Monthly Archives: August 2018

Popular School Supplies with Toxic Chemicals: What NOT to Buy for Your Kids

crayonsIt’s back-to-school season! That means that parents and children are buying school supplies in anticipation of the start of the school year.

Parents need to be aware, though, that a surprising number of common school supplies contain toxic chemicals that can harm their children. Playskool crayons available for purchase at Dollar Tree stores, for example, contain asbestos, which is a known cancer-causing agent. Some types of water bottles contain lead, which is harmful.

What to Buy, and What Not to Buy

How can you be sure the products you’re buying for back to school are safe? Fortunately, there are several ways to do this.

First, the Art and Creative Materials Institute (ACMI) places an “AP” label on non-toxic products to let consumers know they are free of toxic materials. However, manufacturers aren’t required to use the label, so lack of a label leads to some unclarity about whether the products is safe or not.

Second, if there isn’t an AP label, some manufacturers place the words “children’s product certificate” on the product. This wording, though, also isn’t required, so if a product doesn’t have it, parents can’t be sure if the product is safe or not.

Third, and most comprehensively, U.S. PIRG, a nonprofit dedicated to consumer safety, has recently placed a shopping guide to safer school supplies online. They have tested a wide array of back-to-school products for safety. The publication, Safer School Supplies: Shopping Guide, surveys not only products such as markers, crayons, dry erase markers, glue, 3-ring binders, spiral notebooks, lunchboxes, and water bottles, but brand names and the stores that sell them.

The guide also advises parents about safe alternatives to all the products.

Products May Be Toxic Although Legal

Parents may well wonder why material such as asbestos and lead are in their children’s school supplies. There are several reasons.

First, government mandates may not cover all toxicity. According to U.S. PIRG, for example, asbestos is legal in crayons. But it may well be unwise, whether it’s legal or not. As the U.S. PIRG says, the exposure is unnecessary, since there are safer alternatives. They recommend recall of asbestos-containing products and reformulation of the products without asbestos.

Second, some substances may be legal, but harmful to children at high levels. Products containing phthalates are legal, for example, but scientific studies have shown risks to children if phthalates are at a high level. The risks include hyperactivity and birth defects.

Third, recalled products are still on some store shelves. There is a Federal government regulation that children’s’ products should not have over 100 ppm of lead. But U.S. PIRG found some water bottles containing over this amount. It recommends taking the bottles back and obtaining a refund, immediately.

Product Liability Lawyers for New York and New Jersey

Companies who knowingly manufacture and sell unsafe products put consumers at risk. As a result, they can face product liability claims.

If you or your loved ones have been hurt by an unsafe product, call the experienced product liability attorneys at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman. We have been fighting for the rights of victims of defective products for more than 40 years.

Call us today toll free at (888) 624-4916 for a free discussion of your case.

Additional Resources:

  1. Safe Shopping Guide for Back-to-School Supplies. News Release. U.S. PIRG. August 7, 2018. https://uspirg.org/news/usp/safe-shopping-guide-back-school-supplies
  2. U.S. PIRG Education Fund. Safer School Supplies: Shopping Guide. Executive Summary. August 7, 2018. https://uspirg.org/reports/usp/safer-school-supplies-shopping-guide
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The 100 Deadliest Days for Teenage Drivers

teen girl driver in carFor teenagers, cars may be integral to their summer memories. They may drive to beaches and lakes, parties, their first job, or even take the wheel during family vacation.

A Deadly Spike During the Summer

But unfortunately, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day are referred to as the “100 deadliest days” for teenage drivers. Fatalities in car crashes involving teenagers rises 15% over the rest of the year.

Why the sudden spike? Well, for most teenagers, those 100 days coincide with summer vacation. First, they have more time to spend on the road, as they’re not in school. Second, they may be going more places, including areas with which they are unfamiliar. Third, they may be inexperienced drivers who are not fully versed in how to operate a car safely.

A fourth factor, and one of the largest, is alcohol use. Summer is a time of parties. Alcohol consumption rises around holidays through the year, and summer for many teenagers is a holiday type of time.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that nearly 6% of drivers 16-17 years old and 15% of drivers 18-20 years old indicated that they drove under the influence of alcohol in 2010 (the last year for which statistics were available).

Teenage Road Fatalities Rising Overall

Throughout the year, the number of fatal vehicle crashes involving teenagers has been climbing recently. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatal crashes with a teenage driver rose over 10% in 2015.

While teens having free time, being in the car more, and drinking are all contributing factors, the immediate cause is all too often distraction. The top 3 distractions are using a cellphone, talking to other people in the car, and looking for items in the car, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Parents are urged to discuss driving safety with their teenagers. Emphasize the importance of driving without distractions. Urge them to use seatbelts and obey the speed limit. Advise them always to wear shoes rather than flip-flops or sandals when driving, as flip-flops and sandals can cause their feet to slip on the gas pedal or the brake.

When You Need Car Accident Lawyers in New York or New Jersey

The frightening statistics on the rise of teen deaths in cars, both during the summer and overall, should be a wake-up call to emphasize safety on the road.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in car accident in New York or New Jersey, please contact Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman to discuss your case. Our NY & NJ car accident lawyers will bring many decades of experience to bear on your case and will advise you about the best course of action to take.

Call us at (800) 711-5258 or fill out the form on our website. We maintain offices both in Rockland County, NY or Bergen County, NJ.

Additional Resources:

  1. “ʹ100 Deadliest Days’ for Teen Drivers.” Your South Florida. PBS. https://www.pbs.org/video/100-deadliest-days-teen-drivers-dzsdic/
  2. Cruz, Roberto. “The ‘100 Deadliest Days’ for Teen Drivers Are Here.” Your AAA Magazine. May 1, 2017. https://magazine.northeast.aaa.com/magazine/life/cars-trucks/100-deadliest-days-teen-drivers/
  3. The Most Dangerous Times on the Road. Bactrack. June 30, 2015. https://www.bactrack.com/blogs/expert-center/35042821-the-most-dangerous-times-on-the-road
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Lawyers Beware! New Scam Involves Fake Clients, Forged Bank Checks

NJ & NY divorce lawyer Paul Goldhamer, Esq. is a founding partner at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman. In addition to practicing matrimonial and estate law, Mr. Goldhamer has a busy schedule of lectures, teaching, and media appearances. Among many accomplishments, he helped launch the establishment of free legal seminars for the public in New York and New Jersey. Mr. Goldhamer was honored as a “Super Lawyer” by Superlawyers.com in 2014.

From Paul Goldhamer, Esq.:

Here’s another scam:

A lawyer receives an email or letter asking them to represent someone in a collection for money due from either a local vendor or a recalcitrant spouse. It’s usually a sizable odd amount like $253,978. The client is out of state or out of country and you have to send them the retainer by email. They sign, return it and authorize you to commence action on a contingency.

You prepare the papers and sue the Defendant, who appears to be local. The husband or defendant corporation responds immediately with all sorts of apologies & guarantees to pay it right away. Good to their word, a bank check arrives for the full amount. You notify your client that you are a hero & you’ve successfully collected the money and you deposit it in your escrow account.

An attorney is obligated to disburse money collected on behalf of a client within 15 days. However, banks although they will tell you checks are cleared in three days in state & 14 days out of state, have a clause in their contract when you opened up the account that states that any adjustment on the account can be corrected by the bank beyond the clearing period and they will make adjustments months later.

The check you were given is a brilliant forgery or a ‘kited’ check, (money drawn from & through a series of accounts to each other where the check writer depends on the lag time between banks to “float a loan of the money”) or maybe even an account that actually exists, but has little or no money in it.

You deposit the money in your escrow account and the bank tells you it’s cleared. But, your bank is wrong, because the check is either fake or not backed up by any money at the time they need to transfer the money. In the meantime, your crooked client (usually a woman in distress) claims to have suffered an accident or has some type of an emergency and needs money immediately. They call you and beg you to transfer their share of the collection you received because of their emergency and tell you to take your fee. The dumb lawyer in this case thinks he made $75,000 in a day or two. (If it is too good to be true… it isn’t.)

A month later, the lawyer’s bank notifies them that the check is no good and they are withdrawing the money that they paid on his escrow check to the client from his other accounts.

This is an actual legal case and the lawyers were unsuccessful in their claim against the bank and the bank was successful in the claim against the lawyer for paying out monies not backed by sufficient funds. There are various scams like this that operate under different techniques.

Someone contacts you because you have an item for sale. They send you a third-party check greatly in excess of the items they bought. They tell you to keep an extra 20% or $100 for your trouble & ask you to send them a check refund for the difference. There is always a big rush, because someone is very sick & in the hospital. They send a delivery person to pick-up the merchandise. The sucker gives away the merchandise for a fake check and sends a real & good check as change. Always get cash for the sale. Do not take any type of check.

Both of these scams rely on the hope that the seller or vendor is greedy & will jump for the quick buck.

Feel free to share this!

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LAND ROVER and JAGUAR TIMING CHAIN Defect Class Action

The firm is currently litigating a putative class action involving a potential defect in the PRIMARY TIMING CHAIN ASSEMBLIES for JAGUAR and LAND ROVER vehicles, model years 2012 through 2014, equipped with a 5.0 liter direct injection engine.  Class vehicles include but are not limited to the following Range Rover platforms/vehicles: LR4 (LA), Range Rover Sport (LW), Range Rover Sport (LS), Range Rover (LS) and Range Rover (LM). Jaguar class vehicles also include but are not limited to the following Jaguar vehicles: XF, XJ, XK, XFR, XJR, XKR and F-Type.

This suit alleges that these vehicles suffer premature failure even though the maintenance schedule contains no schedule for inspection or replacement of the timing chain assemblies and they are touted as lasting the life of the vehicle but, in fact, failed prematurely at significant cost to the owners. The suit seeks reimbursement of the cost of repair and replacement of the timing chain assemblies as well as reimbursement for the engine damage caused by certain cases of timing chain failure.  In addition, there have been numerous complaints relating to these failures in 2012 – 2014 Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles filed by consumers with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Defect Investigation (NHTSA-ODI).  These complaints indicate that owners have experienced problems with their timing chain assemblies during or soon after the warranty has expired.

If you are interested in finding out more about this matter or if you are interested in participating, please contact Gary S. Graifman at (888) 608-9232 or via email at ggraifman@kgglaw.com.

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Best Tips for Swimming Pool Safety

Swimming pool In spite of substantial safety enhancements over the past several years, swimming pools continue to present great risks for property owners and their guests. Statistics compiled by the Consumer Products Safety Commission, for example, reveal that accidental drowning is one of the top causes of fatalities among children younger than 14, and that for a two-year period between 2015 and 2017, more than 6,400 children received treatment in hospital emergency rooms for non-fatal swimming pool accidents.

The premises liability attorneys at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman want to help swimming pool owners in New York and New Jersey to enjoy their pools with minimal risks or injuries. These swimming pool safety tips can help to keep your pool environment safe while increasing your overall levels of comfort and pleasure with your pool.

7 Swimming Pool Safety Tips

The American Red Cross and other swim safety organizations generally recommend that swimming pool owners take the following precautions to keep their pools safe and secure:

  1. Erect fences and other barriers that are at least four feet tall around a pool to control access to it. Check with local building codes and property association guidelines to verify the types of fences that are required or allowed.
  2. When you are not using your pool, cover it, remove ladders and other access devices, and install a motion sensor to alert you when someone enters the pool.
  3. Do not allow anyone to swim in your pool alone or without supervision, even if that person is an experienced swimmer. A slip and fall accident can render a person unconscious and can quickly lead to fatalities around unattended pools.
  4. Keep your pool filter clear of debris and test and maintain chemical levels to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination. Check filter intakes to confirm that they do not create a suction risk that might hold a smaller person underwater.
  5. Avoid the use of glass or other breakable beverage containers around your pool. Broken glass near pool surfaces can cause serious injuries to barefoot swimmers.
  6. Verify that safety and recovery devices, including throw ropes, buoys, and shepherds crook life hooks, are readily available near your pool.
  7. Install non-slip coatings for easier walking around a pool with a reduced risk of slipping on wet surfaces.

Swimming Pools and Premises Liability Issues

Liability for swimming pool accidents is governed by applicable standards of premises liability. A pool owner owes a greater duty of care to his or her guests and to other persons who are permitted to use the pool. That duty extends to keeping the pool and its surrounding premises safe from undue risks, and to warning pool users of other known risks, including, for example, shallow areas of a pool that are inappropriate for diving or deep areas that could pose a drowning risk for small children and weaker swimmers.

A pool owner owes a lower duty of care to someone who trespasses onto his or her property to use a pool without permission, but pool injuries to trespassers can still create liabilities for pool owners, particularly if the trespasser is a younger child who saw the pool as an “attractive nuisance”.

In all cases, the liability of a pool owner to a person who suffers a swimming pool injury will depend upon the specific facts of each case. Because statutes of limitations and other procedural rules can limit an injured party’s ability to recover damages in a swimming pool accident case, the best course of action following any pool injury is to contact an experienced premises accident attorney as soon as is possible in order to start any litigation before that statutory period expires.

Contact the Premises Liability Attorneys at KGG for Representation in Swimming Pool Accident Cases

The New York and New Jersey premises liability attorneys at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman hope that you, your family, and your guests get the maximum amount of enjoyment during the summer swimming season. If, however, you do suffer a swimming pool injury in Bergen County, Rockland County, or  surrounding communities, we urge you to contact us at your earliest convenience to protect your rights to recover damages for your injuries from any negligent parties that have not implemented appropriate safety procedures. We will challenge any insurance company settlement offers that undervalue the cost of your injuries and we will get you the compensation you need to help you recover from your injuries and to get you back to the pool as quickly as is possible.

Additional Resources:

  1. Redcross.org: Home Pool Safety. http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/water-safety/home-pool-safety
  2. Poolsafety.gov: CPSC Calls for Increased Water Safety Efforts as Summer Swim Season Arrives. https://www.poolsafely.gov/news/cpsc-calls-for-increased-water-safety-efforts-as-summer-swim-season-arrives/
  3. Swimmingpool.com: Safety Guidelines. https://www.swimmingpool.com/pool-living/pool-safety/safety-guidelines
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How Your Marriage Can Survive the “Frustrated Forties”

Photo of couple in divorce

It’s no secret that divorce rates have increased throughout recent decades. For many couples in early middle age, the 40s are particularly tumultuous. Divorce rates among couples in their early 20s are negligible, and among the 25 to 29 age group, the rate stays under 10%. By the time a couple reaches the 40s, divorce rates increase sharply, from about 30% at age 40 to just under 40% at age 49, according to data compiled by Business Insider. That means that four out of every 10 couples will be divorced by the end of this decade.

Why do so many people get divorced in their 40s?

Research indicates that among this age group, more women than men initiate divorce. There are probably a million little reasons for divorce, but some of the major ones include:

  • Infidelity
  • Financial woes
  • Breakdown in communication
  • Frequent arguing
  • Lack of intimacy

Some couples simply fall out of love after having been married for years. And in some cases, the divorce has been brewing for a while—spouses may sometimes wait to divorce until after the kids leave home.

Ideas for improving your marriage in early middle age

Couples often try marriage counseling before thinking about divorce, and this is definitely a step in the right direction. But not enough of them try individual counseling as well. Often, a marriage hits the rocks because one or both spouses have individual behavioral or health issues that interfere with the relationship. In one-on-one counseling, a spouse can work to overcome depression, anxiety issues, past relationship trauma, and similar issues that may interfere with the health of the marriage.

Beyond counseling, there are plenty of strategies couples can try to improve the marriage. Couples in their 40s have typically settled into a predictable routine. They’re focused on getting things done, rather than enjoying the journey. Try breaking out of the routine for just a day. Spend some time in each other’s company, doing low-pressure activities, and simply enjoying a genuine conversation.

It’s also important to give up on being right, particularly if a couple argues frequently. Spouses may need to give themselves reminders that they’re on the same side, and being right isn’t important. Avoid going on the offensive, and instead try to consider the situation from the other person’s perspective.

Lastly, try focusing on improving quality of life along with the marriage. It’s easy to get wrapped up in negative thought patterns, and the negativity of one spouse affects the other. Research indicates that smiling, even if you don’t feel like it, really does help elevate the mood. Embracing positivity and smiling are also contagious. Few things bring people together like a good, wholehearted laugh.

What to do when a marriage just isn’t salvageable

Sometimes, staying together causes more harm than good. If you and your spouse just aren’t compatible any longer, you need a divorce lawyer you can trust. The family law attorneys at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman have been helping clients through difficult divorces since 1975. Our divorce lawyers serve New York and New Jersey, including Bergen County and Rockland County. You can request a private consultation by calling (888) 624-4916.

Additional resources on marriage and divorce in middle age:

  1. Psychology Today, What Rising Divorce Rates in Midlife Mean for You, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201311/what-rising-divorce-rates-in-midlife-mean-you
  2. Business Insider, Here’s when you’re probably going to get divorced, https://www.businessinsider.com/divorce-and-marriage-by-age-charts-2016-2
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6 Things Most People Don’t Know About Divorce

Wooden Gavel On Petition For DivorceIn a perfect world, married couples would grow old together and live out their days happily. In reality, nearly 50 percent of all marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. The break-up of a marriage is never easy. It’s one of those things in life you think will never happen to you, and until you go through the process, it’s difficult to grasp the emotional, physical and economic consequences. With this in mind, here are some bits of wisdom about divorce, offered by men and women who have experienced this life-changing milestone.

Divorce can feel like a death.

Even if you are the person who wanted the divorce, there’s still a sense of a loss that can feel overwhelming. You’re not only saying goodbye to your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you may be splitting with their family as well. Be prepared to mourn this loss, and don’t be surprised if your ex’s relatives support him or her despite any indiscretions or misbehavior.

Your married friends may drop away.

Friends can be a tremendous support during the divorce process, but one of the biggest complaints from divorced couples is that their married friends stop including them in their social calendar. Whether they are struggling with their own marital issues or don’t want to take sides, it’s important to make new friends and surround yourself with people who care and will listen.

There is no glory to making an unhappy marriage “work”

Divorced people know that there is no shame in the end of a marriage and there are few merits in toughing out a union that is unsatisfying and unhappy. People grow up and change, and when couples realize it is time to move on, there is no point in dragging out a marriage that is poised to fall apart.

You may regret your decision, or at least second guess your choice.

Even the most bitter of break-ups can soften with time. As your ex-partner moves on with his or her life, falls in love or remarries, it’s not unusual to feel momentary pangs of jealousy or regret. You may be focusing solely on the good times with “rose-colored” glasses and lose sight of why your relationship deteriorated.

Divorces can turn very ugly, very fast.

Divorce proceedings can go downhill quickly, when matters like child custody, assets and financial support are contested. Couples who are parting amicably and feel they are above the bickering can be stunned out how feelings of ill-will and resentment can bubble up.

You’ll be a stronger, wiser person.

Moving on with your life without your spouse is a choice, and no matter how the divorce ends, you’ll have gained experience and important life lessons you’ll carry into new relationships.

Divorce attorneys serving New Jersey and New York

Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman offers highly skilled legal representation to residents of New York and New Jersey in all areas of family law. Our experienced divorce attorneys in Rockland County and Bergen County handle a wide range of issues from alimony and child support to complex asset division. Reach out today for private legal consultation.

Additional Resources on the Divorce Process:

  1. Thrive Global, What No One Tells You About Divorce https://medium.com/thrive-global/what-no-one-tells-you-about-divorce-e30b200991c2
  2. Crosswalk.com, 5 Things People Don’t Know about the Pain of Divorce https://www.crosswalk.com/family/marriage/divorce-and-remarriage/5-things-people-don-t-know-about-the-pain-of-divorce.html
  3. BestLifeOnline, 30 Things Only Divorced People Know https://bestlifeonline.com/things-only-divorced-people-know/
  4. Today, 10 things I wish I’d known before getting divorced https://www.today.com/health/divorce-10-things-i-wish-id-known-2D80445585
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8 Great Ways to Trick Out Your Motorcycle

Biker riding on motorcycle near the riverIn Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, the author explains that both life and motorcycles can be perceived from either a classic or a romantic perspective. The classic perspective focuses on how life or the motorcycle works, whereas the romantic perspective explores how they feel.

Whether intentionally or subconsciously, riders often fall into one of these two camps when they choose ways to modify their motorcycles. When you are looking for great ways to trick out your motorcycle, first decide whether your focus is how it works or how it feels, then consider some of these options:

Improving Your Motorcycle’s Performance

In addition to maintaining your bike regularly and keeping it in tune, you can make a few modifications that will alter its performance to make it work better.

  1. Install a mushroom head to increase air intake. A good aftermarket mushroom head will boost your bike’s power and reduce air turbulence with a sleeker design. Make sure you tune the bike to accommodate different airflow.
  2. Change the bike’s pipes. Many riders install aftermarket exhaust pipes to alter the feel of the ride, but new exhaust systems made with lighter materials can also improve the motorcycle’s performance by allowing quicker acceleration and better harnessing of the engine’s power.
  3. Switch from stock brake pads to organic or composite pads. Better brake pads will also give you better control over stopping distances and reduced brake fading.
  4. Shorten the bike’s gearing. Changing the bike’s front and rear sprockets can give you quicker acceleration, albeit with a reduction in the bike’s top speed.

Enhance Your Motorcycle’s Look and Feel

The feel of your motorcycle is connected to both its appearance and the ride that it gives you.

  1. Vinyl wrap your bike’s stock fairings. You can change the vinyl wrap on your bike every three months to give it a fresh look with no damage to its fuel tank or fairings.
  2. Add frame sliders to safeguard the engine in a crash. If you need to lay down your bike, frame sliders will disperse the crash impact through the bike’s frame and will protect your engine from serious damage.
  3. Install smaller taillights with integrated signals, and LED lights and accents. LED underglow lights have gained in popularity, but be careful not to overdo it with this option. Too much lighting can make your bike look tacky.
  4. Use custom hand grips and with finger warmers. Better hand grips will increase your comfort on longer rides, and finger warmers will prevent your hands from stiffening up in cooler weather.

Hurt on the Road? Call KGG Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in NY & NJ

The Bergen County, New Jersey motorcycle accident attorneys at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman appreciate that you take great pride in your motorcycle. We also understand the motorcycle riding culture and the risks that riders take when they are on the road with careless motorists. When an accident happens, we will take on the negligent drivers and their insurance companies to get you the compensation you deserve, to help you recover from any injuries, and to repair any damage that your motorcycle suffered.

If you want to get back on your tricked out ride as soon as is possible after an accident, please contact the KGG motorcycle accident lawyers in New Jersey and New York today.  

Additional Resources:

  1. Rediff.com: 4 Awesome Ways to Improve Your Bike’s Performance. http://www.rediff.com/getahead/report/biking-and-motoring-4-awesome-ways-to-improve-your-bikes-performance/20150607.htm
  2. Revzilla.com: Sliders: Everything You Wanted to Know and Some Stuff You Didn’t. https://www.revzilla.com/common-tread/sliders-everything-you-wanted-to-know-and-some-stuff-you-didnt
  3. Bikegearup.com: Best Motorcycle hand Grip. http://www.bikegearup.com/best-motorcycle-hand-grip/
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Why Baby Boomers Divorce: What the Research Says

Senior couple arguing in kitchen at homeOverall, the American divorce rate is declining – except for older adults. According to the National Center for Family & Marriage Research, between 1990 and 2014, the divorce rate among adults over age 50 doubled, while the rate among adults over 65 tripled. Another curiosity is that among younger Americans, those with college degrees are significantly less likely to divorce than those without higher education. But among older adults, the distinction is eliminated; those with and without degrees divorce at similar rates.

Researchers have taken an interest in the reasons baby boomers and other older Americans cite as the cause of their so-called “gray divorce” in hopes of unraveling some of the mystery. The results may be surprisingly traditional.

Researcher delves into causes of gray divorce

Rutgers University professor of public policy Jocelyn Elise Crowley published an essay discussing some of her research findings into gray divorce in the public interest digital magazine, Aeon. Crowley’s research included interviewing 40 men and 40 women, all unrelated individuals who have gone through a gray divorce. Surprisingly, though the institution of marriage has gone through changes that reflect societal attitudes, those age 50 and older are citing some arguably old-fashioned reasons for their divorce.

As Crowley explains in her essay, at the beginning of the 20th century, though marriage was seen as a bond of love, it was also based an agreement to meet certain responsibilities toward one’s spouse. When one spouse began engaging in actions that violated these responsibilities, divorce was understood to be acceptable. Marriage underwent a change during the 1960s, when the culture made a shift toward personal fulfillment. Under this new construct, if a spouse was not fulfilled and empowered by the relationship, it was deemed grounds for divorce.

As explained by Crowley, one could expect that the baby boomers who grew up during the 1960s may have been more likely to base their divorce on lack of personal fulfillment. However, quite the opposite was true. While a few participants did cite this as the reason their marriages ended, most described what would be better understood as a breach of marriage responsibilities toward their spouse. The reasons included adultery, drunkenness, rampant spending, and abusive behaviors.

Issues couples face with a gray divorce

Regardless of the underlying cause, those divorcing later in life tend to be in a different situation than younger couples. They are often empty-nesters near, at, or past retirement age. They may have fewer family expenses but may have most of their savings tied up in a home. They often retirement, life insurance policies, and other benefits naming the other spouse as a beneficiary. These complex factors can derail one’s retirement if they are not handled with expertise.

If you are contemplating a divorce, the NY & NJ divorce lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman can help you navigate these and other issues. Our family lawyers in Rockland County, NY, and Bergen County, NJ, have offered a guiding hand to individuals going through divorce at all stages of life. Call (888) 624-4916 to schedule a confidential consultation.

Additional gray divorce resources:

  1. Aeon, Baby boomers are divorcing for surprisingly old-fashioned reasons, https://aeon.co/ideas/baby-boomers-are-divorcing-for-surprisingly-old-fashioned-reasons
  2. CNBC, Surviving divorce after 50, https://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/01/surviving-divorce-after-50.html
  3. BGSU, BGSU research highlights surge in older divorces and other unexpected trends, https://www.bgsu.edu/news/2014/10/bgsu-research-highlights-surge-in-older-divorces-and-other-unexp.html
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Alimony Tax Laws Change December 31st, 2018

alimony divorceBergen County divorce lawyer Paul Goldhamer, Esq. is a founding partner at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman. In addition to practicing matrimonial and estate law, Mr. Goldhamer maintains a full schedule of teaching, speaking engagements, and media appearances. Mr. Goldhamer was selected in 2014 as a “Super Lawyer” by Superlawyers.com.

From Paul Goldhamer:

When it comes to alimony, the new tax law is going to turn the calendar back 77 years. That was when the Revenue Act of 1942 first made alimony deductible for the spouse paying it and taxable for the spouse receiving it. The deduction was granted to help couples make the transition from being joint taxpayers to paying separately, said Suzanne L. Shier, chief tax and wealth planning strategist at Northern Trust.

The tax change could become problematic in divorces settled after Dec. 31, 2018, because one spouse will gain a tax benefit and the other will lose a deductible item. Under the new system, the alimony payer will be taxed on the full amount while the recipient will receive the payment tax free. The obvious answer is to complete the agreement by the end of the year to preserve the deduction. But, this is easier said than done.

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