As the saying goes “Hell has no fury like a woman scorned,” but in a recent unpublished New Jersey Appellate Division decision the opposite was true.  In Weitz v. Weitz, App. Div. Docket No. A-1760-08T1, decided February 25, 2010, the defendant, Arthur Weitz, appealed from orders denying his post-judgment motions to terminate payment of alimony and for reconsideration.

Mr. Weitz and his ex-wife, Susan Weitz, were married in 1966 and divorced in 1994.  As part of the final judgment of divorce, a Property Settlement Agreement was entered into by the parties.  The Agreement required Mr. Weitz to pay alimony from 1994 until 2006, but if he was unemployed for a period exceeding 1 month than he would not have to pay for that month.  However, any months Mr. Weitz did not pay alimony would be tacked onto the termination date of the alimony.  The Agreement also stated that if Ms. Weitz remarried, died, or cohabitated with another man, alimony would immediately terminate.Continue Reading Hell Has No Fury Like a Husband’s Scorn

In 1988, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that a surrogacy contract was invalid based upon the circumstances of that case.  The Court found that such agreements are in direct conflict with existing statutes and in conflict with New Jersey public policy.  In the Baby M case, would-be parents entered into a contract with a women who agreed to supply the egg for in vitro fertilization, to implantation of the embryo and to carry the fetus to birth at which point the would-be parents would adopt the baby.  However, the surrogate mother changed her mind after the birth of the child and would not agree to the adoption.   The Baby M decision made it clear that New Jersey courts disfavor surrogacy agreements especially those involving monetary exchange. 

The Baby M case involved a surrogacy agreement by a surrogate who was also the biological donor of the egg.  Since the 1988 Baby M decision, the question of whether or not surrogacy agreements are invalid regardless of whether or not the surrogate mother has biological relations to the child has never been answered.  However, recently, on December 23, 2009, a trial Court in Hudson County entered a decision in the A.G.R. v. D.R.H. and S.H. case finding that surrogacy agreements in New Jersey are invalid regardless of the biological relationship of the surrogate mother.Continue Reading Baby M Decision and Validity of Surrogacy Contracts Revisited

What is it about this time of year? I’ve been told that the holidays are the most popular time of year for couples to get engaged. While this a special time for the engaged couple, it is also a time when some couples should consider a prenuptial agreement or premarital contract. A prenuptial agreement is a contract between the engaged couple that addresses equitable distribution, alimony, and other issues that may arise if the couple were to divorce.

A prenuptial agreement may not be for everyone, but in many instances it makes sense. For individuals with substantial assets, a business, family wealth or children from a prior marriage, a prenuptial agreement is usually a good idea. Sometimes people think a prenuptial agreement is a reflection of how an individual feels about the potential outcome of the marriage. But in reality, this is rarely the case. For instance, a family business or assets an individual would like to leave to children from a prior relationship, are assets that need to be protected.  Often the parents who own the family business insist that their children have prenuptial agreements to prevent the prospective spouse from ever having a claim to the business.Continue Reading The Season of Engagement – Should It Lead to the Season of Prenups?

Last week news broke the Jon and Kate Gossellin, stars of the Lifetime television program “Jon and Kate Plus Eight,” were divorced in Pennsylvania. Judge Arthur Tilson entered an Order making it official.  To read previous blog entries on this celebrity divorce click here.

While many news articles reported that the couple used an arbitrator, few actually differentiated or explained the roll of the arbitrator. Sometimes divorcing couples use an arbitrator to decide issues in a divorce rather than go to the Court. While in New Jersey only a Judge can enter an Order actually divorcing a couple – hence dissolving the marriage, an arbitrator can decide almost any other issue, including alimony, child support, equitable distribution, college expenses, graduate school costs, medical expenses, counsel fees and tax-related issues. (The only caveat is that both parties must agree that the arbitrator has the authority to decide the issue.)

In NJ when it comes to custody and parenting time arbitration, there are specific requirements for this process that our Supreme Court has set forth in the Fawzy v. Fawzy matter. To read prior blog entries on this case and arbitration, click here or here.Continue Reading Jon & Kate – Arbitrate!