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March 2016 Archives

Doing It Yourself Small Claims Court

courtroom.PNGDuring one sweltering summer barbecue in a New Jersey suburb, Manny and his neighbor, Marta, relaxed in the shade and idly talked about their mutual love of woodwork art. Marta mentioned in passing that she was interested in getting a new statue for her mantelpiece, since her old statue of a bear had fallen and cracked. Since Manny was an accomplished carpenter, he agreed to create a new figurine just for her. The two decided on a dog design, based on her favorite pet, and wrote down that Marta would pay $500 when she received Manny's Work. Two months later, after many long hours of work, Manny rang Marta's doorbell and proudly presented his statue. To his dismay, Marta complained that the dog's ears were too short and didn't do her pet justice. She refused to pay the agreed-on price. When attempts at reconciliation ended in heated argument, Manny decided he had no choice than to sue for breach of contract.

Does Alimony Stop On Retirement? As Usual in the Law, It Depends.

spouse.jpgA recent New Jersey Appellate Court case, Landers v. Landers, is the first "published" decision to explain how to properly apply the September 2014 changes to New Jersey's alimony laws. The change that the Landers case ruled on was about alimony payments when the spouse with the alimony obligation (the "Obligor") retires. Before the 2014 changes, the Obligor had to show the court "changed circumstances" when applying for a modification or termination of alimony. After the 2014 changes, an Obligor who has attained his or her full retirement age (i.e. age when you can get full Social Security benefits) became entitled to a "presumption" in favor of termination of support - the spouse receiving alimony (the "Obligee") would have to rebut that and explain to the court why the payments should continue.

Doing it by the Book - Employee Handbooks in New Jersey

imgg.pngLike most decisions in running a business design, there's no "one size fits all" or "quick fix" when it comes to writing employee handbooks. While employee handbooks are not a requirement for all business, they can be an important preventative measure against legal violations and ensuing suits. What goes into an employee handbook largely depends on the type and size of business in question, but there's some common language, based on state and federal law, that should be in every one. Boiled down to their most basic components, employment handbooks should perform four functions: describe the expectations of employers, list the responsibilities of the employers, ensure legal compliance with applicable regulations, and provide employees with information detailing their rights. When the entire business "team" knows what's expected of them and what's to be provided by the company, uncertainty - and the threat of problems - goes down.

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