Thomas DeCataldo - Best Lawyers 2022
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Rated By Super Lawyers Rising Stars

“Being a good lawyer means establishing reasonable expectations and presenting your client’s goals in compelling fashion.”

Thomas DeCataldo has dedicated his practice exclusively to the area of family law since his graduation from law school. Tom’s career in family law began when, out of law school, he served as law clerk to the Honorable Thomas M. McCormack J.S.C., Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, in Essex County. Tom handles matters across the state of New Jersey, appearing regularly in counties such as Essex, Union, Morris, Hudson, Bergen, Somerset, Hunterdon, Warren, Sussex, Middlesex, and Monmouth. Tom’s cases often include business and financial executives, professional athletes, business owners, attorneys, and other professionals, as well as the spouses of these individuals. Tom’s clients rely upon him to provide thoughtful advice on matters impacting their best interests and the interests of their families.

Tom has successfully represented clients at trial, as well as in motions and plenary hearings. Tom has litigated high-profile and complex matters in the trial court, Appellate Division, and Supreme Court of New Jersey. He also routinely pursues alternatives to litigation, appearing regularly in mediation and arbitration. Tom has successfully represented individuals in matters involving child custody and support, spousal support, equitable distribution, appellate practice, palimony, domestic violence, business valuations, and the negotiation and drafting of settlement agreements, among many other issues. Tom is also experienced in drafting and negotiating prenuptial agreements, as well as representing clients with issues involving the enforceability of these agreements. In addition to Tom’s representation of clients, he also regularly acts as a mediator to assist family law litigants in resolving disputes outside of the Court system.

As a thought leader in the family law field, Tom is frequently called upon to lecture on a variety of family law topics to fellow colleagues, judges, and expert witnesses such as forensic accountants and custody evaluators. Tom typically lectures several times per year for organizations such as the New Jersey State Bar Association, the Justice Virginia A. Long Inn of Court, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, the Barry Croland Inn of Court, and the Essex County Bar Association. He has also lectured to numerous in-house legal departments of large businesses headquartered in New Jersey to train their staff attorneys in family law.

Tom is a graduate of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy’s Family Law Trial Advocacy Program, an intensive program sponsored by the American Bar Association. He is also an associate editor of the New Jersey Family Lawyer, a professional publication of the New Jersey State Bar Association. Tom has also been included as a top family attorney in Essex County by Morris/Essex Health & Life magazine.

Professional & Bar Association Memberships

  • Tom currently serves as President of the Barry Croland Inn of Court, an organization that hosts regular educational programming for family court judges and matrimonial attorneys.  The Inn draws attorneys and judges from most northern New Jersey counties, including Sussex, Bergen, Morris, Passaic, Essex, and Union.
  • Tom currently serves as co-chair of the Essex County Bar Association’s Family Law Executive Committee.  Tom has been a leader to this committee for the past several years, and helps plan educational programming, in addition to regularly serving as a liaison between the judiciary and the matrimonial bar.
  • In 2019, Tom participated in the Harvard Law School Negotiation Seminar for Family Law Lawyers designed for experts in family law.
  • Tom has been chosen to serve as a member of the Family Law Executive Committee of the New Jersey State Bar Association since 2015.  Along with being a general member of the Family Law Executive Committee, Tom also serves on the Amicus Committee, which reviews and briefs select legal issues before the Supreme Court of New Jersey on behalf of the New Jersey State Bar Association. He has also sat on the Legislative Committee, which reviews possible changes to New Jersey law, and makes recommendations to the Family Law Section as to the position the New Jersey State Bar should assert with regard to any proposed change in the law.
  • Tom serves as Trustee to the Executive Boards of both the Essex and Union County Bar Associations. Tom also serves as an Early Settlement Panelist in Essex and Union Counties.
  • Tom is a former board member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts New Jersey chapter. The AFCC is an international custody and parenting time organization comprised of attorneys, judges and custody experts.  Tom continues to co-author the New Jersey Chapter’s newsletter.
  • Tom is a former board member of Volunteer Lawyer’s for Justice Generation Now Committee.
  • Tom is a past Chair of the Essex County Bar Association’s Young Lawyer’s Section and the 2019 recipient of the Essex County Bar Association’s Young Lawyer of the Year Award.
  • Tom is a past chair of the Family Law Executive Committee’s Young Lawyers’ Subcommittee of the New Jersey State Bar Association.

Featured Publications

Recent Speaking Engagements

  • “The Most Notable Decisions in 2018,” Justice Virgina A. Long Inn of Court, February 2019
  • Overview of the Divorce Process in New Jersey, Prudential Insurance Company in conjunction with Volunteer Lawyers for Justice, February 2019
  • “Complex Financial Issues in Family Law Disputes,” Essex County Bar Association, November 2018
  • “Dissipation 101,” New Jersey State Bar Association’s Hot Tips in Family Law, November 2018
  • “Parental Decision-Making with High Conflict Families,” New Jersey Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, September 2018
  • “Family Law Jeopardy,” Barry Croland Inn of Court, June 2018
  • “Shades of Grey: Seniors and Divorce,” New Jersey State Bar Association’s Family Law Symposium, January 2018
  • “The Legal Standard Governing Parental Conflict Over a Child’s School Enrollment,” New Jersey State Bar Association’s Hot Tips in Family Law, November 2017
  • “Overview of Family Law Practice in New Jersey,” Essex County Bar Association, November 2017
  • “Child Support in New Jersey, From Start to Emancipation,” Essex County Bar Association, November 2016
  • “Silver v. Silver: A Decision that Must be Referenced in Every Domestic Violence Trial Under New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act” New Jersey State Bar Association’s Hot Tips in Family Law, November 2016