by Jonathan W. Wolfe

Published in Family Advocate, Vol. 38, No. 2, (Fall 2015) p. 14-20. © 2015 by the American Bar Association.

Matrimonial attorneys who handle high-asset cases are confronted with a variety of complex legal and factual questions when either their client or the client’s spouse is a beneficiary of a trust. When considering family trust funds and divorce answer these questions:

By: Richard F. Iglar

You have come to a decision which you may have been dreading, or which may make you feel relieved. You are taking the first step toward a decision which will allow you to take control of the direction of your future life. You are going to start interviewing top New Jersey divorce attorneys (and hopefully you have made the wise decision to hire a seasoned, wise and practical AAML attorney to guide you through the difficult divorce process). What is your matrimonial attorney going to need from you do his or her job effectively? What can you do to provide your attorney with the background and tools he or she will need to represent you in the effort to obtain the best possible outcome for you? What can you do to convey that information to your attorney in a practical and efficient way and put you ahead of the curve?

Your attorney is going to explain to you the three major issues before you in the divorce case: 1) custody and parenting time; 2) equitable distribution of the marital assets; and 3) the financial support issues of alimony and child support.

By: Thomas J. DeCataldo Jr., Esq. and Jeb-Michael Harmon, Esq.

According to a recent article put out by the American Association for Retired Persons (hereafter “AARP”), if late-life divorce were a disease, it would be an epidemic. The trend has become so common in matrimonial practice it has derived its own nickname, known as “gray divorce.” While the overall divorce rate declined nationwide from its zenith of 5.3 divorced per 1,000 people in 1981 to 3.2 divorced per 1,000 today, incidents of gray divorce doubled over the last 20 years making this a trend worthy of attention for those practicing family law.

Divorcing clients over the age of 50 face a unique and challenging process, often made complicated by concerns regarding healthcare costs, retirement, social security benefits, property division and calculating alimony. It is important that NJ matrimonial attorneys have a strong working knowledge of Social Security Benefits, in order to help navigate conflicts over support related issues. It is also essential that critical deadlines not be overlooked, otherwise divorcing litigants may irretrievably (and avoidably) lose entitlements to benefits that would have otherwise been available.

Skoloff-Bisnow-David-Wolfe
When it comes to calculating property taxes on hotels, few taxing jurisdictions fairly distinguish the taxable value of the real estate from FF&E and good will. Consequently, hotels can be paying significantly more in hotel property tax than what is fair. Appearing on a panel at the BISNOW Hospitality Investment, Development & Management Summit in New York City in early January 2020, David Wolfe, managing partner of the Property Tax division of Skoloff & Wolfe, joined a panel to discuss how property tax appeal savings can help New York City hotel operators stay competitive in the city’s hyper-competitive hospitality market.

Why are hotel property tax valuations so much more difficult to calculate?

“There’s a variability with hotels that is unlike other property classes. With hotels, your rates can change dramatically within a year, as can cap rates. So it continuously requires assessors and local jurisdictions to be 100% up to date in market activity. Unlike an office building where you’re leasing space and the landlord is collecting a rental stream, the tenants’ income is not part of how you value the business. For a hotel, however, you have guests staying there spending on the hotel as well as the real estate, which combined is the business income of the property. But the taxing authorities only have the right to tax you on the real estate, so you have to extrapolate the property from the experience of staying at the hotel. And that makes it a much more difficult valuation assignment. For example, if I’m paying $400 a night, which portion of that is actually for the real estate? Which portion is the personal property? Which portion is the goodwill? Which portion is the business value?

Jonathan W. Wolfe, co-managing partner of Skoloff & Wolfe, P.C. and chair of the firm’s matrimonial and litigation departments, was sworn in as chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Family Law Section. The ABA Section of Family Law has thousands of lawyer, associate and law student members worldwide who are dedicated to serving the field of family law. Mr. Wolfe is only the second attorney from NJ to serve as chair of the Family Law section.

Prior to becoming chair in August 2019, Mr. Wolfe had served as a member of the American Bar Association’s Executive Committee, Board of Governors and House of Delegates, and is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He has held numerous other leadership positions in the American Bar Association and has become a leader as a NJ Divorce Attorney. In addition, he served on the board of trustees of the New Jersey State Bar Association, the executive committee of its Family Law Section, chair of its Young Lawyers Division and received its 2008 Professional Achievement Award.

Mr. Wolfe is listed as one of the “Leading Lawyers in America” by Best Lawyers, one of the nation’s “500 Leading Lawyers” by Lawdragon, and a “Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyers for nine consecutive years. He was named “Lawyer of the Year” for Family Law in New Jersey (Newark area) by Best Lawyers in 2019 and has become a highly sought-after NJ Divorce Attorney.

by Jonathan W. Wolfe and Christopher McGann

This article was previously published in New Jersey State Bar Association New Jersey Family Lawyer.

Mrs. Smith has retained representation in her divorce from her husband. She is a 60-year-old retired teacher who is in good health. Her husband is 58 and is also in good health. At the initial consultation, Mrs. Smith explains that her pension is her most valuable asset. She also explains that five years ago she and her husband elected a survivorship interest on her pension naming her husband as the beneficiary. The effect of this election is that pension payments received by Mrs. Smith are reduced; however, in the event of her death, payments would continue to be made to her husband until his death. These payments to her husband will be made regardless of whether the parties are married at the time of Mrs. Smith’s death. Mrs. Smith would like to understand how her pension, and specifically Mr. Smith’s survivorship interest, will be treated in the divorce.

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