Author Archives: Dawn SnyderAuthorChestnut RidgeNY

New Year Brings New Alimony Tax Rules

alimony divorce

The new year ushered in big changes in the federal tax law – one that now impact alimony payments. While the change directly affects how alimony is treated, it is expected to indirectly influence the way other settlement and divorce divisions are implemented as well.

Tax burden shifts under new tax law

Historically, the party paying alimony (the higher-earning spouse, who is the man in 97% of divorces) was permitted to deduct the payments for federal income tax purposes. The recipient then received the payments as taxable income. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reversed this, with the payer of the alimony bearing the tax burden and the recipient receiving the payments tax-free.

It is important to note that this change is not retroactive; it only applies to divorce agreements finalized or modified in 2019 or later. The old tax rules still apply to divorce and settlement agreements that were finalized by the end of December 2018. If former spouses who divorced before 2019 wish to proceed under the new tax structure, they may do so if they both agree and enter into a modification agreement.

Widespread effects of alimony tax change

The former tax structure of alimony payments has traditionally played a major role in divorce settlement negotiations. Because the payer received the tax deduction, it typically made it advantageous to both exes for the alimony payments to be higher.

By shifting the tax burden to the paying spouse, on the surface the change may appear to primarily benefit the lower-income spouse (who is more often the woman). However, the shift makes the payment more costly to the payer, and conceivably will lead to lower negotiated alimony payments to the recipient.

Knowing about the tax change in advance, there are other financial planning options that divorcing couples can take to compensate for the effects. For example, changing the way property is treated in the settlement agreement may reduce the impact of the alimony tax. For some couples, the child tax credit may also provide some relief. However, it is hazardous to become creative in your settlement terms without the help of a knowledgeable lawyer; to be treated as alimony, payments must meet certain requirements or they could be characterized as child support or something else.

NY and NJ court response remains to be seen

Many former couples come to an agreement on settlement terms, which are then formally entered by a court. When the couple cannot agree, they may head to litigation and leave it to judges, magistrates, and mediators to hash out. There is no indication yet of whether jurists will factor in the tax changes in issuing spousal support decrees. Having a well-prepared and experienced attorney is the best way to minimize the uncertainty.

Law changes can always cause a period of uncertainty in divorce proceedings. If you are anticipating a divorce in Bergen County, New Jersey, or in Rockland County, New York, trust an experienced divorce lawyer from Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, an established firm that has successfully navigated many changes over the past 40 years. Call today to schedule a confidential consultation.

Additional Resources:

  1. MarketWatch, New tax law eliminates alimony deductions – but not for everyone, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-tax-law-eliminates-alimony-deductions-but-not-for-everybody-2018-01-23
  2. CNBC, How to manage your divorce as new alimony tax rules go into effect, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/18/this-checklist-can-help-you-manage-your-divorce-after-new-alimony-tax-rules-go-into-effect.html
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4 Lessons for Dating After Divorce

Woman divorcing and taking off wedding band

After the emotional roller coaster of a divorce, settling into a new normal can come as a relief. Starting to date again may be a key step that helps you move forward. However, there are plenty of things you can do when you start dating after divorce that can torpedo the experience. Here are some hard-learned lessons from others who have been through re-entering the singles scene.

Learn how to flirt again

We fall into communication habits with people we spend a lot of time with. For someone who has been married for a length of time, the flirtation muscles may not have been exercised in years. Practice them in everyday, nonthreatening places like in line at the bank or waiting for library checkout.

Be yourself, whether that means cracking a joke to the next person in line or offering him or her a compliment. When it comes to flirting, non-verbal cues are key. Smile, but not desperately. Stand close, but not too close. It may take a few practice rounds but flirting will become natural again.

Do not trash your ex

It is natural to feel self-conscious about a former marriage, and this can lead to over-compensating in order to let a prospective mate know that you were not the bad guy. But saying negative things about your ex can have the opposite effect. Not only can it signal an unattractive and unhealthy preoccupation with the past, it can lead your date to wonder whether you can focus on the current relationship rather than dwell on the past.

Wait until the divorce is final

Jumping into a new relationship might sound like a great way to take your mind off your divorce, but not waiting until the divorce is final can create problems. It can lead to questions about the timing of the relationship and suspicions of adultery. It can even lead to your new mate being called as a witness. Best to be patient and avoid these issues.

Take it slow if you have children

Professionals agree that it can be unfair to children to introduce them to a boyfriend or girlfriend before things are serious. While getting a taste of just how many fish there are in the sea can seem like a great way to get over your ex, viewing a parent with a parade of love interests is often confusing for children and leads to hurt feelings when relationships end. Take your children’s feelings into account and consider not introducing a date until you have a sense that this one could be a long-term fixture in the family.

Get expert guidance through your NY or NJ divorce

Going through a divorce can be physically and emotionally draining. Put your trust in an experienced divorce lawyer who has been through the process many times. The Bergen County, NJ divorce lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman are here to help you understand the divorce process, from state filing requirements to division of assets to child custody issues. Call today to schedule a consultation.

Additional resources for dating after a divorce:

  1. Divorce Magazine, 3 Reasons to Wait for Your Divorce to Be Finalized Before Dating, https://www.divorcemag.com/articles/reasons-to-wait-for-your-divorce-to-be-finalized-before-dating/
  2. Metro Parent, 9 Rules for Parents Interested in Dating After Divorce, https://www.metroparent.com/daily/parenting/divorce-family-law/dating-kids/
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What Questions Should I Ask a Divorce Attorney?

A divorce can be a long road; you and your attorney will be working together for the length of the proceeding, anywhere from six weeks to a year, and possibly after that if the order needs enforcement action.

Having a good rapport with your attorney ensures you will communicate effectively, easing the process and helping to ensure you are working toward the same goal. Here are some things to ask a prospective divorce attorney to see if he or she is a good fit for you.

Relevant experience

Not all legal experience is of the same value. Not all lawyers practice family law, and those who do may not all handle divorces. Even among divorce lawyers, some may have experience with specific issues or types of clients and their related needs. For example, you may prefer a lawyer who has handled many divorces involving members of the military, hospital employees, or other situations that involves special types of retirement benefits. Consider asking:

  • How long have you been practicing family law?
  • How much of your practice is dedicated to divorce?
  • How many cases like mine have you handled?
  • How many of your cases have you taken to trial?

Strategic approach

It is important know that you and your attorney see eye-to-eye on the plan for your case. While your attorney may have to tell you things you do not like to hear, make sure you have compatible visions for the case.

  • What is your plan to accomplish my goals?
  • Are there preemptive actions I should take before filing?
  • If I have a choice in jurisdiction, what are the advantages and disadvantages of each? Would a collaborative or other non-traditional approach be beneficial?

Costs involved

Cost can play a significant role in some of the choices you make. Your overall satisfaction with the process will be much greater if you ask detailed questions to gain a clear understanding of the costs involved from the very start. It is usually not possible to give a definite answer at the start of a case, but these kinds of questions should give you an idea of what the divorce will cost you.

  • What are your retainer cost and hourly billing rates?
  • What other fees will be involved?
  • What is the total cost you anticipate?
  • Do you offer alternative or flexible payment options?

Hands-on representation

The big-picture questions are important but it is the daily handling of your case that will give you some sense of control over the situation. Try to gain an understanding of how responsive the attorney will be to your needs.

  • Who will be available to answer my calls?
  • Who in your office will work on my case?
  • How quickly will you return phone calls?

Divorce lawyers serving New York and New Jersey

If you are contemplating a divorce, call the dedicated NY and NJ divorce lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman. With offices in Rockland County, NY, and Bergen County, NJ, we have helped clients all over New York and New Jersey for the past 40 years.

Call (888) 624-4916 today to schedule a confidential consultation.

 Additional Resources:

  1. NY Courts, Divorce Basics, https://www.nycourts.gov/courthelp/family/divorceBasics.shtml
  2. org, Divorce: New Jersey, http://www.womenslaw.org/laws_state_type.php?id=187&state_code=NJ
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What Does Sole Legal Custody Mean for the Other Parent?

Child Custody and Visitation written on a paper and a book.In decades past, sole legal custody of young children was routinely awarded to the mother under what was referred to as the tender years doctrine. Today, sole custody is rarely awarded. If you have a sole custody situation, it is important to understand what your rights and responsibilities are. If you are in the process of negotiating a parenting plan, it is imperative to understand these factors before having a judge approve it.

The difference between legal and physical custody

It is important to understand the difference between legal custody and physical custody, and the ways they can be combined in a parenting situation.

Physical custody refers to where the child resides, while legal custody refers to decision-making authority. New York and New Jersey, like most other states, now strongly favor continued contact between each parent and his or her child. Depending on the geographical location and other factors related to the situation of the parents, courts will usually award either sole physical custody with joint legal custody or join physical and legal custody so that each parent can share, as equally as possible, in child-rearing.

When is sole legal custody awarded in NY and NJ?

Though it was common in years past, it is now extremely uncommon that one parent is awarded both sole physical and legal custody. It happens most often when one parent is deemed unfit to care for the children or to make decisions for them. The non-custodial parent will then be limited to time-sharing visits unless the court finds that supervised visits or suspension of time-sharing entirely is warranted.

If you are the non-custodial parent in a sole custody situation, it is crucial to follow the court’s order and make every effort to keep interactions with your ex and children peaceful. If you have time-sharing rights, it is important to exercise them and to speak with an attorney if you believe they are being violated.

How is sole legal custody awarded?

Judges can make a custody determination in a litigated divorce or parenting case. The order would then be binding unless the parties agree to change it or go back to court to litigate a modification.

More commonly, judges enter an order approving a parenting plan agreed to by the parents. However, it can be difficult to modify a plan you regret unless there has been a substantial change in circumstances. It is therefore a good idea to have a child custody attorney review your proposed parenting plan before agreeing to its terms, especially if it could limit your right to participate in decision-making.

Protect parental rights in Bergen County and Rockland County

Parenting plans are entered into every day but that does not mean they should be taken lightly. Once approved, they are fully enforceable and difficult to modify if the other parent is not in agreement. If you do not yet have a plan in place, or need to find out your right to request a modification, speak with the NY & NJ child custody lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman today.

Additional NY and NJ custody resources:

  1. Justia, 2009 New Jersey Code Title 9 – Children – Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts 9:2-4 – Custody of child; rights of both parents considered, https://law.justia.com/codes/new-jersey/2009/title-9/9-2/9-2-4
  2. New York Senate, Section 240 Custody and child support; orders of protection, https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/DOM/240
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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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Who is More Likely to File for Divorce – Men or Women?

Wooden Gavel On Petition For Divorce

American marriages have evolved in many ways over the years – economic structures changed as women joined the workforce, the rate of divorce has risen, and the demographics of those getting married has changed. But one thing has remained consistent – women are much more likely than men to file for divorce.

According to studies from 2000 and 2016, women are the filers in nearly 70% of divorces. The numbers have remained consistent, showing that women were the filers in 60-80% of divorces since 1865. However in non-marriage relationships, men and women break off relationships at equal rates.

Why do women file for divorce twice as often as men?

There are a lot of societal developments that, on the surface, may seem to contribute to the statistics. However, these theories do not account for the fact that the statistics have been consistent for well over a century. Theories include:

  • As women joined the workforce, they continued to bear most of the housekeeping and childcare duties, leading to discontent.
  • As women increasingly work outside the home, they see better options that what they have in their marriage.
  • Despite shifts toward co-parenting solutions, many men are reluctant to jeopardize their relationships with their children by filing for divorce.

Does it matter who files for divorce first?

Each situation is unique, but in many cases there are advantages to being the party who initiates the divorce proceeding. It is important to discuss with a lawyer what role these factors may play in your case:

  • Ability to plan and strategize. The party to file does not have a set deadline. The spouse responding to divorce, however, needs to act quickly in order to meet court deadlines.
  • Time to come to terms with the financial cost of the process. Budgeting for a divorce is easier if you know when you are going to file.
  • Ability to choose. When more than one court has jurisdiction, the party who files gets to choose – this can impact how many issues will ultimately be resolved.
  • Setting the stage. The party who initiates the divorce also gets to make the first argument at trial.
  • Accounting. New York and New Jersey divorce courts impose an automatic order to prevent either party from taking or using marital assets for anything other than normal expenses or paying for divorce proceedings. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous spouses try to circumvent the order to hide assets; knowing about the divorce in advance can help you prepare by taking an accounting.

Experienced divorce attorneys in NY and NJ

There is a lot to think about when filing for or responding to a petition for divorce. The good news is the committed Rockland County divorce lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman have been providing seasoned legal assistance for over 40 years. With offices in Rockland County, NY, and Bergen County, NJ, we have helped clients all over New York and New Jersey. Call (888) 624-4916 today to schedule a confidential consultation.

Additional NY & NJ divorce resources:

  1. Psychology Today, Who Initiates Divorce More Often?, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-third-wave/201705/who-initiates-divorce-more-often
  2. Brinig, M., Douglas, W.A. (2000), These Boots are Made for Walking: Why Most Divorce Filers are Women, American Law and Economics Review 2(1): 126-169, http://www.unc.edu/courses/2010fall/econ/586/001/Readings/Brinig.pdf
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Lost Loads: Unsecured Truck Cargo Leads to Tens of Thousands of Crashes

White truck on the asphalt rural road in the polar night

On American roadways, passenger cars far outnumber commercial trucks but commercial trucks pose a greater risk of serious crashes. However, both commercial trucks and passenger vehicles can cause serious accidents due to unsecured loads.

According to a 2016 AAA study, debris on the roads led to more than 200,000 crashes between 2011 and 2014. Included in those crashes were more than 500 deaths. The most common causes of these accidents were detached parts like wheels and tires that fall onto the roadway, hitched tow trailers that hit another vehicle, and unsecured cargo that falls onto the road. The important takeaway is that these often-tragic accidents are preventable.

Laws designed to prevent lost cargo accidents

The dangers posed by lost loads are recognized and regulated in the trucking industry; federal regulations prohibit commercial drivers from operating motor vehicle unless its cargo is secured. For example, federal motor carrier regulations require drivers to ensure that their cargo will remain where it was placed even when the vehicle undergoes different types of forces.

Even for non-commercial drivers, failing to prevent lost cargo can lead to fines and even jail. According to AAA, every state has passed laws making it illegal for items to fall off a vehicle on the road, with fines ranging from $10 to $5,000. In addition, 16 states include jail time as a potential punishment.

Who is responsible for a lost load accident?

Potentially liable parties are typically those who are tasked with a duty or those who are legally responsible for those with a duty. Federal laws require a driver to secure a load and failing to do so can expose the driver or the company that employs him or her to liability.

Trucking business often involves a complex web of relationships between companies and individuals. This mean there are more parties who may potentially be liable, such as a shipping company, the owner of a trailer, and even the manufacturer of a defective restraint device. Additionally, each of these parties will likely carry insurance and this can increase the number of parties involved in a claim.

When a non-commercial truck loses a load, the driver may be liable. The laws that criminalize a lost load can also create a presumption of liability if someone was injured after such a statute was violated.

Recovery for a lost load accident in NJ

Whether it is caused by a lost load or some other factor, a truck accident can be a harrowing experience. The Bergen County truck accident lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman have been down this road before. We understand the industry and we know what you are going through. Call today to schedule a free consultation at our offices in either Bergen County, NJ or Rockland County, NY.

Additional lost load accident resources:

  1. Legal Information Institute, 49 CFR 392.9 – Inspection of cargo, cargo securement devices and systems, https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/49/392.9
  2. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Large Truck Crash Causation Study, https://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/ltccs/default.asp
  3. AAA Newsroom, American Drivers Aren’t Securing Their Loads on the Road, https://newsroom.aaa.com/2016/08/american-drivers-arent-securing-loads-road/
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Child Drownings Tragically on the Increase

As summer approaches, so does swimming season. Seventy percent of drowning incidents take place between May and August, so that also means the risk of water accidents is at a peak. The child safety advocacy group Safe Kids Worldwide recently released its 2018 water safety study, drawing attention to the risks of water to children and what can be done to reduce the likelihood of a tragedy.

Child drowning statistics

Tragically, there were 1,000 children who drowned nationwide in 2016. But that is not the end of the story; there were an additional 7,000 children who went to the ER in near-drowning incidents. This means that 150 families each week were impacted by drowning, not counting the near-drownings that are never taken to hospitals. The number of drownings has dropped by 28% since 2000 but has taken a recent turn with a 14% increase in 2015 and 2016.

Drowning is a leading cause of death by unintentional injury among children. It is the number one cause for children ages 1-4, the second leading cause for children 5-14, and the third leading cause for children 15-19. Additionally, the numbers show that there are certain demographics at greatest risk:

  • Boys were involved in 80% of drownings
  • White children were far less likely to be involved in a drowning, while African American children were almost twice as likely and American Indian and Alaskan Native children about 2.5 times as likely

So where do fatal drowning accident occur?

  • 43% in open water
  • 38% in pools
  • 9% in bathtubs
  • 10% in unspecified locations

Drowning accidents in New York and New Jersey

It should be no surprise that the waterways and other aquatic attractions of the East Coast are associated with drowning risks. In New York State, there are an average of 7 fatal drownings per year in public pools and beaches alone. Like the national statistics indicate, the risks are greater in the summer months, when there is also greater exposure to risks.

In New Jersey, drowning death have been on the rise in recent years. In a typical summer, the state sees approximately 8-10 drowning deaths but in 2017, there were more than 27. State law does not require hotels and motels to provide lifeguards, presenting a risk for guests.

Preventing child drowning deaths

The American Red Cross urges pool owners to put safety first by following precautions including:

  • Enclosing the pool with a 4-foot-high fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate
  • Covering pool or hot tub between uses and removing means of access like ladders or steps
  • Actively supervise children and never let anyone swim alone
  • Requiring young or less experienced swimmers to wear a life jacket meeting U.S. Coast Guard standards
  • Keeping water clean and clear
  • Enforcing safety rules
  • Ensuring those on site are trained in first aid and CPR and know how to respond to an aquatic emergency

Speak with a lawyer

Words cannot capture what families go through when a child or another loved one is killed or permanently disabled due to a drowning – especially when it was caused by someone else’s negligence. The New York and New Jersey personal injury lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman are committed to providing high-quality representation when you need it most. We understand the impact these accidents can have and are willing to fight for maximum compensation. Call today to speak with an attorney in Bergen County, NJ.

Additional child drowning resources

  1. SafeKids.org, Hidden Hazards: An Exploration of Open Water Drowning and Risks for Children May 2018, https://www.safekids.org/sites/default/files/water_safety_study_2018.pdf
  2. New York State Department of Health, Drowning Statistics: Historical Drowning Data, https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/outdoors/swimming/docs/drowning_statistics.pdf
  3. Patch, 34 Die In New Jersey Water Deaths Since May As Trend Continues, https://patch.com/new-jersey/pointpleasant/18-die-new-jersey-water-deaths-two-months-trend-continues
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Do You Have to Pay Child Support for a Child in College?

No doubt about it, raising children brings immense financial responsibility. Often, the responsibility does not end when the child legally becomes an adult. If you are wondering whether you need to continue to pay child support while your child is in college, the answer is: it depends.

Like a related question we hear often – “Can I stop paying child support when the child turns 18?” – the answer depends on state laws, the age at which your child is attending college, and some related factors. New York and New Jersey have differing rules so it is important to follow up-to-date guidelines for your state.

Termination of child support in New York

In New York, a parent must support a child until the age of 21. If the child is under 21, a parent is not obligated to provide support if the child is:

  • Married;
  • Self-supporting; or
  • In the military

In any of these situations, the child is considered to be “emancipated” so the parents are not obligated to continue paying support.

The child may also be considered emancipated if he or she:

  • Is between 17 and 21 years old;
  • Leaves the parents’ home; and
  • Refuses to obey reasonable commands from the parents

Therefore a New York parent will often be obligated to pay support for a child in college if the child is under 21 and not providing for his or herself. However, it is evident that there are other factors that can affect the responsibility.

New Jersey child support termination

In general, in New Jersey, the obligation to support a child lasts until a child turns 19 – but the full answer is, unsurprisingly, more complicated than that.

Until January 2017, a parent’s support obligation ended when a child turned 18, but on February 1, 2017, the age of termination was changed to 19. This means an obligation to support may automatically terminate when the child turns 19. However, the custodial parent can request continuation of support if the child is:

  • Still in high school;
  • Enrolled full-time in post-secondary education; or
  • Physically or mentally disabled.

In some cases, the obligation for support can end when a child turns 18 if the child financially independent. In this situation, a parent must file papers requesting that the court declare the child “emancipated.”

If your college student is under 19 or enrolled full-time, you may still be required to pay support to the custodial parent.

Understanding child support in NY and NJ

At the law firm of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, we help New York and New Jersey residents understand their rights and obligations when it comes to child support, even as life circumstances change. Our divorce lawyers serve individuals and families from our offices in Rockland County and Bergen County. Call us toll-free at 888-624-4916 to schedule a private consultation.

Additional child support resources:

  1. New York State Legislature, Domestic Relations 240 – Custody and child support; orders of protection, http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us
  2. Justia, 2015 New Jersey Revised Statutes Section 2A:17-56.67 – Termination of obligation to pay child support, https://law.justia.com/codes/new-jersey/2015/title-2a/section-2a-17-56.67
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Fatal Falls Among Elderly Up 30%

elderly person using walker in nursing homeAmong the elderly, falls can be a major factor that determines quality of life. Federal statistics show that among those over age 65, about one in every four experiences a fall each year – and those who experience a fall are more likely to fall again in the future. These falls led to more than 30,000 deaths in 2016, and reports recently released by the Centers for Disease Control indicate that this may be a drastic rise over the past few years.

Age groups at greatest risk of falls

According to the CDC, unintentional injuries are the seventh leading cause of death among the elderly and falls make up the largest category of unintentional injuries. What may be most shocking in the CDC’s recently-released May report is that the number of elderly fall-related deaths appears to have increased by a little over 30% from 2007 to 2016.

In most cases, falls occur in places familiar to the individual. The CDC does not track where people fall but the National Health Interview Survey has attempted to track this in 1998. At the time, it found that more than half (55%) occur inside while 23% occurred outside but near the home and 22% occurred away from the home.

So how did the rate of death rise so far? The study shows a gradual but steady increase of 3% each year. Falls increased among every age sub-section among those 65 and older but the increase was greatest among those aged 85 and older, which is also the largest-growing demographic.

Preventing falls in older adults

Falls are preventable. Conventional wisdom says that the way to avoid falls is to install handrails and supports. While these are important to have, there are much more effective ways to help older individuals stay say.

According to the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, regular exercise, including strength and resistance training, is the best way to prevent falls. Physical therapy and group sessions like tai chi can also be beneficial. This conclusion was based on a review of about 20 studies showing that participants who exercised three times a week for about a year showed a 10 to 20 percent reduction in the likelihood of a fall.

The New Jersey Falls Prevention Workshop also recommends regular exercise to increase strength and flexibility. It also recommends:

  • Checking eyesight at least once a year
  • Wearing safe, well-fitting footwear
  • Removing trip hazards
  • Asking a doctor or pharmacist to review medications for medicines or combinations of medicines that can cause dizziness or weakness

Proceeding after a fall in New Jersey

If you or an elderly loved one has suffered a fall, you may have questions about your right to recover medical expenses and other compensation. Put your mind at ease by speaking with a Bergen County, NJ slip and fall lawyer from Kantrowitz, Goldhamer, & Graifman P.C. We understand the toll it takes and are prepared to help you recover maximum compensation. We also have a convenient location in Rockland County, NY.

Additional elderly slip and fall resources:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Deaths from Falls Among Persons Aged ≥65 Years – United States, 2007-2016, https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6718a1.htm?s_cid=mm6718a1
  2. State of New Jersey Department of Human Services Division of Aging Services, Falls Prevention Awareness Week, September 11-23, 2017, http://www.nj.gov/humanservices/doas/services/fallprev/
  3. NPR, To Prevent Falls In Older Age, Try Regular Exercise, https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/04/17/603186213/to-prevent-falls-in-older-age-try-regular-exercise
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