You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2012.

The 1st day of spring has come and gone!

What about those New Year’s Resolutions that you made to help you get through your divorce?  Are you sticking to them? Now is a good time to re-evaluate your personal expectations for 2012 and where you see yourself headed.  Are you taking the right steps to get where you want to be in life?

It’s important to answer these questions when you are enmeshed in divorce litigation. Divorce ranks second on the scale of life’s stressors.  In fact, Divorce Stress Syndrome is now a common buzzword, and can manifest itself through panic attacks, insomnia and many other physical problems. Popular resolutions are to eat healthier, exercise, and enjoy time with friends.  You should be taking care of yourself, emotionally and physically.  By doing this, you will be better equipped to attend to your children’s emotional and physical needs. Are you following through with your resolution? Give yourself a status check!

If you or someone you know is going through a divorce, contact Iandoli & Edens, LLC today.  We are here to help you in 2012 – just as we have for the past 18 years.

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Employability Experts:

What to expect when one party is unemployed or underemployed

New Jersey law requires the Court to evaluate each party’s earning abilities to determine the proper income to impute for alimony and child support purposes. Income issues often arise if one parent is a stay at home parent or if a party is underemployed, refusing to earn a living commensurate with his or her capabilities. In the event someone is not working, the Court can impute income to that party. Of course, the cost of childcare is offset to replace the care provided by the stay at home parent if that is the case.

Hiring an employability expert is an effective method utilized to assess the unemployed party’s income capabilities. Reputable experts will meet with the subject to obtain information about his or her past employment history. Some experts may also ask the party to complete performance tests.  The expert may research trends in connection with job availability and wages for a particular field.  Once the expert completes his research, he will render a report complete with his findings.

It is important to note that a major drawback with hiring an employability expert is that there is no guarantee a Court will accept the expert’s findings. Refrain from mistakenly regarding the expert’s result as a stipulated fact between the parties or that the Court will take judicial notice of the results.  Indeed, the employability report is only one factor, or suggestion, of many the Court may (or may not) consider.

Despite the drawbacks, there are many benefits to hiring an employability expert and you have the right to seek the assistance of said expert if you preserve that right. Contact an attorney at Iandoli & Edens, LLC for more information. 908.879.9499.

Owning an asset prior to your marriage does not necessarily guarantee that the asset will be immune from division in the event of divorce.  Generally, when an asset is brought into a marriage, the asset is exempt from division, however, there are exceptions. For example, if a party uses his or her separate funds to purchase a residence in his or her name shortly before the marriage and the home is later used as the martial home, the purchase may be considered to be “in contemplation of the marriage” and therefore transformed into a marital asset.  This may be the case even if the home was titled in only the owner spouse’s name throughout the marriage. Also, a home purchased prior to marriage may become subject to distribution in the event of divorce if the property is maintained or improved with money or non-monetary contributions during the marriage.

 

Also, when added contributions or improvements made to pre-marital property during the marriage increase the value of the property, the appreciation in value may be considered as having been “acquired” during the marriage and therefore subject to distribution in the event of a divorce.  Similarly, an IRA, brokerage or retirement account acquired prior to the marriage may increase in value over the course of a marriage.  If the increase in value was a result of additional contributions to the IRA or other account, the increase would be considered acquired during the marriage and subject to distribution. However, if an account simply increases because of market conditions it is exempt.  Additionally, if an investment account owned prior to the marriage increases in value during the marriage and the increase is brought about solely through the efforts of the owner spouse, that value is not distributable. However, conversely, if the value was derived in part or whole from the efforts from the non-owner spouse, it may be subject to distribution.

 

Additionally, the commingling of pre-marital assets with joint assets acquired during the marriage may effectively transform an otherwise pre-marital asset into a marital asset subject to distribution.  For example, a spouse deposits pre-marital funds into a joint bank account with marital monies.  The separate funds have been commingled with the joint account monies and are now arguably subject to distribution.

 

A spouse with separate pre-marital property must therefore be cautious as to where the money is going to be deposited, how the funds are going to be used, and who is going to have access.  Otherwise, commingling of such funds can ultimately render it marital property subject to distribution in the event of divorce.   The best way to protect your interest in pre-marital assets is to enter into a pre-nuptial agreement that outlines each party’s right to retain his and her separate property owned prior to the marriage in the event of divorce.  Contact an attorney at Iandoli & Edens, LLC at 908-879-9499 to discuss your rights.

Join us for our Economic Consideration in Divorce Seminar!

This seminar will also include topics regarding Alimony, Child Support, and Equitable Distribution.

Where: Morris Hills School of Adult & Continuing Education

Date:    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Time:   From 7pm until 9pm

Register Information: Morris Hills School of Adult & Continuing Education at (973)-664-2295

We hope to see you there!

In New Jersey, as in many other states, marital fault is not considered by the courts when making financial awards, either alimony or equitable distribution.  In other words, even though your spouse may have cheated on you or otherwise acted inappropriately during the marriage, you will not be able to receive additional marital compensation based on that fact alone.  The only exception is what is called a Tevis claim where a spouse can ask for monetary damages for physical or emotional abuse.  These claims are treated as a personal injury claim by the court.

To overcome this, many couples are building these claims into their prenuptial agreements, asking for specific monetary relief if their spouse commits a certain act.  For example, reportedly, pursuant to Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen’s prenuptial, either party would receive $4,000,000 if the other committed adultery.

A prenuptial can also be quite a bit more one sided.  It is reported that according to Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones’ prenuptial, Catherine would receive $5,000,000 should Michael Douglas cheat on her.

Although it appears most common that married people feel they should be financially compensated for infidelity, prenuptial agreements can address other types of marital fault as well.  It is written that Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban’s prenuptial states that if Keith does any illicit drugs, he will forfeit the other provisions in the prenuptial that provide for him financially should they divorce.

To talk to an attorney experienced in preparing prenuptial agreements, contact one of the lawyers at Iandoli & Edens at (908) 879-9499.