Category Archives: Family Law and Divorce

Funeral Agents

A thorough and well thought out estate plan is essential for many reasons and puts you in control to define your wishes and desires for when you are no longer able to make those decisions. Careful estate planning addresses many issues, including who will receive your assets, who will care for your children, establishes trusts to provide money for the care of your children, and gives you a voice to make medical and financial decisions when you are unable to communicate them on your own.

For those situations when an individual out lives their relatives, are estranged from family members, or may have reason to believe family members will not abide by their expressed wishes with respect to funeral plans, particular consideration in estate planning becomes necessary. New Jersey law authorizes the inclusion of a provision in your Last Will and Testament that appoints another person to control the funeral and disposition of your body. N.J.S.A. 45:27-22. The person appointed, sometimes called the funeral agent, does not have to be the executor under the Will. Funeral homes are required to honor the instructions of the person appointed as the funeral agent.

For those finding themselves in this type of situation, a sample of the language that should be included in the Last Will and Testament appears below. This is offered for illustrative purposes only. We recommend that you consult with an attorney for your particular situation.

Appointment of Funeral and Disposition Representative

“I hereby nominate, constitute and appoint [insert name] to serve as my Funeral and Disposition Representative, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 45:27-22. My Representative shall have the authority and power to control the arrangements for my funeral and the disposition of my remains. My Executor shall notify my Representative of this appointment, and shall advise my Representative of the financial means available to carry out the Funeral and Disposition arrangements. In the event [insert name] should predecease me or for some other reason not qualify to serve as my Funeral and Disposition Representative, then I nominate, constitute and appoint [insert name of alternate] as my Funeral and Disposition Representative.”



Bill A845 May End Permanent Alimony in New Jersey

The Garden State is notorious for imposing harsh alimony orders on divorcing spouses. The American Bar Association even called New Jersey resident Ari Scochet “the poster child for alimony reform” after his debilitating spousal support debts transformed him from wealthy portfolio manager to destitute prisoner bouncing in and out jail.  Alimony reform groups have spent years battling for more lenient laws, and now, they may finally get their wish, thanks to a new compromise bill introduced by Assemblyman Charles Mainor (D-Hudson).

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Which Religions are the Most Likely to Get Divorced?

If you’re a regular reader of the Maselli Warren legal blog, you may have already noticed our ongoing series about marriage risk factors.  So far, we’ve examined the pros and cons of variables like age, education, income, and health; but what about faith?  Are members of certain religions more likely to get divorced?

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Illness Increases the Risk of Divorce (But Only for Women)

“In sickness,” the traditional marriage vow goes, “and in health.”  But if the disheartening results of a recent study are any indication, perhaps it’s time for those adoring words to be rephrased. The results of a long-running study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan are finally in, and the verdict is a depressing one: illness significantly increases the risk of divorce.  At least, it does if you’re a woman. But just how much worse do your marital odds become?  And perhaps more importantly, why? 

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Four of the Strangest Reasons Cited in Divorce Proceedings

People change, and couples drift apart.  It’s unfortunate, but sometimes it happens.  When it does, there isn’t necessarily a person or an action at fault — it’s just part of life.  When a couple wishes to divorce without pointing to a specific cause, it’s called “no-fault divorce.”  In other words: irreconcilable differences.  Of course, only a portion of all divorces are no-fault, leaving the remainder classified as fault-based divorces.  Fault-based divorces can be driven by adultery, imprisonment, drug abuse… or by other, much stranger causes.  In this blog post, our family law attorneys take a look at some of the world’s strangest stories of reasons that were cited in a divorce.

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Divorce Rates Increase if You’re Under 25

A few weeks ago, we wrote a blog post about measurable factors that affect the divorce rate.  We found that variables like age, income level, and educational degree have a significant statistical impact on the national divorce rate.  In a nutshell, the conclusion among divorce experts was that the older, wealthier, and more educated you are at the time you get married, the more likely your marriage is to pass the test of time.  On the other hand, the younger, less affluent, and less formally educated you are, the more likely you are to end up filing for divorce later down the road.

In our last post about divorce rates, we focused on how “positive” factors drive marital success. This time around, our New Jersey divorce attorneys are taking a closer look at how and why “negative” factors have the opposite effect.  In particular, we’ll examine the documented phenomenon of marriage and age, and why divorce rates increase if you’re under 25. Continue reading

What Factors Affect the Divorce Rate?

Divorce has become an increasingly prevalent part of American society.  Until the latter half of the twentieth century, divorce was considered scandalous and taboo, a dirty secret to be swept under the rug — or better yet, avoided at all costs.  As the years passed, however, divorce gradually evolved into an almost casual fact of American life.  Vague statistics commonly cite the “fact” that “50% of all marriages end in divorce,” and Generation X- and Y-ers shrug nonchalantly at a social institution their grandparents would have only whispered about behind closed doors.  But how many people really do get divorced, and what factors affect the divorce rate?  In this entry, our New Jersey divorce attorneys explore divorce trends and contributing causes over the years.

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NJ Appeals Court Dismisses Lawsuit in Parental Negligence Case

If a divorced couple’s child allegedly commits a crime, one parent may wonder what influence the actions or inaction of the other parent had on the incident.  If one parent feels that the other parent is responsible for the crime committed by the child, they may even decide to initiate litigation.  Feeling financially victimized by a five-figure robbery purportedly committed by his own son, father John Paleski opened a lawsuit against mother Joanna Cali on the basis of parental negligence in 2010.  But in a recent ruling, a New Jersey appeals court has dismissed the case, saying that no laws were actually broken by Cali.

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The Most Expensive Celebrity Divorces of All Time

Divorce can be many things: painful or liberating, slow or rapid, fault-based or no-fault, and so on and so forth.  Just as each couple is unique, each divorce is unique in kind.  However, virtually all divorces have one unfortunate trait in common: they’re expensive.  And when it comes to racking up zero after zero after zero, no one does it better (or bigger) than the rich and famous.  The most expensive divorces of all time could have collectively financed the creation of a small country, and we’ve compiled them all here for your guilty reading pleasure.  You might want to get one hand ready beneath your chin, because otherwise, by the time you make it to the bottom of the list, your jaw will have dropped to the floor.

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But What About Same Sex Divorce?

Gay marriage: a controversial, emotional, and politically-charged topic that has raged across America throughout 2013.  From staunch social conservatives on one end of the spectrum to gay couples and human rights activists on the other, everyone seems to have a strong opinion about the matter.  But in the raging storm of media chaos about the legal merits of gay marriage, something else, something closely related, has silently fallen by the wayside: gay divorce law.  As states across the country battle to permit or suppress same sex marriages and the year draws to a close, the inevitable question is finally beginning to break the surface of the churning political waters: what happens when a same sex marriage hits the rocks?

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