Serving Mercer and Middlesex Counties, NJ and

the Surrounding Areas

Creative Dispute Resolution…Tough Litigation

google facebook twitter linkedin logo1 Strich Law Firm, P.C. | Attorneys At Law | Cranbury, NJ img_logo_bluebg_2x

Welcome to my blog

 

Here you can add some text to explain what your blog is about and a bit about you.

By Strich Law Firm, Oct 18 2016 03:31PM

27 years after a failed engagement, the woman Plaintiff in this case is seeking a Final Restraining Order under the Protection Against Domestic Violence Act. After many years of no contact, the Defendant contacted the Plaintiff online and continued communications via text messaging. Plaintiff asserted that she told the Defendant to stop contacting her and to go back to his wife. However, she was unable to produce supporting text messages. The court read selected “insulting” text messages that were on record, none of which were disputed by Defendant. The Defendant referred to the Plaintiff as “pig,” “liar,” and other more derogatory insults such as the “b” word and “c” word. Additionally, the Plaintiff testified that she was confronted by the Defendant and his new wife at a private club function, where she was allegedly lunged at and threatened to be assaulted. With respect to Domestic Violence, the Plaintiff also asserted she was approached while seated on a bench in the hallway on the second day of trial by the Defendant, and was grabbed on the arm over the course of conversation.

At the request of Plaintiff, one of her former boyfriends intervened on her behalf and sent a text to Defendant to cease contacting her. The two former boyfriends exchanged text messages.

Defendant denied all allegations of Domestic Violence, and asserted that the parties maintained cordial text communications for months without the Plaintiff ever telling him to stop texting her. The Defendant admitted that he sent nasty text messages using “foul language,” but maintained he was provoked by threats by the Plaintiff’s former boyfriend.

While the court found the purpose of harassment to be legitimate, because the trial court failed to properly apply both prongs to the test established in Silver v. Silver, the court’s finding that the need for the Final Restraining Order was unsupported by any explicit findings regarding a history of domestic violence. Due to the sole basis of the Final Restraining Order being verbal harassment in the form of name calling, absent any credible physical threats of violence against the Plaintiff or her Property, a remand for a re-hearing on the issue was deemed most appropriate.

See L.I. v. C.M. III, App. Div. 4/5/16.


Comment: The key is meeting the two prongs of Silver v Silver: 1) A Final Restraining Order (“FRO) is necessary to protect the victim from “immediate danger or to prevent further abuse;” 2) That the communication and/or behavior was of a harassing nature. Here, the Appellate Court felt that he first prong was not met; while the language was harassing, there was no showing of immediate danger or to prevent further abuse. The Court did not address Defendant’s assertion that his communication with Plaintiff had stopped. Question: Did the communication only stop after being served with the TRO? This matter was sent back to the trial court to determine whether Plaintiff met the prong of needing protection.


Call us with questions on your case at 609-924-2900 or visit our web site at www.strichlaw.com.

Disclaimer: Any and all information contained on this site is for informational purposes, and should not be utilized as a substitute for a full, in-person consultation with a lawyer in your State and familiar with your circumstances. Strich Law Firm, P.C. assumes no responsibility for any information contained on this site, and disclaims all liability in respect of such information. In addition, no part of this site shall be deemed to form any contract between Strich Law Firm, P.C. and anyone viewing this site.


By Strich Law Firm, Oct 18 2016 03:29PM

After a 25 year marriage ended in divorce, the Defendant agreed to pay the Plaintiff $250 per week in permanent, non-modifiable alimony. However, the Defendant appealed the order enforcing the alimony and filed a cross-motion to reduce alimony due to his retirement brought on by illness (change of circumstances). The Defendant’s central argument is that he was entitled to relief pursuant to the language regarding retirement in the new alimony statue (9/11/14), stating “There shall be a rebuttable presumption that alimony shall terminate upon the obligor spouse or partner attaining full retirement age.”

The Judge determined that the Defendant’s income has steadily increased from approximately $51,000 to $108,000 since the divorce, and that the Defendant’s argument is misguided. The parties made clear in their agreement that the agreed upon $250 per week would continue permanently, regardless of Defendant’s loss of employment “for whatever reason.”

Comment: Not only does the 2014 Alimony Statute provide for no retroactive relief on existing agreements, this Judgment of Divorce specifically provided for non-modifiable alimony, regardless of any change of circumstances. Non-modification provisions are usually upheld. It is noted that the Defendant enjoyed the benefit of the non-modification language during the time his income doubled, but then wanted relief when his income decreased. Generally, I do not recommend non-modifiable alimony.

Call us with questions on your case at 609-924-2900 or visit our web site at www.strichlaw.com.

Disclaimer: Any and all information contained on this site is for informational purposes, and should not be utilized as a substitute for a full, in-person consultation with a lawyer in your State and familiar with your circumstances. Strich Law Firm, P.C. assumes no responsibility for any information contained on this site, and disclaims all liability in respect of such information. In addition, no part of this site shall be deemed to form any contract between Strich Law Firm, P.C. and anyone viewing this site.

By Strich Law Firm, Oct 18 2016 03:27PM

After ending a nearly 44 year marriage, the Dual Judgment of Divorce (“JOD”) ordered the parties to resolve all disputes related to the divorce through binding arbitration rather than going back to the Court. In the JOD, the Husband retained the beauty salon business and agreed to pay $650 per week in non-taxable equitable distribution to Wife. There was no provision for a share of the business to Wife if it was sold or for alimony in the event that equitable distribution was no longer payable. When Husband sold the business, he no longer paid equitable distribution monies to the Wife. Wife filed for arbitration to get alimony instead of the former equitable distribution monies. The arbitration award denied the Wife’s request for alimony even though the Plaintiff earned more money throughout most of the marriage. The Arbitrator explained that modification of alimony requires proof of a substantial change in financial circumstances of the parties. The Wife appealed the Arbitrator’s decision, but the Court still found against her, stating, “an increase in support becomes necessary whenever changed circumstances substantially impair the dependent spouse’s ability to maintain the standard of living reflected in the original decree or agreement.” Upon review, the Court found that the Wife failed to show substantial evidence of change of circumstances and rejected her claim of modification.

Comment: The negotiated JOD failed to foresee or provide for the sale of Husband’s business. Based on the limited information available in the Court’s decision, it would have been better to argue that the intent of the agreement was to provide for a share of the business to the Wife as equitable distribution. As such, an argument could be made that it would be inequitable to let the Husband sell the business and keep all the proceeds before Wife got her fair share of the value of the business. Of course, as aforestated, it would have been better to negotiate a more complete JOD.

It is further noted that the spouse is generally entitled to a bigger share of the business in a long term marriage. Businesses owned by one spouse are not generally divided equally, unlike other assets accrued during the marriage.

Call us with questions on your case at 609-924-2900 or visit our web site at www.strichlaw.com.

Disclaimer: Any and all information contained on this site is for informational purposes, and should not be utilized as a substitute for a full, in-person consultation with a lawyer in your State and familiar with your circumstances. Strich Law Firm, P.C. assumes no responsibility for any information contained on this site, and disclaims all liability in respect of such information. In addition, no part of this site shall be deemed to form any contract between Strich Law Firm, P.C. and anyone viewing this site.

By Strich Law Firm, Oct 18 2016 03:24PM

The Plaintiff in this case was denied unemployment benefits after being discharged from his position as a bus driver for being involved in eight accidents in two years. The bus driver’s application was denied because of his “gross misconduct.” The bus driver requested an oral argument by telephone on this issue and he received a written denial of his claim from the oral hearing. The bus driver then appealed via an administrative court hearing, but his filing of this appeal was not within the 7 days of receiving written notice from the oral hearing denying him unemployment benefits. The bus driver then appealed to the Superior Court of NJ. The Court found that the bus driver’s claim his failure to file for unemployment within the statutory time frame of seven days from the decision was due to circumstances “beyond his control, which could not have reasonably been foreseen or prevented,” claiming that one of his “witnesses” was not available to provide him with a written statement supporting his appeal. The Plaintiff argues that the decision to dismiss his appeal should be reversed because he demonstrated good cause for filing late.

The court found his appeal was unsupportable, in light of receiving his notice; the lack of one of his witnesses was not a sufficient reason for missing the appeal deadline.

Comment: Would there be a case for the bus driver to collect unemployment benefits if he filed timely? Poor performance is not a basis for denial of unemployment benefits, but if the driver did not take reasonable steps to address the reason for his frequent accidents, it could be determined to be misconduct. If the reason was texting for example, that could be considered gross misconduct. Here, we do not know the circumstances of the accidents, but 8 accidents in 2 years sounds excessive. Further, a bus driver has a higher duty of care because the passengers are relying on the bus driver’s care.

Call us with questions on your case at 609-924-2900 or visit our web site at www.strichlaw.com.

Disclaimer: Any and all information contained on this site is for informational purposes, and should not be utilized as a substitute for a full, in-person consultation with a lawyer in your State and familiar with your circumstances. Strich Law Firm, P.C. assumes no responsibility for any information contained on this site, and disclaims all liability in respect of such information. In addition, no part of this site shall be deemed to form any contract between Strich Law Firm, P.C. and anyone viewing this site.

By Strich Law Firm, Oct 18 2016 03:23PM

In Jecrois v. Sojak, a male student was arrested two days after a sexual encounter in his dorm room. The day after his arrest, an article appeared on NJ.com identifying him as the student charged with rape on campus. Although the charges were cleared due to multiple inconsistent versions of the female student’s account, the male student was forced to transfer to another college and lost a semester of his education, in addition to carrying the stigma of a sexual assault charge for the rest of his life. The suit alleges that the prosecutor’s office filed charges before receiving results of the sexual assault examination from the hospital where the victim was taken, and thereby lacked probable cause when charging him with sexual assault. The False Arrest suit is still pending.


Comment: The updated Sexual Assault Survivor’s Protection Act (SASPA) addresses nonconsensual sexual contact and says “A protective order may be sought, and may be issued by the court, regardless of whether criminal charges based on the incident were filed and regardless of the disposition of any such charges. An application filed in accordance with the provisions of the statute would not prevent the filing of a criminal complaint, or the institution or maintenance of a criminal prosecution based on the same act.” If a protective order is sought, the charged student is kicked off campus and may be in the sexual abuse registry. Thus, the standard to meet the SASPA is much lower than traditional rape. All college students should be educated on this new 2015 law.



Call us with questions on your case at 609-924-2900 or visit our web site at www.strichlaw.com.

Disclaimer: Any and all information contained on this site is for informational purposes, and should not be utilized as a substitute for a full, in-person consultation with a lawyer in your State and familiar with your circumstances. Strich Law Firm, P.C. assumes no responsibility for any information contained on this site, and disclaims all liability in respect of such information. In addition, no part of this site shall be deemed to form any contract between Strich Law Firm, P.C. and anyone viewing this site.


RSS Feed

Web feed

meeting