Divorce 101 – Live & In-Person Q&A – Paramus, Bergen County, NJ

DIVORCE 101

FACTS AND MYTHS OF DIVORCE DISCUSSION EVENT
Location: The Paramus Corporate Center – Bergen County – New Jersey

Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group would like to invite you to join us for a complimentary local panel discussion.  Learn the basics of divorce and how to begin.

Featured Guest Speaker:
Erin Schneiderman - Associate at Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group
Erin Brueche, Esq.
Associate with Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group, L.L.C.

Gain valuable information regarding many important and misunderstood facts surrounding divorce.
This event will answer critical questions such as:

  • How do I protect my children?
  • How long will my divorce take?
  • Can I refinance my mortgage?
  • Can I sell my home in this economy?
  • How can I protect my money?

Have your questions answered by a team of professionals including a divorce attorney, financial advisor, real estate agent, mortgage specialist and insurance professional.

When: Thursday, October 6, 2011
Where: Wells Fargo Bank
The Paramus Corporate Center
95 Route 17 South 2nd Floor
Paramus, NJ 07652
Time: 7:00pm – 8:30pm

*Seating is limited  – Kindly RSVP by Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Call Jeanette at Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group (973) 520-8822

IRS Amends Tax Law to Help ‘Innocent Spouse’ Relief

Good news for those seeking “innocent spouse” tax relief from the IRS. Effective July 25, 2011, the agency will no longer enforce a rule that required taxpayers to file for innocent spouse status within a two-year time limit — a controversial provision that some lawmakers and tax experts said unfairly denied certain people who may have otherwise qualified, including victims of domestic violence or abuse. The policy change to the current tax law not only applies to those who file future claims but also to some taxpayers whose claims were rejected in the past.

IRS has required taxpayers to file for relief within two years after a collection notice. The deadline has prevented taxpayers who were in-the-dark about their spouse’s tax debts from seeking relief, the IRS taxpayer advocate and legal aid attorneys said.

“This change is a dramatic step to improve our process to make it fairer for an important group of taxpayers,” IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said in an agency news release. “We know these are difficult situations for people to face, and today’s change will help innocent spouses victimized in the past, present and the future.”

An “innocent spouse” is a taxpayer who did not know and did not have reason to know that his or her spouse understated or underpaid their income tax liability. If a taxpayer meets certain qualifications as an innocent spouse, the IRS may suspend all tax liability or only hold the innocent spouse responsible for their share of the tax bill. The new change affects taxpayers applying for equitable relief, a category open to taxpayers who don’t meet strict requirements of other provisions in the innocent spouse law.

Why more time? As Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary asked in her recent piece on the rule changes, what if a spouse was being abused or bullied and, although she may have known about the collection effort, was too afraid of her abuser to take action under after a separation or divorce? Under the former IRS provisions, it didn’t matter. She had to file within two years or was out of luck.

Singletary points out that dozens of members of Congress had been pushing for a policy revision on innocent spouse relief, likely a motivating force behind the agency’s sudden change of heart. Earlier this year, Nina Olson, U.S. National Taxpayer Advocate, had named elimination of the two-year rule one of her top legislative recommendations to Congress.

So what you should expect? Key changes for taxpayers include:

  • The IRS will no longer apply the two-year limit to new equitable relief requests or requests currently being considered by the agency.
  • A taxpayer whose equitable relief request was previously denied solely due to the two-year limit may reapply using IRS Form 8857: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8857.pdf, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief, if the collection statute of limitations for the tax years involved has not expired.
  • The IRS will not apply the two-year limit in any pending litigation involving equitable relief, and where litigation is final, the agency will suspend collection action under certain circumstances.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the IRS receives about 50,000 requests for innocent spouse relief per year, although the number of actual taxpayers is smaller because a taxpayer often requests relief for more than one year. The majority of appeals are filed by women.

Details on innocent spouse relief can be found in IRS Notice 2011-70: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-11-70.pdf

Sources:
Internal Revenue Service info:
IRS
Washington Post article:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/irs-does-the-right-thing-for-the-innocent-spouse/2011/07/27/gIQAvn3VdI_story.html
Wall Street Journal report:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904772304576468413081448544.html

3 Tips Regarding an NJ Uncontested Divorce

When it comes to getting an uncontested divorce, many people believe that it is as simple as someone filing, waiting a short period of time, receiving your divorce decree, and then it is all over. While an New Jersey uncontested divorce is usually easier to obtain than a contested one, it does not mean that it is necessarily a walk in the park.
Here are three important tips that those seeking an uncontested divorce in New Jersey should keep in mind, including:

  • Be patient. A divorce that is uncontested usually means that it will not take you as long to reach a final resolution. But that doesn’t mean it is going to happen overnight. There is still a legal process that needs to be followed and worked through.
  • You must still identify grounds for divorce. Contrary to popular belief, you still need to have “grounds” for an uncontested divorce. Even with both parties agreeing to dissolve the relationship, you will need to qualify for one of the legal grounds for getting a divorce, which, for uncontested matters, generally includes irreconcilable differences or 18 months of physical separation.
  • Disputed issues may exist. Even with both parties agreeing to an uncontested divorce, there are still legal issues that will need to be sorted out. Just about every couple has to decide the following issues: alimony, child custody, visitation, child support, and division of assets. .

If you decide to pursue an NJ uncontested divorce , you should work with a highly qualified family law attorney. By doing so, you are ensuring your case will be handled in a professional and expedient manner. At Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group, our practice is dedicated to providing New Jersey legal support for divorce cases.

Division of Assets in New Jersey Divorce Law

New Jersey divorce law follows a theory of equitable distribution when dividing up marital assets. It’s important to understand that equitable does not necessarily mean equal, as in 50-50. Once all assets are valued, the court will strive for a “fair, but not necessarily equal, division” of marital property.

The law views marriage as a shared enterprise, and deems property acquired by either spouse during the marriage to be jointly owned.  Generally, property owned prior to the marriage, and third party gifts and inheritance received during the marriage, are exempt from marital property (unless the property has been since transferred into joint ownership).  The burden is the party wanting to exempt an item to show exempt status.

Those are the theories, but in practice many grey areas arise. In the case of certain property previously owned by one person and that remains solely in their name – such as the house or retirement funds – it can be shown that the other spouse is entitled to a fair share of the appreciation value during the marriage.

The court will examine several factors, including: (1) the length of marriage; (2) the standard of living during the marriage; (3) the economic circumstances of each party; (4) the age and health of the parties at divorce.

While each item’s history and use is relevant, so can be the parties’ current ages and relative economic positions.  At the Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group, each of our attorneys is experienced) in New Jersey divorce law. We know how the courts interpret the equitable distribution statute and can help you receive your fair share of assets to secure your future.

New Jersey Divorce the Only Viable Option for Many

Few people get married with one eye set on divorce in the future. It’s something that most of us don’t even like to think about. Marriage can take couples down paths that twist and turn and may even cause them to grow apart. As time goes on, circumstances can change, and getting a legal New Jersey divorce may become the only viable option for a couple to make.

Getting a divorce is not a decision that anyone should take lightly. Lives may change in dramatically different ways. Yet those different paths often become a blessing in disguise for couples who have tried to keep it together, to no avail. For many, divorce becomes a fact of life that needs to be handled in a compassionate and understanding manner.

Those seeking a New Jersey divorce will need to work with an attorney throughout the process. When it comes to choosing the right attorney, it is important to go with one who understands you and the challenges you are going through, and who will be patient and caring enough to help you through this time, standing by you every step of the way.

You may be going through a difficult time, but when you have someone by your side that has the expertise, experience and compassion to guide you through the process of obtaining a New Jersey divorce, you will feel better. Contact Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group, we are here to help

Comparing Divorce in New Jersey to the Rest of the Country

Do 50% of marriages really end with a divorce in New Jersey?  For years now, that’s the statistic we’ve been fed: 50% of marriages end in divorce.  But doesn’t that seem a bit broad?  Is the outcome of your marriage really the same as flipping a coin? 50% seems like a cop-out.  It seems like a lack of thorough research. 50% seems like someone took the number of reported marriages and the number of reported divorces and did some simple division, which, by the way, is exactly what they did.

The 50% statistic in no way indicates divorce trends in the U.S. This statistic is derived from the total number of marriages and divorces over the past 30 years or so.  Isn’t it possible for divorce in New Jersey and in the rest of the country to have slowed down?

Furthermore, isn’t it possible for there to be less, or more, divorce in New Jersey than in, say, Wyoming?  While, yes, a marriage is still a marriage, it’s probably safe to assume life in Wyoming isn’t the same as life in New Jersey.  So, let’s take a look at some more accurate statistics.

The divorce rate per 1,000 married women sank to 16.4 in 2009 from 16.9 the year before and a far cry from 22.6 in 1980, according to an analysis of the data from the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia.

Let’s see where the rate for divorce in New Jersey falls.  Here is a list of the states with the lowest divorce rates per 1,000 people.

1.       Massachusetts                                  1.8

2.       District of Columbia                         2.1

3.       Pennsylvania                                    2.3

4.       Iowa                                                   2.5

5.       New York                                          2.5

6.       North Dakota                                    2.5

7.       South Carolina                                   2.6

8.       Illinois                                                 2.6

9.       Maryland                                            2.8

10.   Minnesota                                            2.8

11.   New Jersey                                          2.8