Category Archives: My Practice

NJ Child Support Motion From Out of State

Filing a child support motion in new Jersey when you live out of state

A large percentage of our clients live outside of New Jersey. Either they moved out of New Jersey after their child support case was filed or they were never there to begin with. Regardless of who lives where, if your cases started out in New Jersey, it will likely stay there forever. Attempting to fill out the motion papers and then handling the court appearance can be daunting for most. Flying in to just attend one court appearance can be quite costly. Even worse is that some case do not conclude in one day. You will then have to spend even more money to come back. Once you add up the flight, airport parking, court house parking, meals, hotel, etc, you may wind up spending more than what you would spend on an attorney.

Our child support attorneys can do everything for you in most cases without you having to ever come to New Jersey. It starts with the initial consultation. This can be done right over the phone and it rarely takes more than just a few minutes. Even better is that we are available 24/7/365. We will discuss your case to see if we can help you. If we can, we can take a credit card or debit card right over the phone. Please note that your information is secure with us. We have represented thousands of clients and no one’s credit card information has ever been compromised. If you don’t have a credit card, you can overnight us a check or money order.

Once we have your payment, we will email you a fee agreement. This confirms that you have paid and sets forth the terms of our representation. After you sign that, you can scan and email it back to us or you can fax it to us. At the same time, you can provide us with a write up for what you are looking for along with any supporting documentation you might have. We will then draft a motion (often times in 48 hours or less) and then email or fax you a draft of the motion for you to review. Once we settle on a final draft, you will sign and send that back to us. Your original signature should not be needed. We will then file a motion with the court.

Once the other side receives our motion, they may file a response, If this happens, we will email same to you so that we can discuss our response. After will send in our response to the court, we will have a court date. In almost all cases, there will be no need for you to appear. After the hearing is over, we will call you to (hopefully) share the good news. We will then email you the order and close the case.

Please note that the above procedure is almost the exact same procedure that is followed for clients that live in New Jersey but choose to come into the office. Thus, but of the initial consultation taking place in person, the rest of the case may often unfold the exact same way. As you can see, there is little to no difference whether you are down the street or halfway around the world. We can fight for you not matter where you live. Call us anytime at 1-855-9-JEFLAW to discuss your child support case.

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How to Win Your New Jersey Child Support Case

Winning Your New Jersey child support case

No matter what side of the case you are on, you clearly want to win your child support case in New Jersey. The best way to win the case is to hire an attorney and have him or her do everything for you. Of course there have been people that have handled their case on their own with success but there are also countless others that wish that they could have done things the right way from the start. See, you don’t get any special treatment because you don’t know the rules. In fact, many things may work against you. Often times the person deciding your case, such as a judge or hearing officer, may be completely wrong about your case and/or the law that applies. Since you don’t know the law, you can correct this person. For a lawyer to later attempt to correct this problem could cost you far more than it would have cost you to hire a lawyer to do it right the first time.

Regardless, the key to winning your case is to be organized. Too many people lose important paperwork such as court orders, tax returns, pay stubs, property settlement agreements, etc. You need to keep all of these documents organized and in a safe place.

Another way to help win your case is to act now and not wait. I see a lot of people on both sides of the case waiting years to file a motion. I’ve also never really heard a good excuse as to why they waited. If you think that you are owed money from the other person one way or another, you need to move now. Filing a motion to request money back from years ago rarely turns out well. You may run into problems proving your claim because the records needed have been lost. You may also lose simply because you failed to move for relief in a timely fashion. I have helped numerous clients avoid having to pay support from several years back by arguing that this delay has prejudiced my client.

My final tip is to type your motion instead of writing it out and to be as coherent as possible. Stick to the facts. Don’t bash the other side. State what you want, why you want it and what evidence you have that proves your claim. Be sure to attach that proof with your motion.

Of course, we will do all of this for you. Call us at 1-855-9-JEFLAW to discuss your child support case to see how we can help you win.

Expenses in New Jersey Child Support Guidelines

A common question that comes up on both side of the child support issue is what is included in the child support guidelines figure? Sometimes this is set by an agreement while other times it is set by court order. Regardless, the New Jersey Court Rules contains a section that details exactly what is included. The relevant section of the rules indicates that the New Jersey child support awards include the child’s share of expenses for housing, food, clothing, transportation, entertainment, un-reimbursed health care up to and including $250 per child per year, and miscellaneous items.” It then further details these categories as follows:

Housing – carrying costs (i.e. mortgage, loans, taxes, insurance, repairs, maintenance) rent, furniture, law products, fixtures, decorations, etc.

Food – All food and non-alcoholic beverages purchased which includes restaurants and school meals. Since children should not be drinking and smoking, this does not include alcohol and cigarettes.

Clothing – clothing, uniforms, shoes diapers, repairs, cleaning, laundry, and jewelry. However, sports items such as cleats are not included.

Transportation – All motor vehicle costs such as initial cost, lease payments, finance charges, gas, oil, insurance, maintenance and repairs. In addition, mass transit, parking fees, driver’s license and registration fees, towing and tolls. However, this is all for the parent. It does not include the same expenses where the child will be the primary driver.

Unreimbursed Health Care Up to and Including $250 Per Child Per Year – This is basically co-pays.

Entertainment – Sporting and social events, music lessons and other instructions, cell phones, music, pets, hobbies, toys, video games, etc.

Miscellaneous Items – Personal care products such as hair produces, shaving cream, make up, etc, books, magazines, school supplies, etc.

Expenses included in the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines

This list is important because sometimes parents either claim that they don’t have to pay something because its included in the child support or the other parent claims that they are owed more money even though they are receiving child support. Before you pay anything or assume the other parent doesn’t owe you anything, call our team of tough, smart NJ child support lawyers today at 1-855-9-JEFLAW to discuss your case.

Reduce Child Support for an Adult Child in New Jersey

 

Unlike other states, in New Jersey you will have to pay child support for an adult child. Unlike a minor child, an adult child can work and quite often they do work. While this might just be a summer and/or weekend job, it is still income that the child is bringing. This leads many to ask: shouldn’t my New Jersey child support obligation be reduced for my adult child? While the answer quite often is yes, its not as simple as just asking for it. There are a number of different legal issues that have to be addressed.

Reduce child support for adult child

One of the most crucial factors here is whether or not the child is living at college. If the child is living at college, his or her tuition should already cover their living expenses. The child does not need to live in two different places at the same time. As a result, the child support should be lowered. Another issue is the adult child that just stays home all summer and doesn’t work. Arguments can be made that the child should be able to work and thus, the child support should be lowered.

If you are looking to lower your child support for an adult child, call our team of tough, smart NJ child support lawyers. Initial consultations are free so call us at 1-855-9-JEFLAW to discuss your case.

Winning a Newburgh Hearing

 

Winning a Newburgh hearing in New Jersey requires careful planning, attention to detail and an aggressive lawyer. There are often a lot of details that need to be handled in order to come out on top. Its not as simple as saying this is how much I make and this is how much college costs. A Newburgh hearing involves a lot more than just that. In fact, some of these cases can get quite complicated and thus, they can drag out. Most of our clients want to win the case without it taking a lot of time and money. Thus, our team of tough, smart lawyers know to win a Newburgh hearing without breaking the bank. There are a number of strategies that we can use to make sure that this is handled the right way.

How to win a Newburgh hearing

Winning a Newburgh hearing starts with filing a hard hitting, detailed motion. Taking the lazy way out is not going to cut it. Our Newburgh hearing lawyers know how how to file everything that is needed to not only put you in the best position to win but to also show the other side that we mean business. There are a number of different cases that have come out that can be used to win your case. The legal briefs that are our attorneys file also have a lot of detail. As you can see, detail is important.

If you are facing a Newburgh hearing in any court in New Jersey, call our team of tough, smart lawyers to discuss your case for free.

How to Win a Child Support Motion in New Jersey

Winning a child support motion in New Jersey is not always easy but it isn’t nearly as impossible as some make it out to be. Of course, winning a motion depends on a variety of factors including what side of the case you are on, what you are looking to do, what the prior orders say, what your evidence shows, what evidence you have provided, what the law says, who the judge is and who your lawyer is. Of all of that, one of the most important factors in winning your NJ child support motion is who your lawyer is. You probably can’t do anything about who the judge is but you can pick your child support lawyer.

Your New Jersey child support attorney will take all of the facts and apply them to the law so that you stand the best chance of winning. Detail is incredibly important. You just cannot file a motion stating what you want and expect to win. Also, not every lawyer will put the time and attention into your case.

How to win a child support motion in New Jersey

Our team of tough, smart NJ child support lawyers will fight for you to make sure that your motion has the detail necessary to be as strong as possible. We also file briefs that contain the law that is necessary. This is very important because you cannot expect that the court will understand all of the law. Remember, judges are people to and the easier you make it for them, the better chance you will have to win your child support motion.

Our initial consultations are always free, so call us now at 1-855-9-JEFLAW to discuss how we can help you win your New Jersey child support motion.

How to Emancipate a Child in New Jersey

How to emancipate a child in New Jersey

Contrary to what many people think (but they will eventually find out) child support does not automatically end in New Jersey. In fact, unless a judge signs an emancipation order, child support will continue forever. Thus, if you want to end your child support obligation, you will have to file a motion for emancipation. If successful, you will receive a court order that terminates your child support. The best way to file a motion to emancipate a child in New Jersey is to hire an experienced family court lawyer. This is because your lawyer will handle everything for you. You will not have to figure out how to file the motion. Just follow the lawyer’s instructions.

In general, the process is as follows. A notice of motion, a certification and a proposed order must be filed for all FM cases (post-divorce cases). If you were never married to the other parent, you have an FD case and you will have to use the FD motion packet. You are fully responsible for crafting your arguments using a combination of facts and law. Again, this is difficult to do if you are not an attorney so you should let your attorney handle this for you. The other side will then file a response (although with an FD case, they may not). If a response is filed, you can then reply to that. You will then have a court appearance where you can argue your emancipation case in front of the judge. The judge will then issue an order either granting or denying your motion.

That is the basic process on how to emancipate a child in New Jersey. Before you do anything, call our team of tough, smart NJ child support lawyers at 1-855-9-JEFLAW to discuss your case for free.

How to Defend an Emancipation Motion in New Jersey

For whatever reason, our lawyers file a lot of motions for people that are looking to emancipate their children. However, we also represent the parent that is defending against an emancipation motion that is filed in New Jersey. Because our New Jersey child support lawyers have experience in filing so many emancipation motions, we know what works and what doesn’t. Thus, our team of tough, smart attorneys can help you fight back against an emancipation motion so that your child support continues.

How to defend against an emancipation motion in New Jersey

Part of defending against an emancipation motion in New Jersey is understanding the evidence and the law that needs to be applied to your case. If the child is an adult, the burden is on you. While this is not an incredibly high burden, you still have a lot of work to do. Our child support lawyers know how to put the right motion together. We also know the child support laws in New Jersey. We’ll put together a hard hitting response to make sure that you come out on top.

Our initial consultations are always free, so if you have been served with a motion for emancipation in any court in New Jersey, call our lawyers today at 1-855-9-JEFLAW to discuss your case.

Emancipation of a Minor in New Jersey

Emancipation of a minor in New Jersey

Emancipating a minor doesn’t happen often in New Jersey, especially since most children go to college. However, there are some children that drop out of high school and start working. They may move out on their own or move in with a friend. In those types of cases, emancipating a minor may be possible. The motion process is the same as emancipating any child. However, the difference is that the burden is on the person filing for the motion. Contrast this with a motion to emancipate an adult child where the burden is on the other parent. Thus, these motions are not that easy but they can be won with the right set of facts and arguments.

If you are looking to file a motion to emancipate a minor in New Jersey, call our team of tough, smart lawyers to help you. Our attorneys know how to file hard hitting motions that can help you get the job done. Our lawyers practice in every court in NJ so call us today at 1-855-9-JEFLAW to discuss your case for free.

How to Reduce Child Support Arrears in NJ

Child support arrears in New Jersey can quickly spin out of control. The best way to reduce your child support arrears is to stop them from increasing. First, you need to make sure that your child support figure is as low as possible. This way you are not increasing your arrears and thus compounding your problem. Second and related to the first, you need as much money to pay down you arrears if you choose to do that.

Of course, none of that helps you reduce the amount right away. If you want to make a serious dent into your arrears, you’ll need to talk to a NJ child support lawyer about an audit of your account and review of the child support orders for your case. There are some cases where the child support figure is wrong and thus has been wrong for many years. Although you didn’t pay all of your child support over the years, you didn’t really have to pay all of that. Your lawyer could file a motion to correct the prior order and thus recalculate the arrears.

Reducing Child Support Arrears in New Jersey

Arrears can also be recalculated due to retroactive emancipation. Emancipation can and often is ordered several years prior to the date the motion is filed. As a result, the order will wipe out all of your child support arrears from the date of emancipation onwards. Still yet another option is to pay a large portion of the arrears in exchange for the entire amount to be wiped out. This can be done by way of consent order that your lawyer can get for you.

If you need help to reduce your child support arrears in NJ, call our child support lawyers today to discuss your case with our free consultation.

Reinstate Driver’s License That Was Revoked Due to Child Support Arrears

How to reinstate driver’s license that was revoked due to child support arrears

If your child support payments have not been paid for six months or more, the court may order the Motor Vehicles Commission to suspend, revoke or deny any your driver’s license. This can include your CDL. As a result, its going to be very difficult for you to work and therefore, try to pay your child support in the first place. Once your receive notice that your driver’s license will be suspended, you may be given just 30 days to pull the full amount owed. If you can’t, you can send a letter asking for a review by the Administrative Office of the Court (AOC). The AOC will try to resolve the matter without it going to court but if it cannot, a court hearing is scheduled.

Chances are, you probably have a number of child support issues if you are facing a driver’s license suspension. Our New Jersey child support lawyers can not only help you with your driver’s license issue but we can help you with all of your child support issues. We will file a motion with the court to get you the relief you need to correct your issues. Call our NJ child support attorneys today at 1-855-9-JEFLAW to discuss your issues for free.

Your parenting time can impact your NJ child support obligation

When you are changing your parenting time, you need to make sure the courts also change your child support obligation.  The more parenting time you have, the lower your New Jersey child support obligation will be.  Hopefully, no one is looking to get more visitation just to get lower child support.  However, there is no point in paying more money if you have more parenting time.  Our New Jersey child custody lawyers recently launched a new custody blog.  Use the link to learn more.

 

Filing a motion to unemancipate a child

A lot of my posts on this blog deal with filing a motion to emancipate a child in New Jersey.  However, it is also a possible to file a motion to unemancipate a child in New Jersey although it is also rare for a number of reasons.  I recently helped a client in Ocean County Superior Court file a motion to unemancipate her child and we won.  She had filed a number of motions in the past and she lost every single one of them.  However, she did not have a competent attorney help her.  This was an important win because we not only got her child support but college expenses as well.  If you want to file a motion to terminate your child support or to reinstate it in any court in New Jersey, call us anytime.

Dealing with child support warrants in New Jersey

Its amazing how many people have child support warrants in New Jersey.  Hiding from them doesn’t solve anything.  If you’ve missed a few payments, you be brought before a judge and have to pay a purge amount.  Thus, I suggest that you have someone with you that can pay on your behalf.  However, if you have been dodging payments for a long time, it may become more difficult because the release figure may be huge.  As a result, you should think about getting an attorney.  It should be that expensive to have an attorney help you but it won’t be free of course.

Look at it this way, do you want to spend a few weeks in jail or do you want to get rid of the warrant and avoid jail?  My team of tough, smart attorneys can help you.  We will put a package together for the court to lower the purge amount.  We will then work on a motion to help reduce your child support going forward and set a realistic arrears payment.

Filing a child support motion in New Jersey when you live out of state

If your original child support was in New Jersey or if you were divorced in New Jersey, your child support matter will likely remain in New Jersey even if you don’t.  For some, this can cause apprehension because they don’t know how to handle the situation.  How do you find a lawyer?  What do you need to fill out?  Do you need to travel to New Jersey?

The good news is that for most, the process can be painless.  Start with finding a New Jersey child support lawyer.  If you read this blog, you found one.  Actually, you found a firm that employs a team of tough, smart child support lawyers.  We have offices across the state and we practice in every single New Jersey court.  Thus, you don’t have to ask if we go there.  If its in New Jersey, we do.  Retaining us is painless as well.  Call us anytime.  Within just a few minutes, we can let you know if we can help.  If we can, we can take a credit card or debit card right over the phone.  An automatic credit receipt is sent to you within minutes.  We will then send you a fee agreement which you can email or fax back.

We rarely need many documents from you but any documents that we do need can also be faxed or emailed.  Most child support motions can be finished in 2 days to 1 week. You will sign the documents you need to sign and again, fax or email everything back to us.  We will then take care of filing everything with the court and serving the other side with the motion.  If we have to go to court, your appearance will likely not be needed.  When possible, we try to avoid court appearances even by the lawyer which will save you money.  Sometimes, this can be accomplished because we write powerful motions.

At any one time, 50% of our child support cases may be from outside of New Jersey.  Thus, this entire process is not only easy, but for our law practice, is quite common.

Looking at a child support attorney as an investment

The toughest part about this practice is that most prospective clients would not need a New Jersey child support lawyers if they didn’t suffer a significant decline in their earnings.  But this creates a catch-22.  How do you find the money to pay a lawyer when you are having problems paying child support?  I try to get people to look at hiring an attorney as an investment.  If we can reduce your child support obligation, the money you save may quickly make up for the legal fees you had to pay.  Once you have recouped your investment, you could view the balance as profit.  This is especially helpful if you need to convince a friend or family member to lend you the money for the legal fees.

Client goes from $50 to $151 per week in child support payments

Huge win today and proof that I don’t just represent one side.  My client has been getting screwed for years.  The other side paid $50 for over 10 years with not one COLA adjustment.  Worse yet, my client was not reimbursed for any medical expenses.  I was able to get the client everything we were looking for and the child support went from $50 per week to $151.  The best part is that it didn’t even cost my client that much money!

If you need help with your child support case, call the Middlesex County Child Support Lawyers today.

Arrears vacated, Child Emancipated, Money Returned

Client recently hired me to emancipate his child and get his money back that the Probation Department took from his tax returns.  We had to move quick because Probation wanted to lock him up for failing to pay.  In the end, the child was emancipated, the money from the tax returns was given back to the client and Probation vacated his arrears so his balance was set at zero.

If you need help with any child support case in New Jersey, call the Monmouth County Child Support Lawyers today.

Child Emancipated, Probation Account Closed

Just a quick note on a recent victory, one of many during “emancipation season”.  This one was great because it was quick and I won the case for under the small retainer that I charged the client.  Not only did he win but he got money back from me!

If you need help, call the team of tough, smart Somerset County Child Support Lawyers today.

Client gets increase in child support due to election win

My client is the mother of two great children.  The father of the children just won an election that will result in a second job and a big increase in his salary.  We filed a motion for an increase in child support and a host of other issues and we not only won, but we got a great result.  The tricky part of this case was that we had to file the motion right away due to some emergent issues.  However, the new position would not start for another month or so after the court date.  Thus, the court may have kicked it and told us to come back in a month when the new position started.  However, I worked it out with the other side to avoid a second court appearance and more expense to my client.  She got the bump in child support and we don’t have to come back to court.

If you need help with a child support motion in any court in New Jersey, call us today to speak to a Hunterdon County Child Support Attorney

Waiting to file a motion could cost you

One of my new clients just came to me to file a motion to increase child support as the number has not been adjusted in over a decade.  As a result, she has been missing out on thousands of dollars per year as the number is off by anywhere from 50% to 75%.  In addition, she never sought any contribution for medical expenses which is even more money that she has left on the table.  Lucky, we may be able to get some of that back.  But since there is no retroactive child support increase, she will still lose a ton of money.  Moral of the story:  act now!

When is emancipation not emancipation?

I try to tell people to get an attorney from day one but I can’t reach everyone.  My most recent example is one of my new clients.  He went to court without an attorney for emancipation and was first denied for lack of service even though he showed the court that the other side was indeed served!  He tried again and this time, he won.  Child emancipated.  Case over right?  Not quite.

The Probation Department, for whatever reason, didn’t care about the Court’s order and refused to adjust his child support.  Even worse, is that the child should have been emancipated back to a couple of months prior to the last order but the court made up an arbitrary date for emancipation.  He hired me and we are fixing the problem.  However, he may be stuck with the wrong emancipation date as he did not file a motion in time or an appeal.  Thus, he left thousands of dollars on the table.

Firm kicks off emancipation season with several wins

We are entering what I call “emancipation season” because children will be graduating high school and college within the next few months.  Thus, the calls for emancipation will be  coming in fast and furious from now till about July.  In the past several weeks, we have won several emancipation cases including one last week where I was able to emancipate two children at once for my client which totally ended his child support.

I was also able to work out a case a few weeks before that where I cut down my client’s arrears as a result of the emancipation by over $10,000.  My associate has also had some nice wins too.

If you need help with a child support motion, call us today to speak to an Essex County Child Support Lawyer

A court can only hear a case that is “ripe”

Got a call today from a guy that works right next  to one of my offices.  Small world.  He wanted to file a motion for emancipation now for a child that is graduating in December.  That is rarely a good idea since anything can happen between now and then.  Thus, I advised him to call me back in October because his motion needs to be “ripe” or ready to be heard.  However, that doesn’t mean that I file a motion after graduation.  Instead, I try to time it so that it will be heard within a week or two after graduation.

I was quoted on NJBIZ.com

I was interviewed for an article today.

Check out http://www.njbiz.com/article.asp?aID=80498

Court rules that home-schooled child is emancipated

This was a very interesting case.  My client’s daughter was being home-schooled for years. Even though the child should have been half way through college, she was barely half way through high school.  There is no real case law on this issue so I had to get creative.  The other side really fought hard but I turned their arguments against them.  The case was so hard fought that both sides were arguing up to the day of court with new letters and documents being constantly sent to the court.

Thankfully, common sense prevailed and the child was deemed emancipated.  This was a great win to kick off the new year.

If you want a team of smart, aggressive attorneys to work on your emancipation motion, call today to speak to a Bergen County Child Support Lawyer

A motion for child support modification is a gamble, but sometimes worth the risk

I met a client a  few weeks ago that makes a nice income even though it is a 1/3 of what it use to be.  It was a fairly routine motion so I charged him a rather minimal retainer as I didn’t see the case getting out of hand.  If we won, he could save $40,000 over the next four years.  Worst case scenario, he would be out $5,000 in legal fees and that is really worst case. 

He wanted me to give him an exact prediction.  Unfortunately, our judicial system does not allow that.  Just because you should win, doesn’t mean you will.  Luckily, the system works most of the time.  You are rolling the dice with every motion you file for child support.  I just had a case where we were asking for an increase and the court decreased it even though the other party wasn’t requesting one!  Thankfully, I was able to withdraw that request and the child support remained the same.

So, when you speak to a New Jersey child support lawyer, understand that the best he or she may be able to tell you is how much of a risk you are taking.  If you have a really good chance of saving up to $40,000 and you will most likely spend less than $5000 (probably even less than $2500) to roll the dice, that may be a great bet!

Can’t afford a lawyer? Think again.

I spoke to a woman yesterday that read my blog and had a question.  Unlike most of the people that call me, she was not prepared to hire a lawyer because she couldn’t afford it.  This thinking is interesting for several reasons.  First, she doesn’t work for free but for some reason, she thinks I do!  I cannot give free legal advice in the same  way you don’t call a plumber to have him teach you how to fix your problem on your own for free.

More importantly though is that this was a total assumption on her part without any real consideration as to the true cost of going with an attorney.  When I asked her how much other lawyers charged her, she said she didn’t speak to anyone who  actually quoted her a fee.  However, her divorce cost tens of thousands of dollars so she assumes a simple motion will be the same price.  Not quite. 

Even after I explained to her that it would cost much less to handle this simple motion, she still said she didn’t have the money even though she had plenty of room on her credit cards.  I then asked her to consider the true cost of going without a lawyer.

Her ex-husband filed a motion to emancipate her daughter and there is no way (in my opinion) that she should have lost this motion.  However, she went without a lawyer and her ex had one.  Guess who won?   Now she wants to file another motion and she thins for some reason, the result will be different as she still refuses to retain a lawyer.

Her daughter will start college in January.  So you have child support, college expenses and medical expenses for at least four years that will not be received.  This could add up to over $100,000 that she would have received.  So if you can’t afford a few thousand for a lawyer, how will you afford over 50 times that?

Divorce Mediation in New Jersey: consider it, but not in place of an attorney

In this economy, many people in New Jersey are having trouble funding a divorce.  This leads some to stay in an unhappy marriage while others seek  cheap alternatives to the traditional divorce process.  However, I’m afraid that some people think that a divorce mediator can solve everything without an attorney.  While it is possible that some people can avoid ever hiring an attorney, I don’t think this is the best option for others.

Some attorneys, such as myself, have free consultations.  Thus, it will cost you nothing to meet with an attorney and get some information.  However, you should understand that a free consultation does not mean free legal advice.  So, there is no reason not to explore the attorney option, the costs, etc.

Keep in mind that there are two distinct types of divorce mediation.  One is with a therapist, counselor or social worker to resolve the emotional issues and help both people move forward with their new lives.  The second type deals with the legal issues.  I think everyone should speak to someone to deal with the emotional issues as it can only benefit your mental health and reduce stress.  I’m not sure everyone needs a mediator for the legal issues.

I am a huge fan of resolving cases without unnecessary expense and extensive litigation.  However, without knowing your rights, it may be tough to know what position you should take during  the mediation.  I have also heard some people tell me that they felt that the mediator chose one side over another.  Thus, mediation can lead to more problems and waste time and money.

My advice is to first meet with an attorney to explore the legal issues.  I prefer to set up a meeting with the other attorney and both litigants to discuss all of the issues.  We call this a four-way conference.  Assuming both parties (and both attorneys) are reasonable, there is no reason why the case cannot be resolved.  However, if an impasse is reached, then mediation may make sense.

Another time mediation may make sense is when the issues are minor and the parties generally agree on the issues but there is still some unknown as to how to handle certain legal issues.  The mediator then can guide the parties to not only resolving the case but how to handle the divorce itself and the issues that may arise afterwards. 

If you are getting divorced in New Jersey or if you are thinking about it, give me a call.  We can discuss all of your options.  I can either represent you in the case or I can act as a mediator.  However, please know that an attorney cannot generally do both as this would create a conflict of interest.

See an attorney before you file a motion, not after

I really don’t understand why some people file a motion and then come to my office after the other side files a response.  The best is when it is just days until the court date.  

My advice is to see an attorney before doing anything.  Also, don’t wait to see an attorney.  You are better off seeing one now then waiting.  The worst that happens is that the attorney tells you that cannot file the motion now.  I had such a client today.  He thought he had a good motion for emancipation even though he didn’t know the first thing about the law.  So as a result, the other side filed a cross motion and now he comes to my office.

Luckily, I don’t think it will turn out bad for him but most people are not so lucky.  I’ve seen too many people file some type of child support motion only to have it blow up in their face. 

Compare that situation to another client that came in my office today.  The child at issue is only 19 months old and she never had an attorney before.  At the last court appearance, the court actually told her that she better not come back without an attorney.  Even though the judge said that, she would have been able to represent herself.  The judge is just trying to help her.

The other attorney filed a real bogus motion that I would never have filed.  Some attorneys just seem desperate to take money.  If her ex would have came to me, I would have told him that most of what he wanted is impossible.  My client today tells me that his last attorney was like that which is why that attorney was fired.  So, there is clearly a market for attorneys that will rip you off.  I refuse to cater to that market.

Even though this was a real bogus motion, without an attorney to shoot it down, it might have taken off.  I’m sure I’ll be able to shut it down without it getting expensive.

Lesson for the day:  get some advice before you step in it.

Does mental illness matter when it comes to child support?

Its no secret that mental illness is a huge problem today.  It becomes even more of a problem when the person at issue is a child and the parents have on going child support dispute.  Although not really a mental illness, autism creates the same problems in child support cases.  Best yet, New Jersey has the highest rates of autism.

One instance where this issue comes up is testing and treatment of the mental health issue.  I haven’t seen this become too much of an issue as it is hard to argue that the testing or treatment is not needed or unnecessary.

Instead, the debate usually focuses on emancipation.  This is an interesting issue that has not really been tested in recent times (at least not to the extent that you would think).  In order to  receive child support for life, courts generally rely on a 1960’s case where the adult child was placed in the type of institution that would probably never exist today.  However, when someone is that bad, they usually on disability anyway.  Thus, the fight in these cases generally centers on whether the custodial parent should be applying for disability on behalf of the adult child.

The real debate to be had though comes when the adult child cannot get disability.  This creates a quirk in our law that is not really developed yet although it somehow works out.  Emancipation is only proper when the child has moved beyond the influence of the parent.  But what if the child has a mental illness that prevents that?  In those cases, courts seem to force the child to go to college full time or risk emancipation. 

I think this issue is ripe for appeal.  Not so that the status quo is changed but so that the law on emancipation is clarified.  Any parent that tries to drag out child support forever will face an uphill battle.

I’ve been on both sides of this issue, so regardless of what side you are on, give me a call.

New firm website

Check out our new firm website at www.tomsriverattorney.net

I am still ironing out a few bugs on the site so please excuse any errors that may exist.

Hudson County Child Support Lawyers Help Client Save a Ton of Money

Just finished a case where my client filed a child support motion pro se but wanted me to argue it in court.  After we resolved most of the issues in his favor, I realized that there were some other issues that he did not address in his motion.  In New Jersey, you can only argue what you put in the motion.  Thus, he would have had to hire me to come back to court.  I worked out this other issue for him that will save him tens of thousands of dollars over time.

I also made sure that his child support numbers were correct as the court’s numbers were wrong.  Sometimes clients don’t appreciate your efforts because they don’t even grasp what you’ve done, but he sure did.  At the end of the day, he said, “wow, you are really good”.  That made it all worth it for me.  And no, it has nothing to do with my ego.  I went the extra mile for him by working out issues he wasn’t even asking for and he realized that and was thankful for it.  For me, that is what it is all about.

If you want our help with your child support matter, call the team of tough, smart Hudson County Child Support Lawyers today.

When consent orders attack

I’ve seen two different child support cases in my office this week where the client worked out a consent order without really knowing what they were getting into.  After a while, they realized that something was left out or that something about it was wrong.  If you go without an attorney or with one that doesn’t know what they are doing, then you could run into serious problems.  As always, it is easier (and cheaper) to do it right the first time.

At the very least, meet with an attorney before you enter into any agreement or file any motion.  If your case or issue is really that simple, than it should be really inexpensive to hire an attorney to make sure it is done right the first time.  Thus, call us anytime to discuss your child support and unemployment situation to see how our attorneys can help you with a motion for reduction.

Hiring an attorney for a divorce now could save you money later

I often feel like a broken record for constantly repeating myself, but I feel that it is necessary.  I have so many people that come into my office for a divorce consultation in an effort to simply pump me for information so that they can avoid hiring me or any other attorney.  I guess that is what I get for giving free consultations?  More importantly however is the the fact that these people don’t listen to me when I tell them that hiring a good attorney is like making a good investment, it will save you money and pay off in the long run.  Nevertheless, they don’t want to hear it.

As I often do, I am more concerned with results than money.  I see way too many people that had no attorney or a less than stellar attorney for the divorce and now months or years later, sometimes many years later, issues have developed that may take thousands of dollars to resolve.  Worse yet, some cases never seem to resolve.  However, if they would have retained a good attorney from the start, all of that money, time and aggravation would be avoided.

I have so many people that tell me, “I wish I would have retained you from the start”.   This is because a good attorney should make sure that everything is set up so that the divorce ends just about everything possible so that there are no issues lingering after the divorce.  Without an attorney, no one else in the court is going to help you.  With a bad attorney, no thought will be put into making sure you don’t have to come back to that attorney’s office.

The bottom line, 1, get a good attorney, 2, question your attorney to make sure that there are no avoidable issues that could go wrong after the case is over.  Otherwise, issues such as child support, alimony or the sale of the house could take years to resolve.

If you need an attorney for any divorce case involving child support in New Jersey, call me anytime.

Collecting unemployment is rarely a changed circumstance

It seems like common sense.  You lose your job and are now collecting unemployment.  Your child support obligation that was based upon your old higher salary now seems awfully expensive.  So, you should get a reduction now right?  Wrong!

Most people can’t even believe that this is the law but even in this economy, most judges in New Jersey will likely hold that short term unemployment is not a changed circumstance.  So when is it not short term?  There is no exact time frame.

In normal times, it is fairly easy for someone to get a job that pays close to what they were making after a few months of searching.  However, in this economy, is it really possible to find a new job so quick or at all?  If you really want to make a good run at such a motion, I suggest hiring an attorney right away even though the motion will not be filed for several months.  I know it is tough to hire an attorney when you are out of work but I always tell my clients to look at it like an investment.  In other words, paying a little now could save thousands down the road.

If you have lost your job, call me today to discuss how we can work today to set up a credible motion several months down the road.

Preventing a mess is easier than cleaning up a mess

When I  tell people to get an attorney, it is because I am trying to save them money and not spend more.  I know that may not sound right, but I always try to use examples to illustrate my point.  Here is a case that came into my office last night.

Mother hardly gets child support from the Father.  Child is 17 and very troublesome.  Child runs off to a friends house where anything goes.  The Mother of the friend files an action for custody.  Both mothers agree to share custody back in March.  Now the Mother of the friend comes after the other Mother for child support and wins!  Worst yet, the child support is probably three times more than what it should be because it doesn’t account for the other Mother’s income as well as any child support that the Father should be paying. 

So, she hands me this mess and says get my son back. I tell her I’d be glad to help her but it’ll cost her much more (3 times+) than what it would  have cost if she hired me for the first court appearance.  Now, I have to fight to undo the consent order just to get my foot in the door for a custody hearing.  On top of that, I would be fighting against a status quo that has been established for several  months now.  

Her reason for not calling an attorney is that she called legal aid and they told her that she did not need an attorney.  When she called them back after the second hearing, they advised her that she did not qualify for legal aid.  Thus, I think she misunderstood what legal aid told her. 

Bottom line, you should speak to an attorney in person if you are facing any legal dispute.  If the attorney says you don’t need one, ask for a detailed explanation.  For example, if a client comes to me with a $2000 dispute in small claims court, my fee could be $2000 or only $1000.  Either way, it doesn’t make much sense to hire me.   However, I would have no problem with the client coming into my office to find that out as there may be other issues besides just dollars that would make more sense for the client to hire an attorney.  With a free consultation, the only thing you spent is a little time.

Is your child support calculated properly?

There are so many people that come into my office that have wrong child support calculations.  Quite often, the person that is paying is paying way too much.  Most of the time, this is because they did not have an attorney and as a result, no one bothered to make sure the child support was done right the first time.  Worst yet, you may never be able to get any of  that money back.  For example, I had one new client come into my office last week that was overpaying about $50 per week for years!

While all of the above sounds great if you are the one receiving child support, the most common issue I see on the other side is that there is nothing in place to make sure that the support actually gets paid.  Again, this is usually because there was no attorney to help the person in the beginning.

Paying an attorney is never fun.  However, child support is (usually) a  relatively simple matter to handle.  Thus, it is good investment to get an attorney the first time to make sure everything is done right.  That is because the cost of a NJ child support lawyer is relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of having the case go bad.

With offices in Toms River, Princeton, New Brunswick and Eatontown, my law offices are easy to reach from anywhere in New Jersey.  Our initial consultations are always free so it will cost you nothing to see if your child support is calculated properly and/or set up properly.   We practice in every court in this state, so from Newark to Atlantic City, Freehold to Trenton, you only need to call one number for an attorney that will fight for you.

Act now, before its too late (how to get money or save money with child support in NJ)

In New Jersey, you generally have to act now if you want to modify your child support.  It doesn’t matter if you pay child support or receive it.  However, I usually see more people that pay child support waiting.  Trying to come back a few years later only after your arrears have built up is not a good idea.  Unless you can get the child emancipated back to a certain date that wipes out arrears, it can be impossible to file a motion to vacate  child support arrears.  Thus, if you file a motion now to reduce your child support, you will avoid the issue of arrears all together.  Likewise, if you file a motion to increase child support now, you will get more money.  In other words, you are rewarded for acting now and you can be punished for waiting.

If you are looking to file a motion to reduce child support in NJ, call our team of tough, smart lawyers now.  We can represent you in any court in New Jersey.

Having a baby does not emancipate adult child

Just won a case last week for a great client.  The father of her child tried to emancipate her  just because the child had a baby.  However, the child still lived at home and was being supported  by my client.  The court agreed with us and found that a child having a baby has nothing to do with regard to whether or not the child has moved beyond the sphere of influence of the parents.  So, we won the case fairly easily.

If you want an attorney that will back down to no one, call the team of tough, smart Morris County Child Support Lawyers today.

Court staff advocates for pro se litigant

This happened to me this week.  I was representing  a client who was trying to fight an increase in child support.  As he never married the mother of the child, the case was under the FD docket.  The FM docket is for divorces and post-divorce cases.  Most people who have FD cases do not have attorneys whereas most people with FM cases do.  Thus, it is rare for two attorneys to be on an FD case.

Because most people with FD cases are pro se, they would clog up the court system if all of their cases went before a judge, or so the thinking goes.  Thus, the court staff tries to resolve the cases without the case going in front of a judge.  There was another issue in the case and after I discussed it with the court staff, I reminded them that there was still an issue of child support.  The woman I was dealing with told me that child support is based upon the income of both parties.  Needless to say, I was shocked at this incredible revelation.

After assuring her that I did not land from Mars yesterday, I explained that the pro se Plaintiff’s motion was not properly before the court because there were no changed circumstances.  She then said that moving from one state to New Jersey is changed circumstances.  I said that I would object to that argument as there is no law to support it and it was not included in her moving papers.  She then said that pro se litigants are granted lee way when it comes to the court rules. I reminded her that this is improper and asked her if she was the plaintiff’s lawyer now?  She didn’t know how to respond to that so she left to speak with the judge.

When she came back, she said that I was correct (of course) and that the child support would not be increased.   What if I wasn’t there?  This is just a small example of how crazy our system can be when you don’t have a good lawyer in court with you.

Our Burlington County Child Support Lawyers can help you with any child support motion in any court.  Call us right now to discuss your case.

Going it alone may have costed client over $20,000

Client came in my office today and I really felt bad for him.  He has been handling his child support  cases for years by himself with no success.  He should have filed a motion to reduce his child support when his older child was away at college but did not to so.  He also botched his motion to reduce his child support when he was unemployed.  As a result, his arrears swelled to over $27,000.

He then filed a motion to emancipate his older child which was denied even though his ex-wife did not oppose it!   He also failed to file a motion to reduce his child support with regard to his younger child being away at college.

While I can help him reduce most of his arrears, I can’t make all of it go away.  If he would have worked with an attorney in the beginning, he would have likely never had an arrears problem.  For only a few thousand dollars, he could have saved $30,000 or more.

Don’t let this happen to you, call the team of tough, smart Cumberland County Child Support Lawyers today to discuss your case.