NJ Family Legal Blog


Jessica contributes to the New Jersey Family Legal Blog. This blog provides practical information and useful tips related to such topics as alimony, child support, custody, parenting time, divorce, equitable distribution, prenuptial agreements, domestic violence, and grandparent visitation. This blog is an excellent resource for individuals with New Jersey specific family law questions and advisors whose clients may encounter family law issues.

Recent Blog Posts

  • The Supreme Court Finds a Right to Counsel for Indigent Parents Opposing Private Adoptions In the recent decision In the Matter of the Adoption of a Child by J.E.V. and D.G.V., the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously held that: [A]n indigent parent who faces termination of parental rights in a contested private adoption proceeding has a right to appointed counsel.  A poor parent who seeks to protect the fundamental right to raise a child, at a contested hearing under the Adoption Act, is entitled to counsel under the due process guarantee of the New Jersey Constitution. In... More
  • The Interplay Between Personal Firearm Forfeiture and Domestic Violence Proceedings Gets Some Clarification from the NJ Supreme Court Recently, the New Jersey Supreme Court provided some important clarification with regard to the issue of firearm forfeiture in the wake of an arrest and firearm seizure pursuant to the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (NJPDVA), N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 to 35.  In In the Matter of the Application of New Jersey for the Forfeiture of Personal Weapons and Firearms Identification Card Belonging to F.M., the Supreme Court squarely addressed the following important question:  Under what circumstances can a personal firearm and firearms purchaser identification... More
  • When it Comes to Enforcement, Act NOW Not Later A recent unpublished decision, Strunck v. Figueroa, serves as a not-so-gentle reminder that sometimes an enforcement application can be “too little, too late,” and that it is imperative to be proactive to protect your rights under a divorce decree or agreement, especially when your adversary acts in bad faith.  In Strunck, a 2011 divorce decree awarded the plaintiff $23,369, which was to be transferred from the defendant’s retirement account.  Before the plaintiff could act to collect the $23,369, however, the defendant withdrew the... More
  • Filling in the Gaps: The Addition of “Criminal Coercion” as a Predicate Act Under the NJ Prevention of Domestic Violence Act In August 2015, the New Jersey Legislature formally amended the Prevention Against Domestic Violence Act (N.J.S.A. 2C:25-19(a)) to include the predicate act of criminal coercion as a fifteenth form of domestic violence (in addition to: homicide, assault, terroristic threats, kidnapping, criminal restraint, false imprisonment, sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, lewdness, criminal mischief, burglary, criminal trespass, harassment, and stalking, all of which are as defined under their respective criminal statutes). By way of background, in order to obtain a restraining order under... More
  • ‘Til Death Do Us Part…or Not. In the recent case O’Hara v. Estate of John B. O’Hara, Jr., the Appellate Division reminded us that even though the death of a party to a marriage ends that marriage, it doesn’t always end the divorce.  In Carr v. Carr, 120 N.J. 330 (1990), our Court examined what happens in the event that a party dies mid-divorce – after the Complaint has been filed, but before the divorce is finalized.  You might think that when this happens, the case simply ends... More
  • Baby, Now You Really Can Drive My Car: Questions About Child Support & Driving Expenses, Answered Ah, the moment you have been waiting for – nay, dreaming of – has arrived:  your child has gotten his or her driver’s license!  It was a long time coming, after 17 long, hard years of carpooling to school, arguing with the other parents about who is going to pick the kids up from their mall hang-out session, shuttling your child to sports practices, lessons, tutors, and so forth.  Freedom is yours!  There’s just one question:  who’s going to pay... More
  • Divorcing from Your Spouse’s Student Loan Debt I recently came across an article, Getting Financially Naked with Your Partner, by Erin Lowry, that got me thinking about a question that is bound to arise more and more in this practice.  Millennials, as a generation, are beset by student loan debt at the highest levels in history.  As they start marrying and, as a corollary, divorcing, a common question they will ask is: what responsibility do I have when it comes to my husband’s / wife’s student loan debt?   As with many issues,... More
  • And I Know When That Hotline Bling… Thanks to Drake, we all know that can only mean one thing. By thecomeupshow [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia CommonsSo what happens when your hotline bling(s), and you’re in the midst of or even about to be in the midst of a divorce? By the time they are thinking about a divorce or going through the divorce process, many clients have moved on and are ready to get out there and see other people.  And many of them are wondering how that... More
  • When Should Child Support Start? Last week, the prolific Judge Lawrence R. Jones, J.S.C. shed some much-needed light on an essential question; namely: can the court retroactively set an obligor’s child support obligation to a date earlier than the filing date of an actual motion to establish child support in the reported case of Kakstys v. Stevens?  According to Judge Jones, the answer is yes.  More specifically, the answer is yes – at least as far back as the filing date of the complaint for... More
  • WHO'S YOUR DADDY? In a recent case, Passaic County Board of Social Services on Behalf of T.M. v. A.S., the New Jersey Family Court encountered a unique set of facts.  A mother of two twin girls sought to establish the paternity of her daughters in order that the father would be obligated to commence paying child support.  She named the defendant, A.S., as the father and he submitted to DNA testing.  As it turned out, the DNA test established that A.S. was the... More