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Leland Law Firm is committed
to serving families when legal solutions are needed to help tackle and resolve the challenges that
face us all.

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(732) 409-7777

 

Mary Jane Leland, Esq.
Leland Law Firm, LLC
Ellis Law Center
87 South Street
Freehold, New Jersey 07728
Phone: (732) 409-7777
Fax: (732) 409-7772
mjleland@lelandlawfirm.com

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The Latest

December 15, 2009

Many have lost their jobs, or at least have taken a cut in income.  According to an eye-opening article by Caren Chesler, many have decided to file for divorce or if already divorced, seek an alimony or child-support reduction. And, many have succeeded in forging economically favorable divorce settlements and convincing judges to lower support obligations.  In the article entitled “Untying the Knot,” Ms. Chesler chronicles the recent calamitous effects the economic downturn has had on marriages of higher income couples. Since in many of those marriages, only one person (monotonously, often the male) made the lion’s share of the household income, many have seen this as an opportunity to save millions in a divorce settlement.

Also true when it comes to support obligations: former high wage earners who have been laid off are unable to find jobs that pay the same high salaries. Although historically judges would be quite suspicious of husbands who “reported a drastic decrease in pay during a divorce proceeding…such a scenario is believable” today.  The “Great Recession”, as many are billing these past seventeen months, has been a boon for many divorce filers.

While it is obvious that a divorce filing is not usually solely motivated by an attempt to save money, many fellow practitioners are surprised by how much of a factor it has been as of late. According to a number of people quoted in Ms. Chesler’s article, divorce filers have saved millions of dollars due to the economic realities of today. Theodore Sternklar, for example, a NYC based attorney, highlighted this point when he said, “If you’re going to market-time a divorce, now is about as good as you’re going to get in your lifetime.” Interestingly, this has not really been the case for middle-income households. Since a typical middle-income household’s biggest asset is “the home and a 401k,” it’s not nearly as economically advantageous for those couples to go through a divorce proceeding.  Because of this, the divorce rate for such households has not shown any significant increase. 

Overall, husbands, wives, attorneys and judges, have taken notice of the economic condition our nation and many of its citizens are currently facing. And, specifically a number of higher earning husbands have used this opportunity to file for divorce while their net worth has dipped. In the process, they have been able to save quite a bit in both money to be doled out, and money that might be recouped once the market finally recovers.

This is posted with permission from both the author Caren Chesler of Ocean Grove, New Jersey and the publisher, Private Wealth Magazine. Here is a link to the entire article. You can also check out Caren Chesler’s homepage.

September 28, 2009

Crowds of people took to the Point Pleasant Beach boardwalk to participate in the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk on Saturday, September 26, 2009.  I was awestruck to see so many people walking for such an important cause and to learn that 5.3 million Americans are suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. Held in nearly 600 places across the country, the Memory Walk is the single biggest event that helps raise money to combat Alzheimer’s.  Events like the Memory Walk are crucial to fund important Alzheimer’s research. To see pictures from the Memory Walk, visit my Facebook page. To learn more about the Alzheimer’s Association, click here.

September 14, 2009

New Jersey Court Rule 5:6B provides for Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Child Support Orders.  The child support amount is adjusted every two years to reflect the cost of living. This adjustment is based on the Consumer Price Index. Effective September 1, 2009, this adjustment applies (prospectively) to orders entered on or before August 31, 1998. The increase can be contested by the parties in certain situations. For example, the person paying the child support may contest the adjustment if his or her income has not increased at a rate at least equal to inflation. Other modifications of a child support order may be sought by showing that a modification is warranted based upon changed circumstances. Cases on point are Lepis v. Lepis, decided by New Jersey's Supreme Court in 1980 and Martin v. Martin, 2009 N.J. Super. LEXIS 181 (Trial Court, April 24, 2009, Published June 30, 2009).

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