Mount Olive Divorce Attorneys

I tell virtually every client I work with that the Case Information Statement which must be completed by anyone going through the formal divorce process in NJ is one of the most important documents to be completed – arguably, the most important document.

The recent unpublished decision of Raesky v. Brody, A-6148-08T1, decided May 26, 2010, reinforces my mantra.  When completing a Case Information Statement it is important to be honest (it’s a document signed under oath with the risk of penalty for perjury), realistic, and thorough.  The budget, assets and liabilities listed on this document will assist a judge in determining the issues of spousal support and the division of assets.  These statements are the maps which judges follow to lead them to a final determination of these issues.

By over inflating  your budget, you give the other side the ability to poke holes at your credibility.  Sometimes the thinking that the higher my budget the more money I can get may backfire, as it appears to have done for Ms. Brody.  Also, in the case where the budget is artificially low, the payor spouse’s credibility will be questioned.  If it is the payee spouse with an inaccurately low budget, they run the risk of receiving inadequate support and thus they’re unable to meet their needs let alone maintain even a semblance of the marital standard of living.

Continue Reading Alimony Lessons from Raesky v. Brody

Today’s Daily Record has a story of a parenting time dispute that happens all too often. The story, written by Peggy Wright, tells a of a visitation/parenting time fight because a father wanted his 10-year old daughter to attend his birthday party instead of participating as a flower girl in her godmother’s wedding. 

In ruling that the child should be permitted to participate in the wedding, the judge said that she believed the  girl should have the experience of wearing a special dress and shoes and eating the cake and hearing wedding music.  The article further states:

"A birthday party happens every year. A wedding is once-in-a-lifetime," Whipple said.  Saying she didn’t mean to diminish the importance of a child celebrating a birthday with a parent, Whipple nonetheless said the wedding experience — and accompanying her bridesmaid mother down the aisle — would be unforgettable for a little girl. Addressing Miller directly, the judge asked: "Do you really want to say ‘no dress, no cake, no wedding, no bridesmaid, no band? You have to go to my birthday party.’ Do you really want to take that away from her?"

Though in one respect, the father had a right to be upset because the wedding was taking place during his scheduled parenting time, this is a typical example of divorce or divorced couples failing to be flexible and having a tug of war with their children, to the detriment of their children.  A simply remedy may have been to trade weekends or otherwise provide for make up parenting time.  Moreover, it was unclear from the story, but depending on how much notice the father had of this wedding, perhaps his birthday party (which was not on his actual birthday) could have been scheduled for a different do so that there was no conflict.  On the other hand, if the mother did not give the father adequate notice, as is often the case in these situations, then she too could have been responsible for this dispute.

Every year at about this time, you hear a supposed "fact" that Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest day of the year for domestic violence.  I even saw something on this this week on either Twitter or some news service.  I figured that I was use this blog to pass along a public service announcement about this scourge to give a heads up to potential victims.

Funny thing is that when I went to research this, I found several articles suggesting that this was really urban legend.  No less than Snopes, the debunker of all rumors and urban legends says that this "fact" is simply not true.

I am not trying to make light of this or domestic violence in any way but what is true?  Well, what is true is that the use/abuse of alcohol often plays a role in domestic violence.  Common experience tells us that there is a lot of drinking when watching the Super Bowl.  In fact, people who don’t typically watch football may attend a Super Bowl party where alcohol is being served.  One need only watch the glut of Super Bowl beer commercials to see the almost overwhelming role of alcohol in Super Bowl culture. 

That all said, while their may not be a societal rise of domestic violence on Super Bowl Sundays, victims and potential victims need not simply accept domestic violence and should do what they need to to protect themselves, call the police and/or avail themselves of all domestic violence resources in there area. 

New Jersey is one of the few states in the country that still requires divorced parents to pay for their children’s higher educations.  The term "divorced parents" is highlighted because married parents do not have the same obligation to pay for their children’s college education if they choose not to do so.  This distinction has lead some to argue that New Jersey’s laws are unconstitutional.  That is the topic for another day.

That said, the answer to the questions posed in the title of this post is maybe.  That is, parents of divorced children may not only have to contribute to their children’s college educations, but graduate school as well.

That was one of the topics of an unreported (non-precedential) case decided by the Appellate Division on December 10, 2009.  Specifically, in the case of Mulcahey v. Melici, the Appellate Division affirmed the trial court’s decision not to emancipate the parties’ child who had graduated from college, require the payment of child support to continue and requiring the payment of graduate school expenses.