Tag Archives: law

NEW JERSEY ALIMONY REFORM: A COMMON SENSE TRANSLATION

AlimonyBy Toni Ann Russo, Esq.

Even many attorneys are unsure as to what impact the New Alimony Laws are going to have on Alimony and Divorce Cases going forward.

The Law is being applied prospectively so that cases filed for the first time after the law’s effective date will be effected as well as older cases where one of the parties seeks modification of an existing alimony obligation should there be no property settlement agreement defining the parameters of a modification. Additionally the court redefines retirement, reduction in income and cohabitation which will be applied to all cases requiring such a determination.

The new law directs that for marriages less than 20 years, the “limited duration” of alimony cannot be for longer than the length of the marriage. (except in exceptional circumstances) If the marriage is 20 years or over, a party is entitled to what is known as “open durational alimony” which may turn out to be similar to the previous “permanent alimony”.

What about these “exceptional circumstances” that could impact on the duration of alimony? The new law provides that certain “exceptional circumstances” may result in a duration of alimony longer than the marriage Age, degree of dependency, illness, career sacrifices, disproportionate share of estate, impact of the marriage on ability of spouse to support himself/herself, tax considerations, or any other factors just and equitable.

The court is also free to consider the nature, amount and length of support payments made during the divorce in rendering an alimony award.

While the new alimony law places limits on the duration of alimony I expect the law to impact permanent alimony cases the most. Most of the temporary alimony cases in the past did not result in durations more than the term of the marriage anyway. And while a court may consider the payor spouses early retirement, full retirement age is now defined as that age which a person is eligible to receive full retirement benefits under section 216 of the Federal Social Security Act, such that it may still prove difficult to retire early and not pay alimony. In fact, the new law allows a party to apply before retirement for a ruling as to whether or not they will still have an alimony obligation should they retire. This provision is a welcomed addition.

If you would like a FREE INITIAL ALIMONY OR DIVORCE CONSULTATION call 201-343-2(LAW)529 or

contact us at http://www.toniesquire.com

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The Modern Soldier and His/Her Battle for Custody

On January 25th, Governor Christie passed a bill that protects Military men and women from loosing custody of their children due to being deployed/ receiving treatment post deployment.

The law protects these men and women from having the court make changes to their custody agreement while they are away, and up to 90 days after they return. They are not allowed to deem these men and women as unfit parents just because they are/ were away serving out of the country as long as they have a written notice of deployment or post-deployment treatments. The temporary guardian, of these children, must legally set aside time for the children to interact with their mother or father, such as over the phone or by video messaging.

However, this new law does not stop the court from changing the agreement, and potentially taking away custody, if it comes to the attention of the court that the child, or children, are considered in danger.

For more information: Source

Photo by: S Braswell

NJ Supreme Court: Prenatal Drug Exposure is Not Enough to Prove Child Abuse

To Prosecute, or Not To Prosecute, That is the Question:

Should there be legal consequences for women who use either alcohol or illegal substances while pregnant? This question is still extremely controversial, and due to varied opinions, will continue to be for years to come.

The New Jersey Supreme Court recently reached a unanimous decision that the state may NOT consider a newborn to be abused or neglected based solely on evidence of prenatal drug exposure. There has to be substantial evidence showing that the drugs and or alcohol ingested while pregnant will have lasting effects on the infant and his/ her health in order for there to be a case. This evidence can come in the form of actual physical or mental impairments at birth etc.

According to the article, many states have already prosecuted women who have abused drugs or alcohol during pregnancy. These convictions were mainly overturned because of the fear that it would discourage women, who are pregnant while suffering from substance problems, from seeking out the help they need.

Congress has already responded by authorizing grants, which will be used to set up drug treatment programs targeting pregnant drug/ alcohol users.

For More Information: http://verdict.justia.com/2013/02/19/in-utero-the-new-jersey-supreme-court-says-prenatal-drug-exposure-is-not-sufficient-evidence-of-child-abuse

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Here at the Law Offices of Toni Ann Russo, we look at each year as a new beginning with vast opportunities. Opportunities to change with the times, to better ourselves as individuals, and to help those who truly need it the most. To us, the family unit is one of the most important parts of life and that is why we FIGHT to protect it.

This blog is a way for our firm to reach out to those who we generally do not come in contact with due to space, place and location. We are deeply passionate about being able to spread knowledge dealing with all aspects of family law, and what is going on in today’s world in regards to that. Being educated about your rights as an individual is key, and only with this knowledge can we protect ourselves as well as those who we care most about.

We invite you to join us on this new and exciting journey, and hope that you stick around and learn as much as possible.

God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own created genius we make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law. Let the sky and God be our limit and Eternity our measurement. – Marcus Garvey