents

I Do Not Want My Child Leaving the Country. What Can I Do?

It’s not uncommon for ex-spouses to be citizens of another country, further increasing the possibility your co-parent may take the child abroad. In this age of COVID-19, it makes sense that a parent might have reservations about their ex-spouse taking their child out of the country at this time.

Parents with concerns about their right to travel or who may want to restrict travel abroad with their child should consult a knowledgeable high-conflict parenting-time attorney for assistance. Here are a few situations where an experienced attorney may be able to help you in assuring your child’s health and well-being is a priority and prevent an ex-spouse from taking your child out of the country:

  • Incorporate specific travel restrictions into the custody order that would require mediation or a court order to modify a child custody agreement.
  • Surrender your child’s passport to the court to prevent international travel without your consent. This would require your co-parent to schedule a hearing to request the passport. A parent with significant reservations could present compelling evidence as to why travel would not be in the best interest of the health and well-being of their child.
  • Prevent your child from getting a passport. Simply refusing to give consent can stop the process. This might be considered extreme as, typically, both parents must give consent for a minor to obtain a passport. However, if there has already been a termination of the co-parent’s parental rights, the traveling parent with sole custody can usually get a passport without the other’s permission.

Sea Girt, NJ Child Custody Lawyer Can Help You Enforce Your Parental Rights

At the 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, guide and assist you with emergency motions and navigate revisions to court-ordered routines that may be necessary.

Contact us online or call us at (732) 812-3102 to learn more about your options and to schedule a free online confidential consultation with a member of our firm regarding your co-parenting needs during this time.