Hopefully, everyone by now has filed their 2017 taxes. Or at the very least filed for an extension.  Unfortunately for 2018 that’s not the end of the story.  The next step should be to review your 2018 withholdings.  Withholdings are something that should be reviewed periodically to ensure that you are not withholding too much or too little from your paycheck.  Neither is generally a good thing.  As family law attorneys we are keenly aware of the importance of withholdings to our clients’ bottom line.  When parties get divorced withholdings should always be reviewed and most often changed as your filing status is changing.

Now the Federal Government has given us a new reason to review withholdings – the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which was passed in 2017. The new law changes among other items: tax rates, tax brackets, deductions and exemptions.  Whether you support or oppose the new law there is little doubt that it’s going to affect your taxes.

Of particular significance to divorced parents is the removal of personal exemptions from the tax code. Prior to the new tax law the issue of who could claim the children was often fiercely negotiated.  The parent who was permitted to claim a child in any given year also received an exemption for that child.  Typically, the right to claim a child on taxes was alternated between the parents from year to year.  Now there is no exemption to receive so who claims the child may matter less.  Or it may matter more because the child tax credit has been expanded.

The best way to review your withholdings and your tax returns would be to speak to your tax professional. However, we at Iandoli & Edens, LLC will keep monitoring how the revised tax code will affect our clients and keeping you updated.

If you have any questions regarding your separation, divorce or custody we are available to discuss your concerns with you, please call our firm at 908-879-9499.

Last week we posted about the Parents’ Education Program which is one of the ways the New Jersey Courts help parents who are going through a divorce or separation address custody and parenting time issues. The Parents’ Education Program provides parents with an introduction to the Court system and to the concepts connected with how to successfully make one household into two.  Few issues are as emotionally charged as those dealing with children.  The New Jersey Courts not only recognize this but offer parents Custody and Parenting Time Mediation to help them to control their own future and that of the children.  It is generally accepted that families are happier if they are the ones making the plans.  Custody and Parenting Time Mediation give the parties not only the opportunity to do make the plans,  but the assistance of a trained mediator to assist them.

The mediator addresses the different types of custody – legal and physical.  Most often joint legal custody is recommended.  Joint legal custody allows both parents to have equal say in significant issues such as health, education and general welfare.  Both parents have a say regardless of  whom the children live with the majority of the time.  It is important to remember that divorcing your spouse does not mean divorcing your children.  Both parents can be meaningfully involved in their children’s lives while living in separate houses, sometimes when living in separate states.

Physical custody is connected to where the children spend their time. Whomever has the children the majority of the time has physical custody.  That parent is designated at the Parent of Primary Residence and the other parent is designated as the Parent of Alternate Residence.  The mediator will help the parties reach an agreement on weekday schedules, holiday schedules, summer vacations and birthdays.  As well as any other event that might be significant to that family.  An important part of mediation is its flexibility.  Different families have different needs.  There is no one plan fits all.  Through mediation each family can craft a plan that serves them best.

If mediation is successful, the mediator will prepare a Memorandum of Understanding, which will be sent to the parties, or their attorneys if they are represented by counsel.  If the Memorandum of Understanding is accepted by the parties it will be incorporated into a Custody and Parenting Time Consent Order.  This allows the parties to focus on other aspects of their litigation knowing that the issues surrounding their children have been resolved.  There is substantial financial and emotional savings to the parties if they can resolve custody and parenting time through mediation.

If you have any questions about custody and parenting time we at Iandoli & Edens, LLC will be happy to discuss your concerns with you, please call our firm at 908-879-9499.

It’s difficult to tell by the weather outside and the snow that’s lingering on the ground, but for many families in New Jersey Spring Break is upon us. Which raises the question:  Where will your children be spending Spring Break?  People often think that custody is highly litigated in divorce actions.  This is true sometimes, however as a general rule it’s not custody that causes problems, but parenting time.  Holidays, weekends and vacations are a vital part of parenting time because they are the fun part.  Weekdays are all about work for parents and children – getting to school, getting home from school and getting ready for school the next day.  Weekends are about fun.  How to split up those weekends is less fun.

Fortunately, the New Jersey Courts have systems in place to help parents resolve these issues. Initially, if a Complaint for Divorce is filed in New Jersey and there is a child under the age of 18 both parents are directed to attend a Parents’ Education Program.  The goal of the Parents’ Education Program is to promote cooperation between the parties and to assist parents in resolving issues connected to their children that may arise during the divorce or separation process.  A few of the goals of the program are:  Understanding the legal process and cost of divorce or separation; understanding the financial responsibilities for the children; understanding the interaction between parent and child and the family relationship during a divorce or separation; understanding how children react to divorce or separation and understanding how parents can help their children during the process.

The parents are scheduled for separate programs. The programs themselves are offered throughout the month, both during the day and after work, in order to make it convenient for parents to attend.  This is the first tool that the New Jersey Courts have to help in parents in understanding the process and hopefully in being able to reach an agreement as to parenting time.

Which still leaves the question of: Where will your children be spending Spring Break?  Or maybe this year the question is:  Do your children have Spring Break or did they lose it to snow?

If you have any questions about custody and parenting time we at Iandoli & Edens, LLC will be happy to discuss your concerns with you, please call our firm at 908-879-9499.

Is child custody in divorce cases moving towards (or already at) a presumed 50/50 split?  That is one of the first questions that is frequently asked at an initial consultation with a divorce attorney.  The answer is complex, bringing in many factors.  It is true that the Courts seem to be leaning towards the children having as much contact with both parents as possible.  One of the factors to be considered, however, includes the ages of the children, whether they are very young or teenagers.  Another dynamic is the working responsibilities of the parents, such as frequency of business travel or shift work.  Further, since one of the factor in child custody is the best interest of the children, their individual personalities come in to play.  To find out more about whether 50/50 custody is the best answer in your divorce, call IANDOLI & EDENS now at 908 879 9499 for a free consultation with our divorce and custody experts.

Now that a member of Trump’s staff has resigned because of allegations of domestic abuse perpetrated against two ex-wives, the topic is again being brought to the forefront.  Many people still believe that domestic violence only occurs in families with drug addictions, alcoholism or poverty.  Over and over we hear, “how can it be possible?” (s)he is a CEO, doctor, businessperson.  He or she is liked and well respected in the community.  Everyone should be reminded that domestic violence crosses into each and every part of our society.

In New Jersey, marital settlements are determined by many different factors, including, length of the marriage, assets each party may have brought in to the marriage, as well as intangible issues such as how “fair” each party wants to be with the other, or how much do they want to fight. Although many if not most celebrity divorces are sealed, it was known that Tiger Woods paid $750,000,000 in his divorce, Mel Gibson $425,000,000 in his and Michael Jordan $168,000,000 in his.  Obviously, each of these divorces have a wide and varying range of facts, the most important first step is to speak with an attorney and get the factors that will affect your particular case.  Your settlements will most likely not be in the range of these celebrities, but to get the facts for your case call one of our experienced attorneys at IANDOLI & EDENS (908) 879-9499.

The passing by the House of Representatives and the Senate of their respective tax reform bills has certainly been headline news over the past month. President Trump, Representatives and Senators on both sides of the aisle have provided sound bites on the reform.  What has been significantly overlooked by the mainstream media (at least in the opinion of a divorce attorney) is the proposed changes to alimony.  Under the current tax law alimony paid by one spouse to the other is deductible by the spouse paying alimony and includable in the gross income of the spouse receiving the alimony.  This has been the law for decades.  Under both versions of tax reform bill this would no longer be the case.  Alimony would not be deductible by the payor spouse.  Nor would it be included in the payee’s income.  The tax impact on the parties could be significant.  Fortunately, it appears that parties who were divorced prior to the end of 2017 will be grandfathered in under the current law.  However, moving forward the new tax law will certainly have an impact on alimony negotiations between parties.  Additionally, there are many other potential changes in tax reform bill, including changes to the tax brackets and allowable deductions.  It is likely that not only alimony, but child support will need to be reevaluated based upon the new tax reform bill if it becomes the law of the land.  We at Iandoli & Edens, LLC will be following the status of the tax reform bill closely in order to serve our clients.  If you have any questions about the divorce process, please call Iandoli & Edens at 908-879-9499.

Often when a marriage ends, especially with very short term marriages, one party may wonder whether to file for an annulment rather than a divorce. While a divorce terminates a marriage, and an annulment decrees that the marriage never existed.  However, it is much harder to prove grounds for an annulment than a divorce in the State of New Jersey, which has the option of Irreconcilable Differences.  For a while now, celebrities have opted for annulments.  For example, Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra were married for 9 days before an annulment was filed on the grounds of incapacity (drunkenness).  Britney Spears and Jason Alexander’s 2 ½ day marriage was also annulled on the grounds of incapacity.  Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries’ marriage lasted 72 days and was annulled on the grounds of fraud.  Renee Zellweger and Kenny Chesney lasted a full 128 days before an annulment, also on the grounds of fraud.  In New Jersey, you can obtain an annulment on the grounds of fraud, duress, bigamy, one party being under the age of 18, inability or unwillingness to consummate the marriage; one party concealing their inability to conceive; incapacity (lack of ability to consent) or incest.  For more information of the intricacies of Annulments call one of our knowledgeable attorneys at IANDOLI & EDENS; 908 879 9499.

 

Have you as a couple (whether opposite sex or same sex) or as a single parent considered adoption? Perhaps the horror stories that spread the news have scared you away- birth parents taking their children back, children adopted from foreign countries that have serious emotional or behavioral issues, children from the foster care system that seemingly cannot “fit in” to their adoptive homes, prospective adoptive parent(s) waiting years for a child.  Remember, these dreadful stories make for better news, and the thousands of positive and wonderful adoptions are not printed.

Of course, giving birth to a child is not a guarantee for success either.  But putting that aside, there are paths to follow and decisions made along the way to help ensure an adoption triumph, including domestic vs. international; race or mixed race; infant or older child.

Some think adoption is only for celebrities, that they are pushed to the front of the line because of their fame and wealth.  This is simply not the case.  Sheryl Crow, Madonna and Sandra Bullock, all adoptive parents and celebrities suffered glitches along the way- everything from local laws to long exhausting years before a child was placed with them.

To make sure that you have all the information you need for your particular adoption so that you can make the best decisions for your family, call one of our experienced adoption attorneys at Iandoli & Edens at (908) 897-9499.

Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck keep to themselves

With the marriage of Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck heading to a divorce after a failed reconciliation, the two now have to decide out how to split up their fortunes as well as all of the issues surrounding their children. More likely than not, as is the case in most celebrity divorces, Garner and Affleck will have their two attorneys attempt to iron out a settlement before taking it to Court.   However, if that does not work, they are much more likely to hire a private mediator or arbitrator to help settle the case. Much of this has to do with the fact that they do not want their private lives detailed in a public forum such as an open Court.  It is for this reason that so few celebrity divorces go to trial or are seen in the news.   Mediation is not only for celebrities.  The rest of the populace can also greatly benefit from mediation as opposed to litigation.  Some of the main reasons are time and expense, but there is also the idea that the parties ultimately get to decide their fate as opposed to a Judge who is bound by a set of laws and rules that very well may not be the best fit for a couple.  A more detailed list of benefits is on our firm’s mediation website here:  http://www.anewwaytodivorce.com/why-mediate.html 

If you have any questions about mediation, please call our firm at 908-879-9499, for a free consultation to see if mediation is a good fit for your needs.