Post divorce issues constitute more than half of our family law practice. Property Settlement Agreements and Orders are often violated and/or changes need to be addressed. These are normally addressed through the filing of either a regular motion or an enforcement motion (called a Motion to Enforce Litigant’s Rights). Both types of motions are filed in the Superior Court Family Part:
Types of Post Divorce Motions/Issues:
Many of these motions and applications are extremely complex and involved. Motions often require in depth knowledge of the legal system. If you have been served with a motion, there is a time limit to file a response under the New Jersey Court rules. If you need to file a motion, feel free to call us to discuss your issues.
There are certain substantial change of circumstances, which can alter the post divorce situation. These may be:
If either party has experienced a substantial change of circumstances, there may be a chance to modify the original judgment. Consulting a lawyer should be the first step to see if there are any grounds for a modification. The second step is trying to modify the agreement in an amicable way with the other party. If this cannot be done, a court order may be sought.
There may be several reasons for not addressing an issue during the original divorce agreement, but no matter the reasons, consulting Underwood and Micklin, LLC will help you resolve all of your post divorce issues. We educate you about your rights and responsibilities after the divorce and also discuss all of the options for finding a proper solution.
EMANCIPATION LAW IN NEW JERSEY
We are regularly retained to handle emancipation cases in New Jersey. Generally, the cases are fact sensitive, depending on the individual situation.
In the context of Family Part proceedings, an application for emancipation is the equivalent of a motion for relief due to changed circumstances. As noted by the Court in Lepis v. Lepis, 83 N.J. 138 (1980), “the equitable power of the courts to modify alimony and support orders at any time is specifically recognized by N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23” which states:
Pending any matrimonial action brought in this State or elsewhere, or after judgment of divorce or maintenance, whether obtained in this State or elsewhere, the court may make such order as to the alimony or maintenance of the parties, and also as to the care, custody, education and maintenance of the children, or any of them, as the circumstances of the parties and the nature of the case shall render fit, reasonable and just, and require reasonable security for the due observance of such orders. Orders so made may be revised and altered by the court from time to time as circumstances may require. Accordingly, “alimony and support orders define only the present obligations of the former spouses. Those duties are always subject to review and modification on a showing of ‘changed circumstances’” (Lepis, 83 N.J. at 145-146).
“Emancipation in its general sense signifies a surrender and renunciation of the correlative rights and duties touching the care, custody and earnings of the child.” Limpert v. Limpert, 119 N.J. Super. 438, 440 (App. Div. 1972). “Emancipation of a child is reached when the fundamental dependent relationship between parent and child is concluded, the parent relinquishes the right to custody and is relieved of the burden of support, and the child is no longer entitled to support….” Filippone v. Lee, 304 N.J. Super. 301, 308 (App. Div. 1997)(citing Bishop v. Bishop, 287 N.J. Super. 593, 598 (Ch. Div. 1995)). A parent has no duty to support a child once the child becomes emancipated. See Newburgh v. Arrigo, 88 N.J. 529 (1982); Sakovits v. Sakovits, 178 N.J. Super. 623 (Ch. Div. 1981).
The essence of the inquiry in emancipation applications is whether the child moved beyond the sphere of influence and responsibility exercised by a parent and thus, obtained an independent status of his or her own. Filippone, 304 N.J. Super. at 308 (citing Bishop, 287 N.J. Super. at 598). The determination of emancipation in the context of a child’s college education involves a critical evaluation of the prevailing circumstances, including:
See Newburgh, 88 N.J. at 545. The Legislature took these factors into account when, six years after Newburgh, the Legislature amended the support statute, N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23a. Gac v. Gac, 186 N.J. 535, 543 (2006).
We are here to assist you in any post divorce matter, including emancipation and enforcement issues. We regularly appear in family courts throughout New Jersey and have a great deal of experience handling these matters.