Blogs

We are proud to offer a selection of blogs covering different geographies and areas of the law. Please see below for a brief description of each, or jump to our recent posts.

New Jersey Family Law Blog

Fox Rothschild's New Jersey Family Legal 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.
View the New Jersey Family Law Blog

Pennsylvania Family Law Blog

The Pennsylvania Family Law Blog provides readers with information on and insight into Pennsylvania Family Law issues, including divorce, equitable distribution, alimony, child support, spousal support, alimony pendente lite, and custody.
View the Pennsylvania Family Law Blog

Recent Blog Posts

  • RETURN ON INVESTMENT: UGH! In February 2017 and again July 31, 2019, we posted an article regarding what returns should be ascribed to investment assets transferred in equitable distribution.  In 2019, with dividends reinvested the S&P 500 returned just over 33%.  This year-to-date, 8.5%, which is still not bad, but it has also been a wild ride.  In 2019, we wrote about a 10-year Treasury yielding a lousy 2.06%.  Today 0.83%. So last July, we played off an article appearing in Kiplinger’s Magazine that set... More
  • New Case Inadvertently Serves as a Tip for Couples with Young Children Divorcing/Setting Child Support The newly unreported (does not set precedent) decision of Covone v. Curreri makes two bold moves: (1) asserting that the passage of time is not a change in circumstance warranting a modification to child support and (2) confirming that the trial court has authority to allocate expenses between parents even without proof of their financial circumstances.  When rendering this decision, affirmed by the Appellate Court, it seems that the trial court inadvertently gave some tips for couples with young children... More
  • NJ Divorce Court State of Play After 6 Months of COVID 19 Restrictions Two common questions I hear from potential clients, as well as the general public, are (1) are the courts open and (2) can people even file new matters (divorce, enforcement, modification, etc.) Some express shock when then learn that the Courts never actually closed – well sort of. In March and early April, there was, let’s say, a hiccup of sorts as both the courts, attorneys and litigants got used to working remotely and dealing with court business remotely.  The Court... More
  • Statutes and Subsequent Qualification by the Supreme Court – They Both Matter. In a recent decision, E.H. v. K.H., the Appellate Division made clear that a finding of harassment in connection with the entry of a domestic violence restraining order must be based upon a judge’s findings on all elements of the criminal statute incorporated in the New Jersey Prevention Against Domestic Violence Act, qualified by any subsequent decisional law narrowing or clarifying the statute. In E.H., the trial judge found that the Defendant had committed harassment against the Plaintiff and that there... More
  • SO, WHERE DID YOU GET THAT LAWYER? This afternoon brought me an email from a fellow from West Virginia. The caption indicated it might involve a new divorce matter.  I opened it to read: “I found your name online and I wanted to send you a quick email before I called your office. If you are interested in taking on new clients or finding new cases, please take 30 seconds to read this email. You will not be disappointed. The way our program works is simple. We have your... More
  • FAMILY PROBLEMS ARE THE PROBLEMS. POLITICS ARE BUT A DIVERSION. If you were home last week or this week, the television screen has lit up with some of the most rancorous debate I have seen in my lifetime.  This is saying something because I was around for the summer of 1968 when the world watched assassins, protesters and rioters really start to take America apart.  At that time, 300 young Americans were dying each week in Vietnam.  The Chicago police were dragging delegates off the floor of the Democratic Convention. These... More
  • Update on CARES Act & Your Access to Retirement Accounts When the CARES Act passed last spring we wrote about the provisions, which allowed IRA & 401(K) holders to access their accounts while avoiding tax consequences.  We also noted that the devil is often found in the details.  Nevertheless, in late June, the IRS issued Notices 2020-50 and 2020-51.  You should review these publications and/or confer with your retirement consultant/administrator before taking any distribution or loan. First and most important from a temporal viewpoint.  If you took money out of a... More
  • AN IMPORTANT, ALBEIT NON-PRECEDENTIAL ADDITION TO RELOCATION LAW Since 2011, we have had a statute setting forth both a procedure and a judicial standard for the determination of requests to relocate with a child.  We have previously observed that the appellate decisions coming both before and after enactment of 23 Pa.C.S. 5337 have made relocation a rocky road.  However, a panel decision issued on August 17 in J.G. v. K.G clarifies that the professed “duty to mitigate” is one rock too many. Marriage in Indiana produced two children ages... More
  • The Appellate Division Reaffirms the Basic Tenets of Who You Can Get a Final Restraining Order Against It is important to understand the requirements to obtain a Final Restraining Order or to defend against the entry of one.  Through case law and the New Jersey legislature, there are specific requirements that need to be met.  In the recent unpublished decision, the Court reaffirms that both litigants and attorneys cannot stray away from the basic tenets to obtain a Final Restraining Order (“FRO”).   In M.H. v. J.B., the Appellate Division reversed the entry of the FRO because none of... More
  • ARM WRESTLING OVER THE DEPENDENCY EXEMPTION? There are still things to discover about the 2017 Tax Reform passed by Congress late in that year.  The bar and the accounting community have spilled lots of ink over the changes to the law affecting alimony and many other lesser issues.  One of those issues is the temporary disappearance of the longstanding dependency deduction/exemption.  It still goes to the parent with primary custody unless there is an agreement otherwise.  Nevertheless, until 2025, the “deduction” has been effectively gutted.  In... More
  • SUPERIOR COURT WIDENS THE DURESS DOOR In a reported three judge panel decision issued on June 12, 2020, the Superior Court appears to have made it easier for parties to avoid a contractual agreement on the basis of duress.  The case, Lewis v. Lewis is reported as 2020 Pa. Super. 140. The Pennsylvania standard for duress as a basis for voiding a contract has long been that set forth in Carrier v. William Penn Broadcasting, a 1967 decision by the Supreme Court. 233 A.2d 519.   To set... More
  • Defining Net Income for 2020 is Going to Be “A Problem” I attended a seminar offered by accountant, Mitchell E. Benson, CPA, MT, CFF (Savran Benson LLP), Brian C. Vertz, Esquire (Pollock Begg) and Aliah Molczan (Savran Benson LLP) on July 9, 2020.  One of the topics discussed was the Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) loans, which were distributed in the second quarter of 2020 to allow employers to keep staff on payroll through June 30, 2020. The tax aspects of this plan are still in a state of flux, and there... More
  • New Reported Decision Confirms that Partition Remains an Equitable Remedy for Unmarried Cohabitants Without a Writing Despite 2010 Palimony Amendment A new reported trial court decision, S.N. v. C.R.was released today, confirming that the remedy of partition is still available when non-married parties purchase a home together and there is evidence that the purchase is a joint venture, even if they do not have a writing as required by the 2010 amendment regarding palimony (addressing support for non-married cohabitants).  In other words, there is still an equitable remedy available for unmarried couples with a joint property (exclusive of title) notwithstanding the... More
  • COLLEGE DEBT & EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION When couples decide to end a marriage, the process involves division of the good (the assets) the bad (the liabilities) and the ugly (liabilities that exceed assets).  Hearing officers whom we have spoken with report that they are seeing more cases where the controversies are ugly.  A decade ago, the battles were typically about overleveraged homes that were “upside down” (debt far exceeding market value).  The growing economy of the past decade has fixed many of those problems, but, for... More
  • Prenuptial Agreement and Full Financial Disclosure Withstands Marriage Ending by Death and Not Divorce Most of our cases dealing with enforceability of prenuptial agreements stem from marriages that end by divorce and involve one party seeking to enforce the agreement and the other party seeking to invalidate the same document, or vice versa.   You can read about many of those cases on our NJ Family Law Blog.  However, the recent unpublished (non-precedential) decision of In the Matter of the Estate of James J. Gillette, addresses the enforcement of a prenupital agreement upon the husband’s... More
  • BUSINESS VALUATION & THE COVID PARADOX As I write this, the Atlanta branch of the Federal Reserve System has just announced their forecast that second quarter gross domestic product is expected to plummet 53%; a harrowing statistic.  Meanwhile, the S&P 500 Index sits at 3,055.  That’s where it was on March 5 of this year, at which time, there were fewer than 50 coronavirus deaths in the entire country.  On March 5, unemployment in the United States was 3.5%.  At the end of April, it was... More
  • The Best Interests of the Child Remains the Focus of Name Change Applications In Z.A. v. R.V., Jr., an unpublished Appellate Division case, meaning not precedential, the Appellate Division ruled that the best interests of the child governs a surname change. This rationale falls squarely with the court’s previous cases that a child’s name change must be evaluated under the best interest standard. Emma v. Evans, 215 N.J. 197 (2013); Gubernat v. Deremer, 140 N.J. 120 (1995). You can read our prior blog post on Emma here: https://njfamilylaw.foxrothschild.com/?s=emma+v.+evans. What we can gather is... More
  • A Reminder: No change of circumstances? No best interests of the child finding? No change of custody or parenting time.. Last summer, Eliana Baer and Eric Solotoff of our Family Law Department achieved an Appellate Division victory when a trial court’s decision to allow our client’s ex-husband to obtain a custody evaluation without the requisite finding that there had been a change of circumstances.  In that case, the Appellate Division took issue with the trial court’s choice to put the child through a taxing best interests evaluation because there are two elements that must be met before a change of... More
  • For Custody Jurisdiction, The Facts, Not Agreements, Matter More In Orr v. Johnson, an unpublished decision (meaning not precedential), the Appellate Division reviewed a jurisdictional issue between two parents – one living in New Jersey and one living in Virginia – and whether the written agreement between them was conclusive of jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (“UCCJEA”).  Because the trial court did not determine whether New Jersey was the “home state” under the UCCJEA, the Appellate Division reversed and remanded the matter.  An agreement alone... More
  • The Modern Family Now Falls Under The Scope Of The Domestic Violence Act In New Jersey The issue in the published trial court decision, S.C. v. J.D., reviewed what is a “household member” under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (“PDVA”) pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 to -35.  The plaintiff, “Samantha”, filed a temporary restraining order against her half-sibling, “Jake”, alleging assault and terroristic threats.  The two share the same father.  Jake filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that jurisdiction had not been established under the PDVA.  Jake claimed that his “sporadic relationship” of sharing weekends, holidays, and... More
  • The Examination Of A Child In A Protection From Abuse Hearing Governor John Carney recently signed House Bill 141 into law.  The Bill amends Section 1042 of Title 10 of the Delaware Code regarding protection from abuse proceedings by creating a new subsection (f).  This subsection permits the Family Court to interview a child outside of the presence of the parties.  Specifically, the Bill provides: 1042. Commencement of action; procedure. (f) The Court may examine a child outside the presence of the parties for the purpose of obtaining the child’s testimony and ascertaining the truth of a matter asserted... More
  • Supreme Court Addresses The Application Of A Rebuttable Presumption The Sex Offenders Act is found in Chapter 7A of Title 13 of the Delaware Code.  Section 724A of the Sex Offenders Act imposes a rebuttable presumption “that no sex offender shall be awarded sole or joint custody of any child, that no child shall primarily reside with a sex offender, and that no sex offender shall have unsupervised visitation with a child.”  In the case of Division of Family Services v. Mark O’Bryan, No. 175, 2016 (May 31, 2017) the... More
  • Family Court Releases Electronic Order Request Forms Family Court has not yet moved to the electronic filing system used by other Delaware Courts.  However, effective today, June 1, 2017, attorneys and litigants in Family Court may request to receive orders issued in all their civil matters by encrypted email rather than U.S. mail.  To do so attorneys may complete and file Family Court Form 613 and litigants may complete Family Court Form 614.   ************ Leslie Spoltore is a Partner with the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP.  Leslie practices in Fox Rothschild’s Wilmington, Delaware... More
  • Don’t Forget To Celebrate – May Is National Foster Care Month By the President of the United States of America A Proclamation During the month of May, we observe National Foster Care Month and we celebrate those who have opened their homes and their hearts to children in need and those who have devoted their careers to serving America’s foster youth. Americans throughout the country are serving their communities as foster parents, mentors, respite care providers, and volunteers.  In the last year alone, America’s foster families opened their homes and hearts to more than... More
  • Support Persons In Family Court   The Delaware Constitution, Delaware Code and the court rules specify whether Family Court matters are open or closed to the public.  If a matter is closed, generally only the parties, their legal counsel, and their witnesses are allowed to be present.  The Court understands, however, that litigation can be stressful.  In some cases, the presence of a someone to provide moral and/or emotional support can be helpful to a litigant.  To that end, the Court recently created a process to assist litigants in requesting the attendance of a support person in closed proceedings.  Additional... More
  • Court Appointed Special Advocates Needed! Prior posts have addressed the important role of child advocates in Family Court.  CASAs, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, are one example of the wonderful advocates who volunteer their time to represent Delaware’s children in Family Court. Across Delaware, over 200 volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) build close relationships with and serve as one-on-one advocates for children in foster care. The CASA program recruits and specially trains these volunteers from the community, who are then appointed as advocates by a Family Court Judge. The CASA... More
  • Public Persona And Custody   The Delaware Family Court decides custody and visitation actions based on the best interests of a child. To make that determination the Court must consider specific factors listed in Section 722 of Title 13. In addition, the Court may consider any other relevant information. What is relevant is a case-by-case analysis. For public figures like Alex Jones public statements or their public persona could be relevant. A recent post by Aaron Weems, a Partner in our Blue Bell, Pennsylvania office, examines the... More
  • Summer Is Coming – It’s Not Too Late To Plan for Summer Camp 123rf.com For many children the best part of summer is summer camp. Camps can provide the opportunity to learn everything from computer skills to surfing.  And, as the saying goes, summer camp is the place where strangers become friends and friendships last forever. For many divorced or separated parents, planning to send a child to summer camp requires additional consideration in order to coordinate schedules.  To that end, many custody orders provide timelines for discussing plans or selecting contact weeks.  Under the current Delaware Contact Guidelines,  the... More
  • The Possible Impact Of Medicaid Expansion On “Medical Divorce” “Medical divorce” is a term coined some years ago to describe a divorce obtained for medical reasons. More specifically, according to a recent article by George Diepenbrock, researchers defined “medical divorce” as an instance where one partner becomes diagnosed with a degenerative disease, such as early onset dementia. The couple could drain its assets, including retirement savings, to pay for treatment. However, some couples instead choose to divorce to shield one person’s assets. The sick partner would eventually qualify for Medicaid. A... More
  • Tax Time Is Here Again – Divorcing Couple May Have Some New Issues To Consider Divorcing couples may face a number of questions at tax time.  Prior posts on this blog have highlighted some issues that are worth mentioning again: Tax Issues And Divorce Divorce And Taxes – Did You Change Your Name? Tax Time Is Here Again – Did You Plan Ahead? Name Changes Can Affect The Processing Of Your Federal Tax Return ******************* Leslie Spoltore is a Partner with the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP.  Leslie practices in Fox Rothschild’s Wilmington, Delaware office.  You can reach Leslie at (302) 622-4203,... More