New Jersey Family Law 2014 Year in Review

year 2014 in review

It’s been a busy year in divorce and family law. From groundbreaking local court cases that grabbed international media attention to important changes in New Jersey family law and Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group’s own noteworthy accomplishments, 2014 has been one for the record books. Check out our timeline of this year’s best moments — and a few controversial ones, too!

JANUARY

Divorce Month: In January, media attention brought to light statistics that show a strong annual uptick in the number of people who file for divorce during the first month of the year, both nationally and right here in New Jersey. WLG’s Bari Weinberger spoke to a number of press outlets to explain some of the reasons behind the “Divorce Month” phenomenon.

New Offices: Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group started off 2014 by doubling in size! In January, the firm opened two new family law offices in Hackensack and Basking Ridge, adding to WLG’s existing New Jersey locations in Parsippany (headquarters) and Freehold. Better yet, these two new offices gave us the opportunity to expand our team with even more stellar family law attorneys!

New Mediation Services Website: Also in January, Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group announced their new website focused on Mediation Services which provides information and resources for New Jersey couples contemplating mediation as a way to save time, money and stress in resolving divorce or family law matters.

FEBRUARY

Best Place to Work in New Jersey: We’re proud of having a workplace culture where staff members feel more like family than coworkers, so it was an amazing accomplishment when Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group was named a 2014 Best Place to Work in NJ!

School Choice Court Case: Are you in a disagreement with your former spouse over whether to send your child to private or public school — and who will pay for it? A 2014 NJ Supreme Court case decision handed down in February says that before any decision is made, the school setting in the “best interest of the child” must be considered.

MARCH

Media Frenzy: Rachel Canning became the focus of worldwide media attention when the 18-year old sued her estranged parents for NJ child support and payment of her future college tuition. The core issue of her case was the question, “Do older children who voluntarily leave home have the right to demand money from their parents?” We’re relieved to report this story has a happy ending: Canning eventually reunited with her parents and dropped her case.

New Child Support Bill: Ironically, during the same month Rachel Canning brought her suit, a NJ Senate Panel approved a bill to cut off New Jersey child support at age 19. This bill is still moving through the legislature. We will keep you posted on its progress in 2015!

Same-Sex Marriage: Figure skater Johnny Weir made news off the ice when he filed for divorce from husband Victor Voronov. The filing marked New Jersey’s first “high profile” same-sex divorce following the legalization of same-sex marriage in the fall of 2013.

APRIL

Child Support Amnesty: Hundreds of “dead beat” parents took advantage of NJ Child Support Amnesty Week. During the event, parents behind on child support payments could bring themselves up to date and/or create payment plans without penalty.

MAY

Family Law Tuesday Live Facebook Q&A: Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group attorneys introduced a first of its kind, “Family Law Tuesday” on the WLG Facebook page. Held the first Tuesday of every month from 8 to 9pm EST, Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group opened this online discussion forum on Facebook to create a regular and easy access to ask your questions about Divorce and Family Law in a real-time, immediately answered, public arena.

NJ Passes Historic Adoption Law: Governor Chris Christie signed into law a new provision allowing adoptees access to their birth records. When the law is enacted in 2017, it will mark the first time New Jersey will unseal adoption records since they were closed in 1940.

JUNE

Job Discrimination for Divorced Workers Ruled Illegal: A New Jersey appeals court ruled that the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination’s ban against discrimination based on “marital status” applies to people who are going through a divorce. The discrimination case was based on a New Jersey worker’s suit alleging his employer fired him because of his pending divorce from a co-worker.

JULY

Top Honors & Awards: The attorneys at Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group consistently and regularly are noted with top honors, awards and mentions in a variety of nationally recognized groups and organizations throughout the year. Some, during this month, included attorneys named in Top 10 Family Law Attorneys Under 40, as well as an attorney’s recognition in the Latino American Who’s Who and more.

AUGUST

Bergen County Suspends Lengthy Divorce and Family Law Trials: Frustrating news for those in Bergen County. In August, Bergen County announced a halt to lengthy trials in civil and family cases. As of September 15, no Civil or Criminal Division trials will be conducted if they are expected to last longer than two weeks, subject to the discretion of the presiding judge. The reason for this dramatic move: judge shortages and an ever-growing case back log.

SEPTEMBER

Alimony Reform Passed in New Jersey: In a long-awaited move, Governor Chris Christie signed Alimony Reform into law on September 8. The historic reform measure left many wondering, what does this mean for my alimony order — or for the alimony calculations currently taking place in my divorce? We created an online slideshow to help make alimony reform understandable for all.

Palimony Decision: A law passed in 2010 made it required for domestic partners who establish palimony agreements (similar to alimony, but for unmarried partners) to have their agreements put in writing. But what about couples who had oral palimony agreements pre-dating 2010? A NJ Supreme Court decision handed down in September provided important guidance.

OCTOBER

Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group believes strongly in supporting and participating in community efforts of all kinds. Not only has continued support gone to Eva’s Village, which helps the homeless, working poor, and people in need of a second chance find hope and success, but, this month, help went to New Jersey’s Center for Hope and Safety (formerly Shelter Our Sisters), an organization dedicated to helping men, women and children in Bergen County be safe, empowered, and free from violence and the fear of violence.

Ray Rice Domestic Violence Fallout: In the aftermath of the extremely disturbing Ray Rice video showing showed the former Baltimore Ravens player assaulting his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City elevator, New Jersey legislators introduced three new domestic violence bills.

NOVEMBER

NJ Divorce Fee Hikes: In an attempt to increase judiciary funding, New Jersey divorce filing fees went up by $50 — from $250 to $300.

DECEMBER

Here We Grow Again! Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group announced the January 5th opening of its fifth office in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, in Burlington County. Our new office address will be added to our website and open for business, along with all of our New Jersey law office locations, this coming Monday, January 5, 2015.

Thank you for being part of our year! Here’s to a healthy and happy 2015!