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Divorce Law

When Children Are Sick Or Injured: Do Custody Agreements Hold Up
  • By: Eric Hannum, Esq.
  • Published: July 15, 2023

Custody agreements are established by the court with the best information available at the time, and with the primary intention of fairness to the children. Parents may not like the terms of their custody agreement, and filing for a modification is one of the legal options available for changing it. Generally, judges in New Jersey, as in other jurisdictions look for cooperation on the part of both parents, knowing that cooperation between their parents is the most important source of security for children after the tumultuous period of divorce. There’s probably no time when a child is more vulnerable and in need of security than when he or she is sick or injured. Everyone who cares about the child is expected to care and also to cooperate for the child’s benefit. Children who have recently survived their parents’ divorce are…Read More

What Happens When Your Legal Child Isn't Your Biological Child
  • By: Eric Hannum, Esq.
  • Published: July 13, 2023

Imagine this: You've been raising a child in Manasquan, New Jersey, as your own, legally recognized as their parent, only to discover they aren't biologically yours. Questions start swirling in your mind about child support, visitation, and custody – fundamental pillars of family law, with the legal status of parentage serving as a critical factor in determining them. When a child is born within a marriage, New Jersey law typically assumes the husband to be the biological father, so his name is added to the birth certificate to reflect this. In situations where a child is born to unmarried parents, legal paternity can be established when the father signs the birth certificate. However, what if you discover that your legally recognized child isn't biologically yours? Is it possible to cease child support payments and modify your custody arrangement? Many facing…Read More

What Is A Post-Judgment Modification?
  • By: Eric Hannum, Esq.
  • Published: February 1, 2021

A post-judgment modification is just that: a modification to a court order after the order has been finalized by the court. These are not uncommon with divorce cases because the conditions present in child custody, child support, and alimony orders can change in the years following the divorce. Post-judgment modifications do not happen automatically. The party seeking the modification must petition to the court to have the modification made. The burden of proof is on the petitioning individual, which means that he or she has to prove to the court that the modification he or she is requesting is either in the child’s best interest or accurately reflects changed financial circumstances for him- or herself or his or her former spouse, as is the case with alimony order modifications. To learn more about the extent of the burden of proof…Read More

Dividing Property Through Equitable Distribution
  • By: Eric Hannum, Esq.
  • Published: December 1, 2020

In any divorce, the divorcing couple’s jointly-held property needs to be divided among them. A few states take what is known as the community property approach to property distribution, which means that courts divide divorcing couples’ assets among them 50/50. Most states, New Jersey included, take the equitable distribution approach, which does not provide couples with equal shares of their marital assets in a divorce. What it does provide, or at least strive to provide to couples, is equitable shares of their assets. This means that rather than simply cutting a marital estate down the middle, the court gives each spouse a portion of the shared assets according to his or her contribution to the marriage’s net worth and his or her personal needs following the divorce. Equitable distribution can be complicated and sometimes, the court’s decisions might seem nonsensical.…Read More

Will Infidelity Affect My Divorce Settlement?
  • By: Eric Hannum, Esq.
  • Published: December 30, 2015

You might have heard that committing infidelity will have a negative effect on your ability to seek alimony as part of your divorce settlement or somehow make an impact on your property division. Conversely, you might have been told that if your spouse cheated on you, you can expect a larger share of your marital property or a greater amount of alimony after your divorce. The truth is, whether any infidelity that was present in your marriage will affect these determinations is much more complicated than this. Did the Infidelity Affect Your Economic Health As A Married Couple? This is one of the main issues that the court uses to determine whether to allow infidelity to affect its rulings on alimony and property division. In cases where infidelity affects a property ruling, it is because the cheating partner spent marital…Read More

What Do They Mean When They Say That New Jersey Is An Equitable Distribution State And Not A Community Property State?
  • By: Eric Hannum, Esq.
  • Published: December 18, 2015

When it comes to dividing a divorcing couple’s property, there are two ways the court can handle this process: through equitable distribution or through community property rules. Equitable Distribution Is Not Equal Distribution Most states, including New Jersey, are equitable distribution states. That means that when couples in these states divorce, their property is not divided 50/50. Instead, it is divided according to a list of factors that are used to determine each partner’s financial and personal needs following the divorce. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following: The length of the couple’s marriage; Whether one partner opted out of the workforce to care for the couple’s children; Each partner’s income; Each partner’s financial obligations following the divorce; The tax implications each partner will face after the divorce; The couple’s child custody and support arrangements; Each partner’s…Read More

How Does an Annulment Work in New Jersey when Compared to a Divorce?
  • By: Eric Hannum, Esq.
  • Published: December 16, 2015

When a married couple gets divorced, their marriage is dismantled. This means that the court, recognizing the couple’s legal union and their rights, works to break down the couple’s property according to equitable distribution rules and create a settlement that provides both partners with a fair share of their marital property. In contrast, an annulment is issued when the court recognizes that a couple never had a legal marriage to begin with. A divorce legally ends a marriage; an annulment invalidates it. Not every couple can get an annulment. To qualify for an annulment in New Jersey, you must be able to prove that your marriage is invalid according to New Jersey’s matrimonial laws. If you are unsure about the validity of your marriage, speak with an experienced divorce attorney. What Makes A Marriage Invalid? If one partner is already…Read More

Can I be Legally Separated in New Jersey?
  • By: Eric Hannum, Esq.
  • Published: December 14, 2015

Yes. For some couples, legal separation is the first step in the divorce process. For others, it is a permanent solution for a marriage that can not be fixed. Couples choose legal separation for a variety of reasons. For some, it is a way to “freeze” their assets before starting the divorce process. This can make it easier to take note of which assets are marital assets and which are not, expediting the property division portion of their divorce. For others, it is a way to exit a toxic relationship without divorcing, which is a sin in many religions. In other cases yet, a couple might not be absolutely certain that they want to divorce and instead decide to separate until they can determine if they want to remain in the marriage. All of these reasons are valid and all…Read More

What Is The Early Settlement Panel In New Jersey?
  • By: Eric Hannum, Esq.
  • Published: December 11, 2015

For divorcing couples in New Jersey, the Early Settlement Panel (ESP) is a form of alternative dispute resolution. It gives couples the opportunity to determine the financial terms of their divorce settlements without having to go through the lengthy, expensive process of litigation. Many couples find divorcing through alternative dispute resolution to be an empowering experience. Unlike litigation, where the partners have little to no control over their divorce’s proceeding, alternative dispute resolution methods put the divorcing couple in control. To learn more about the early settlement panel and determine if it could be right for you, discuss it with your divorce attorney. The Early Settlement Process When a couple goes before the early settlement panel for a hearing, each party presents his or her case to the panel. The panel is made up of a team of family attorneys…Read More

Immediately After I Was Divorced I Found Out That My Spouse Hid Assets. Is there Something I Can Do In New Jersey?
  • By: Eric Hannum, Esq.
  • Published: December 7, 2015

When a New Jersey couple divorces, the court divides their assets through a process known as equitable distribution. With equitable distribution, each partner receives a share of the couple’s marital property that meets his or her financial and personal needs following the divorce. This can mean that the partners will not necessarily walk away with an equal amount of assets. For property division through equitable distribution to work, the court must know the extent of the couple’s marital property. This means that all assets, such as cars, real estate, bank accounts, life insurance policies, and stocks must be reported to the court to divide. The court relies on both partners’ honesty for this – if one or both parties attempt to conceal assets, the court can not fairly divide them among the couple. There are a lot of ways an…Read More

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