I’ve Inherited Money during Our Marriage. Do I Have to Split That If I Divorce?

Generally, no. But since this is the law we’re talking about, it’s not that simple.

Unless the parties can come to an agreement, a judge will divide marital property in a fair and “equitable” way during the divorce proceedings. The issue then becomes whether this inheritance, or part of it, is marital property. Money or property inherited by one spouse isn’t normally considered marital property, so it isn’t divided at divorce, depending on how it was handled during the marriage.

Everything divorcing spouses own must be classified as either marital or separate property. Marital property includes assets (and debts) that were acquired during the marriage by either spouse or by both of them together, with exceptions.

Separate property includes assets that either spouse acquired before the marriage and during the marriage when assets are:

  • Inherited by just one spouse
  • Received by one spouse as a gift from a third party

Separate property can become marital property

An asset may begin as separate property but change (“transmute”) into marital property:

  • Adding a spouse to the title: If a spouse inherits real property and later adds the other spouse’s name to the title, it becomes marital property.
  • Contributing marital assets: If the title to an asset stays in one spouse’s name and it increases in value, that increase might be marital property. If a spouse helps make mortgage payments or helps pay for remodeling costs for a house that the other spouse inherited and is in that spouse’s name only, any increase in value in the house would probably be considered a marital asset.
  • Mixing (or “commingling”) assets: If an inherited sum of money is deposited into a joint account, it may be impossible to determine, if deposits and withdrawals are constantly made, what portion remains separate property.
  • Using separate funds to buy marital assets: If a spouse uses an inherited sum of money to buy a house that is in both spouse’s names, this separate asset becomes a marital asset.

Keeping separate property separate and proving it

As long as separate property is carefully kept separate, it and any increased value of it belongs only to the spouse who originally owned it. A prenuptial agreement created before the marriage can also spell out which property is separate.

A spouse claiming to own inherited, separate property at divorce will have to prove it.

  • That’s easier when the property was never mixed with marital property and meticulous records were kept to establish that.
  • If your inheritance was mixed with joint funds, proving it is separate property is not impossible, but it can be very difficult.

If you have any questions about property division during divorce, contact our office for a free consultation.

Can I Get Child Support If My Ex Is in Another Country?

Depending on the situation, yes. We represent clients seeking child support from the other parent, whether that parent is across the street or across the globe.

Agreements with other countries

The federal government has negotiated reciprocity agreements with several countries and is negotiating declarations with others on behalf of all U.S. jurisdictions. The following countries are foreign reciprocating countries for child support purposes.

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Czech Republic
  • El Salvador
  • Finland
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovak Republic
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

These agreements spell out procedures for establishing and enforcing child support orders across borders. Requirements may vary, but a parent will be asked to provide the same kind of information as in a domestic case. Including as much specific information, such as the address and employer of the noncustodial parent, as possible is a good idea.

Possible steps when there is no agreement with the other country

If the other parent works for an American company or for a foreign company with offices in the United States, income withholding might be possible even if the country he or she lives is not one of the reciprocating countries. Approaching a foreign employer doing business in the United States directly for help might prove successful. If the other parent is employed by the Department of Defense or another federal agency and living overseas, the agency employing the parent could be contacted to arrange payment.

The state Office of Child Support could get involved and criminal charges could be filed if the other parent is not paying support. That could lead to an arrest and extradition from the other country. One instance of this took place in 1997, when the state of Massachusetts, working with Interpol, had a parent who was the subject of an outstanding warrant deported from the Dominican Republic and arrested on arrival in the United States.

If there is no reciprocal agreement with the country where the other parent lives, a child support enforcement action could be filed in the appropriate court in the foreign country. This normally requires hiring a local an attorney. The Department of State, Office of American Citizens Services may have information on foreign child support laws and a list of English-speaking attorneys. That foreign attorney will probably want any documents concerning child support proceedings and decisions from New Jersey.

Child support issues can be complex, and we work with our clients to get the best possible outcome for them and the children involved. If you have questions or concerns about child custody, contact our office.

Retirement Plans: Is It Better Financially to Stay Married?

Mount Laurel Divorce Attorneys • Marital Asset Division

It’s not unusual for someone to wonder whether or not they can afford divorce — after all, divorce will impact your monthly income, health benefits, credit score and taxes. Additionally, if you get a divorce you’ll need to divide your marital assets. Since New Jersey is an “equitable division” state, the court will determine what it believes to be a fair and equitable division of marital property. Practically speaking, this means the court may divide your savings accounts, investments or business assets it considers marital property.

For these reasons, couples that have been married longer and have older children in school may decide divorce isn’t in their best financial interests at this time. However, if you are in debt and considering bankruptcy, divorce may be in your best financial interests.

Retirement Plans and Divorce

An important consideration in determining if divorce makes financial sense for you at this time is how any savings or retirement plan assets will be divided. In cases in which only one spouse has a 401(k) or a retirement plan in place, a divorce may substantially change the amount of savings you had initially planned for. New Jersey state law considers retirement accounts to be marital property. Consequently, any retirement plan is subject to a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).

In essence, a QDRO ensures that the nonparticipating spouse in a retirement plan will receive a portion of the assets contained in the plan. The plan’s administrator must be notified — usually through paperwork prepared by an attorney — indicating the amount the nonparticipant spouse is entitled to receive.

Qualified Domestic Relations Orders and the Finances of Divorce

If you don’t work or have very little money in your 401(k), you need to consider what makes financial sense if your spouse has a retirement plan or substantial savings in his or her 401(k). While you are entitled to receive a portion of your spouse’s retirement plan benefits, you cannot simply take the money owed you without incurring a substantial financial penalty.

Secondly, the value of a QDRO will grow as the plan benefit grows over time. In this way, a divorce and QDRO will provide you with some measure of financial security in your later years, but your quality of life may suffer now if you live alone and must support yourself as a result.

If you are the working spouse and stand to lose some of your pension plan assets through a QDRO, staying married may, in the end, make more financial sense. Combined earnings and Social Security benefits may mean the difference between a fairly comfortable retirement and one in which you face a certain amount of financial stress from having to live alone.

Contact Mount Laurel Divorce Attorneys at Taylor & Boguski

There are a number of financial issues to take into consideration when considering divorce. How your retirement plan will be affected is only one consideration. In order to properly weigh the relevant factors involved, it’s important to talk to an experienced divorce attorney who can explain the division of marital assets, the division of marital debt and how your business or taxes will be affected as well.

If you are considering divorce but are facing serious financial problems, contact Mount Laurel divorce attorneys at Taylor & Boguski today to learn how we can help you.

Mount Laurel Child Custody Attorneys

The first thing to keep in mind regarding child custody is that the court will always act in what it believes to be the best interests of a child. In New Jersey, determining child custody depends on a number of factors. These factors typically fall into the following general categories:

  • The emotional needs of a child: How stable is each parent? Is there a history of mental abuse or neglect? Does a child suffer from a psychological condition that recommends awarding custody to a particular parent? In the case of older children, which parent does a child prefer?
  • The physical needs or well-being of a child: What is the environment of each parent’s home? Are there concerns that a child will be physically neglected or abused? Does a child have special needs regarding a medical condition?
  • The situation of each parent: What is the financial situation of each parent? What are the employment or work responsibilities of each parent? To what extent is each parent willing to be involved in their child’s life and to what extent has each exhibited a commitment in this regard?

In cases in which parents are not interested in shared or joint custody, the court will award custody to the parent it believes will promote and protect the best interests of a child. The noncustodial parent will have visitation or “parenting time” rights according to a plan approved by the court.

What Happens If One Parent Wants to Move Away?

Regardless of whether or not a custodial or noncustodial parent wants to move out of town or out of state, they must first get a court approved postdivorce modification and the permission of the other parent. Even if parents share custody link to www.divorcenet.com/states/new_jersey/new_jersey_custody_and_visitation_rights_part_1, any change in a parent’s situation that could affect the agreed-upon child custody arrangements in a divorce agreement must be reviewed first by the court. Failure to do so could result in a charge of contempt of court and certain sanctions regarding existing child custody arrangements. Consequently, a parent — custodial, noncustodial or otherwise — cannot simply move away without first obtaining a postdivorce modification.

Postdivorce Modifications and Child Custody Arrangements

Regardless of whether a parent has a good reason to move — job commitments, caring for an ailing family member or personal preference — the law requires a parent to do the following:

  • Notify the noncustodial or custodial parent regarding any intent to move
  • Notify the noncustodial or custodial parent of the location where they intend to move
  • Notify the noncustodial or custodial parent of the reason(s) for the move
  • Submit a proposed child custody plan accommodating the move in question

Parental Relocations and New Jersey Courts

The court will review the proposed parental relocation to determine if it is in the best interests of the child. Here, the court will consider access to education opportunities, healthcare issues, whether extended family live in the area and how the move will affect the child’s ability to engage in hobbies or sports or practice their faith. The court will also consider the practical side of visitation under the new arrangement and how that could affect the ability of a child to spend time with the relocated parent.

If the court approves the parental relocation, a new parenting schedule must be provided, including a reasonable inventory of travel expenses, how vacations will be allotted, what will happen during school vacations, etc. If the parental relocation is not approved, the parent intending to relocate must change his or her plans or be held in contempt of court.

Contact Mount Laurel Child Custody Attorneys

Whether you are thinking of moving out of state or to the next town over, you still need a postdivorce modification. To discuss your case and learn what you need to do to maintain your child custody rights, contact Mount Laurel child custody attorneys link to Contact Us at Taylor & Boguski, LLC today.

Can I Sue for Child Support Owed from the Time of Birth?

Mount Laurel Divorce Temporary Orders Attorneys

Under New Jersey state law, a noncustodial parent is legally responsible for child support. Practically speaking, this means that if you and your spouse are legally separated or divorced, or you are estranged from your child’s father, you can seek an enforcement order to require them to pay child support. Here, the law is clear: child support is not a punitive measure, intended to punish one parent and reward the other; rather, child support is explicitly for the upkeep and maintenance of a child, not the custodial parent.

However, there is a statute of limitations on establishing paternity in New Jersey; a paternity action must be initiated no later than within five years after a child’s 18th birthday.

Child Support and Paternity

In New Jersey, the amount of child support paid is determined under Appendix IX of the New Jersey Court Rules. In general, child support is the responsibility of both parents. However, in cases involving out-of-wedlock births, the paternity of a child link to www.njchildsupport.org/Services-Programs/Non-Custodial-Parents/Custodial-Parents.aspx may be unstated on the birth certificate. In cases such as these, if the mother of a child sues the putative father for paternity and establishes that he is in fact the father of her child, she has legal grounds for demanding child support from him.

What if paternity isn’t established until years after the birth of a child? Under New Jersey state law, a noncustodial parent can be held responsible for paying child support from the time of the child’s birth until the child reaches age 18 or beyond. The time frame involved will depend on what your child support agreement says and what the court determines is in the best interests of the child. In some cases, child support may be extended beyond the age of 18 if a child is still in high school or is attending a secondary educational institution.

When a child enters college, New Jersey’s child support guidelines typically no longer apply since there is an overlap with certain college costs (room and board, transportation, etc.) and Guideline expenditures. If the child lives at home, however, the court may decide to continue child support.

Back-Owed Child Support

New Jersey’s Child Support Guidelines reflect the average cost of raising a child from the age of birth to 17 years old. As such, unless a child is legally emancipated, a noncustodial parent can be held financially responsible for child support going back to the birth of his child.

If a child support order is not entered until after a child is 12 years old, the amount of child support ordered will likely be adjusted upward to reflect the incremental increase in expenses of raising a child since the cost of taking care of an infant or young child is not as much as it is for raising an older child or a teenager.

Mount Laurel Child Support Attorneys at Taylor & Boguski

If you are interested in establishing the paternity of your child and seeking an enforcement order for child support in arrears, contact Mount Laurel divorce temporary orders attorneys at Taylor & Boguski, LLC, today to schedule an appointment and discuss your case.

Tax Dollars at stake in NJ Divorce Loophole

Government officials have been taking into consideration the idea of “divorce from bed and board” which allows a limited divorce procedure for legally separated couples to remain technically married. It creates a loophole in which people who are no longer dependent on a public employee are allowed receive taxpayer-funded health benefits. Additionally, there is no way of tracking the data since it’s a legal procedure that has not been revised. A recently proposed bill would make it illegal to give publicly-funded healthcare benefits plans to a public employee’s spouse who partakes in this “divorce from bed and board.” Read more.

Contact an Experienced Matrimonial Attorney in New Jersey

If you or someone you know if experiencing marital problems which may lead to divorce or seeking legal advice about divorce in southern New Jersey, discuss your situation with an experienced family law attorney at Taylor and Boguski, located in Mount Laurel, NJ by calling 800-404-5299 or 856-234-2233, or contact us online.

Spouses being Equal after Divorce

It is often common for many men after a divorce to feel like they got the lesser end of the agreement in a divorce settlement. They also have to struggle to maintain their parenting rights with respect to their children. Courts tend to favor mothers to make a child’s life “less complicated,” or “less stressful.” Statistically, only 10% of fathers are awarded primary custody and 20% receive joint custody. As a result, the majority of primary custody holders are the mothers. Thus, the parent of primary residence (PPR) and parent of alternate residence (PAR) appear to be wherever the mother lives. Many believe this to be skewed, since it seems inappropriate to refer to either home as “primary,” and some people find it healthier to say that there are two homes for a child of divorce. Full article.

Some helpful child support links to help you in the even that you become a custodial parent are: US Department of Health & Human Services, Administration For Children & Families, and the New Jersey judiciary system for New Jersey Child Support Guidelines

Seeking more information about Child Support in Southern NJ

It is important to talk to experiences matrimonial attorneys with 65 years’ of combined legal experience. Our lawyers will protect your rights and help you find a solution to your legal challenge which is in your best interest. Contact an experienced family law lawyer at the law office of Taylor and Boguski, in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. Contact us online or by calling 800-404-5299 or 856-234-2233.

Dina Manzo separation from husband calls to mind supervised parenting

Dina Manzo is the former “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star who recently announced her separation from her husband whom she was married to for 7 years, Tommy Manzo. The reality star was separated from Tommy since October 2012. Dina was previously married to George Hadjiapostoli. The former couple had a daughter together named Lexi who is now 17 years old. Dina Manzo had previously been on the television channel VH1 documenting her wedding on the show “My Big Fat Fabulous Wedding” in 2005.

Supervised parenting and child support are related in terms of children involved in a divorce. There are many wealthy couples who must deal with the concept of child support. The court will calculate the “basic child support obligation,” and the non-custodial parent’s pro rata share of the obligation. Unless the court finds that the non-custodial parent’s pro rata share of the “basic child support obligation” is unjust or inappropriate, after considering enumerated factors, it must order the non-custodial parent to pay his or her pro rata share of the obligation. The support obligation is calculated by “combined parental income” which is multiplied by the appropriate “child support percentage” as listed by statute, based on the number of children the couple has together. It is important to note that the Domestic Relations Law also states that a parent’s liability for the support of his or her children is limited to the age of 21. For more information, see this New Jersey Child Support Caluclator.

Is supervised parenting time good for you?

In finding fair and reasonable solutions in a divorce, one of the biggest issues to address is child custody and child welfare. Flexibility in negotiations should always be considered when children are involved, as priority to what is in their best interests should take precedence.

Contact us at the Law Office of Taylor & Boguski, to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced New Jersey family law attorney. Contact our firm by calling 800-404-5299 or online.

Parental Relocation in New Jersey

An increasing number of New Jersey parents are seeking to relocate with their children out of state. They move for various reasons. These include relocating to advance a career, attend an out-of-state college, move nearer to family for support, or due to remarriage with the new spouse living out of state.

Whether you seeking to relocate with your child and are an unmarried parent with the other parent living in New Jersey, or you are married and going through a divorce, or you are a parent who has divorced and is now seeking to move out of state, the process can be complex.

In New Jersey, the courts recognize that there are valid reasons for people to move, but a parent cannot relocate with a child without having the other parent’s agreement in writing and the family court judge’s agreement. The move must not be detrimental to the involved child or children.

Generally, a move like this involves the custodial parent moving away from the noncustodial mother or father. A major concern of noncustodial parents is that they will not be able to have the time they need or want to truly parent their child.

In any move-away case, your attorneys and the judge be looking at parental relocation solutions that continue to foster strong parent-child bonds with both parents, despite a move out of state. Parent time and visitation will need to be reevaluated.

With Skype and other emerging technology, new ways to connect with family members may also become part of a relocation arrangement. Attorneys and parents need to get creative in order to make situations like these work.

At the law office of Taylor and Boguski, in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, we have extensive experience helping parents address the issues involved in relocating a family.

New Jersey family law judges look at these types of issues when they are reviewing a relocation case:

How will the parent-child bond of the non-moving parent be sustained?
How far away is the custodial parent moving?
Will the time that the child spends with either parent be impacted?
Is it possible and feasible for the other parent to relocate so he or she can be nearby to the child?
Is the other parent seeking to relocate in good faith or with the goal of alienating the child from the other parent?
How will costs for the child or the parent to visit be addressed?

Parental Relocation Attorneys and Sound Representation at 800-404-5299 or 856-234-2233

At the law office of Taylor and Boguski, in Mount Laurel, NJ, we have more than 65 years’ combined experience in fighting for the rights of parents and children. We are able to address a move-away issue, whether you were never married to your child’s other parent, or you are already divorced and need to move or prevent a move. We can help you understand how to protect your rights at every stage of a family law matter.

Dividing Marital Debt in New Jersey

If you or your spouse has been carrying serious debt, then debt division can have a huge impact on how you move forward with your life after divorce. How do you protect yourself financially from a spouse’s debt? What do you do if you have joint credit card debt but your spouse is the one who did the spending? How do you find ways to work together prior to the divorce to resolve your debt issues so that you do not need to worry about creditors coming after you once you are divorced?

Most people do not realize that if one spouse files for bankruptcy, the other spouse might be in the uncomfortable position of being assigned the debts that the indebted spouse has wiped out or reorganized through bankruptcy.

New Jersey is an equitable property and debt division state. This means that division of your debt and assets acquired during the marriage (with some exceptions) must also be fairly executed, though not necessarily equally.

What Is Marital and Non-Marital Debt?

Debts in a divorce will be either marital or non-marital. However, it is not so easy to make this determination. Questions that attorneys and a judge will take into account include what the purpose of the debt was, who took on the debt and when that happened, whether both spouses agreed to the debt, who benefited from the debt, and who can more effectively pay off the debt after divorce.

How Does Debt Division Apply to Credit Card Debt?

Essentially, any debt incurred from a joint credit card or line of credit means that both you and your spouse are responsible for payment of that debt. However, if your spouse racked up a significant amount of debt that did not contribute to the marriage or the family, then that debt may be divided up disproportionately, with the indebted spouse being assigned more of that particular joint credit card debt.

However, if the indebted spouse files for bankruptcy and the debt is wiped out, creditors may come after you for the remainder of the debt.

Marital debt will generally include:

Joint credit card debt, in which both your names are on the credit card agreement
Mortgage loans
Car loan debt
Debt you owe from a company you both own

Equitable distribution of debt and assets does not mean 50/50. In most cases, the debt will be divided according to each spouse’s ability to pay off the debt, along with a number of other factors.

Contact an Experienced Marital Property Division Lawyer in New Jersey

To discuss your concerns and how to approach division of debt and assets in a divorce in southern New Jersey, talk with an experienced family law attorney at Taylor and Boguski, in Mount Laurel, NJ. Please call 800-404-5299 or 856-234-2233 or contact us online.