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New Jersey’s Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act

The New Jersey Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is a law designed to prevent one parent from choosing a more favorable jurisdiction for a custody case to be heard. The UCCJEA is also meant to avoid interstate child custody disputes and promote the cooperation of states with respect to matters related to child custody. All states have adopted some variation of the UCCJEA, and while certain provisions may differ from one state to the next, the basic provisions are essentially the same.

The UCCJEA grants jurisdiction over a child custody matter to the state with which the child has the most significant contacts. Typically, at least one parent and the child must reside in the state of New Jersey for a New Jersey court to issue a custody order for that child, and there must be substantial evidence available in the state about the child’s care, living environment, and personal relationships. In fact, for New Jersey to be the home state of a child, the child either must be a resident of the state for at least six months prior to the custody action or was a resident of the state for six months before a parent claiming custody removed him or her from the state.

There are some exceptions, however, to these general rules. For instance, if a child is physically abandoned in New Jersey and in need of protection from actual or potential mistreatment, abuse, or neglect, a New Jersey court can exercise emergency jurisdiction over the child in issuing a custody order. This type of order usually only lasts so long as the child is in immediate need of protection. Likewise, if it is in a child’s overall best interest for a custody case to be heard in a particular jurisdiction, then it is possible that no other jurisdiction would have the authority to hear the case.

Child custody cases are often complicated, lengthy, emotional, and stressful, and when multiple states are involved, these cases become even more difficult. No matter how complex the issues in your case may be, we are here to help. The attorneys of Argentino Family Law & Child Advocacy, LLC, have handled cases involving all aspects of divorce, child custody, and family law, as well as cases involving other matters related to families and children. Please contact the experienced New Jersey family and child lawyers at our office if you have any legal questions about children and your family.

Property Distribution In Divorce Cases

New Jersey is an equitable division state, which means that property should be fairly apportioned between the parties during their divorce. However, this doesn’t mean that property must be divided equally between the parties. While an even split of property may be appropriate in some cases, it is inappropriate in other cases. This means that you cannot assume that you are entitled to 50% of all marital property in your divorce.

The first step to property division in a New Jersey divorce is to determine what property qualifies as marital property. Only property or assets that one or both spouses acquire during a marriage is marital property that must be divided in a divorce. Marital property can include the marital home, real estate, cash, checking and savings accounts, stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, and businesses.

On the other hand, property that either spouse acquires prior to the marriage is not marital property (absent specific circumstances). Rather, this property may be separate property that remains the sole property of the spouse who acquired it before the marriage. Furthermore, if one spouse acquires property by gift or inheritance and retains it as a separate asset, that spouse may remain the exclusive owner of that property, even he or she receives the gift or inheritance during the marriage.

Once a court determines which property is marital property, the next determination is how to divide it equitably. In making that decision, a court can consider the following factors:

·         The length of the marriage

·         The age and health of each party

·         The financial situation of each party, including any debts

·         The current value of the marital property and the tax consequences of the property distribution

·         The income and property brought into the marriage by each party

·         The established standard of living during the marriage

·         The contribution of each party to obtaining marital assets, including contributions by one party as a homemaker

At Argentino Family Law & Child Advocacy, LLC , our attorneys are here to handle all of the different issues that involve families and children, including the distribution of property when spouses separate. We understand how difficult and stressful these types of cases can be in many situations, but we consider it our job to help guide you successfully through these and any other family-related legal proceedings that you may be facing. Contact our offices today to schedule an appointment with one of our highly experienced New Jersey lawyers and see what we can do to help with your case.

Settling Your Divorce Case: What You Should Know Before You Settle

While most divorce cases end in a settlement, reaching that settlement can be a lengthy process. During negotiations in your divorce case, you are likely to question and struggle with making the different decisions that you are facing. Individuals make decisions in their divorce cases for different reasons, not all of which are completely rational or in their best interests. Therefore, before you reach a final settlement in your divorce case, there are a few things that you should know.

First, you should be aware of what you are or potentially are giving up when you agree to a settlement in your divorce case. For example, your spouse’s offer of settlement may include a provision that you are not entitled to any portion of your spouse’s retirement plan, even though it accrued during your marriage. Under New Jersey law, your spouse’s retirement plan would qualify as marital property, so you may very well be entitled to a portion of the plan’s assets. By accepting your spouse’s settlement offer, you may be giving up a legal right to that asset. Of course, you can make whatever decision you want, but you should know what rights you may be giving up before you agree to give them up.

Next, avoid making decisions based on emotions. It is very easy in a divorce to allow your feelings to drive your decisions rather than engaging in a rational decision-making process. Many individuals who simply want to get a divorce over with will agree to whatever settlements their spouses propose, purely for the sake of quickly ending their marriage. Other individuals will claim that they don’t have the money or strength to continue to fight with their spouses. This is one reason why it is so essential to have the assistance and advice of an attorney throughout your divorce proceedings. A divorce lawyer can look at the issues you are facing in a more neutral manner, since he or she has no emotional stake in the matter, and give you rational advice about how to proceed.

No matter whether settlement is a possibility or litigation is a necessity in your divorce case, our New Jersey family law attorneys can guide you through every step of the proceedings needed to resolve your case. We are here to answer all of your questions about your case and present your potential options. At Argentino Family Law & Advocacy, LLC, we have represented the interests of countless families and children throughout many different types of legal proceeding. Contact our office today at (973) 868-0958 or by e-mail at info@argentinolaw.com and set up a time to talk with us about your case.

What is Human Rights Day All About?

The United Nations General Assembly designated December 10th as Human Rights Day, in celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is a document proclaiming the inalienable rights to which everyone is entitled. This year, Human Rights Day sets off a year-long campaign to mark next year’s 70th Anniversary of the Declaration. The rights set forth in the Declaration are inherent in every human being, regardless of race, religion, color, sex, language, political or social opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status. The goal of the Declaration is to establish universal values and common standards for all people and all nations.

All United Nations member states have consented to the basic human rights outlined by the Declaration. Although it is not a binding document, it has supported the creation of more than 60 additional documents concerning human rights, which collectively make up the international standard of human rights. Available in more than 500 languages, the Declaration is the most translated document in the world. The Declaration has inspired the following pledge to support universal human rights:

·         I respect your rights regardless of who you are. I will uphold your rights even when I disagree with you.

·         When anyone’s human rights are denied, everyone’s rights are undermined, so I will STAND UP.

·         I will raise my voice. I will take action. I will use my rights to stand up for your rights.

At Argentino Family Law & Child Advocacy, LLC, we acknowledge Human Rights Day in order to promote awareness of the many local, state, national, and global issues that impact different groups of individuals in today’s society. While we celebrate the steps that have taken thus far in support of human rights, we also are cognizant of the need for continued work in the area of human rights. It is our goal to help raise awareness of these issues in the state of New Jersey. Since our daily work deals with families and children, we know how important human rights are, particularly for those individuals whom society tends to marginalize.

Should you need assistance with any family law-related matter, we are here to help and give you the advice that you need. Contact our office by e-mailing us at info@argentinolaw.com or call us at (973) 868-0958 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced family law attorneys today.

How Should I Choose a Divorce Attorney?

When it comes time to choose a divorce attorney, you may not know where to start. This is an important decision for a variety of reasons. Therefore, you should take several different factors into consideration in making this decision, including the lawyer’s perspective on your case, his or her level of knowledge and experience with divorce cases like yours, and his or her ability to communicate and help you understand the different aspects of your divorce case.

First, realize that lawyers use different strategies and tactics for approaching a divorce case. One lawyer may take an aggressive stance from the beginning of your case, filing multiple motions with the court and refusing to negotiate or compromise on even the smallest of issues. Another attorney may approach your divorce case more holistically and work closely with your spouse’s attorney to negotiate a settlement that is fair for both of you, thus saving both time and money. When you are interviewing lawyers, you should ask how they would handle the different aspects of your divorce case. You need to be comfortable with your attorney’s approach and make sure that his or her approach is truly designed to get you what you want, need, and deserve in your divorce proceedings.

Next, part of an attorney’s job is to educate you about New Jersey divorce law and explain how procedural matters in your divorce proceedings work. You undoubtedly will have many questions throughout your divorce case, and you will want to ensure that you can get clear answers to your questions from your lawyer in a timely manner, both during your initial consultation and throughout your divorce case. How long can you expect to wait to have your phone calls returned? Will your lawyer take the time to explain things to you, or will he or she be too busy to answer your questions? These are all questions that you should ask a prospective lawyer so that you have a clear sense of the information that you will receive from your divorce lawyer and how and when you will receive it.

Finally, make sure that you hire a lawyer who has experience handling not only divorces, but also handling the issues that will arise in your divorce case. For instance, many attorneys operate a general law practice, which means that they handle divorce and family law cases in addition to many other types of cases, including estate planning, business contracts, and criminal defense cases. An attorney who has focused solely on divorce and family law for several years is likely to have far more experience in these matters than a general practitioner. Likewise, if your divorce case involves issues that may not be common to all divorce cases, such as a prenuptial agreement, allegations of child abuse, or a family business, you are likely to get the most help from an attorney ho has handled divorces involving these types of issues in the past.