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It's Harder For Your Ex To Move Your Kid From NJ

Posted by Steven J. Kaplan, Esq. on August 14, 2017

     What happens if your spouse wants to permanently move your child to a state other than New Jersey?

     Our NJ statutes have made it clear for decades that either the other spouse's consent or an order of a NJ Superior Court Judge is required before such a permanant move can be allowed to occur.

     Since 1988 the NJ Courts have been making it easier for custodial parents to make such a move.

     That may have changed dramatically last week.

     On August 8, 2017 the New Jersey Supreme Court rewrote the law on what is required when one parent wants to move children from the state of New Jersey on a permanent basis without the other parent's consent.

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Topics: Child Custody

What It Means To Serve Divorce Papers in NJ

Posted by Steven J. Kaplan, Esq. on July 28, 2017


A new client recently hired me and asked me to "serve" divorce papers on his wife that same day.

I explained to him that his request would be very difficult, and probably impossible, to do.

His request made me realize that there is confusion about what it  means to serve divorce papers in New Jersey.

Let me share with you how I explained to this man how to serve divorce papers in NJ.

Before divorce papers can be "served", they must first be created and then "filed" with the Court.

Divorce proceedings in NJ begin with your lawyer preparing your divorce complaint.  The complaint states your nj grounds for divorce and gives the judge the reasons that you are asking for a divorce (most of the time the reasons given are "irreconciliable differences", but not always.}

Once the divorce complaint has been prepared by your lawyer, it is sent to the county courthouse to be  "filed" (that is, received by a courthouse employee and stamped with the word "filed", and assigned a case number known as a "docket number".)

By having a "docket number" assigned to it, there is now a place to file your papers at the county courthouse.  It's kind of like having a locker at the local beach club...you know, a place to store your stuff...well, maybe not exactly the same, but you get the idea.

The divorce complaint, now bearing that all important court-assigned case number (ie, the "docket number")  is then returned to your lawyer so that he can arrange for proper "service" upon your spouse, who is now known as the defendant.

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What Is Joint Custody in NJ?

Posted by Steven J. Kaplan, Esq. on June 25, 2017

I get asked all the time "What is joint custody in NJ?  What does it really mean in practical terms to me?"

The bottom line is that in New Jersey, there are two broad types of custody.

"Physical Custody" deals with where the child lives, and "Legal Custody" deals with who makes major decisions for the child.

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Do It Right The First Time

Posted by Steven J. Kaplan, Esq. on May 31, 2017

As a divorce lawyer half of my clients are people who are getting divorced.

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The Monmouth County Intensive Settlement Panel

Posted by Steven J. Kaplan, Esq. on May 13, 2017

What happens if your Monmouth County divorce case cannot be settled through conventional means?

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"Why Won't The Other Monmouth County Divorce Attorney Negotiate?"

Posted by Steven J. Kaplan, Esq. on May 11, 2017

"Why won't the other monmouth county divorce attorney negotiate?"

That's what Barbara asked me.

"Steve", she said.  "We've been trying to get them to respond to our settlement proposal that I asked you to draft 2 months ago and that you mailed to them 2 months ago.  No response.

"We've been trying to get them to attend a four way conference to begin a dialogue.  No response.

"You call and leave messages for his attorney to call you back.  You do not get the courtesy of a return call."

"Why can't you get the other attorney to negotiate?"

Barbara is a really nice lady.

She didn't deserve the treatment that her husband gave her.

She knew that he had affairs but she did not want the divorce.

Ultimately her husband left her for another woman.

When I'm representing the person who doesn't want the divorce or who doesn't care about it or just wants to be left alone, I don't get the phone calls like the one that I got from Barbara.

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Topics: Divorce, Monmouth County divorce attorney

The Court Should Be Open For Parenting Time Emergencies

Posted by Steven J. Kaplan, Esq. on May 9, 2017

In an earlier blog post I proposed the creation of a new New Jersey statute that would afford a parent immediate access to a judge or a hearing officer if the other parent is placing children at risk by abusing substances.

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What If Your Early Settlement Panel in NJ Fails?

Posted by Steven J. Kaplan, Esq. on May 7, 2017

You're ready.

More important, your attorney is ready.  Ready for your New Jersey Early Settlement Panel.  Ready to settle your divorce case and get on with your life.

When your case is scheduled for an ESP, you and your lawyer will show up at 9:00 in the particular judge's courtroom at the Monmouth County Courthouse, and the judge will give a description from the bench as to what the Early Settlement Panel program here in Monmmouth County is all about.

The Judge will explain that there are volunteer lawyers here today who have expertise in divorce law who are here to help anybody who may be struggling on one issue or 100 issues to try to come to an overall resolution of their Monmouth County divorce case.

Once the judge calls the calendar, the the lawyer for the husband will check in, the lawyer for the wife will check in, and once those two check in, the judge recognizes that that case is ready to go.

She will go through her whole list.  There may be 10 cases on the list or there may be 30 cases on the list, but there are only a few panelists available.  

This means that some people will be out of the courtroom by 9:15 am or so into the hallway looking for a conference room to start their panel, whereas other people will likely be waiting for an hour, or 2 hours, or 3 hours with nothing happening quite yet.

Those people who are waiting, very often will choose to get together in the hallway and try to negotiate any remaining issues so that they can try to get divorced that day, perhaps even before reaching their Early Settlement Panel.

Some divorcing spouses are well prepared and are even able to show up in court with a settled case What the judge normally does in this situation is once the whole list is called and she sees who is there and who is not yet there, and once the people who are scheduled for the ESP actually start leaving the courtroom and go to the panel rooms, the judge will normally call those people who are there with settled cases, and will actually complete the divorces for those people fairly immediately.  Frequently there are one, two, three, or maybe four of those settled cases there and ready to be finalized in Court.

For people who have settled their divorce cases at this point in time it is usually (but not always)  a very low key procedure. The hard part is behind them. The hard part was really negotiating the deal, but  the uncontested divorce hearing is really the judge just getting an opportunity to listen to the lawyers question their clients about the voluntariness of the of the agreement.

The Judge wants to make sure that neither the husband nor the wife is feeling any duress, that neither of them are under any the influence of any medicine or alcohol or anything that could affect their ability to understand what is happening in Court or what the agreement says, that type of thing.

Once the judge is comfortable that those concerns have been properly addressed, the judge will normally grant the divorce.

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Topics: Alimony, family court

Monmouth County Courthouse Facilities

Posted by Steven J. Kaplan, Esq. on May 4, 2017


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Can Your Monmouth County Divorce Lawyer Help You In An Emergency?

Posted by Steven J. Kaplan, Esq. on April 30, 2017


Maybe not.

What exactly is an emergency that justifies a Monmouth County Divorce Lawyer  bringing an emergent "order to show cause" in Monmouth County Family Court?

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Topics: Alimony, Child Custody

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