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Randolph NJ Family Law Blog

Millennials face an entirely new set of family legal issues

Young people today have a vastly different experience of life than their parents or grandparents enjoyed. Advancements in technology have forever altered the way that we live, work and interact with one another. When young people in New Jersey prepare to marry, they have a unique set of family legal issues that need to be addressed. To that end, the prenuptial agreements that they create are very different from those used in decades past.

Prenups of old were primarily focused on matters of inheritance. They were drafted to protect the spouse who expected to inherit property, often at the insistence of the generation who currently held the property in question. Overwhelmingly, they were written to favor the moneyed spouse.

Representatives ask for improved focus on safety of children

Living with an abusive partner is among the most challenging experiences that many New Jersey residents will ever face. For those who have children, the situation is even more stressful. Many parents stay with an abusive partner out of fear of what might happen to their kids if they left. According to some statistics, that fear for the safety of children is well-founded.

According to statistics from the Center for Judicial Excellence, nearly 600 children have been killed by a parent over the past decade while a child custody case was underway. It is believed that many of those deaths might have been prevented if the courts had allowed greater protections. Even more distressing is the fact that many domestic violence victims beg the courts to protect their children, only to have those pleas fall onto deaf ears.

Deciding on a pet's care during a divorce: 3 options

Your pet is like a child to you, and you want to make sure you get to see him or her. Unfortunately, your spouse also wants to have custody of your pet, and he plans to move away. How can you resolve this issue in a way that is fair to both of you and your pet?

It can be hard to do so during a divorce, and it might mean that one or both of you has to give up the pet. Keeping your pet's interests in mind is important, because if it comes down to a decision from the court, your pet will be treated as an asset, not like a child with a custody arrangement.

Budgeting for moving expenses at the end of a marriage

Planning to end a New Jersey marriage involves a substantial number of decisions, many of which must be made in a very short period of time. The outcome of those decisions will impact the lives of both spouses for many years to come, for better or for worse. Proper planning is critical to a favorable outcome, especially when it comes to relocating and setting up one's new home. Budgeting for a move is an important consideration at the end of a marriage.

The most obvious decision that must be made is whether to rent or purchase a new home. Many spouses choose to rent for a year or so after their divorce, and are wary of adding house hunting to the already overwhelming list of things to address during their divorce. Finding a rental property that is in a good location and is in line with the post-divorce budget is the first step. It is important to budget for utilities, security deposits, renter's insurance and any change in commuting costs from the new location.

Don't let property division derail retirement planning

Planning for retirement is a top priority for many New Jersey residents. Setting aside money to ensure a comfortable and secure retirement is important, and is a goal that many people work toward for the majority of their adult lives. Losing a significant portion of that investment during the property division process can be devastating. The following tips can help spouses make decisions that are in line with their retirement goals.

The first step is changing the way that one thinks about retirement planning. As a married couple, both spouses approach retirement in the belief that they will be there to support each other during their golden years. Once a divorce takes place, however, each individual will have his or her own unique set of needs in regard to divorce. That alteration requires an entirely new approach to retirement planning, which should begin as early in the divorce process as possible.

One state has legislated collaborative divorce process

Many New Jersey readers are aware of collaboration and the benefits of a kinder, less contentious means of ending a marriage. Even so, collaborative divorce remains an approach that lies outside of the norm, which is shaped by parties who face off against one another and who often end up turning to the courts to determine the terms of their divorce. One state has taken a very strong approach to encouraging couples to settle their divorce differences through collaboration by enacting a law that requires at least an attempt at the collaborative process.

Known as the Collaborative Law Process Act, the law has only been in effect for a few weeks. It requires spouses to try to work through the details of their divorce on their own, outside of court. It should be noted that "on their own" does not mean absent legal counsel. In the vast majority of collaborative divorces, both parties retain their own attorneys who advise clients on their best interests and help guide the process to resolution. The difference is that the shared approach of everyone involved is to reach an agreement outside of court, and without gearing up for battle.

Why families sometimes insist on prenuptial agreements

The decision to enter into a premarital contract is one that should be made by two fully informed individuals, with a shared desire to outline the terms of a potential divorce. However, there are cases in which New Jersey families require prenuptial agreements as part of an estate planning approach. While that may seem heavy handed to some, the reasoning behind such a move is solid.

Inherited wealth is a gift that is handed down from one generation to the next. Very often, those assets were accumulated through a great deal of hard work, or by taking family wealth and expanding it through savvy investment or business choices. Families want to ensure that the fruits of those labors remain within the family, and are not lost due to the property division portion of a divorce. That is why a prenup is required for many family members who are expected to receive an inheritance.

Whose fault is it? What you should know about premises liability

Imagine strolling into your favorite clothing store to do some light shopping. As you walk down the main aisle, you stumble and fall and hit your head on a display case on the way down. You then spend the next 24 hours under observation in the hospital due to the concussion you suffered.

Now you are wondering how much you will have to pay in medical expenses and how you will recover lost wages due to missed work time. It's important for you to know that you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

A strong relationship with children can protect custody rights

Few New Jersey parents spend a great deal of time thinking about their custody rights until they are faced with a divorce. At that point, there is little that can be done to strengthen their child custody position. In order to achieve a favorable outcome, it is necessary to take a proactive approach, even before there is any hint of marital instability. Fortunately, being proactive involves the same steps that one uses in promoting a strong relationship with children even when there is not a risk of divorce.

One of the most important things that parents can do to avoid a negative custody outcome is to remain closely connected with their children. It is easy to fall into a pattern where one parent takes on the bulk of childcare duties while the other works outside the home. While this may be a practical and effective arrangement, it often results in one parent having a much stronger bond with the kids than the other. That can pose a problem if the family eventually splits and a decision must be made regarding custody.

Child custody woes for Richard Williams, father of Venus and Sere

Virtually anyone in New Jersey who follows tennis knows the names of superstar sisters Venus and Serena Williams. The pair of powerhouse players have been credited with changing the face of the game, and their father, Richard Williams, is credited for pushing his daughters to push themselves. Richard Williams is now facing his own struggles as he moves through a child custody dispute with his soon-to-be-ex, Lakeisha Williams.

The couple married in 2010, and had a child together in 2012. In their divorce paperwork, Richard Williams has made a number of assertions about his wife, including that she has a problem with alcohol addiction and is not a safe or stable influence in their child's life. He also claims that she has moved in with someone who is facing felony criminal charges and could pose a danger to the child. Williams is asking for the right to keep the child at home with him, so that the child could continue to attend preschool and enjoy a degree of stability.