I often encounter parents who enter our office with misconceptions about how child support is determined. I find this fear stems from two places: 1) A misunderstanding of how child support is calculated; and 2) references in pop culture. (One song by Kanye West, in particular.)
Being on the brink of divorce can be an intimidating and scary experience. If you find yourself seeking to initiate the divorce process, or you’ve suddenly been served with a complaint for divorce by your spouse, what’s next? The first step is to find an attorney. Many people have little to no familiarity with the court system and can easily be overwhelmed by the process. This is where having an experienced attorney like those at Skoloff & Wolfe, P.C. can benefit you. Once you have retained an attorney, what is the process like? What do you need to do? How long is this going to take? While a divorce has the possibility of being a long, arduous process, especially if a trial is needed, there are various steps throughout the process that provide the parties ample opportunities to settle and resolve most of, if not all of their issues. Below is a step by step outline of the procedure of obtaining a divorce so that you can be better prepared during your case.
The First Step of Divorce: Filing a Complaint
If you are the party seeking a divorce, one of the first landmarks during your case will be the filing of a complaint. If you are filing the complaint in your case, you will be referred to as the plaintiff going forward. A complaint is a document filed with the court that initiates your divorce case. It lays out the following:
Thomas DeCataldo, a partner in Skoloff & Wolfe’s matrimonial department, was recently designated to represent the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Family Law Executive Committee as a co-author to an amicus submission filed with the Supreme Court of New Jersey in the published decision of S.C. v. New Jersey Department of Children and Families.
The NJSBA asked the Supreme Court of New Jersey to require that DCF eliminate the finding of ‘not established,’ when investigating allegations of child abuse, arguing that the standard, which only requires ‘some evidence of abuse and neglect,’ but falls short of requiring further involvement of the Division, is too amorphous and leads to arbitrary results because there is no objective or measurable standard to differentiate between findings of ‘not established’ and ‘unfounded.’ The NJSBA also expressed concern that a ‘not established’ finding could tarnish a person’s reputation, or have a prejudicial impact on parties to child custody disputes.
The Court agreed that the standard for making findings of ‘not established’ is vague, amorphous and incapable of any objective calibration, and that it has led to shortcomings in fairness for parents and guardians involved in investigations. Although the Court declined to eliminate the classification entirely for procedural reasons, it instructed the Division to clarify the standard and ensure future findings are backed by credible evidence. A copy of the Court’s May 27, 2020 opinion is available here.
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has plunged our world into a once in a lifetime crisis–we have not seen anything like this in the United States since the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. Many aspects of our society have ground to a virtual halt, and our economy has been decimated. Restaurants, hotels, airlines, manufacturers, small businesses and large businesses alike, are shuttered and at risk of going out of business. Fear of the loss of employment and income is pervasive. How will this pandemic impact one particular family law issue, the issue of the payment of alimony? The divorced individual paying alimony asks, “How can I possibly be expected to pay now?”
Understanding Alimony in NJ & COVID-19
By: Thomas DeCataldo
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has caused the tragic loss of life and spurred international panic. Adding insult to injury, the economic impact of this health crisis has thus far been devastating, with stock markets collapsing and many struggling to keep businesses afloat while being unable to work or attempting to do so remotely. As a result of the tumult caused by this virus, divorcing couples and separated parents find themselves attempting to cope with several accelerants to an already stressful situation.
Against this backdrop, in recent weeks many parents questioned the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on custody and parenting time arrangements, whether entered formally as Court Orders or informally by agreement of the parties. The pandemic presents many hotbed areas for disagreement among separated or separating parents, particularly for those in high-conflict situations.