father and childIn an unpublished New Jersey appellate decision, a father appealed from an order allowing a mother to relocate with their two kids to Texas. The divorced couple had two daughters, who were nine and 13 when the mother decided to relocate. The parties had joint legal custody of the kids, with the mother as the parent of primary residence under the final divorce judgment. The father was the parent of alternate residence. The consent order in the divorce judgment had also provided for the father’s parenting time, even if the mother relocated.

In 2014, the mother asked for the court’s permission to relocate with the kids to Texas. The court asked for a diagnostic evaluation. The doctor reported the mother had a good-faith reason for the move, since her new husband and his kids lived in the other state, and his business was there. The mother had proposed enough contact with the father so that they could keep up that relationship and the move didn’t harm the children’s best interests, since they’d get the same opportunities if they were in Texas. Other than leaving their father, the other factor weighing against the move was their large extended family on both sides in New Jersey, but they had already been incorporated into the new husband’s extended family. The doctor recommended the mother be allowed to move.

The father retained a different attorney and another doctor, who didn’t consider the same criteria as the court-appointed doctor under Baures. He used a best interests analysis and gave the opinion it was in the kids’ best interests to stay in New Jersey. The first doctor agreed that under the best interests standard, it was in the kids’ best interests to stay, but there weren’t enough contraindications to stop the plaintiff from relocating under the Baures criteria. The reports were both admitted into evidence, but neither was specifically mentioned by the court when it allowed the relocation.

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kid on motorcycleIn a recent New Jersey appellate decision, the defendant appealed after a lower court awarded legal custody to her child’s father and modified parenting time and child support. The plaintiff and defendant had never gotten married, but they were involved romantically and had a child in 2009. They ended their relationship in 2010.

In 2011, a lower court granted the father visitation on every other weekend and one weekday night a week. He was responsible for picking up the child and dropping the child off. He had to pay child support based on an earlier order in the amount of $800 each month, although the amount was decided without consideration of the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. Custody issues weren’t addressed.

The defendant lived in New Jersey at the time of the order and in 2015 relocated to live with her boyfriend. She enrolled the child in school but didn’t put the father on the emergency contact list. The father moved to modify the order and asked for joint legal custody and reduced child support. He also sought to claim the child on his tax returns and modify parenting time.

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father and daughterIn a recent New Jersey appellate case, a father appealed an order that suspended a therapeutic reunification process with his daughters that was being conducted through Skype. The order awarded the defendant’s former wife attorneys’ fees, penalized the defendant with a $10,000 penalty, and required the defendant to give information about his convictions for financial fraud.

The case arose after the parties married in 1999. The defendant was English, and the plaintiff was Canadian. They lived in England until the plaintiff relocated to the United States with their two daughters, who were 17 and 15 at the time of the appellate court’s opinion. The defendant stayed behind in England and was put in jail for 2 1/2 years for financial fraud.

While in prison, the defendant threatened the plaintiff over the telephone. As a result, the court entered a final restraining order under the Domestic Violence Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17-to-35. Under the order, the defendant wasn’t permitted to contact the plaintiff or their kids. An amended order was later issued, allowing the defendant to have contact with his kids in letters. Reunification visitation therapy was supposed to start. The result was Skype sessions. The defendant started treatment for psychiatric issues, and a reunification therapist was appointed. The defendant’s mother came to New Jersey to visit the kids once.

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teenagerN.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.67 automatically terminates support when a child reaches age 19 and became effective on February 1, 2017. However, couples may still negotiate settlement agreements that will be incorporated by their divorce judgment, in which they decide to treat emancipation of their children differently.

In a recent unpublished decision, a mother appealed from an order emancipating her 19-year-old son and terminating the father’s child support duties. The couple had married in 1986 and after having three children, divorced in 2006.

Their divorce judgment incorporated a settlement agreement that included a provision on emancipation, stating that it would occur when the children completed high school or upon reaching 18 years of age if a child didn’t go to college. Emancipation wouldn’t occur until after the child finished four years of college if the child went to college, as long as the child pursued it with reasonable diligence.

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daddy-reading-behind-1432160-e1491948926277In a recent New Jersey appeal, a father asked the court to review a trial court order that denied his motion to reduce his child support payments, denied him vacation parenting time, and ordered him and his son to participate in reunification therapy as a prerequisite to parenting time.

The couple separated after a nine-year relationship during which they had a child. The plaintiff/mother was a store manager. The defendant/father was a French citizen who’d lived in the country since age 25, and who worked as an IT manager. The defendant and plaintiff visited the defendant’s parents in France each year.

The couple’s relationship began to have problems in 2011, and the defendant claimed it was because the plaintiff began seeing a coworker romantically. He traveled to French Polynesia in 2012, and the plaintiff didn’t go. They separated the next year, and entered into a consent order that granted joint legal custody to both of them with primary residential custody to the plaintiff and parenting time to the defendant. The order stated that if the father wanted to travel internationally with their child, he’d need to give the mother 20 days notice. The court also set a weekly child support obligation that the father would have to pay.

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familyIn the unpublished opinion of Slawinski v. Nicholas, a New Jersey appellate court considered a motion to change a consent order that granted a grandparent visitation. The lower court held that the mother could terminate the consent order without agreement from the grandmother, since the grandmother hadn’t proved that visitation was necessary to avoid hurting the child.

The mother had sole residential and legal custody of her daughter Lilly. Grandparent visitation with the child’s paternal grandmother was ordered in 2015 when the child was six years old. It happened on the first weekend of every month, starting in 2015 and ending the following year. The visitation could happen in New Jersey or in the Poconos. The paternal grandmother also had a week of vacation with her granddaughter in July 2015.

The defendant claimed she consented, thinking that her daughter would like to visit with the grandmother and that it would be positive. She claimed that after four visits, she realized that the daughter came back from visits very upset and seemed traumatized. She also claimed that the daughter asked not to go again and that she’d told her pediatrician she didn’t want to see her grandmother.

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childrenIn the unpublished opinion of Maynard v. Michna, the Superior Court of New Jersey considered child support obligations for parents supporting children who were born during multiple relationships. The defendant father appealed, and the plaintiff mother cross-appealed.

The parents met in California while working for the same company. The defendant lived in Georgia at the time, while the mother lived in California. Both were divorced with a special needs child. The mother and her older child moved to the defendant’s Georgia house. The mother decided New Jersey schools were better for her son’s special needs, and she relocated. The couple continued long distance dating, and they had a child together. He was born in 2011 in New Jersey. Four months later, they concluded their relationship.

The defendant paid child support to the child voluntarily. The plaintiff sued for sole custody, child support, and contribution toward their son’s financial expenses. The court held an evidentiary hearing on these issues. At the hearing, the parents agreed that they would share joint legal custody and that the child would live with the plaintiff. The defendant waived his parenting time. The parents established a process whereby the defendant would pay for activity expenses greater than $150 per event that weren’t payable through child support. They also agreed to alternate the tax dependency exemption.

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ringsYou may be bound to your Bergen County ex long after your divorce. Therefore, it is critical to pursue a workable result in connection with alimony and child support at the time of your divorce.

In the unpublished opinion of Corrello v. Corrello, a New Jersey court considered a post-judgment matrimonial case. The defendant challenged a family court order that recalculated his alimony and child support obligations and contested other provisions. The plaintiff also challenged the order at hand and earlier orders.

The couple had married in 1992 and had four children. The wife sued for divorce, and a 15-day trial was held in 2004, after which their divorce was entered. While married, the wife had worked as a financial analyst with a salary of about $33,000 per year. She stopped working when she had their first child, but she got a part-time job earning $4,330 per year in 2002, when she filed for divorce. At trial, the judge determined she was underemployed and could work for $50,000 per year. The defendant was a police officer and earned about $81,000 at the time of the couple’s divorce.

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houseIn a recent unpublished New Jersey appellate case, a father appealed an order adjusting his child support obligations. The couple had married in 1985 and had three kids. They divorced in 1999. Their divorce judgment required the father to pay $450 on a biweekly basis and to keep his kids as beneficiaries on his health insurance.

The father bought a home in New Jersey to give his kids a stable environment. In 2005, the father and mother executed a rental agreement that provided the father would give the mother rent-free occupancy of a three-bedroom home for herself and the kids instead of child support. The defendant was required to make mortgage payments, but the mother had to pay for utilities and maintenance. The agreement started in 2005 and ended in 2013.

In 2000, the father moved out of state to work as a financial consultant. His annual gross income was about $231,000, while the mother’s last full-time job was in 2011, and she earned about $52,000 each year. In 2012, she went to nursing school. Both children were over the age of 18 for the time period that was relevant to the case. One daughter went to school in Oregon, and her father paid her tuition. The other daughter went to school in New Jersey but came back to the mother’s home for holidays, weekends, and half of the summer. The son received Social Security Supplemental Income because he had severe nonverbal infantile autism and needed substantial daily care and supervision due to inabilities in the realms of speaking, dressing, bathing, shaving, wiping, and brushing his teeth.

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snowy houseIn a recent unpublished New Jersey appellate case, a defendant appealed an order arising out of a divorce trial that awarded his wife alimony, child support, and equitable distribution. He argued that the court had made a mistake in how it calculated his imputed income, and this had affected the alimony award. He also argued that it was improper for the court to order him to pay back taxes on an investment property and that two of the lower court judges were biased.

The couple had married in 1989 and had a son and daughter together. The wife sued for divorce in 2011. During the trial, the plaintiff presented testimony from her expert, a certified public accountant who’d worked on her taxes, and a forensic accountant. The first had tried to determine her income but stated that he was lacking necessary information. The defendant claimed he’d provided information to his accountant, but the accountant denied getting those documents.

The expert reviewed the defendant’s income taxes and determined much had not been reported to the IRS. He also used data from a Risk Management Associates (RMA) database, which included information collected by banks on many different industries. The expert used the RMA’s average gross profit margin for electronics retail stores that have $1 million in sales, which was 44.5% , in order to adjust the sales and net income from the husband’s business.

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