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

  • 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  • For Custody Jurisdiction, The Facts, Not Agreements, Matter More In Orr v. Johnson, an unpublished decision (meaning not precedential), the Appellate Division reviewed a jurisdictional issue between two parents – one living in New Jersey and one living in Virginia – and whether the written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
  • As if it Wasn’t Clear the First Time, The Appellate Division Rules On the Impact of a Social Security Administration Disability Determination on Support- Again In a recent published (precedential) decision, Gormley v. Gormley, the Appellate Division cleared up confusion between two prior cases that dealt with the impact of a determination of disability by the Social Security Administration upon support. In Gormley, the parties were divorcing.  The Wife in this matter had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis during the marriage.  Also during the marriage, the Wife was declared permanently disabled by the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) and did not work.  The trial court judge made a number... More
  • New Jersey Appellate Division Examines the Meaning of “Dating Relationship” in Domestic Violence Cases. I have written about the requirements of obtaining a domestic violence final restraining order (“FRO”) under the New Jersey Prevention Against Domestic Violence Act (“the Act”) previously on this blog.  One of the three main criteria the Court must look at when determining whether to grant a final restraining order in such cases is the nature of the relationship between the parties.  In most cases, this is the easiest call for the judge.  The parties may be married, or they... 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
  • Two Months of Overnights May Not Definitively Mean Cohabitation, But It Should At Least Get You Discovery As we have said before, the 2014 amendments to the alimony statute allegedly made it easier to terminate alimony if the recipient of the alimony was cohabiting.  The statute now provides that alimony may be terminated or suspended if cohabitation was proven.   The statute made clear that the parties didn’t even have to live together full time for their to be cohabitation and provided indicia of cohabitation that had been culled from prior case law that the court must consider: (1)... 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
  • FILING SUPPORT MODIFICATIONS ONLINE March 6 was the Emergency Declaration from the Governor.  March 19 was the stay at home order.  In the meantime, since March 15, a record 1.5 million Pennsylvanians have applied for unemployment.  That’s an average of 300,000 per week in contrast to roughly 10,000 a week before the crisis hit.  With the statewide shut down, the local Domestic Relations offices, which manage child and spousal support have also gone to basic staff only, which means the system is working in... More
  • CARES Act Check Garnished if Child Support Owed Pennsylvania has a host of ways to recover delinquent child support ranging from seizure of bank accounts, gambling winnings, personal injury awards, and the sale proceeds of a home, to intercepting tax refunds, suspending professional, occupational, or recreational licenses. The worst or most consistent offenders will also be thrown in jail. As reported by Jessica Menton of the USA Today, you can now add interception of the CARES Act stimulus check that list. People who carry child support arrears can expect to... More
  • RELOCATION DILEMMAS: It’s Deeper than the Factors It’s not really an important case.  And it’s not a precedential case.  Yet, I couldn’t resist offering a summary because of the names involved.  The legal community has been struggling with the issue of keeping names of parents and children out of case reports.  As we have written, there is policy reason in favor of it.  However, at minimum, it is profoundly awkward.  The April 13, 2020 decision of the Superior Court presents itself as Exhibit “A.”  It’s the ruling... More
  • Update: Florida Case Highlights Coronavirus Custody Order’s Impact on an Essential Employee We’re written about the impact that the coronavirus has had on custody cases and the limited availability of the court’s during this time. A recent story from Florida highlights the impact the virus has on “routine” custody cases where a party is employed as an essential employee and in a high risk environment. In this case, it is an ER doctor in Florida – a “front line” fighter of the virus – whose ex-husband obtained an emergency custody order granting... More
  • Coronavirus & “The King’s Frustration” Experienced family lawyers know that they often become a kind of general counsel to their clients. Family law is in no small measure closely related to contract law. In a state that has seen a shut down order issued for all but essential services, there are many contracts, which have been rendered impractical or frustrated by events.  The legal term for this is taken from the French; “force majeure.”  Clients who paid handsome tuitions and shipped their kids to college... 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