Practice Areas

Divorce

Bergen – Middlesex – Monmouth – Ocean New Jersey Divorce Lawyer

Divorce can be an emotionally painstaking process, even when resolving issues amicably. It is essential to have an experienced New Jersey family law attorney who can aggressively fight for your best interests providing you with personal attention, understanding and compassion to navigate you through the areas of child custody, parenting time, child support, alimony and division of assets and grandparent rights. We provide balance and reasoning to the complex legal issues moving your divorce process to successful resolution.

The Law Office of Stacey Miller, LLC exclusively practices family law and will work hard to settle all legal matters with your husband or wife in an amicable manner if possible. We are experienced negotiators, and we have helped many couples resolve their divorce-related disputes through negotiation and mediation. By the same token, however, if necessary, we will not hesitate to seek justice for clients in court and will zealously protect their rights and do our absolute best to ensure a just result. We have the knowledge and experience to make sure you understand your options as you pursue a favorable outcome.

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Custody

Bergen – Middlesex – Monmouth – Ocean New Jersey Child Custody Lawyer

When a marriage, civil union or relationship ends, and children are involved, the children have a right to enjoy time with both parents, as long as they are safe and properly cared for. There are two types of custody in New Jersey, legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the right to make decisions relating to the care, safety and general welfare of the child, such as educational, medical and religious issues. In New Jersey, joint legal custody is most common wherein both parents consult and share in the decision making process. Sole custody is awarded when joint legal custody is contrary to the child’s best interests. Physical custody refers to the day to day care of the child and where the child resides. The parent of primary residence (PPR) is the parent with whom the child resides more than fifty percent of the time. The parent of alternate residence (PAR) is the parent who has frequent parenting time/visitation. Shared physical custody may also be awarded wherein the parties equally share time with the child. Parenting time or visitation, is the agreed upon schedule the child spends with his/her parents. In addition to regularly scheduled weekly parenting times, children are entitled to spend holidays, vacation time, and special occasions with their parents. Factors the Court will consider in making a determination on legal or physical custody are found in N.J.S.A 9:2-4. These factors include:

  1. The parents’ ability to agree, communicate and cooperate in matters relating to the child;
  2. The parents’ willingness to accept custody and any history of unwillingness to allow parenting time not based on substantiated abuse;
  3. The interaction and relationship of the parents and siblings;
  4. The history of domestic violence, if any;
  5. The safety of the child and the safety of either parent from physical abuse by the other parent;
  6. The preference of the child when of a sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to inform an intelligent decision regarding custody;
  7. The needs of the child;
  8. The stability of the home environment offered;
  9. The quality and continuity of the child’s education;
  10. The sickness of the parent;
  11. The geographical proximity of the parent’s home;
  12. The extent and quality of the time spent with the child prior to or subsequent to the separation;
  13. The parents’ responsibilities;
  14. The age and number of the children.

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Child Support

Bergen – Middlesex – Monmouth – Ocean New Jersey Child Support Lawyer

Child support is the right of the child. Both parents have a duty to financially support their children based upon their income, ability to earn income and assets. In New Jersey, parents have a duty to financially support their children until the children are emancipated or a court enters an  order otherwise. The New Jersey Legislature established the Child Support Guidelines which statutorily set the child support obligation owed for support of the child[ren], if the parties’ combined adjusted gross income is less than $187,200.00 per year. If the parties’ adjusted gross income exceeds $187,200.00 per year, then the child support standard shifts to an analysis of factors found in N.J.S.A. 2A: 34-23(a), which include:

  1. Needs of the child;
  2. Standard of living and economic circumstances of each parent;
  3. All sources of income and assets of each parent;
  4. Earning ability of each parent, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, custodial responsibility for children including the cost of providing child care and the length of time and cost of each parent to obtain training or experience for appropriate employment;
  5. Need and capacity of the child for education, including higher education;
  6. Age and health of the child and each parent;
  7. Income, assets and earning ability of the child;
  8. Responsibility of the parents for the court-ordered support of others;
  9. Reasonable debts and liabilities of each child and parent;
  10. Any other factors the court may deem relevant.

The Law Office of Stacey Miller, LLC has vast experience with both “on the guidelines” cases and “above the guidelines” cases.

Circumstances often change from the time child support is initially set. If one parent seeks to modify or terminate their child support obligation, based upon a change in circumstance of the parent or the child, that parent must file a petition with the court. Issues warranting a modification and/or termination include a change in income, illness, child attending college, or a failure to pay.

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Alimony

Bergen – Middlesex – Monmouth – Ocean New Jersey Alimony and Spousal Support Lawyer

Spousal support also known as alimony is one of the most contentious aspects of any divorce or dissolution of civil union. Unfortunately, New Jersey does not employ guidelines to determine the appropriate amount of alimony. In all actions brought for divorce and dissolution of a civil union or separation, the court may award one or more of the following types of alimony: permanent alimony; rehabilitative alimony; limited duration alimony or reimbursement alimony to either party. Permanent alimony is usually awarded when there is a long-term marriage and one spouse has an income significantly higher than that of the other. Rehabilitative alimony may be awarded to provide short-term support for educational and training purposes. Limited duration alimony may be given in short-term marriages where one spouse needs temporary financial support to establish his/her post-divorce life. And finally, reimbursement alimony can be provided to a spouse who supported the other through advanced education and training for a lucrative career. In determining the type of alimony and amount to be awarded, the following are some of the factors considered:

  1. The financial need of one spouse and the ability of the other to pay;
  2. The duration of the marriage or civil union;
  3. The age, physical and emotional health of the parties;
  4. The standard of living established during the marriage or civil union and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living;
  5. The earning capacity, educational level and employability of the spouses.

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Equitable Distribution/Division of Assets and Liabilities:

Bergen – Middlesex – Monmouth – Ocean New Jersey Equitable Distribution Lawyer

The law in New Jersey for dividing assets in a divorce or dissolution of a civil union is equitable distribution which requires fair distribution, but not necessarily equal distribution. In some cases, assets may be divided equally. The first step in equitable distribution is to classify the asset/ liability as marital (acquired/incurred during the marriage) or separate (acquired/incurred prior to the marriage). The factors to consider when dividing property in New Jersey are:

  1. The length of the marriage;
  2. The age and health of the spouses;
  3. The income and earning capacity of the spouses;
  4. The standard of living established during the marriage.

The Law Office of Stacey Miller, LLC has the experience to deal with common property distribution issues such as the marital home, vehicles, retirement plans and pensions as well as complex property distribution issues which arise in high-asset divorce cases, including but not limited to working with forensic accountants to perform business valuations and cash flow reports.

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Dissolution of Civil Union/Domestic Partnership/Same-Sex Divorce:

Bergen – Middlesex – Monmouth – Ocean New Jersey Dissolution of Civil Union/Domestic Partnership/Same-Sex Lawyer

Dissolution of Civil Union

The Law Office of Stacey Miller, LLC is well versed in the law regarding New Jersey civil unions, domestic partnerships and nontraditional relationships. Dissolving a civil union is equivalent to a divorce in New Jersey. Thus, the laws of New Jersey divorce apply to the dissolution of a civil union as do the provisions for alimony, child custody, child support, and equitable distribution. In addition, civil union couples receive certain legal benefits and protections that are afforded to married couples. State based rights available to civil union couples include: rights to family leave benefits, joint ownership of property, health insurance and pension benefits, emergency medical care and rights related to inheritance, just to name a few. However, as the Federal government and many other states may not recognize your New Jersey civil union, it is essential to consider issues such as the tax treatment of support obligations and the possibility of relocating outside New Jersey in the future.

This area of law is rapidly evolving. There are very few court decisions to assist in determining how the courts view important issues concerning alimony, equitable distribution of property and the handling of debts. The Law Office of Stacey Miller, LLC uses a variety of means to stay current on the latest developments in the law here in New Jersey and around the country.

Domestic Partnership

With the enactment of the law of civil unions, same-sex couples are no longer legally able to file for domestic partnership. However, the domestic partnerships that exist are still recognized and in effect. We also assist clients in dissolving these unions in court. Individuals who have entered into a domestic partnership have less broad rights and obligations than those entering into a civil union.

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Post-Judgment/Enforcement Motion:

Bergen – Middlesex – Monmouth – Ocean New Jersey Post-Judgment Lawyer

Enforcement Applications:

An enforcement application is the most common type of post-judgment application. This application is filed when a party fails to comply with the terms of a Matrimonial Settlement Agreement or Order. The enforcement application requests that the Court hold the violating party in contempt for their failure to comply with the Agreement or Order. The most typical enforcement application filed is when the payor refuses to comply with the child support and/or alimony obligation provided for in an Agreement or Order. The enforcement application seeks immediate payment of the arrears.

A Request to Increase or Reduce Support:

Alimony and child support awards may be modified if a party has experienced a change of circumstance that would justify an increase or decrease in the support award. In this event, either party may file a motion to seek such relief. The moving party then has the legal burden to establish a threshold showing a change in circumstance. This must be proven before the court will order any discovery or a financial disclosure from the other spouse. If there is a genuine dispute as to a material issue, then the court may order a plenary hearing.

Modification of Parenting Time Schedule:

As children grow, the original parenting time schedule requires modification to adapt to the children’s school and extra-curricular activity schedule. Also, there are circumstances where one parent interferes with the other parent’s parenting time. When either of these situations occur, it is necessary to file a post-judgment motion to obtain the relief requested.

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Pre-Nuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreements

Bergen – Middlesex – Monmouth – Ocean New Jersey Pre-Nuptial and Post Nuptial Agreement Lawyer

This is a complex area of law, and our attorneys are not only well versed, but also sensitive to the difficulties surrounding the execution of these agreements.

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