• Biography

    Kristyl M. Berckes represents clients in all aspects of matrimonial and family law, including all stages of divorce litigation, mediation and arbitration, custody and parenting time issues, alimony and child support, separation and marital settlement agreements, post-judgment litigation, domestic violence, grandparent visitation rights, palimony, and domestic partnership matters under the Domestic Partnership Acts.

    In 2016, Kristyl was awarded with the NJSBA Young Lawyer’s Division Professional Achievement Award and was recognized by the National Academy of Family Law Attorney’s as a Top 10 Family Law Attorney Under 40.  She has also been selected for inclusion on the list of New Jersey Super Lawyers Rising Stars for Family Law in 2017 and 2018.  The American Institute of Family Law Attorneys has named Kristyl as one of the “10 Best” Attorneys for the State of New Jersey since 2015.

    Kristyl is co-chair of the Somerset County Bar Association’s Young Lawyer’s Division, a member of the NJSBA Appellate Practice Committee, and just completed her fellowship for the NJSBA Leadership Academy.

    Prior to and while attending law school, Kristyl served as a New Jersey high school English teacher. Since concluding a  judicial clerkship with the Honorable James G. Troiano, J.S.C, in the Essex County Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part, she has devoted her private practice exclusively to matrimonial and family law matters.

  • Education & Career

    Education

    Seton Hall University School of Law |  J.D., 2010
    Boston College | B.A., 2004

    Bar Admissions

    New Jersey
    New York
    U.S. District Court

    • District of New Jersey

    Professional Affiliations

    New Jersey State Bar Association

    • Appellate Practice Committee
    • Leadership Academy Fellow (2017-2018)

    New York State Bar Association

    Somerset County Bar Association

    • Co-Chair, Young Lawyer’s Division

  • Representative Matters

    Anthony C. Major v. Julie Maguire (074345), A-110-13 (N.J. 2016)

  • Awards

    10 Best Lawyers 2015-2016 logo

    2015 NJSBA Young Lawyer’s Division Personal Achievement Award

     

    Super Lawyers logo

    Kristyl M. Berckes was selected to the 2018 Rising Stars Super Lawyers list. 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.

Announcements

Blog
Considerations for the Blended Family

More than half of the families in the United States were formed by remarriages or recoupling 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
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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Blog
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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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
Private School Costs in New Jersey

  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 Hnatowski v. Hnatowski,…

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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…

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Blog
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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Blog
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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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
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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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 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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Blog
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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Blog
Can a parent get out of paying college expenses after a 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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Blog
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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Blog
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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Blog
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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Blog
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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Blog
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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