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The Awarding Of Attorneys’ Fees In A New Jersey Divorce Action
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In NJ Must A Divorced Spouse Pay College Debt Owed By An Estranged Child?
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Consideration Of Fault In Awarding Alimony In New Jersey Divorce Cases

The Awarding Of Attorneys’ Fees In A New Jersey Divorce Action

Pursuant to the case of Williams v. Williams, 59 N.J. 229 (1971) an award of counsel fees in a New Jersey divorce action is within the discretion of the court. The Williams case stands for the proposition that the court must look at the requesting party’s need, the other party’s ability to pay, and the good faith/bad faith put forth on behalf of each party. Additional factors that the courts must also consider include, but are not limited to, the complexity of the case, the quality of the financial positions among the parties, the spouses’ respective shares of equitable distribution of the marital assets, and the applicant’s share in the equitable distribution process and the liquidity of same.

Furthermore, counsel fees are required to be reasonable under the circumstances. Courts will look at the time and labor required, novelty and difficulty of questions involved, and the skill requisite to perform services properly. The courts will also look at whether or not the fee charged by the attorneys is customarily charged in the locality for similar services.

Counsel fees are always an integral part of a divorce proceeding. It is absolutely essential that you are provided with a thorough understanding of this issue prior to engaging in the divorce process. It is imperative for a divorcing spouse to receive a fair divorce settlement, that the playing field be level, and that both spouses have an equal ability to obtain competent and experienced legal counsel.

Vincent C. DeLuca, Esq. is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a matrimonial law attorney and has extensive experience in this area of the law

In NJ Must A Divorced Spouse Pay College Debt Owed By An Estranged Child?

In the case of Gac v. Gac, 186 N.J. 535 (2006), the Court addressed this very issue. In this case, the child never consulted or otherwise communicated with her father before entering into a very expensive private school or college. The father was not a part of the daughter’s life during the application process and did not assist her in financing same. Neither the child nor the child’s mother had asked the father to help finance the child’s education during the time those costs were incurred. In this case, contribution towards the education costs were not sought from the father until the daughter graduated from college and after the father finished paying his child support obligation. The Court concluded that those facts were significant and denied the request for the father to contribute towards the college expenses.

This case stands for the proposition that as soon as practical, the parent or child should communicate with the other parent concerning the many issues inherent in selecting a college. The Court further held, at a minimum a parent or child contribution should initiate the application to the court before the expenses are incurred and that the failure to do so will weigh heavily against the future application for contribution.

Contribution for college costs is often litigated in the family courts throughout the State of New Jersey. The Law Office of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. is experienced in addressing these types of issues. If you have a child approaching college age and are contemplating a divorce or just recently got divorced, I would suggest that you speak with an attorney who can properly advise you as to your rights and/or obligations. Should you have any questions or wish to further discuss any aspect of college expenses and divorce, please contact Villani & DeLuca, P.C. for a free consultation.

Consideration Of Fault In Awarding Alimony In New Jersey Divorce Cases

In the case of Mani v. Mani, 183 N.J. 70 (2005), the Court concluded that consideration of marital fault was deemed irrelevant except:

(1) where marital fault affected the economic life of the parties; and

(2) where marital fault so violated societal norms and completed the continuing economic bonds between the parties would confound the notions of simple justice.

The fault, contemplated by the Court as being egregious, constitutes such activity as attempting to negotiate a “murder for hire” with regard to the other spouse. As a result of the Divorce Reform Act, fault was not listed as a factor in alimony determinations. It should be noted that fault is also not a statutory factor in equitable distribution or child support awards either. The fact that marital fault is not a factor in awarding alimony is a difficult concept that should be adequately explained to litigants at the onset of the divorce proceeding.

Copyright © 2016 Alexandre Lauzon. All Rights Reserved.