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

  • 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
  • IS THE REVERSE MORTGAGE A VIABLE OPTION? It is said that desperate times call for desperate measures.  Many people out there today are facing some financial headwinds that were not reasonably foreseeable a few months ago.  Today they have businesses to operate or even daily bills to pay while afflicted with cash shortages. The reverse mortgage or more properly the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) has been around for a while.  In an age of low interest rates it has seemed like a device which merited attention.  Many... More
  • Alienating Your Kids from Their Other Parent May Cost Your Kids Big When it Comes to Child Support and College. Here in New Jersey, divorced parents are generally obligated to contribute to the college education expenses for their un-emancipated children.  In virtually every marital settlement agreement where there are un-emancipated children (the agreement the parties to a divorce enter into in resolution of all of their financial and/or parenting time issues), there is some sort of agreement as to how college will be paid for.  Sometimes, it is very general and simply states that the parties’ respective contributions shall “abide... More
  • Appellate Division Clears Up the Alimony Statute Application for Early Retirement in Pre-Amendment Cases The Appellate Division recently published a decision, Amzler v. Amzler, making it precedent setting on the use of the new alimony statute in a case of a payor’s early retirement, where parties entered into an alimony agreement prior to its enactment in September 2014.  While 2014 may feel like years ago because it was, its relatively recent in the life of law.  This means that we do not have much precedent-setting law on how to interpret each aspect of the statute. ... More
  • What Could Massachusetts Ruling Non-Disparagement Orders Unconstitutional Mean to Pennsylvania? It is always a good idea to keep an eye on other jurisdictions for how they deal with novel or emerging issues. One issue recently considered was the use of non-disparagement orders to prevent parties from criticizing each other in public, in front of their children, and to third parties. It is a fairly common tool for the courts to try to force a de-escalation of rhetoric and antagonism between parties without imposing fines or sanctions on them. These restrictions... More
  • The Right Way to Get an Above-The-Guidelines Child Support Award, Counsel Fees and Argue for Imputation The new unpublished case of Nabbie v. O’Connor is a good review of above-the-guidelines child support, income imputation and counsel fees.  Child support guidelines are only applicable for the total support award when parents earn combined net income of $187,200 per year.  What happens to the remainder of support?  It’s reviewed based upon the child’s best interest and the factors under N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23 as to child support.  What does this mean?  There is a discretion, as compared to the guidelines that... More
  • Coronavirus Creates Estate Planning Opportunities – Divorce Too? Over the last several weeks, via emails, attending webinars and otherwise, I have frequently heard that the coronavirus may create significant estate planning opportunities.  In fact, while writing this post, I Googled “coronavirus and estate planning opportunities” and got 544 million results in .46 seconds.  While I am sure that not all of the results were on point, the first several pages of results certainly were.  I am sure that this is music to the ears of our Trust and... More
  • A Caution About Funding Current Expenses with IRAs/401(k)s On March 27, 2020, we wrote about provisions in the 2020 CARES Act, which expanded 401(k) loan eligibility and permitted funds to be drawn from IRAs without tax consequence, so long as the withdrawal was repaid by 2023.  As we wrote this, there seemed to be some “too good to be true elements” to the package.  As one might suspect, we now have additional “guidance” from the Joint Committee on Taxation.  For those bypassed or still awaiting federally backed loans,... More
  • MOVIE REVIEW? A Must See Movie for Separating Couples. Just Don’t Watch It Now. First, a confession. I watch very few moves and when I do, I frequently feel stupid because I don’t see all the nuances others do.  So, don’t see this move on my say so.  Truth is that since it was premiered in 2017, the movie won a number of awards in Europe.  It was produced in France but was very highly reviewed here in the states was well.  Rotten Tomatoes scored it 95%. The movie is Jusqu’à la garde or simply... More
  • A LOOK AT THE HOUSING MARKET As I write this, it is sunny and 55 degrees.  Realtors ordinarily would be calling back customers from the weekend open houses.  The market should be not just brisk but frothy.  In many markets, the inventory of housing has been relatively thin.  Thirty-year rates stand at 3.75%. Unless you are going to bang on the door yourself and the seller wants to ignore the prevailing social distancing regulations, you cannot see a house except online.  That’s a problem.  Like many other... 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