Post judgment support modification by former husband who, after leaving Goldman Sachs began managing the funds in the parties’ investment account on a full-time basis and, by the time the parties separated in 2000, their portfolio had grown from $800,000 to over $8 million. After separation defendant’s investments faltered and, by 2002, their account balance had fallen to $304. In the meantime the former wife’s income increased substantially. The Appellate Division reversed the trial court’s determination failing to find substantial financial changed circumstances by failing to take the former wife’s income into consideration. Heard v. Dunbar, New Jersey App. Div., January 18, 2013
The Appellate Division affirmed the trial court’s power and discretion to emancipate a child and terminate support payments, the failure to make appropriate findings of fact can render such a decision unenforceable. Ingling v. Dettore, New Jersey App. Div., January 17, 2013
In contested custody cases the trial court is vested with the discretion to conduct an in-chambers interview with the children pursuant to New Jersey Rule 5:8-6. Atherholt v. Hunter, New Jersey App. Div., January 17, 2013
Former husband’s substantial decline in income and coupled with former wife’s ability to earn warranted reversal and remand to the trial court for a plenary hearing. Green v. Greenberg, New Jersey App. Div., January 9, 2013
This case represents a good example that pursuant to Rule 5:3-3(i) the court may allocate expert fees between the parties in divorce matters wherein the parties’ ability to pay, their good faith and the fees incurred are factors to be considered. Connaughton v. Connaughton, New Jersey App. Div., December 27, 2012
The New Jersey’s Supreme Court ordered the release of a Hunterdon County man who had been jailed for more than eight weeks for falling behind in his alimony and child support payments and for failing to pay arrears. In a 5-2 vote the high court granted the petitioner’s application for a stay pending the disposition of his appeal to the Appellate Division. While family court judges are generally loathe to incarcerate the supporting spouse for non-payment, as this can in fact cause more financial harm in the form of lost income or even loss of employment itself, the Hunterdon man was ordered to be jailed after he had fallen approximately $60,000 behind in his support payments.
It is important to recognize that falling behind on support payments is a violation of a court obligation. Support enforcement actions can lead to serious consequences including wage garnishment, loss of professional and driver’s licenses and incarceration.
Based on the record established below, the Appellate Division determined that in view of major changes affecting the former husband’s income following the entry of the divorce judgment he was entitled to a hearing as to whether his alimony should be reduced because of a his new employment after a 17 month job search and whether the former wife should contribute to her own support. Austin v. Austin, New Jersey App. Div., December 6, 2012
On November 7, 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take its first serious look at the issue of gay marriage, granting review of California’s ban on same-sex marriage and of a federal law that defines marriage as only the legal union of a man and a woman. The cases will be argued in March 2013 with a decision expected by late June 2013. At the very least, the court will look at this question: When states choose to permit the marriages of same-sex couples, can the federal government refuse to recognize their validity? But by also taking up the California case, the court could get to the more fundamental question of whether the states must permit marriages by gay people in the first place. The California case involves a challenge to Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment approved by 52% of voters in 2008. It banned same-sex marriages in the state and went into effect after 18,000 couples were legally married earlier that year.
A federal judge declared the ban unconstitutional, and a federal appeals court upheld that ruling, though on narrower grounds that apply only to California. Now that the Supreme Court is wading into the battle, the justices could decide the more basic issue of whether any state can ban same-sex marriage under the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection of the law. Or they could limit their ruling to apply only to the ban in California. 9 states and the District of Columbia have moved to permit same-sex marriage or soon will — Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Washington.
The Supreme Court also agreed Friday to hear a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA, passed by overwhelming margins in both houses of Congress in 1996 and signed by President Clinton. A provision of the law specifies that, for federal purposes, “the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.” Because of DOMA, gay couples who wed in the nine states where same-sex marriage is permitted are considered legally married only under state law. The federal government is barred from recognizing their marriages. As a result, they are denied over 1,000 federal benefits that are available to traditional couples.
The divorce agreement provided parenting time with the child spending 6 days with the father and 8 days with the mother. To facilitate the arrangement, the agreement contained broad language that the parties would live “within close proximity” to each other but did not specify a mileage radius. The father retained the marital home in Piscataway (Middlesex County). The mother moved to Flanders (Morris County), about 30 miles away. The Appellate Division upheld the trial court’s determination that in the absence of the agreement specifying geographic distance, the mother’s decision to move to Flanders was reasonable. Moreno v. Javan, New Jersey App. Div., November 30, 2012
In accordance with Title 13 to the New Jersey Administrative Code (NJAC) addressing the Board of Psychological Examiners, in contested cases involving custody, best interest and parenting time evaluations, the psychological expert’s report must be submitted within 60 days after all data has been collected. New Jersey Board of Psychological Examiners, N.J.A.C. 13:42-12.7; December 3, 2012