Can I homeschool my child? My ex doesn’t agree.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the issue of homeschooling was frequently a topic of disagreement between parents. With many children engaged in remote learning, whether or not to homeschool a child has become a common issue.

Typically, parents are given a great deal of latitude when making educational decisions for their children. In the case of parents who are divorced or were never married but who share joint legal custody they must agree on key child-rearing decisions such as education, religious training, and non-emergency medical care.

In the context of education, a recent Appellate Court decision gave judges and parents guidance when one parent wants to homeschool a child and the other parents object. As explained in D.C. vs. V.C ( ) the Court is to review the totality of the circumstances to make sure that the child being home schooled is being affrded a homeschooling program that provides “academic equivalence.” N.J.S.A. 18A:38-25; see also State v. Massa, 95 N.J. Super. 382, 390 (Law Div. 1967).

In this case, the Appellate Court would not simply rubber stamp the home schooling request as the trial court did not undertake the required analysis. This decision highlights the need to present the trial court with all of the relevant facts and circumstances so as to enable the necessary analysis. When hiring The Durst Firm, clients benefit from our twenty years of experience in making compelling arguments to judges throughout New Jersey.

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Is it over yet?

Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet and here at The Durst Firm there is little we can do about that except continue to operate in a safe, client-focused manner as we have since the beginning. However, if this questions pertains to your marriage, we can certainly help.

Knowing when the marriage is truly “over” and its time for a divorce is an uniquely personal decision and one that everyone needs to make for themselves. Absent compelling circumstances, we do not offer an opinion as to whether a potential client should proceed with a divorce. Frankly, our response could be seen as self-serving. Our function is to discuss the facts and circumstances of your situation with you and offer advice and guidance based on twenty years of family law experience in New Jersey.

Throughout the pandemic we have evaluated and refined how we do business; all with an eye towards continuing to provide high quality legal services during this unprecedented times. Technology upgrades have been performed providing the ability to work with clients remotely and safely.

Conducting trials, hearings, and settlement conferences in a virtual world has presented new challenges. As seasoned court room advocates, we have met these challenges head on. Frankly, there are court functions that have been enhanced and made more efficient in response to the ongoing public health crisis. For our clients, more efficient means less cost.

By continuing to work together and take the necessary precautions we can, and will, see the end of the pandemic.

Working together, relying on all the skill and experience The Durst Firm has to offer, we can see you through the end of your marriage.

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Thank you to our veterans

Today we would like to recognize the many sacrifices made by our veterans. To say we appreciate your service is a gross understatement. Your commitment to county over self is a example we should all strive to emulate. As a small token of our thanks, The Durst Firm offers discounted pricing for veterans and those in activity duty. Let us serve you.

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Can I keep the engagement ring if we break up?

Can I keep the ring if we break up?
An engagement ring is both a symbol of love and a significant investment/asset. As a divorce attorney, I am often asked what happens to the ring in the event the relationship ends. Can the woman keep the ring or can her fiancĂ© demand it be returned. AS with many legal questions, the answer I must give is “It depends” As will be discussed below, the timing of the break up is the key factor in what happens to the engagement ring.
Engagement rings are a “conditional gift”
A conditional gift? What does that mean? Under NJ law, engagement rings are considered a conditional gift. This means that certain conditions must be met in order for the recipient to have the right to keep the ring. Given to signify the engagement and intent to marry, the wedding is the condition that must be satisfied in order for ownership to leally transfer to the recipient. Here is where the timing of the breakup is critical. If the relationship ends BEFORE the wedding takes place, the condition has not been satisfied and the ring is to be returned. It does not matter which party ended the engagement. On the other hand (no pun intended) if the wedding does take place and the relationship then ends, the condition HAS been satisfied and the wife can keep the ring.
Of all the issues in family law, this one is pretty clear cut. If you are using a family heirloom as an engagement ring, the law can lead to disappointing results and you would b well served by considering a prenuptial agreement that deals with the return of the ring in the event of a divorce.

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Holiday parenting time during COVID-19: plan now!

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing so do the complications imposed upon our daily lives. While we all wish we could “go back to normal” we are not there yet. The impact of the pandemic has added unique complications to many issues of family law and The Durst Firm has been busy dealing with those issues for our clients.

Parenting time is one area that has been greatly affected. Perhaps one parent works on the frontlines of the pandemic as a health care worker or a police officer. These jobs put that parent at greater risk to catch COVID and thereby potentially the children, family member, and strangers to the virus. The other parent may be genuinely concerned. As are the courts.

As we enter the Fall, it is becoming clear that holiday activities and parenting time will also be impacted. Should your child go trick or treating assuming it is allowed in your locale? What about the traditional family gatherings? A few points to consider.

First, address these concerns NOW. The courts are open but backlogged. Any motions that are filed will take time to resolve. Also, courts are reluctant to decided holiday parenting time issues on an emergent basis by way of an order show cause.

Second, consider your travel requirements. NJ has been vigilant in identifying those states that present an elevated risk. Should you take your child to such a state? What about quarantine requirements? The guidelines are to quarantine for 14 days after travelling to a state on the list. Can you meet this guideline?

Third, whether you and the children are travelling or remaining at home, will you be exposed to extended family members, relatives, and friends. Are any of them coming from a state on the quarantine list? how do you know that your guests are healthy and have been following the best practices to stay healthy? Are you taking any measure to safeguard the children from the risks associated with group settings?

There are no easy answers to these questions and both parents should be diligent in their safeguarding the children and themselves. Flexibility is also warranted in these trying times. If you have concerns over the upcoming holidays and parenting time contact The Durst Firm to see how we can help.

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