Divorced Couples, Their Families, and COVID-19: How to Navigate Returning to School

Divorced Couples, Their Families, and COVID-19: How to Navigate Returning to School

Now that the CDC recognizes a “second wave” of COVID-19 cases, many parents are asking if it is truly safe for their children to go back to school in person. Complicating that decision are conflicting wishes of divorced couples who must make collaborative decisions about their child’s education. If you are a parent of a school-aged child who disagrees with an ex-spouse regarding your child’s schooling, you need the advice of an experienced family law attorney. Eveland & Foster, LLC  are renowned divorce and family law attorneys in the Greater New Jersey area, and they can assist you in making parenting decisions with your ex-spouse in the era of COVID-19.

Between November 1, 2020 and November 5, 2020, the State of New Jersey reported more than 9,500 new cases. Cases are at their highest levels since Mid-June. While the New Jersey State Department of Education intended to open schools for in-person learning in early December, those plans are now being re-evaluated. In Morris County, New Jersey, plans were made to return students to in person learning in early January. Those students included children in middle and high school.

Now that those plans have been revised, children in grades K-5 will not return to in-person learning until at least January 15, 2021 and children in grades 6-12 will not return until the first week of February 2021. It will consist of hybrid learning (a mixture of virtual and in-person instruction) with alternating schedules and staggering of student arrivals and departures. This will further complicate schedules and coordination for divorced parents of minor children, but it is critical at this juncture for parents to recognize that flexibility and a desire to collaborate can assist children in a smooth transition.

Revisions to Parental Agreements and Physical Custody Arrangements

If you share joint physical custody of your child with your ex-spouse, you might have a split 4-3, or 3-2-3 weekly arrangement, in which both parents are responsible for ensuring the child is ready for school each day. This is compounded when virtually schooling takes place and the child requires adult supervision. In some cases, both parents are essential workers and have been unable to hire child care to supervise their children during virtual learning hours. If your spouse refuses to assist your child with schoolwork, getting logged on for virtual learning, and getting to school on time for in-person learning, they are violating the terms of your marital settlement agreement and/or parenting agreement. It is critical you seek the assistance of an experienced attorney to assist you in an amicable solution. Your child’s well-being is of utmost importance. Eveland & Foster, LLC can ensure that the best interests of your child are upheld during a dispute or settlement conference with your ex-spouse.

Resolving In-Person or Virtual Learning Disputes With Your Ex-Spouse

You can resolve educational disputes with your ex-spouse by meeting with an attorney for possible revisions or amendments to your parenting plan. If your ex-spouse has been exposed to Covid-19 or is not following protocol, it might be necessary for you to retain temporary full physical custody. Only a judge can make revisions to a parenting agreement, after a hearing between both parties. But remember, legal custody includes decisions about education, homeschooling vs. public or private school, and opting out of in-person learning in the Spring semester. Parents might want to consider revising a split week plan and alternating to one full calendar week for each parent, with drop-off/pick-up on the weekends. Also, both parents should ensure the child has an adequate workspace for virtual schooling, along with a laptop/tablet and reliable internet connection, and parental supervision for logging on and participating in virtual classes.

Call Eveland & Foster, LLC Today

The Law Offices of Eveland & Foster, LLC are experienced family law attorneys.  They produce proven results and outcomes for their clients and have assisted many clients in the new era of COVID-19. While the pandemic has brought many challenges, it does not change the law. Parents are required to seek a resolution that is in the best interest of the children, and that includes decisions regarding education. Now more than ever it is essential that children experience some sense of normalcy when everything else has changed. It is crucial that divorced parents try to collaborate and communicate openly when it pertains to following COVID-19 protocols and making choices about virtual or in person schooling. If you are faced with difficulty from your ex-spouse regarding your child’s education and school plans, and you need help, call Eveland & Foster, LLC today for a consultation and review of your potential options.

 

New Jersey Divorce

 

New Jersey Divorce

New Jersey follows an equitable division of property rule when two people go through a New Jersey divorce. As such, any assets acquired during the course of the marriage are subject to division. Any premarital asset you want to protect from being part of a divorce settlement must be kept separate from the marital estate, so it will not be subject to distribution. How do you keep premarital assets outside of the marital estate?

Prenuptial Agreements

 Prenuptial agreements are the best way to protect premarital assets. A good prenuptial agreement clearly describes the assets which will not become marital property and will therefore not be subject to equitable distribution. Premarital property is protected from equitable distribution under New Jersey law. However, it is not always this simple. How is property divided when there is no prenuptial agreement?

Assets Purchased in Contemplation of Marriage

Assets purchased in contemplation of marriage might be considered marital property if not carved out in a prenuptial agreement. To decide if an asset is marital property, the court will look at the behavior of the parties surrounding the acquisition of the property. So for example, if one spouse purchased a house before the marriage, the court will look at whether the other spouse had input into the purchase, invested resources into improving the property, and took an active role in maintaining the property. If the court decides that the house was purchased in contemplation of marriage, then it will be considered a marital asset.

Assets That Increase in Value During the Marriage

Sometimes an asset owned by one party prior to a marriage increases in value during the marriage. In such a case, the court will look at whether the asset was active or passive. Passive assets increase in value without any contribution from the non-owner spouse, and such assets will usually not be subject to equitable distribution. However, if the court decides an asset is active, and the non-owner spouse was involved in whatever caused the asset to increase in value, then the amount of the increase in value will be considered subject to equitable distribution.

What Happens When Premarital Assets are Commingled with Marital Assets?

 When parties commingle premarital assets with marital assets, it makes divorce and property division more complicated. Placing funds into a joint account, for example, can convert a premarital asset to a joint asset, as can selling pre-owned stock to buy a family home.

The Bottom Line for Protecting Premarital Assets

Whoever is in possession of a premarital asset and wishes to protect it should never commingle the asset with marital property. You should also not allow your spouse to invest time or effort into improving an asset you own or increase the value of your asset if you wish to keep it outside the marital estate. Do not add your spouse’s name to any account, title, or other ownership documents, if you wish to keep the asset separate. If you have received an inheritance, you should keep the funds in a separate account, and any inherited property outside of the home you live in with your spouse.

Do You Need a New Jersey Divorce Lawyer?

If you need advice on how to protect your assets, either before marrying or because you are considering a divorce, consult with the experienced divorce attorneys at Eveland & Foster. Our team will help guard your assets. Get in touch with an experienced New Jersey divorce lawyer today, and let us help you protect your assets.

 

Child Support During Covid

𝐶ℎ𝑖𝑙𝑑 𝑆𝑢𝑝𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡 𝐷𝑢𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝐶𝑂𝑉𝐼𝐷
With unemployment on the rise, many are unable to meet their support obligations. Questions arise on whether modifications to child support can be made during the COVID 19 crisis.
Customarily, there needs to be a sustained change in income before a court will modify a non-custodial parent’s child support obligation. If you are experiencing an issue call Eveland Foster Family Law today at (973) 285-3173 to discuss your situation with an experienced attorney.

2020 NJ Rising Stars

𝐄𝐯𝐞𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐝 & 𝐅𝐨𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐅𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐲 𝐋𝐚𝐰 𝐀𝐭𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐲 𝐍𝐚𝐦𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨
𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟎 𝐍𝐞𝐰 𝐉𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐲 𝐑𝐢𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐬 𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐭.
We are proud to announce the selection of one of our attorneys, Elizabeth Foster Fernandez, to the 2020 New Jersey Rising Stars list. This is an exclusive list, recognizing no more than 2.5 percent of attorneys in New Jersey.
Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a research-driven,
peer-influenced rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Attorneys are selected from more than 70 practice areas and all firm sizes, assuring a credible and relevant annual list.
The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase
process that includes:
• Peer nominations
• Independent research by Super Lawyers
• Evaluations from a highly credentialed
panel of attorneys
The objective of Super Lawyers is to create a credible,
comprehensive, and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys to be used as a resource for both referring attorneys and consumers seeking legal counsel.
The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country, as well as the Minnesota Super Lawyers Digital Magazine.
Please join us in congratulating Elizabeth Foster Fernandez on her selection.

Covid-19 and Co-Parenting

Covid-19 & Co-Parenting
Many parents are attempting to navigate custody amid changes to work, social distancing, and shelter in place orders which make custody arrangements difficult to follow. What is the best way to have a successful co-parenting relationship during the COVID-19 pandemic? It’s complicated but the Leaders from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) and AFCC have released guidelines for co-parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Seven Guidelines for Parents Who Are Divorced/Separated and Sharing Custody of Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic

From the leaders of groups that deal with families in crisis: 

    • Susan Myres, President of American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML)
    • Dr. Matt Sullivan, President of Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC)
    • Annette Burns, AAML and Former President of AFCC
    • Yasmine Mehmet, AAML
    • Kim Bonuomo, AAML
    • Nancy Kellman, AAML
    • Dr. Leslie Drozd, AFCC
    • Dr. Robin Deutsch, AFCC
    • Jill Pea, Executive Director of AAML
    • Peter Salem, Executive Director of AFCC

1. BE HEALTHY.
Comply with all CDC and local and state guidelines and model good behavior for your children with intensive hand washing, wiping down surfaces and other objects that are frequently touched, and maintaining social distancing. This also means BE INFORMED. Stay in touch with the most reliable media sources and avoid the rumor mill on social media.
2. BE MINDFUL.
Be honest about the seriousness of the pandemic but maintain a calm attitude and convey to your children your belief that everything will return to normal in time. Avoid making careless comments in front of the children and exposing them to endless media coverage intended for adults. Don’t leave the news on 24/7, for instance. But, at the same time, encourage your children to ask questions and express their concerns and answer them truthfully at a level that is age-appropriate.
3. BE COMPLIANT with court orders and custody agreements.
As much as possible, try to avoid reinventing the wheel despite the unusual circumstances. The custody agreement or court order exists to prevent endless haggling over the details of timesharing. In some jurisdictions, there are even standing orders mandating that, if schools are closed, custody agreements should remain in force as though school were still in session.
4. BE CREATIVE.
At the same time, it would be foolish to expect that nothing will change when people are being advised not to fly and vacation attractions such as amusement parks, museums and entertainment venues are closing all over the US and the world. In addition, some parents will have to work extra hours to help deal with the crisis and other parents may be out of work or working reduced hours for a time. Plans will inevitably have to change. Encourage closeness with the parent who is not going to see the child through shared books, movies, games and FaceTime or Skype.
5. BE TRANSPARENT.
Provide honest information to your co-parent about any suspected or confirmed exposure to the virus, and try to agree on what steps each of you will take to protect the child from exposure. Certainly both parents should be informed at once if the child is exhibiting any possible symptoms of the virus.
6. BE GENEROUS.
Try to provide makeup time to the parent who missed out, if at all possible. Family law judges expect reasonable accommodations when they can be made and will take seriously concerns raised in later filings about parents who are inflexible in highly unusual circumstances.
7. BE UNDERSTANDING.
There is no doubt that the pandemic will pose an economic hardship and lead to lost earnings for many, many parents, both those who are paying child support and those who are receiving child support. The parent who is paying should try to provide something, even if it can’t be the full amount. The parent who is receiving payments should try to be accommodating under these challenging and temporary circumstances.
Adversity can become an opportunity for parents to come together and focus on what is best for the child. For many children, the strange days of the pandemic will leave vivid memories. It’s important for every child to know and remember that both parents did everything they could to explain what was happening and to keep their child safe.

 

Will Domestic Violence affect the Outcome of Your Divorce?

𝐖𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐃𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐜 𝐕𝐢𝐨𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐚𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐜𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐎𝐮𝐭𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐃𝐢𝐯𝐨𝐫𝐜𝐞?

Domestic violence is a serious issue in New Jersey, and the matter is governed by the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, which gives rights to victims. Such rights include seeking a restraining order against the abuser, as well as seeking a criminal complaint. Often, domestic violence is a trigger for divorce, but how will this issue impact the outcome of your divorce case?

The Effect of Restraining Orders

Victims of domestic violence often seek temporary restraining orders (TROs) or longer-term restraining orders. One condition of a TRO is that the domestic abuser and victim do not have contact with one another. This will make it impossible to engage in mediation or other settlement negotiations regarding your divorce case. All negotiations will need to go through your attorneys or the matters will need to be left to the court to decide.

Child Custody

If there is a TRO and domestic violence allegations against one parent, the court will certainly take this into consideration when making child custody determinations. If the children were also alleged victims of domestic violence, the court may award sole custody to the non-violent parent with limited visitation rights – if any – to the abusive parent. If the children were not involved in the domestic altercations, the court will need to make sure the non-violent parent is safe when it comes to custody arrangements, as well as taking into account the potential risk to the children.

Discuss Your Situation with a Morristown Divorce Lawyer Right Away
Domestic violence can impact a divorce case in many ways. If you are in this situation, you should have the right legal assistance to both stay safe and protect your rights in the divorce outcome. At Eveland & Foster, LLC, our divorce attorneys represent clients in all different situations. Call 973-285-3173 now.

The Basics of Equitable Distribution in New Jersey

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐁𝐚𝐬𝐢𝐜𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐄𝐪𝐮𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐃𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐛𝐮𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐧 𝐍𝐞𝐰 𝐉𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐲

States can enact their own laws regarding how property is divided in a divorce. New Jersey divorce laws require the “equitable distribution” of marital property, which means that everything that is considered to be marital property is divided in a fair manner, given the circumstances. Equitable distribution laws do not require you to divide property 50/50, but instead to consider different factors when determining a fair division.

𝑊ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝐺𝑒𝑡𝑠 𝐷𝑖𝑣𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑑?

The first step of property distribution is to determine what property and assets need to be divided. Put simply, marital property is divided, while each spouse keeps their own separate property. Marital property can include:

● The family home
● Vehicles
● Personal property purchased together
● Income earned during the marriage
● Investments and retirement accounts
● Business interests obtained during the marriage

Even if one spouse purchased something in their name only, it will be marital property if they used marital funds for the purchase.

𝑉𝑎𝑙𝑢𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑀𝑎𝑟𝑖𝑡𝑎𝑙 𝑃𝑟𝑜𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑡𝑦

Step two of the equitable division process is to determine the value of the marital property. This includes appraising real estate and business interests, as well as taking inventory of all financial accounts.

𝐷𝑒𝑐𝑖𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑊ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑖𝑠 𝐸𝑞𝑢𝑖𝑡𝑎𝑏𝑙𝑒

There are many factors that go into the determination of what is equitable when it comes to dividing property. Some factors include:

● The length of the marriage
● The earning ability and financial resources of each spouse
● Whether there are any spousal support orders
● Each spouse’s separate property
● How each spouse contributed to the acquisition of the marital property (not only financial contributions but also household and practical contributions)
Consult with a Morristown Divorce Attorney About Your Situation
Property division is a major part of every divorce, and the Morristown divorce lawyers at Eveland & Foster, LLC, can work to protect your rights under New Jersey law. Call 973-285-3173 now.

Mistakes to Avoid When Getting Divorced

𝐌𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐞𝐬 𝐓𝐨 𝐀𝐯𝐨𝐢𝐝 𝐖𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐆𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐃𝐢𝐯𝐨𝐫𝐜𝐞𝐝
𝐌𝐈𝐒𝐓𝐀𝐊𝐄: 𝑈𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝐴𝑐𝑐𝑒𝑠𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝐶ℎ𝑖𝑙𝑑𝑟𝑒𝑛 𝑎𝑠 𝐿𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑔𝑒 𝑜𝑟 𝑅𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑛𝑔𝑒
When parents get separated or are seeking a divorce, part of the process will include determining a custody arrangement, which often involves shared physical custody. When you have your children, it might be tempting to withhold access to your kids from your spouse for different reasons.
Some people may refuse to hand over a child simply out of spite or revenge. Others may try to use their children as leverage, only agreeing to allow the other parent to see the kids if they make certain concessions in the divorce case. In any situation, this tactic almost always backfires and causes more problems for you.

If you have a temporary custody order in place, withholding access to your child can violate a shared custody order. This can result in penalties from the court and, possibly, a less favorable outcome by the court when it comes time for the final custody ruling.

𝐷𝑜 𝑁𝑜𝑡 𝑇𝑟𝑦 𝑡𝑜 𝑀𝑎𝑛𝑖𝑝𝑢𝑙𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝑌𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝐶ℎ𝑖𝑙𝑑

Some parents try to plant seeds in their child’s mind that try to turn the child against the other parent. This is often in an attempt to gain an advantage in a child custody determination, though the attempt can backfire. Courts consider whether each parent is willing to foster and encourage a relationship with the other parent when making custody determinations. Being manipulative and trying to turn your child against your spouse can result in an unfavorable custody decision for you.

𝐷𝑖𝑠𝑐𝑢𝑠𝑠 𝑌𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑄𝑢𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑎 𝑇𝑟𝑢𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑀𝑜𝑟𝑟𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑤𝑛 𝐷𝑖𝑣𝑜𝑟𝑐𝑒 𝐿𝑎𝑤𝑦𝑒𝑟
Custody decisions are difficult enough without one parent trying to interfere with the other’s rights. Withholding access to your child will often only hurt your case, and you should always have the guidance of a Morristown divorce attorney from Eveland & Foster, LLC. Call 973-285-3173

Using Inherited Assets for Marital Purposes

𝐌𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐞𝐬 𝐓𝐨 𝐀𝐯𝐨𝐢𝐝 𝐖𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐆𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐃𝐢𝐯𝐨𝐫𝐜𝐞𝐝
𝐌𝐈𝐒𝐓𝐀𝐊𝐄: 𝑈𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑖𝑛ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑜𝑟 𝑔𝑖𝑓𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑎𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑡𝑠 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑚𝑎𝑟𝑖𝑡𝑎𝑙 𝑝𝑢𝑟𝑝𝑜𝑠𝑒𝑠/𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑙𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑚𝑎𝑟𝑖𝑡𝑎𝑙 𝑎𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑡𝑠

Many people receive significant financial gifts from family members for estate planning purposes or get valuable assets as part of an inheritance. When this happens, it can be tempting to use those funds to purchase a new house with your spouse, pay off marital debts, or otherwise contribute the money to your household. You might even think nothing of depositing inherited or gifted funds into your joint accounts with your spouse. While commingling assets may seem to be the best decision for your family, it can cause serious problems if you decide to get divorced.
Separate vs. Marital Property
When you get divorced, New Jersey law requires that you distribute all marital property in an equitable manner, while each spouse keeps their separate property. Generally speaking, a family gift or inheritance that you receive in your name would be considered separate property for you to retain. This can all change, however.

If you use your inheritance or gifted assets for marital purposes or you commingle those assets with marital assets, it can transition into marital property. For example:

● You inherit $600,000 from your parents
● You use the money to purchase a house for your family and live in the home with your spouse for several years
● Upon a divorce, the home would likely be considered to be marital property even though it was purchased with your separate assets

It is always wise to be careful with assets you inherit, and you might want to discuss how to protect those assets from a divorce with a qualified attorney.
Seek Advice from an Experienced Morristown Divorce Attorney
Our Morristown divorce lawyers at Eveland & Foster, LLC handle complex property division issues in divorce cases.

Eveland & Foster Family Law

Holidays and Co-Parenting

𝐇𝐎𝐋𝐈𝐃𝐀𝐘 | 𝐶𝑜-𝑃𝑎𝑟𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔

The holidays should be a joyous time, though the season can be challenging if you share parenting time with your child with their other parent. It is important to focus on healthy co-parenting techniques to ensure that your child – and you – enjoy your holidays as much as possible.

Plan Ahead

Do you have a specific family gathering you want your child to attend? Does your ex want to take your child on a short trip during winter break? There can be many factors that go into designing a shared custody schedule over the holiday break, so it is critical to plan far in advance. Make a schedule based on each parent’s priorities and then stick to that schedule. If there are disputes, refer to your parenting plan.

Make New Traditions

When you split time with your child, you likely will not be able to honor all of the past traditions you built for the holidays you observe. Now is the time to make new traditions, and start building new memories as parents who are no longer together. This can help you cherish every moment and not resent the times you are not with your child.

Keep Open Lines of Communication

The holidays can be unpredictable, and plans can change at a moment’s notice. If someone is going to be late or needs to slightly adjust the schedule, always be willing to openly discuss the matter with your ex. Being flexible and openly communicating can keep spirits high instead of resulting in unnecessary conflict.

Contact a Morristown Child Custody Lawyer for Assistance
If you need to adjust your child custody arrangement, the Morristown family lawyers at Eveland & Foster, LLC, can help. We assist clients with informal negotiation regarding parenting schedules, as well as custody modification cases in court. Call 973-285-3173 or contact us online to discuss your options.

Eveland & Foster Family Law | #Divorce #ChildCustody #ChildSupport #Alimony #Adoption #holidayParenting #coparenting

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