She represents clients in all types of matrimonial actions, from basic matters to complex asset valuation cases. Rita is a trained Collaborative Divorce Attorney and a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. She has both trial experience and alternative dispute resolution training in matrimonial actions.
Recognized by the New Jersey Superior Court as an R.1:40 Qualified Family Law Mediator, Rita is a Panelist for the Superior Court, Early Settlement Panel in Somerset County and Executive Committee of the Somerset County Family Practice Committee. Rita has been trained by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers as a Family Law Arbitrator.
Rita is the Current Co-Chair of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation’s Family Law Litigation Committee for the current Bar year, and has served in that capacity since 2015. She was previously recognized as Outstanding Subcommittee Chair for her 2015-2016 and 2017-2018 terms. Rita has also served as Editor of the American Bar Association Family Law Litigation Subcommittee’s E-Newsletter. She is a member of the ABA’s Diverse Speaker’s Directory on matrimonial and family law matters.
Rita is a member of the Family Law Executive Committee of the New Jersey State Bar Association and serves as the Liaison to the American Bar Association for the Executive Committee. She is a member of the Appellate Practice Committee of the New Jersey State Bar Association. She is also a Trustee for the Somerset County Bar Association, with a three-year term commencing in September 2018.
She was named to the Board of Editors for the American Bar Association’s Section of Litigation Appellate Practice Journal, commencing with the Spring 2018 edition. Rita is also a Member of the Editorial Board of the New Jersey Lawyer Magazine, which is the legal publication of the New Jersey State Bar Association.
Rita is a frequent lecturer on legal topics, including the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Institute of Continuing Legal Education, at its Hot Tips and Family Law seminars.
Western New England College School of Law | J.D., 1997
Drew University | B.A., 1993, cum laude
American Bar Association
New Jersey State Bar Association
Somerset County Bar Association
Morris County Bar Association
New Jersey State Municipal Prosecutors Association
New Jersey Collaborative Law Group
International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
New Jersey Women Lawyer’s Association
Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
New Jersey Association for Justice
New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators
“Hot Tips in Family Law,” NJSBA Family Law Section in association with the NJICLE, New Jersey Law Center, New Brunswick, NJ, November 12, 2018
“Post-Obergefell – Part 2: A Look at Case Law and Recent Developments in 2018,” ABA Section of Litigation Family Law Litigation Committee Roundtable, Call-in, May 30, 2018
“Shades of Grey: Seniors and Divorce,” NJICLE in cooperation with NJSBA Family Law Section, Hyatt Regency, New Brunswick, January 26, 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
“The Next Round of Litigation after Obergefell: Four Key Cases for 2017,” ABA Section of Litigation Family Law Litigation Committee Call-in Seminar Co-sponsored by the LGBT Litigator and Civil Rights Committees, July 26, 2017
Second Saturday, The Women’s Institute for Financial Education, Florham Park, NJ, July 20, 2017
“Using Evidence of Civil Restraints to Support the Claim of Harassment”, “Hot Tips in Family Law The Top 40: New Spins on the Oldies but Goodies,” NJICLE & NJSBA, New Brunswick, NJ, November 11, 2016
“How to Avoid (or at least manage) Secondary Trauma in Family Law Cases,” “Hot Tips in Family Law,” NJICLE & NJSBA, New Brunswick, NJ, November 11, 2015
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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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,…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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…Read More