Kates Nussman Ellis Farhi & Earle, LLP
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Kates Nussman Ellis Farhi & Earle, LLP

Cohabitation is More than Just Living with Another Person

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The New Jersey courts have long recognized and respected the terms of a marital settlement agreement (MSA) so long as it is valid. They are taken as expressions of the parties' wishes and will honor it as long as there is not a reason to disregard it. A cohabitation provision is often a feature in these agreements. They usually put a limitation on the duration of when alimony shall be paid. 

All Letters are not Wills

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New Jersey recognizes three different types of wills: 1) a formal will; 2) a holographic will; and a writing that may not meet the state's formalities of a will but can be otherwise proven that it should be treated as a will. A formal will requires that it is signed by the person who is writing it, and two witnesses to attest to the signature. A holographic will is a writing that has been written mostly in the testator's, the person writing the will, handwriting that the court finds is "intended as a will." The last type of will is a writing that does not meet the standards of the other two types but can be established by "clear and convincing" evidence is intended to constitute a will for the deceased. While the first two are easier to discern because of their formal requirements, the last type of will, can very easily become the subject of debate. 
Case Study: In re: Alicia A. Heffley

The Right to Be Heard in Court - Victory for a Victim

hammer.pngSome people who are wronged are afraid of pursuing their legal claims. Between the expense, time and stress, it makes sense that some are reluctant to file a suit, even if he or she has a good claim. Some people may also have a fear that they may not get a fair trial, for one reason or another. The judicial system for the most part tries to discourage any fear about its competence to make sure no unfairness occurs in the courtroom. But it still happens and the treatment of a litigant can rob him or her of their day in Court.

Modification of Alimony and Child Support: What is NOT a "Changed Circumstance?"

average-alimony.s600x600.jpgWhen a divorce occurs, the parties or the court decide the terms and payments of alimony and child support. Parties can ask a court to modify these terms if need be, for example, if there are changed circumstances. If a child was young at the time alimony and child support responsibilities were decided, that child's attendance to college and financial independence may constitute a changed circumstance that allows the court to change the terms. See the case of T.M. v. R.M. in another blog. However, there's a difference between seeking a modification because of changed circumstances and requesting that the court relitigate the issues because the adults make decisions that change the circumstances of their lives and the convenience of compliance with the court's decision.

Modification of Alimony and Child Support: What is a "Change in Circumstance?"

palimony.jpgWhen couples divorce, the courts first look to see if the parties have an agreement that lists the terms of their post-marital life. Expenses, childcare, and division of assets can all be addressed in these types of agreements. The courts will give great weight to these agreements, so long as they are enforceable and valid, because they are an expression of the couple's wishes. However, these agreements are made at a certain period of time, usually at the time of the marriage, under circumstances that exist at that time. Circumstances can change though, and the best post-marital agreements address this aspect of life.

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