Author Archives: Ava LawsonAuthorChestnut RidgeNY

6 Examples of Car Accident Compensation

driver hurt after rear end collisionFollowing any kind of vehicle collision where you’ve suffered injury or sustained major damage to your vehicle, you are probably wondering what types of compensation are available for your losses.

Whether the wreck happened in New York or New Jersey, recovery can be painful, expensive and time-consuming. The best approach to getting an accurate assessment on the potential value of your claim is to speak with a qualified car accident lawyer who understands No-Fault laws and vehicle insurance coverage for liability, personal injury protection (PIP), property damage and uninsured or underinsured motorists.

Regardless if you were the driver, a passenger in a car wreck, or a pedestrian injured in the accident, you have a legal right to be fairly compensated for your injuries and losses.

New York car insurance requirements

In New York, all vehicle owners must have these minimum insurance requirements:

  • $25,000 per person for personal injury protection
  • $50,000 per person for wrongful death
  • $50,000 (no-fault insurance per accident)
  • $10,000 for property damage
  • $100,000 total per accident wrongful death protection
  • $25,000 per person or $50,000 per incident for uninsured and underinsured motorists

However, if the accident causes injuries like bone fractures or others that result in temporary or permanent disability, you may be eligible to file a third-party claim against the at-fault driver within three years of the incident.

A personal injury lawsuit will demand monetary reparations that are intended to make the plaintiff whole again. The monetary award will be determined by the extent of harm and loss incurred, but will take into account the following types of compensation.

  1. Medical expenses and hospital bills
  2. Present and future loss of wages
  3. Emotional distress and related therapy expenses
  4. Pain and suffering
  5. Loss of enjoyment of life – activities that you can no longer perform
  6. Loss of consortium—the companionship of a spouse
  7. Loss of future earning capacity

New Jersey car accident compensation

The minimal requirement for New Jersey vehicle insurance includes $5,000 in property damage coverage and $15,000 in personal injury protection per individual, per accident. This PIP policy covers up to $250,000 for grave injuries like spinal cord trauma. The basic policy does not include coverage for medical bills although at-fault motorists may be held liable for the amount of medical expenses not covered by his or her own PIP policy.

Any New Jersey residents with basic vehicle insurance can only sue the responsible party if the crash resulted in serious injuries, such as disfigurement, loss of a body part, permanent injury, displaced bone fractures, loss of a fetus, or significant scarring. The lawsuit can seek additional compensation not covered by the policy to cover medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering.

The statute of limitations for seeking car accident compensation in New Jersey is two years, and the clock starts ticking on the date of the accident.

Fighting for the compensation you deserve

Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman has the experience to fight for the compensation you deserve after a car accident. Leave the details, paperwork and insurance negotiations to us. For more than four decades, we have been providing results-focused representation to motor vehicle accident victims in Bergen County, NJ and Rockland County, New York.

To discuss your case with a skilled Rockland County & Bergen County car accident lawyer free of charge, please call today.

Additional resources:

  1. NY Department of Financial Services, Article 51 of the New York Insurance Law aka “The No-Fault Law”, https://www.dfs.ny.gov/insurance/r68/r68_art51.htm
  2. NJ Department of Banking & Insurance, Everything You Wanted To Know About Auto Insurance, https://www.state.nj.us/dobi/division_consumers/pdf/everythingauto2006.pdf
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Study Finds Traffic Death Increase Related to Ridesharing Services

side impact car accidentEmerging research from Rice University and University of Chicago shows an increase in fatal car accidents after ridesharing companies Lyft and Uber began operations in cities. The research suggests that additional traffic wrought by ridesharing services is directly related to a 3.5% uptick in traffic deaths, which amounts to 987 fatalities each year. It is estimated that the costs associated with these deaths range up to $13.24 billion annually.

Ridesharing services linked to higher traffic fatalities

The study was a collaboration between Professor John M. Barrios of the University of Chicago with Hanyi Yi and Yael Hochberg of Rice University. The goal was to examine the impact that ridesharing has had on fatal motor vehicle crashes. Their findings were based on data from CrashStats and the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) – both before and after Uber and Lyft launched in various metropolitan areas.

The researchers found that car crashes resulting in occupant or pedestrian deaths rose by 2-4 percent every year in places where ridesharing was introduced. Since the mid-1980s the number of fatal accidents per capita in the U.S. have decreased steadily. However, this decline stopped and then reversed soon after the introduction of ridesharing into U.S. cities, the researchers claim.

The study’s authors say this increase in fatal collisions is due to a “quantity effect” caused by increased numbers of vehicles on the road, which invariably equates to higher rates of accidents. And it’s not only the people who use Uber services that are affected—FARS data indicates that pedestrians, bystanders and cyclists are also injured and killed in ridesharing accidents.

Additional research needed on ride-hailing

The research team concedes that their findings are based on short-term data, but some critics like economist Joe Cortright say the study falls short. In the City Observer, Cortright states the report raises important and provocative questions, but that it shows more of a correlation rather than causation and doesn’t factor in the effect of lower gasoline prices and increased people on the road.

The study authors do acknowledge the convenience and benefits of ridesharing services, which provide flexible employment for people and a low-cost alternative to regular taxis. Nonetheless, the key takeaway from the research is that there are more people dying in motor vehicle accidents after ride-hailing became popular, and these deaths are mostly occurring in large cities.

Legal guidance in New York and New Jersey

Car accidents often result in personal, financial and emotional upheaval, particularly when serious injury or death occurs. If you or a loved one were injured in a ridesharing accident, it’s imperative to align yourself with a competent law firm.  Serving residents of Bergen County, NJ and Rockland County, NY, Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman has the expertise and resources to help victims secure justice and fair legal compensation.

Call our offices today at (888) 752-5018 to schedule a complimentary case review with our Uber and Lyft accident attorneys.

Additional Resources:

  1. Stigler Center, Ridesharing and Traffic Fatalities https://research.chicagobooth.edu/-/media/research/stigler/pdfs/workingpapers/27thecostofconvenience.pdf?la=en&hash=A15B1513F98D7A17B9E37F78DD2EBDC4C6338BFA
  2. Forbes,  Ubers And Lyfts May Increase Road Deaths, Study Claims https://www.forbes.com/sites/lianeyvkoff/2018/10/23/ubers-and-lyfts-cause-congestion-in-cities-they-may-also-increase-fatalities/#6d9290eb487f
  3. City Observer, Unsafe Uber? Lethal Lyft? We’re skeptical http://cityobservatory.org/unsafe-uber-lethal-lyft-were-skeptical/
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New Jersey Divorce Rates Among Nation’s Lowest

Wooden Gavel On Petition For DivorceDivorce is an unfortunate fact of 21st century American life. Over the past 60 years, divorce rates skyrocketed in the United States, and research indicates that nearly 50 percent of all marriages today end in permanent separation or divorce.

A recent report compiled by 24/7 Wall St shows that some states are better than others when it comes to long-lasting marriages. According to census data from 2017, New Jersey has one of the country’s lowest divorce rates, as does Hawaii, Illinois and New York.

States with lowest rate of divorce

Divorce rates in the U.S. reached an all-time high in 1979, and according to The National Center for Family & Marriage Research, levels have slowly begun to decline. Experts attribute this wane to the fact that people are waiting longer to tie the knot, and many have college educations and stable jobs before being wed.

Statistics suggest that finances play a major role in divorce rates. New Jersey and other states with low divorce rates have higher median household incomes. Unemployment is another influencing factor.  Nearly half of the states with the highest divorce rates also had unemployment rates that exceeded 4.9 percent (the national average).

Which states are the best places for getting hitched and staying hitched? Here are some of the results:

  • Massachusetts (country’s lowest divorce rate –12.3 per 1,000 married people)
  • Hawaii (second lowest divorce rate – 12.6 per 1,000 married people)
  • New Jersey (third lowest divorce rate – 12.7 per 1,000 married people). Many Garden State residents know how to make a marriage last. NJ has the lowest percentage (6.9 percent) of men aged 15 and older who are divorced.
  • New York (fourth lowest divorce rate –12.8 per 1,000 married people) The median household income of New Yorkers hovers just under $63,000 a year – roughly $5,000 more than the national average. This financial security may play a role in keeping love alive in the Empire State.

States with the highest divorce rates include Arkansas (23.4 per 1,000 married people), Idaho (21.9 per 1,000 married people) and Nevada (21.3 per 1,000 married people) — where some 2,000 quickie Vegas weddings take place every week.

Maintaining a healthy marriage is hard work. Relationships break down for many reasons: infidelity, money troubles, lack of communication or simply two people growing apart. When a marriage can’t be saved, it’s important to align yourself with a competent divorce attorney.

Legal guidance in Bergen County, NJ

The law firm of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman was established in 1975 to help New Jersey and New York residents in all matters of matrimonial and family law. Our veteran legal team has the resources and expertise to safeguard your rights in divorce proceedings and find the best resolution for delicate issues involving child custody and spousal support.

Our NJ divorce lawyers help clients terminate their marriages as smoothly and efficiently as possible. If you’re ready to explore your legal options with KGG Law, we welcome you to schedule a private consultation today. Call us toll-free at (888) 752-5018 to arrange an appointment at our Bergen County or Rockland County law offices.

Additional Resources on Divorce Rates:

  1. National Center for Marriage and Family Research, Bowling Green State University, Divorce Rate in the U.S. https://www.bgsu.edu/ncfmr/resources/data/family-profiles/schweizer-divorce-rate-2017-fp-18-21.html
  2. New York Post, New York has one of the nation’s lowest divorce rates https://nypost.com/2017/10/20/new-york-has-one-of-the-nations-lowest-divorce-rates/
  3. 24/7 WallSt, States With the Highest Rates of Divorce https://247wallst.com/special-report/2017/10/20/states-with-the-highest-rates-of-divorce/5/
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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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Understaffed Nursing Homes a National Problem

Senior woman in a wheelchair alone in a roomInadequate staffing is a chronic problem in healthcare institutions that endangers patient welfare. Staff shortages in nursing homes are inextricably linked to higher reports of elder neglect and abuse.

A recent report published in the New York Times reinforces concerns that staffing levels in Medicare-assisted living facilities are alarmingly inadequate. The report analyzed payroll records of nursing home aides, nurses and employees, yielding hard evidence that Medicare’s 5-star rating system for nursing home facilities is seriously flawed and greatly exaggerated day-to-day staffing levels.

Kaiser Health News analyzed payroll figures from 14,000 nursing homes across the nation, as mandated by the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010. The data revealed that nursing homes rated highly for good staff-to-resident ratios on the Nursing Home Compare website run by the government, were seriously short-staffed on occasion.  As an example, one nursing home facility – on its worst day – had just one aide for every 18 residents.

Nursing Homes Short on Staff

In response to this new information, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services stated it “is concerned and taking steps to address fluctuations in staffing levels.” The agency is responsible for routine nursing home inspections and confirmed that it would lower ratings for assisted living centers that had gone 7+ days without a registered nurse. This admirable intention may be cold comfort for families who entrusted the care of their loved ones with nursing homes that earned 5-star ratings – facilities that may be too understaffed to provide adequate care.

Nursing home workers are relied upon for a number of daily tasks, from feeding and bathing to making sure residents get appropriate medications. Understaffing puts tremendous pressure on aides, reducing the quality of patient care, and leading to high levels of employee turnover.  Research has shown that nursing homes with lower staffing numbers are more likely to be cited with health code violations — a telltale sign that something is seriously wrong.

Understaffing Negatively Impacts Patient Care

There are currently some 1.4 million seniors residing in U.S. nursing homes. Workers in understaffed facilities simply do not have the resources to pay attention to every small detail, which can lead to medication errors, preventable injuries, and sometimes death.

Patients who are bedridden or suffer from severe cognitive decline are at greatest risk for injury in understaffed homes. Essential tasks like bathroom visits or turning an immobile patient over are overlooked. This neglect leads to avoidable falls, hospitalizations, infections, bedsores and other trauma.

Overworked and overburdened staff cannot provide the standard of care necessary for nursing home residents. Staffing issues have been connected to a number of abuse reports in nursing homes across the country, including:

  • Bed sores
  • Infections requiring hospitalization
  • Abnormal weight loss
  • Malnutrition and dehydration
  • Inadequate medical care
  • Preventable falls from lack of supervision

Neglect has physical and emotional consequences on nursing home residents, who often become depressed from the lack of social interaction. When understaffing leads to neglect and patients suffer, the law affords remedies.

Nursing home neglect attorneys serving NJ and NY

If you suspect neglect or mistreatment of your loved one, contact Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman for a free consultation with nursing home abuse lawyers in Bergen County, NJ and Rockland County, NY. We will review your case to determine if you have grounds for compensation. We handle nursing home abuse cases in New York and New Jersey on a contingency basis.

Additional Resources:

  1. NY Times, It’s Almost Like a Ghost Town.’ Most Nursing Homes Overstated Staffing for Years https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/07/health/nursing-homes-staffing-medicare.html
  2. NY Times, Staffing Fluctuates at Nursing Homes Around the United States https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/07/07/health/nursing-home-map.html?action=click&module=RelatedCoverage&pgtype=Article&region=Footer
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Statute of Limitations for Paying Back Child Support

The parent holds the hand of a small childUnder state laws, parents must financially support their child until they reach the “age of maturity,” which is 19 in New Jersey and 21 in New York. Once a child support order has been established in a court of law, or through a written agreement, the non-custodial parent is under legal obligation to pay a certain amount until the child is emancipated. When these payments are missed, this is known as child support arrears or back child support.

All states have policies and legislation that define statutes of limitations regarding the collection of back child support. Some states like California do not have a prescribed deadline, meaning that child support arrears remain payable indefinitely. The laws on statute of limitations for collecting unpaid child support vary greatly from state to state. Each has its own set of requirements and procedures when it comes to implementing back child support – a process that is enforced by the state’s Child Support Department.

Statute of Limitations for collecting back child support

For residents of New Jersey, the statute of limitations on collecting back child support is 5 years after the child reaches the legal age of emancipation. For years, this was set at 18, but recent changes in child support laws have amended this to 19. Child support obligations in the state are stopped completely once the child turns 23, with exceptions made in only extreme circumstances.

In the state of New York, the statute of limitations allows parents to collect unpaid child support for 20 years from the date of default.

Consequences for unpaid support payments

Numerous states, including New Jersey, have strict policies when it comes to child support arrears. The state may employ various tactics for collecting past due amounts, such as:

  • Income withholding
  • Credit bureau reporting
  • Tax refund offsets
  • Lottery prize intercepts
  • Seizure of assets
  • Intercept of monies awarded in lawsuit settlements
  • Revocation of driver’s license
  • Denial of passport application or renewal
  • Possible warrants and incarceration

Whether it is worth the time, effort and money to sue for back child support payments is largely determined by the financial status of the debtor and best discussed with an experienced family law attorney. If the debtor does not have wages to garnish, or assets of value, the likelihood of recovering what is owed not very high.

KGG family lawyers in New York and New Jersey

If you live in Northern New Jersey or New York and need expert legal assistance with matters relating to divorce proceedings, child custody or child support payments, contact the law firm of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman. Our team of skilled family lawyers in Bergen County and Rockland County has been helping clients navigate the complex legal terrain of divorce since 1975. Schedule a private consultation by calling (888) 624-4916.

Additional Resources on Statute of Limitations for Child Support Arrears:

  1. National Legal Research Group, NJ Statutes of Limitation https://www.nlrg.com/hs-fs/hub/79400/file-15662842-pdf/docs/nj_statutes_of_limitations.pdf/documents_attorney_writing_samples/nj_statutes_of_limitations.pdf
  2. Sapling, What Is the Statute of Limitations on Back Child Support? https://www.sapling.com/8404471/statute-limitations-back-child-support
  3. NY Courts.gov, Child Support http://www.nycourts.gov/Courthelp/family/childSupport.shtml
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Coping with Divorce: 5 Strategies That Work

Photo of couple in divorceDivorce is a significant life event that has the potential to turn your world upside down. Daily routines are upset and stress levels can skyrocket during this unsettling time. Some partners may find it challenging to stay focused or productive as they struggle with the emotional aspects of this adjustment.

The end of a marriage can trigger all kinds of uncomfortable feelings, from guilt and frustration to anger, grief and loneliness. Fortunately, there are some effective strategies for managing negative emotions and moving on with your life.

Here are five strategies for coping with divorce that really work.

#1: Give yourself a break

Divorce is not easy. One of the most important things you can do is give yourself permission to take a break for a while. Take time for self-care and realize that it’s perfectly normal to feel depressed and unsettled. You don’t have to be superwoman or superman, and you may not be as productive at work or at home while you re-group.

#2: Find support and encouragement

You don’t have to heed the advice of friends and family, but be open to their support, love and encouragement. Sharing your feelings with loved ones is a step in the right direction. This is not a time to isolate or hole up in the bedroom. You may want to seek the outside help of a therapist to work through your issues and focus on your own personal development. There are also divorce support groups and self-help meetings.

#3: Take care of your physical & emotional health

It’s easy to lose sight of your own well-being during a divorce. Good eating habits and self-care often get lost in the shuffle. If there was ever a time to maintain healthy lifestyle routines – this is it. When you exercise regularly, eat well and get plenty of sleep, this reduces cortisol levels, eases stress and calms the mind. You’ll feel both physically and mentally stronger.

#4: Avoid dangerous and destructive behaviors

When you’re feeling down and wounded, it’s tempting to look for ways to alleviate pain. Judgment can be clouded, making some short-term solutions a dangerous coping mechanism. In the months leading up to and after the divorce, try and steer clear of destructive patterns:

  • Avoid alcohol, drugs or gambling as a coping strategy
  • Avoid negative outbursts, power struggles or taking revenge on your ex-spouse
  • Avoid making major decisions until your head is clear

#5: Explore dormant interests or cultivate new ones

Think of divorce as an opportunity to reconnect with your inner self: a fresh chance to pursue the hobbies and activities your ex-partner didn’t like. Maybe you’ve always wanted to take guitar lessons or painting classes. Or perhaps join your local bowling league. Exploring new – or old—interests can bring great joy, and help you make new friends.

Questions about divorce in Bergen County or Rockland County?

The law firm of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman provide skilled, compassionate support to residents in New Jersey and New York. To schedule a private consultation with divorce lawyers Bergen County residents have come to know and trust, call us toll-free at 888 624-4916.

Additional Resources on Divorce Coping Strategies:

  1. Psychology Today, Notes from My Divorce: 5 Coping Strategies that Worked https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/tech-support/201506/notes-my-divorce-5-coping-strategies-worked
  2. HuffPost, 7 Steps For Dealing With Divorce https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/sarah-kelsey/coping-with-divorce_b_943658.html
  3. Mental Health America, Coping With Separation And Divorce http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/separation-and-divorce
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Can You Change a Divorce Agreement?

Photo of divorce petitionAs all divorcees well know, life does not always go as planned. People grow, relationships evolve, children are born, jobs are changed, and unexpected detours happen. When a divorce is made legal, both spouses will agree – in writing – on the terms of the settlement. This may be done through mediation, litigation or arbitration. Depending on the couple, this decree may include provisions for child support, child custody and parental rights, division of assets/property, as well as alimony payments.

After a divorce is finalized, and all the terms spelled out, you may decide that the agreement is no longer feasible or in your best interests. Whether it’s six months later or six years later, significant life changes can compel ex-spouses to seek an amendment or modification of their divorce agreement.

Modifying a divorce decree in NY and NJ

Generally speaking, the courts will only consider modifying a divorce decree in the event of drastic life changes, or if one party committed fraud during settlement negotiations. As an example, a child support agreement may be altered if it is later proven that one spouse failed to disclose income or assets. In this situation, a judge may change support payments to reflect this additional income.

If one ex-spouse loses their high-paying job, or otherwise comes into financial difficulties, they could file a motion to change their child support order. In the state of New York, this modification is only allowed if one parent can show a substantial (at least 15 percent) change in income.

The terms of spousal support can also be modified in the event one party retires, loses their job, suffers a huge pay cut, or receives a financial windfall (such as an inheritance) that boosts discretionary income. The courts can terminate the spousal support completely or alter the amount to reflect the current circumstances. However, the courts will require proper documentation (such as proof of unemployment) of financial changes in order to process this motion.

Post-divorce modifications to your settlement are easiest to achieve when both parties agree to the changes. If you are not able to reach an agreement with your ex-spouse about changes to child support, alimony or other terms, you can file a petition to modify with the assistance of a qualified attorney.

The fastest way to modify the terms of a divorce is to collaborate with your ex-partner, either alone or with a divorce attorney, to reach a mutual agreement which can then be presented to the courts for processing.

KGG divorce attorneys

Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C. has decades of expertise in family law. If you live in northern New Jersey or New York and want to modify or alter your settlement decree, we invite you to schedule a private consultation with a divorce lawyer Rockland County residents have come to trust. With seasoned legal guidance, you can take the least-disruptive steps to modify the original order, and come to a mutually beneficial situation.

Additional Resources on Post Divorce Modifications:

  1. WomensLaw.org, Divorce: New Jersey, http://www.womenslaw.org/laws_state_type.php?id=187&state_code=NJ
  2. NY Courts, Divorce Basics, https://www.nycourts.gov/courthelp/family/divorceBasics.shtml
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How To Tell Children You’re Getting Divorced

How do you break the news to your children that it’s over between daddy and mommy? There’s no easy way to inform your kids that you and your spouse are getting a divorce. Even if the announcement isn’t a total surprise, every child is different in how they process – and respond—to this life-altering news.

No matter how you frame it or cushion it, the conversation will likely be difficult, especially for younger ones. Oftentimes parents can overwhelm the child with too much information, without considering their emotional state.

Family therapists agree that children who feel cared about and connected with their parents are less likely to experience negative fallout and trauma from the news.

Here are a few recommended strategies that put the emotional-wellbeing of your child first.

Before you tell the children

  • Make sure your own emotions are fully in-check
  • Work together with your soon-to-be ex and make a plan for telling the children together
  • Choose a private location to have the conversation, ideally in the family home, where the children feel safe and unthreatened
  • Avoid breaking the news near important milestones, like a child’s birthday, a special holiday, or just before a big exam

During the discussion

  • Begin with the positives – remind your children that they have two parents who love them very much
  • Make sure you explain that your separation is not their fault. You can frame this by saying that mom and dad grew apart, and will be much happier in two different houses
  • Keep a unified front, and do not assign blame. They will feel more comfortable knowing it is a joint decision
  • Avoid providing inappropriate information, bad mouthing the other or giving any other “adult” details that will only complicate matters
  • Expect a wide range of emotions. Tears, anger, resentment and fear are all normal. Listen to your children’s responses, and put the focus on them, not you. By accepting and acknowledging their feelings you can help minimize the trauma.
  • Be truthful and consistent when telling them what they can expect in terms of living arrangements and school.
  • Let them know you are both available to talk whenever they want to. Be open to their emotional needs.

After the conversation

  • Expect more questions, and lots of them. Why is Dad moving away? Will I have to change schools? Will I still have my birthday party here? Try and stay emotionally connected in this ongoing dialogue and answer questions with candor and honesty.
  • Be a good model for your children. Take care of yourself and try and remain calm, even during high stress periods. They will cue in to anxiety and anger, which only exacerbates their own insecurities.
  • As they process the information, expect a rollercoaster of emotions. If things get really tough, you can offer to bring in a family counselor or therapist for additional support.

Divorce lawyers serving Rockland and Bergen County

Here at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, we know that having the right lawyer can make a world of difference in family-related legal matters. Our skilled legal team offers compassionate legal guidance in all areas of family law.

To speak with an experienced Bergen County divorce lawyer at our firm, please call (201) 576-8134 to schedule a consultation.

Additional Resources on Telling the Kids about Divorce:

  1. Parents, How to Tell Your Kids That You’re Getting a Divorce https://www.parents.com/parenting/divorce/children/how-to-tell-your-kids-that-you-are-getting-a-divorce/
  2. Psychology Today, How to Tell the Kids You’re Getting Divorced https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/schlepping-through-heartbreak/201509/how-tell-the-kids-you-re-getting-divorced
  3. Good Therapy, How to Tell the Kids You Are Getting Divorced https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/how-to-tell-kids-you-are-getting-divorced-1013165
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10 Examples of Irreconcilable Differences in Divorce Cases

Photo of divorce petitionIn New Jersey, which allows no-fault divorce proceedings, many couples cite irreconcilable differences as justification for their split. As the term implies, irreconcilable differences is an inability for two married people to resolve disagreements or differing opinions, leading to a hostile and unhappy relationship. In such situations, where marriages are broken beyond any hope of repair, couples may agree that staying together is not in their, or their children’s, best interests.

What Is a “No-fault Divorce”?

No-fault divorces are those in which blame is not allocated to any one single party. Neither person has committed egregious acts such as adultery or extreme cruelty that purposefully undermined the marriage. Abandonment, domestic violence and other types of bad behavior are grounds for seeking an “at-fault” divorce.

In 2010, New York became one of the last states in the nation to recognize no-fault divorces, by amending legislation to add “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage” as grounds to terminate a marriage.

While the phrasing is different in NY, irretrievable breakdown of marriage is equivalent in meaning to irreconcilable differences as grounds for a no-fault divorce.

For some partners, this breakdown may entail ongoing disagreements about finances, personal trust issues, or the best way to discipline the children.

Others may argue constantly over the most mundane details, driving a permanent wedge in their relationship. Whatever types of disagreements and conflicts are experienced between spouses, they must – under New York law – last at least 6 months before the marriage is considered irretrievably broken in the eyes of the court.

Examples of Irreconcilable Differences

Citing irreconcilable differences or irretrievable breakdown of marriage as grounds for divorce is an effective way of avoiding a long and potentially fractious proceeding. When personality conflicts, constant bickering and growing resentment chip away at the health and stability of a marriage, couples may decide they can no longer stay together. This justification has become increasingly common, with more than 50 percent all divorce cases claiming irreconcilable differences.

Examples of irreconcilable differences include:

  1. Disagreements on finances and debt problems
  2. Loss of trust in the relationship
  3. Work that causes protracted long-distance separation
  4. Lack of sexual intimacy
  5. Personality conflicts
  6. Communication difficulties
  7. Failure to help in the household
  8. Differing political opinions
  9. In-law and familial involvement
  10. Growing apart due to different life goals and interests

Divorce Attorneys in New York & New Jersey

Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman is a full-service firm specializing in family law and matrimonial law. If you are considering filing a no-fault divorce in New Jersey or New York, it’s important to consult with an experienced attorney who can outline the process and safeguard your best interests. To set up a consultation with one of our divorce lawyers in Bergen County or Rockland County, please call our toll-free line at (888) 311-4803.

Additional Resources on Irreconcilable Differences:

  1. Cornell Law, irreconcilable differences https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/irreconcilable_differences
  2. NY Courts, Divorce https://www.nycourts.gov/courthelp/family/divorce.shtml
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