Divorce Planning

We have all heard stories about spouses hiding assets to keep them away from the other spouse during a divorce.  In fact, I am sure that many lawyers have even had clients ask how they can do it.  Hopefully, the lawyer told them the straight answer -don’t do it – and if you do and get caught, it will be far worse for you. 

A litigant named Eric Barzda learned this the hard way as noted in the unreported decision (non precedential) Appellate Division decision released on March 3, 2010.

In this case, in 1996, Mr. Barzda was  was going through a divorce proceedings with his former wife.  While the divorce  was pending and even thereafter, he feared that his wife would assert a claim against property in Hightstown he acquired with his girlfriend, the defendant in this matter.  In order to  shield this property from a claim from his wife, he transferred his interest in the property to the girlfriend for $1.  However, he claimed that there was an oral agreement that he would be a silent partner.  He later filed for bankruptcy relief and did not list this property as owned by him in the bankruptcy – obtaining a discharge in what was deemed a no asset case.Continue Reading Divorce Planning Comes Back To Bite This Husband

 Now that you have made the determination that you want to proceed with a divorce, you wonder what is/are the next steps. The following is a summary of the Procedural Steps in a Divorce Litigation and a summary of substantive issues that may be addressed in the divorce proceedings.


Procedural Steps for Divorce Litigation in New Jersey


1.         The Filing of the Complaint: All divorce cases officially begin with the filing of a Complaint with the Family Court. The Complaint is the first pleading filed with the Court and it must be filed before any requests can be made to the Court such as requests for support or custody. There are filing fees associated with the filing of every Complaint.


2.         After the Filing of the Complaint: Once the Complaint is filed, it is returned to your attorney, who serves it on the opposing party or the opposing attorney, if one has been retained. Service is usually accomplished by mailing the Complaint to the opposing attorney, along with an Acknowledgment of Service which they sign and return. You will also file an Affidavit of Insurance Coverage which states the types, extent and beneficiary of your insurance policies; in most cases, the party responsible for maintaining insurance coverage before the filing of the divorce complaint must continue to maintain that coverage unless a Court enters a different Order. After the service of a Divorce Complaint, you will be asked to fill out a “Case Information Statement” (“CIS”) which sets forth your personal and family assets, liabilities, income and expenses. In some cases, it may be appropriate to reflect past and/or projected expenses. It is extremely important that the CIS be as accurate and complete as possible because the Court and the attorneys will use the CIS throughout the case in assessing support and property distribution issues.Continue Reading Getting Divorced and Where to Start