• Biography

    Jeralyn Lawrence is the Managing Member and Founder of Lawrence Law, and devotes her practice to matrimonial, divorce, and family law, and is a trained collaborative lawyer, divorce mediator, and arbitrator.

    Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney, Jeralyn represents clients with matrimonial and family law needs, including divorce litigation, mediation and arbitration, custody and parenting time issues, alimony and child support, separation and property settlement agreements, adoption and guardianship advice, domestic partnership matters under the Domestic Partnership Act, domestic violence and sexual abuse, and palimony. She handles matters ranging from the simple and straightforward to the complex, involving significant income and assets, including representation of celebrities, professional athletes and high-profile individuals. She takes great pride and care in helping her clients through difficult personal matters. Through collaborative law, Jeralyn assists and guides clients who are committed to resolving their matter without court intervention through the divorce process. Jeralyn is Second Vice President of the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA), where she is slated to become its President in 2022. She is Vice President of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers New Jersey Chapter and is certified by the Academy as a Family Law Arbitrator.

    Jeralyn serves as a speaker and panelist at divorce and family law programs and seminars and has been admitted to the rosters of Mediators for Economic Aspects of Family Law Cases and of Custody and Parenting Time Cases for Somerset County. She serves on the NJ Supreme Court Matrimonial Certification Committee that oversees the statewide matrimonial attorney certification process, as well as the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey’s Board of Directors. Jeralyn is an attorney volunteer at Safe+Sound Somerset and with the New Jersey State Bar Military Legal Assistance Program, providing pro bono legal assistance to New Jersey residents who have served overseas or active duty of the armed forces after September 11, 2001.

    Jeralyn was selected by the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey to receive their Carol Murphy Award and received the 2014 New Jersey Professional Lawyer of the Year Award from the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law. She was honored by NJBiz as one of New Jersey’s Best 50 Women in Business and was selected as a Kean University Distinguished Alumna. Jeralyn was honored as an Outstanding Woman in Somerset County by the Somerset County Commission On the Status Of Women. She received the NJSBA’s Young Lawyers Division’s Professional Achievement Award and received three Annual Legislative Recognition awards from the NJSBA. Jeralyn was awarded for her amicus curiae work on behalf of the bar by the NJSBA. She is a graduate of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and a member of the Central New Jersey Inns of Court.

    Jeralyn was named a 2019 New Jersey Legal Trailblazer by the New Jersey Law Journal and is one of the New Jersey Super Lawyers in the Family Law section. She was named to Top 100 New Jersey Super Lawyers and Top 50 Female New Jersey Super Lawyers and The American Institute of Family Law Attorneys named her one of the “10 Best” Attorneys for the State of New Jersey. She is listed in The Best Lawyers in America in the Family Law, Family Law Arbitration, and Family Law Mediation sections and was named the Best Lawyers 2020 Family Law Arbitration “Lawyer of the Year,” the Best Lawyers 2018 Family Law “Lawyer of the Year,” and the 2016 Family Law Mediation “Lawyer of the Year” in the Woodbridge New Jersey, Metro Area. New Jersey Family has also named her as one of “New Jersey’s Best Lawyers for Families”. In addition, Jeralyn was selected by her peers as one of New Jersey’s Top 10 matrimonial lawyers under the age of 40 and was recognized by the New Jersey Law Journal as one of 40 accomplished and promising attorneys in the State of New Jersey under the age of 40.

    Hear from Jeralyn Lawrence herself:


  • Education & Career

    Education

    Seton Hall University School of Law | J.D., summa cum laude, 1996
    Kean University | B.A., 1992

    Bar Admissions

    New Jersey
    U.S. District Court
    District of New Jersey
    U.S. Supreme Court

    Accreditations

    Certified Matrimonial Attorney
    Certified Family Law Arbitrator
    Accredited Mediator
    Accredited Collaborative Law Attorney
    Graduate of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy

    Professional Affiliations

    New Jersey State Bar Association

    • Second Vice President
    • Family Law Section
      • Past Chair
      • Executive Committee
      • Senior Editor, New Jersey Family Lawyer

    New Jersey Supreme Court

    Matrimonial Certification Committee

    District XIII Attorney Ethics Committee, Former Member

    Somerset County Bar Association

    • Past President
    • Family Law Committee
    • Somerset County Domestic Violence Working Group

    American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers

    • Vice President
    • Board of Managers
    • Fellow

    American Bar Association

    American Bar Foundation

    • Fellow

    Association of Family & Conciliation Courts

    New Jersey Women Lawyers Association

    New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators

    New Jersey Association of Justice

    Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey

    Matrimonial Lawyers Alliance

  • Presentations

    “A Practical Approach to Ethics: Things Matrimonial Attorneys Should Know and Do to Protect Themselves,” Panel Discussion, Barry I. Croland Family Law American Inn of Court, Green Brook Country Club, North Caldwell, NJ, November 20, 2019

    “Hot Tips in Family Law,” NJICLE, New Jersey Law Center, New Brunswick, NJ, November 11, 2019

    “Hasta La Vista, Bebe! Family Law Issues in New Jersey and Puerto Rico,” 2019 NJSBA Mid-Year Meeting, Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, San Juan, Puerto Rico, November 7, 2019

    “Careers in Law,” Panel Discussion, Kean University, Little Theater in the Miron Student Center, Union, NJ, October 24, 2019

    “The New Alimony Law – How’s That Working for You?,” 2019 Family Law Symposium, NJICLE in cooperation with the NJSBA Family Law Section, Hyatt Regency, New Brunswick, NJ, January 26, 2019

    “Modification and Termination of Alimony Based on Retirement,” 2019 NJSBA Annual Meeting and Convention, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Atlantic City, NJ, May 16, 2019

    “Careers in Family Law,” Panel Discussion, The Family Law Society – Seton Hall Law, February 28, 2019

    2019 NJSBA Forum on Women’s Leadership in the Law, Panelist, New Jersey Law Center, New Brunswick, NJ, February 11, 2019

    2018 Fall CLEfest, NJICLE, Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel, Iselin, NJ, November 19, 2018

    “Handling a Relocation Trial After Bisbing,” Meadowlands Seminar 2018, New Jersey Association for Justice Educational Foundation, Inc., Hilton Meadowlands Hotel, East Rutherford, NJ, November 15, 2018

    “Hot Tips in Family Law,” NJSBA Family Law Section in association with the NJICLE, New Jersey Law Center, New Brunswick, NJ, November 12, 2018

    “Everybody Lies – Big Data, New Data and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are,” NJICLE, New Jersey Law Center, New Brunswick, NJ, September 27, 2018

    “Would Equal Physical Custody Elevate a Parent’s Desires Over the Child’s Best Interests?,” NJSBA Family Law Section, 2018 Annual Meeting and Convention at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Atlantic City, NJ, May 17, 2018

    “Relocation after Bisbing v. Bisbing,” NJICLE and AAML-NJ, New Jersey Law Center, New Brunswick, NJ, April 28, 2018

    “Law Office Marketing: Online and Offline,” New Jersey Association for Justice Educational Foundation Inc.’s Winter Seminar 2018, The Palace at Somerset Park, Somerset, NJ, March 1, 2018

    2018 Family Law Symposium, NJICLE in cooperation with the NJSBA Family Law Section, New Brunswick, NJ, January 27, 2018

    “Demystifying the Trial: Preparing for and proceeding to trial in matrimonial and domestic violence matters,” Hot Tips in Family Law, NJSBA Family Law Section in association with the NJICLE, New Jersey Law Center, New Brunswick, NJ, November 10, 2017

    New Jersey Association of Professional Mediator’s 24th Annual Conference Celebrating Alternate Dispute Resolution Day, in cooperation the NJSBA Dispute Resolution Section, the New Jersey Council of Collaborative Practice Groups, and the Justice Marie L. Garibaldi American Inn of Court for ADR, Somerset, NJ, November 4, 2017

    Legalpalooza, Morris County Public Safety Training Center, Parsippany, NJ, November 2, 2017

    2017 Mid-Year Meeting, NJSBA, The Westin Palace, Madrid, Spain, October 21 – October 28, 2017

    Family Law Certification Exam Prep Course, NJICLE in cooperation with AAML-NJ, New Jersey Law Center, New Brunswick, NJ, October 9, 2017

    Second Saturday, The Women’s Institute for Financial Education, Florham Park, NJ, August 17, 2017

    “Standing Tall: Life Lessons Learned from the Court,” NJSBA Diversity Committee’s Diverse Voices-Distinguished Speaker Series, 2017 NJSBA Annual Meeting and Convention, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Atlantic City, NJ, May 18, 2017

    Domestic Violence Seminar, NJSBA Family Law Section, 2017 NJSBA Annual Meeting and Convention, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Atlantic City, NJ, May 18, 2017

    “Come Have a Seat at the Table: Celebrating Women in the Law,” HCBA, Beaver Brook Country Club, Annandale, NJ, May 2, 2017

    Women and the Law, Rutgers University political science senior seminar cross-listed with a criminal justice class, Mercer County Community College, West Windsor, NJ, March 29, 2017

    “Evidence for Family Lawyers: An easy-to-follow set of strategies that get results,” NJICLE in cooperation with the NJSBA Family Law Section and the NJSBA Senior Lawyers Special Committee, Hyatt Morristown, NJ, March 11, 2017

    2017 Family Law Symposium, NJICLE in cooperation with the NJSBA Family Law Section, New Brunswick, NJ, January 28, 2017

    “A Review of the 2016 Family Law Opinions,” Middlesex County Bar Association Family Law Section’s General Membership Dinner Meeting, Edison, NJ, January 18, 2017

    “Electronic and Social Media in Family Litigation: What’s Useful?  What’s Beyond the Pale?” NJICLE, Iselin, NJ, November 21, 2016

    Second Saturday, The Women’s Institute for Financial Education, Florham Park, NJ, November 17, 2016

    “Hot Tips in Family Law – The Top 40: New Spins on the Oldies but Goodies,” NJSBA’s Family Law Section, New Brunswick, NJ, November 11, 2016

    “Going Dutch,” NJSBA Mid-Year Meeting, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, October 26, 2016

    “Family Law Bench/Bar Conference,” NJSBA Annual Meeting and Convention, Atlantic City, NJ, May 20, 2016

    “New Alimony Statute 101,” NJSBA Annual Meeting and Convention, Atlantic City, NJ, May 18, 2016

    “Litigationg Grandparents Visitation Cases and Third Party Custody and Visitation Claims in the Family Part,” NJAJ Boardwalk Seminar, Atlantic City, NJ, April 7, 2016

    “Understanding the Legislative Process,” NJSBA Town Hall Advocacy Program, Trenton, NJ, March 7, 2016

    “Cutting Edge Issues from the Perspective of Custody Evaluators,” NJSBA/NJICLE Family Law Symposium, New Brunswick, NJ, January 30, 2016

    “Hot Tips in Family Law 2015: The Road to Resolution – Trial, Arbitration, Mediation or Collaborative Law?” NJICLE & NJSBA, New Brunswick, NJ, November 11, 2015

    “Domestic Violence,” Moderator, NJSBA Mid-year Meeting, New Orleans, LA, November 5, 2015

    “Hot Tips for Handling Domestic Violence,” SCBA Marathon CLE Day, Bridgewater, NJ, October 12, 2015

    “ADR Day XVIII,”  NJICLE, New Brunswick, NJ, June 6, 2015

    “Recent Statutory Changes in Matrimonial Law,” Norris McLaughlin, P.A., Bridgewater, NJ, April 8, 2015

    “2015 Family Law Symposium,” NJSBA, New Brunswick, NJ, January 24, 2015

    “Evidence for Family Lawyers,” Central CLEFest, NJICLE, East Brunswick, NJ, November 24, 2014

    “Alimony Reform,” Legalpalooza, Morris County Bar Association, Morristown, NJ, November 22, 2014

    “Alimony Law in New Jersey,” Keep C.A.L.M. and Mediate, New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators, Somerset NJ, November 15, 2014

    “Family Law: Advanced Issues,” National Business Institute, Newark, NJ, November 14, 2014

    “Alimony Update: The New Law,” Meadowlands Seminar 2014, East Rutherford, NJ, November 13, 2014

    “Hot Tips in Family Law-Rules are Made to be Broken: Exceptions, Dissents, & Loopholes,” NJICLE & NJSBA, New Brunswick, NJ, November 11, 2014

    “Legislative Issues Affecting the Family Law Practice,” Family Law Section Dinner Meeting, MCBA, Edison, NJ, November 10, 2014

    “Hop Tips in Family Law – Trouble in the City of Love,” NJSBA Mid-year Meeting, Paris, France, November 3, 2014

    “Family Law: Breaking Up is Hard to Do,” Sterling Education Services, Inc., Parsippany, NJ, October 22, 2014

    “New Jersey’s New Alimony Bill,” NJSBA, New Jersey Law Center, New Brunswick, NJ, September 18, 2014

    “2014 Family Law Section Bench/ Bar Conference, ” NJSBA Annual Meeting, Atlantic City, NJ, May 16, 2014

    “Child Support: The New Guidelines – What’s Changed; Advocacy for Deviating from the Guidelines; Children in College,” NJAJ Educational Foundation, Inc. Boardwalk Seminar 2014, Atlantic City, NJ, May 1, 2014

    “Third Parties in Family Law Matters,” NJICLE, Westin, Mount Laurel, NJ, March 8, 2014

    “Family Law: Breaking Up is Hard to Do,” SES, Holiday Inn, Cherry Hill, NJ, February 25, 2014

    “2014 Family Law Symposium,” NJICLE, Hilton, East Brunswick, NJ, January 25, 2014

    “Basic Interdisciplinary Collaborative Law Training,” NJICLE, New Jersey Law Center, New Brunswick, NJ, January 18, 2014(Day 2)

    “The Child Support Guidelines: How to Advocate to Deviate,” NJICLE, New Jersey Law Center, New Brunswick, NJ, December 14, 2013

    “Child Custody in the 21st Century,” NJICLE’s Central CLEfest, Iselin, NJ, November 25, 2013

    “Hot Tips in Family Law 2013/2014, Rules Are Made to be Broken: Exceptions, Dissents, and Loopholes,” NJICLE, New Brunswick, NJ, November 11, 2013

    “Child Custody in the 21st Century,” NJICLE’s South CLEfest, Atlantic City, NJ, August 16, 2013

    “Family Law for Paralegals & New Attorneys: A 2013 Update,” NJSBA Paralegal Committee, New Brunswick, NJ, August 1, 2013

    Bench Bar Seminar,” NJSBA Annual Meeting, Atlantic City, NJ, May 17, 2013

    Sheridan and the Innocent Spouse,” NJAJ Educational Foundation, Inc. Boardwalk Seminar 2013, Atlantic City, NJ, April 18, 2013

    “Hot Tips in Family Law: Marriage in 2013,” NJICLE, November 12, 2012

    “Work-Life Balance: Is it in the Cards?” NJSBA Mid-Year Meeting, Las Vegas, Nevada, October 13, 2012

    “Change in Circumstances – Modification of Support When Lady Luck Deals Your Client a Bad Hand,” NJSBA Mid-Year Meeting, Las Vegas, Nevada, October 12, 2012

    “Collaborative Law Training,” NJICLE, New Jersey Law Center, New Brunswick, NJ, March 16, 2012 (Day 1)

    “Collaborative Law Training,” NJICLE, New Jersey Law Center, New Brunswick, NJ, March 17, 2012 (Day 2)

    “Hot Tips in Family Law 2013/2014: Rules are Made to be Broken,” NJICLE, November 11, 2013

    “Understanding the Neurobiology and Symptoms of Chemical and Other Addictions: Implications for Children, Families, & Custody,” AFCC, October 12, 2013

    “Hot Tips in Family Law: Marriage in 2013,” NJICLE, November 12, 2012

    “Work-Life Balance: Is it in the Cards?” NJSBA Mid-Year Meeting, Las Vegas, Nevada, October 13, 2012

    “Change in Circumstances – Modification of Support When Lady Luck Deals Your Client a Bad Hand,” NJSBA Mid-Year Meeting, Las Vegas, Nevada, October 12, 2012

    “Collaborative Law Training,” NJICLE, New Jersey Law Center, New Brunswick, New Jersey, March 16, 2012 (Day 1)

    “Collaborative Law Training,” NJICLE, New Jersey Law Center, New Brunswick, New Jersey, March 17, 2012 (Day 2)

    Basic Interdisciplinary Collaborative Divorce,” NJICLE, New Jersey Law Center, New Brunswick, New Jersey, April 9, 2011 (Day 1)

    Basic Interdisciplinary Collaborative Divorce,” NJICLE, New Jersey Law Center, New Brunswick, New Jersey, April 16, 2011 (Day 2)

    Imputation Issues,” NJICLE & NJSBA Family Law Section, January 29, 2011

    “Collaborative Divorce: An Essential Primer for All Family Law Practitioners,” NJICLE, Edison, New Jersey, June 17, 2010

    “NJSBA Annual Meeting and Convention,” May 19-21, 2010

    “2010 Family Law Symposium,” January 29, 2010, Hyatt Regency Hotel, New Brunswick

    “Rights and Responsibilities of Adults in Nontraditional Families,” New Jersey State Bar Association Annual Mid-Year Meeting, Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, November 5-9, 2008

    “What Everyone Should Know About Divorce, Child Custody and Grandparents’ Rights,” New Jersey State Bar Foundation, New Jersey Law Center, New Brunswick, New Jersey, October 23, 2008

    “Settlement – Civil Restraining Orders,” Hot Tips in Family Law 2008: Back to Basics, New Jersey State Bar Association Family Law Section in association with the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education, New Brunswick, New Jersey, September 20,2008

    “2008 Family Law Symposium,” New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education in cooperation with the New Jersey State Bar Association Family Law Section, Iselin, New Jersey, January 25-26, 2008

    “Are Best Practices Forcing Litigation to Go ‘Sideways’: ‘To Whine or Not to Wine’ Recent Court Rule Amendments for Civil and Family Cases,” Family Law Section Meeting, Annual Mid-Year Meeting, New Jersey State Bar Association, Santa Barbara, California, November 8, 2007

    “Family Court Rules: Overview and 2008 Update,” New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education, October 23, 2007

    Imputation Issues,” NJICLE & NJSBA Family Law Section, January 29, 2011

    Collaborative Divorce: An Essential Primer for All Family Law Practitioners, NJICLE, Edison, New Jersey, June 17, 2010

    Norris McLaughlin, P.A. Attorneys to Speak at the NJSBA Annual Meeting and Convention, May 19-21, 2010

    Jeralyn speaks at 2010 Family Law Symposium, January 29, 2010, Hyatt Regency Hotel, New Brunswick

    “Rights and Responsibilities of Adults in Nontraditional Families,” New Jersey State Bar Association Annual Mid-Year Meeting, Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, November 5-9, 2008

    “What Everyone Should Know About Divorce, Child Custody and Grandparents’ Rights,” New Jersey State Bar Foundation, New Jersey Law Center, New Brunswick, New Jersey, October 23, 2008

    “Settlement – Civil Restraining Orders,” Hot Tips in Family Law 2008: Back to Basics, New Jersey State Bar Association Family Law Section in association with the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education, New Brunswick, New Jersey, September 20,2008

    2008 Family Law Symposium, New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education in cooperation with the New Jersey State Bar Association Family Law Section, Iselin, New Jersey, January 25-26, 2008

    “Are Best Practices Forcing Litigation to Go ‘Sideways’: ‘To Whine or Not to Wine’ Recent Court Rule Amendments for Civil and Family Cases,” Family Law Section Meeting, Annual Mid-Year Meeting, New Jersey State Bar Association, Santa Barbara, California, November 8, 2007

    “Family Court Rules: Overview and 2008 Update,” New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education, October 23, 2007

    “Divorce Law, Child Custody and Grandparents Rights,” New Jersey State Bar Foundation, New Jersey Law Center, New Brunswick, October 16, 2007

    “Hot Tips in Family Law 2007: Factors, Grounds & Tests,” Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education in cooperation with the New Jersey State Bar Association Family Law Section, September 29, 2007

    “Custody Conversations – Fun with Dick and Jane Skits and Panel Discussions,” New Jersey State Bar Association Family Law Section, May 16, 2007

    “The ABC’s of an Effective CDR Presentation – From the Presenter’s Perspective,” Boardwalk Seminar 2007, Association of Trial Lawyers of America-New Jersey Educational Foundation, Atlantic City, New Jersey, April 26-27, 2007

    “What Everyone Should Know About Child Custody and Grandparents’ Rights,” New Jersey State Bar Foundation, New Jersey Law Center, New Brunswick, New Jersey, January 10, 2007

    “Hot Tips on International Family Law Issues,” Mid-Year Meeting of the New Jersey State Bar Association, Rome, Italy, November 10, 2006

    “Key Family Court Rules,” 2006 Family Law Summer Institute, New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education, New Jersey Law Center, New Brunswick, July 26-27, 2006

    Ten Things the Client Should Never Say to Their Children,” ATLA-NJ Educational Foundation’s Boardwalk Seminar 2006, April 28,2006

    Hot Topics Seminar,” November 3, 2001

  • Awards & Recognition

    2018 Martindale-Hubbell Preeminent logo

    Jeralyn Lawrence has earned the Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent® status. A description of the selection methodology can be found here. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

     

    Super Lawyers logo

    Jeralyn Lawrence has been selected to the Super Lawyers list since 2017. The Super Lawyers List is issued by Thompson Reuters. A description of the selection methodology can be found here. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

     

    Jeralyn Lawrence was selected to the 2020 Best Lawyers® list. A description of the selection methodology can be found here. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

     

    Jeralyn L. Lawrence was selected to the 2020 Best Lawyers® Lawyer of The Year list. A description of the selection methodology can be found here. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

     

    2018 Lawyer of the Year logo

    Jeralyn L. Lawrence was selected to the 2018 Best Lawyers® Lawyer of The Year list. A description of the selection methodology can be found here. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

     

    2016 Lawyer of the Year logo

    Jeralyn L. Lawrence was selected to the 2016 Best Lawyers® Lawyer of The Year list. A description of the selection methodology can be found here. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

     

    Award logos

Announcements

Blog
Cohabitation – Don’t Misquote, Misapply or Misuse Landau v. Landau

Landau v. Landau does not address the merits of what is or is not cohabitation. Further, this case does not address whether the facts specific to it establish prima facia evidence of cohabitation. Landau does stand for the proposition that a court must first find a prima facia showing of cohabitation before it can order…

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Private School Costs in New Jersey Divorces

In a New Jersey case where the parties’ agreement calls for them to “equally divide…school costs,” and one party does not contribute to the costs for years, even though not explicitly asked to do so, a court can enforce the agreement and compel contribution. In the unpublished Appellate Division case of Fanelli v. Hnatowski, the…

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Blog
New Jersey Intrastate Relocation and A.J. v. R.J.

Here is an interesting case regarding New Jersey intrastate relocation. In the case of A.J. v. R.J., the mother unilaterally moved 62.3 miles away from Elizabeth, New Jersey to Mt. Holly, New Jersey after sending only one text message to the father about the move. The father is an active and involved parent. He enjoyed…

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Blog
Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey

A client may want a divorce, but may be unsure on what basis a court would grant them a divorce.  In New Jersey, there are several grounds for divorce.  The legal term for grounds for divorce is “cause of action.”  In every divorce, a party has to allege a specific cause of action that warrants…

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Blog
What Records and Documents Should I Gather if I am Considering a Divorce?

If you are considering a divorce in New Jersey, a wise starting point is to inventory your financial records and documents. Here is a list of 14 records you should gather: Social Security Earnings Statement.  This is a snap shot of both parties’ respective income.  The statement shows a clear picture of the earning history…

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Blog
Protecting Personal Information in a New Jersey Divorce

  The basic presumption in New Jersey is that Court records are open to the public. This means that anyone can go into a New Jersey courthouse and review a divorce file of a relative, friend, or even a stranger. Before irreconcilable differences became a viable option as a cause of action for divorce, many…

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Blog
Do NJ Child Support Guidelines automatically allow for an increase when my kid reaches a certain age?

Simply put, the answer is no. In New Jersey, there are no automatic increases in child support under the NJ Child Support Guidelines. The Case In a recent case, Dunigan v. Wilson, the New Jersey Appellate Division rejected the trial court’s decision to increase child support by 14.6%* because one of the children reached the…

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Blog
Blended Family? Think about this

More than half of the families in the United States were formed by remarriages or re-coupling of relationships. Based on current statistics, half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce.  And, the average length of a marriage is seven years. With the ending of marriages, the subsequent remarriages or the forming of…

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Blog
Equitable Distribution of Negative Equity

  The factors that must be considered by the court for purposes of determining equitable distribution of assets and debts acquired during marriage are identified in N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23.1. Items included for purposes of equitable distribution are: marital properties vehicles bank accounts stock options retirement accounts mortgages credit card debts automobile loans any other assets and…

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Blog
Extreme Higher Earning Parent – No Increase in Support

  Child Support with an Extreme Higher Earning Parent – In a recent New Jersey appellate division case of Ianniello v. Pizzo, the appellate division upheld the trial court’s denial of the custodial parent’s request to increase child support.  The non-custodial parent was paying $10,000 per month.  The custodial parent sought a $65,000 per month…

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Blog
A Penalty Provision in the Marital Settlement Agreement

  In New Jersey divorces, marital settlement agreements include language that addresses the ramifications if either person breaches any provision of the agreement.  Often, the agreement includes a penalty provision that requires breaching party to pay the other’s counsel fees if the matter requires court intervention.  More often than not, courts have largely ignored such…

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Blog
Legislative Impact on Family Law – A Sneak Peek

I knew I wanted to be a lawyer for as long as I can remember. My father is a retired juvenile detective from New Jersey.  I developed my love for the law through him. Law school proved challenging, requiring round-the-clock studying, but this diligence allowed me to graduate second in my class. Throughout law school and…

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Blog
A Modern Family – Third Parties Raising Children

The definitions of  “parenthood” and “family” continue to evolve. Today, it is not uncommon for a child to have a parent-child relationship with someone other than the biological parents. As the needs of children change, and as society changes, so does the law surrounding custody and parenting time. Therefore, a third party who lives in…

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Blog
Special Needs Child Support in New Jersey

I often hear attorneys say calculating child support is the easiest part of their job. In New Jersey, we have Child Support Guidelines.  As such, the New Jersey guidelines will be presumably accepted by both the parties and the Court. Child support is based on the parties’ respective combined available net income.  The support is…

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Blog
The Role of a Parent Coordinator in Custody Issues

Custody and parenting time issues are highly contentious and hotly contested in many New Jersey divorce cases.  Because of this, a Parent Coordinator can serve divorcing parties well by assisting them in trying to resolve their issues. Often times when either the parties agree or the Court enters an Order regarding same, a Parent Coordinator…

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Blog
Prolonged Separation = Divorce Complications

The New Jersey Appellate Division case of Milcarsky v. Milcarsky, confirmed the trial court’s decisions about thorny issues resulting from prolonged separation. In this case, the parties separated after nine years of marriage.  However, neither filed for divorce until 2015, 11 years later. The court treated this marriage as one of 20 years’ duration. The…

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Blog
What the heck is a QDRO?

Retirement accounts are often a divorcing couple’s largest asset – the home being another.  A QDRO must be entered by the court to divide retirement assets during a divorce in New Jersey. What does QDRO stand for? Unless you are going through, or have gone through a divorce, you have probably never heard of a…

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Blog
Is Living With Your Best Friend’s Brother Considered Cohabitation?

In the world of New Jersey family law, cohabitation is a term of art. It involves a mutually supportive, intimate, personal relationship where parties share the duties, responsibilities and privileges typically associated with marriage. Said another way, it is a relationship that has the hallmarks of marriage, but without the marriage ceremony. Evidence is Key…

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Blog
What should you think about if considering a divorce?

  While each case is different, there are general issues every client must contemplate when considering a divorce in New Jersey. Custody & Parenting Time The first and foremost consideration is if there are any children of the marriage. If so, the issues of custody and parenting time must be addressed. There are two different…

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Blog
Tax Issues for Divorced or Separated Individuals

The IRS, Publication 504, outlines a host of tax filing requirements for people who are married or separated when filing their annual tax returns. You are considered divorced for the entire year if you are divorced on any day in a given tax year. This is true even if you got divorced on December 31. …

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Blog
Criminal Charges: Interference with Custody

In New Jersey, people who interfere with custody can face criminal charges.  While rare, however, it can be effective when someone defies a court Order enforcing custody and parenting time. In a recent New Jersey case (State v. Thomas), a mother was convicted of third-degree interference with custody.  She took her daughter to a make-up…

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Blog
Divorce for Police Officers in New Jersey

Growing up as the daughter of a police officer in New Jersey, and now as a divorce lawyer, I have always admired and respected the men and women in blue.  Likewise, I saw the pride my father had every day when wearing his uniform, the respect he received from the public and his satisfaction in…

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Blog
Prenuptial Agreements, What’s the Deal?

Planning your wedding can be a lot of fun. There is much to do for the big day — the perfect dress, the matching tuxedo, the ceremony, the reception, the honeymoon and the million other details in between. Let me suggest adding another item to that seemingly never-ending “to-do” list – consider entering into a…

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Blog
Does a Child’s Income Impact Child Support?

In a New Jersey divorce, parents have an obligation to support unemancipated children as they are not self-sufficient. Child support is based on ten statutory factors.  But the primary factor in determining child support is the parents’ respective incomes.  In some cases, however, a child may have income or assets of their own. When establishing…

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Blog
Collaborative Divorce in New Jersey, say what?

Generally speaking, 97% – 98% of all divorce cases settle. Judges often tell divorcing parties that it is not a matter of “if” a case will settle, it is a matter of “when”.  Some cases settle in days, some weeks and others may linger for years. There are many factors that affect the time in…

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Blog
Palimony – Alimony for the Unmarried

New Jersey does not have common law marriages.  However, New Jersey allows unmarried parties to assert a claim for palimony. Often times the parties lived together but never married but have held themselves out as or operated like a married couple.  The expectation of continued support come from promises made during this time. Recently the…

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Blog
College Contributions in New Jersey Divorce Law

Divorced parents in New Jersey have an obligation to contribute to their children’s college expenses. On the other hand, married parents in New Jersey do not have the same obligation. The case of Newburgh v. Arrigo provides a list of factors for a court to consider in assessing the obligation of the parents. This case…

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Burkert Limits the Definition of Harassment

Many domestic violence cases center around allegations of harassment. The definition of harassment is when somebody intends to alarm or seriously annoy another person. To successfully obtain a final restraining order, the alleged victim must prove a predicate act of domestic violence.  Harassment is one example of such an act.  They must also prove that…

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What is a Marital Settlement Agreement?

  The main goal of every divorce case is to reach an agreement with your spouse. A Marital Settlement Agreement, written and signed by both spouses, is a contract that defines the terms of their divorce. Depending on the issues in your case, the Marital Settlement Agreement must address a variety of issues. First, custody…

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Child Support Guidelines in New Jersey

  In New Jersey, child support is an issue in cases including children.  The tool used to calculate the child support awards are Child Support Guidelines.  The Guidelines must be used as a rebuttable presumption to establish and modify all child support orders. A rebuttable presumption means that an award pursuant to a guidelines calculation…

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What does imputation of income mean?

  In a New Jersey divorce, it is crucial to know the income of both parties.  It is equally important to know what each is capable of earning. The income of the parties must be known in order to resolve issues like alimony and child support. In many divorces, however, the income-producing spouse suddenly acquires…

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Same-Sex Marriages & Irreconcilable Differences in NJ

  On October 18, 2013, the New Jersey Supreme Court recognized same-sex marriages in the State of New Jersey. As part of that decision, the Court said, “[S]ame-sex couples who cannot marry are not treated equally under the law today. The harm to them is real, not abstract or speculative.”   The rights couples to…

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Custody & Parenting Time Orders – Sanctions for Violating

It is frustrating when the other parent constantly violates a clear Order governing custody and parenting time for my client.  New Jersey court rules and previous cases provide for a host of remedies to enforce a Court Order. For example, a court can award compensatory parenting time in the event an Order is not being…

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Child as a Witness in a New Jersey Divorce?

One of the most difficult issues a family law attorney faces is when a child is a witness to, or has important information about, an issue in his or her parent’s divorce case. I have never had a child provide a certification to the court.  I also never called a child as a witness.  Even…

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Divorce Litigation v. Divorce Collaboration

In reality, the vast majority of divorce cases settle. It is a rare case that is tried to conclusion. The damage done to the parties and, more importantly, the children after a divorce trial is severe and pervasive. I would say it is probably so traumatic that one never truly recovers from the wreckage of…

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Is technology making it hard to find money in NJ divorces?

In some New Jersey divorce cases, one party may use technology to hide or move money.  The good news is that there will almost always be a trail that can be traced. Cyrptocurrency The use of cryptocurrency to conceal assets is a concerning trend. According to Wikipedia, “A cryptocurrency (or crypto currency) is a digital…

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Custody and Parenting Time in New Jersey

Often in a divorce, the main area in dispute is custody and parenting time of a child. Litigants can spend months of their lives and thousands of dollars fighting over their child. Types of Custody and Parenting Time There are two different types of custody – legal custody and residential custody. With regard to legal…

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In a New Jersey Divorce, Who Gets the Pets?

In New Jersey, there is limited case law addressing who keeps the family pets after a divorce. Just because there is limited case law, does not mean there are not disputes and issues when it comes to Poochie. As of now, New Jersey courts view and treat pets as personal property and not a custodial…

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Taking my divorce case to trial in New Jersey, now what?

I author many articles that deal with the settlement of a divorce or family law case. While it is true that most cases settle, there are a small percentage of New Jersey cases (1%-2%) that do not settle.  A Judge decides the fate of the litigants when there is no settlement. While I strongly urge…

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Key Terms in a New Jersey Divorce

Divorce is a scary time for anyone thinking about it or going through it.  Divorce is also something that people do not understand until they are in the process.  Therefore, I have created a list of key terms that are helpful to those new to divorce. Property Settlement Agreement/Marital Settlement Agreement – A written contract…

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Why do I need to hire a divorce lawyer?

Going through a divorce is a life changing event. It is an uncertain and scary time. During the divorce, you will make very important decisions that will affect the rest of your life. The assets you have acquired during the marriage need to be identified, valued and distributed. Your marital lifestyle will need to be…

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Grandparent Visitation in New Jersey

Recently, a judge I appeared before summed up the status of grandparent visitation in New Jersey. He said if a grandparent wants visitation and the parent says “jump,” the grandparents’ response should be “how high?” Sad, but true, this is the current sentiment of grandparent rights in New Jersey. A fit parent has a fundamental…

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Alimony Basics in New Jersey

Generally speaking, alimony is often the hardest part of my job. Unlike child support, there are no alimony guidelines. Alimony is based on statutory factors and case law interpreting these factors. 12 New Jersey statutory factors: The actual need and ability of the parties to pay. The duration of the marriage. The parties’ age, physical…

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Alimony Duration & Exceptional Circumstances

In 2014, the New Jersey statute governing alimony was amended to modify certain provisions.  One of the changes was the alimony duration.  The statute, absent exceptional circumstances, alimony duration may not be longer than the length of the marriage. In the recent Appellate Division case of B.G. v. E.G, the court found exceptional circumstances, and…

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Unvested Stock Rewards in New Jersey Divorce

In a recent case, M.G. v S.M., the New Jersey Appellate Division decided in favor of the plaintiff husband.  The issue was whether or not a restricted stock award from the husband’s employer, which vested after the filing of a Complaint for Divorce, was subject to equitable distribution.  The trial court found that the wife was…

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What are you passionate about? Make time for it!

I am passionate about the practice of family and and am very active in the New Jersey State Bar Association (currently Treasurer). I recently participated in the NJSBA’s Women’s Leadership in the Law Forum at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick. A bonus from the event is the compilation of the insights and…

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An Emotionally Healthy Divorce in New Jersey

One of my hardest jobs as a divorce lawyer is managing an angry and bitter client. It always troubles me when a client demands that I get them justice or retribution through the divorce process. It is generally a difficult conversation and contrary to every stereotype believed by the client.  Justice is not always, and…

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Does Valentine’s Day cause divorce?

I recently came across this article Day after Valentine’s kicks off divorce season on CNN’s website. It discusses the increase in people seeking divorce, and in one study, this increase was about 40% during this particular season of love. According to the article, some believe Valentine’s Day triggers spouses to make a move in their marriage. It also mentions several other factors, such…

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Myths & Facts in New Jersey Divorce Law

  Clients are often misguided as to their rights and obligations in a divorce and, because of this, their expectations are often unrealistic. Often, clients will tell me what they believe the law to be; only for me to have to tell them otherwise. Below are 6 of the the most common misperceptions that I…

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Super Bowl Sunday – Dangerous Day for Men and Women?

This Sunday, America will be celebrating our non-official national holiday  – The Super Bowl. As a divorce lawyer, I sometimes get asked, “Is it true that there are more domestic violence incidents on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day?” The Myth During my 21 years of practicing divorce law, I have not seen an…

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How does New Jersey treat victims of domestic violence?

Wife beating had been a fact of life for centuries. Marital abuse was traditionally acceptable and early common law recognized a husband’s right to beat his wife. Domestic violence was considered proper discipline. An old English proverb “A woman, a horse, a hickory tree, the more you beat ‘em the better they be” was the…

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What is an uncontested divorce hearing in New Jersey?

Statistically speaking, 97%-98% of all divorce cases settle before trial. Of the remaining 2%-3%, half of those cases settle during trial. If you are going through a divorce, it is safe to say that your case will settle. I tell my clients that generally it is not a matter of “if,” but a matter of…

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Parenting Time – Who is Responsible for Driving the Kids?

Often in custody disputes, there are disagreements over who is responsible for transporting the children to and from parenting time. In the Appellate Division case of Devorak v. Devorak, the court held that the parties were to share equally in the driving responsibilities. When the parties’ divorced, both lived in Woodbridge, New Jersey. They agreed…

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College expenses: can a parent get out of paying post-divorce?

In the recent Appellate Division case of M.F.W. v. G.O., the court upheld the lower court’s order requiring the father to contribute to his daughter’s college costs. The court, on motion, allocated the daughter’s college expenses 70/30 and declined to hold a hearing on the issue, finding that there were no issues of material facts…

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Is it worth it to get a prenup if you don’t have money like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos?

There are headlines all over the Internet about how Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos are getting divorced and do not have a pre-nuptial agreement.  Granted, there was no way they could have imagined that their fortune would be at valued at approximately $137 Billion.  I guess this is good news for MacKenzie as she can make…

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Things Clients Should Never Say to Their Children

After fifteen years of exclusively practicing matrimonial and family law, there are things I know for sure about divorce.  If you are already divorced, going through a divorce or contemplating a divorce, please read the following list.  Commit yourself to living by it.   It truly will be the best gift you can give your children. Here…

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Spying via i-Devices May Be Stalking in New Jersey

In this case, the court found the husband to have stalked his wife, adding that his intention in doing so was to gain evidence against her to use in their pending divorce proceeding.

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The Law on Removing a Child from New Jersey

Relocation/removal cases are some of the most difficult and heart-wrenching of all. This change in the law is welcome, and will hopefully reduce the strife and stress in children’s lives.

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Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: How Does it Impact Divorce?

  The recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed into law on December 22, 2017, by President Donald J. Trump.  The Act leaves family lawyers eager to understand its implications in preparation for an overwhelming number of questions from clients. The Act repeals the deduction for the alimony payments and their inclusion as income to…

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