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By: Jonathan W. Wolfe

Previously published in American Journal of Family Law, Spring 2010, Volume 24.

Attorneys representing parties in divorce frequently are faced with the difficult challenge of discovering and proving the existence of hidden income or assets. Although most prevalent in the context of private business owners, spouses from all career paths are capable of engaging in divorce planning designed to minimize their income and avoid parting with their assets in divorce.

By: Jonathan W. Wolfe

This article was previously published in New Jersey Law Journal, Vol. 212 – No 12.

There are many legitimate reasons for a business to retain earnings. However, for a spouse in a divorce — or contemplating divorce — leaving money in the business may be viewed as a tool to shield income to avoid support. For shareholders of an S corporation, even though earnings have not been distributed, they will appear as “phantom income” on the owner’s personal tax returns. Given how frequently these issues arise in our practice, there is surprisingly little New Jersey precedent addressing the treatment of retained earnings in the context of divorce.

NJ Property Tax Appeal AttorneyJersey City is following the lead of other NJ municipalities and has authorized reverse/increase cases against commercial property owners. What does that mean?

Even if you haven’t filed a property tax appeal, the City may initiate an appeal to increase your assessment and your real estate taxes.

These filings represent a significant change in the commercial property landscape for Jersey City and will dramatically change how the market underwrites taxes and values going forward.

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.

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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