College costs and divorce

We are approaching a time of year filled with angst for high school seniors and their parents: college decisions and the costs that come with those decisions. For divorced families, there may be added concern and confusion. The Durst Firm can help. If you had questions about your potential obligation to contribute towards the college costs of your child, contact the firm to schedule a consultation. It’s never too soon to plan and prepare.

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A crisis in NJ Courts and why you should care.

Judges in NJ are appointed. This requires action on the part of our legislators and Governor. Simply put, our leaders are failing to act and the lives of NJ residents are being greatly affected.

According to NJSBA President Jeralyn Lawrence, their are 66 Superior Court judicial vacancies and 1 Supreme Court vacancy. There are candidates ready and willing to fill these vacancies. It is time for our government officials to fulfill their responsibilities for the benefit of the citizens of NJ.

Chances are that you or someone you know is being negatively impacted each day these judicial vacancies go infilled. My practice is devoted to family law. It has been my focus for over 20 years. I am committed to guiding my clients through the court system as expeditiously and effectively as possible. Doing so is a promise I make to them when they place their trust and hard earned dollars with me. Our Governor and legislators are hindering my ability to make good on that promise.

So who is being affected? Which of your friends, neighbors, And co-workers are having their lives turned upside down by and understaffed judiciary? Anyone seeking a divorce. Certain counties have stopped accepting new motions and are not scheduling trials. Those wrongfully accused of domestic violence are who are being kept from their homes and children for months. Children and financially dependent spouses who cannot obtain support or enforce support orders already in place. Children who can’t begin or continue college because one or both of their parents can’t be ordered to pay since courts aren’t hearing motions. Real people with real problems are being denied help from the Courts.

For many, it’s already too late to correct the consequences of a derelict government and an understaffed judiciary. But it’s not to late for others. We need our officials to do their jobs; govern for the benefit of our residents.

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The importance of maintaining relationships

Divorce is hard and is, by definition, a break of a marital relationship. Sometimes, one broken the parties can maintain a civil and working relationship. As the case summary below indicates, establishing a functioning co-parenting relationship is critical and failing to do so can have devastating consequences.



Freedman v. Freedman, Appellate Division, Judge Geiger. Plaintiff appealed the trial court’s orders regarding the disposition of the parties’ adult son’s remains and personal property. The parties’ son died unexpectedly at age 20 while attending college in Colorado. Defendant unilaterally decided to have her son cremated without informing plaintiff that he had died, preventing him from participating in decisions regarding the disposition of the body or from attending the memorial service. Defendant further refused to divide the parties’ son’s personal effects. The parties filed contesting petitions to resolve their dispute over their son’s remains and property and to terminate child support. The trial court entered orders scheduling a plenary hearing and ultimately ruling that the disposition of the parties’ son’s remains and effects should be decided by defendant because she had a closer relationship. Plaintiff appealed those orders, while defendant cross-appealed certain aspects of the order scheduling a plenary hearing. On appeal, the court affirmed. The court noted that plaintiff had substantial opportunities to litigate defendant’s alleged alienation of their son’s affection and interference with plaintiff’s parenting time and communication with his son during his son’s minority. Because plaintiff waited until after his son’s death and the dispute over the disposition of his remains and personal effects to raise allegations regarding defendant’s interference in plaintiff’s relationship with his son, the court deemed those issues waived. The court further held that a plenary hearing was not required as the trial court was presented with overwhelming evidence that defendant had a closer relationship with the parties’ son. The court adopted a procedure for trial courts to follow to resolve parental disputes over the disposition of their deceased children’s remains. (Approved for Publication)

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A view from the trenches: thoughts of the Divorce System after 20+ years of working in it

Divorce is difficult. It can be a time consuming, costly, and emotionally draining process. But does that mean that the system is irretrievably broken and inherently damaging to families? Not in my opinion. However, the Amazon documentary “Divorce Corp” would have you believe diffidently.

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The Divorce System: is it broken? Can it be fixed? Join us to find out what family law experts think!

After working in the “divorce system” for over 20 years I’ve seen the good and the bad. Join us for an insightful discussion on what works, what doesn’t and how we might fix the problems.

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