Articles Posted by Nicole A. Kobis

The Honorable Judge Katherine Dupuis, (Retired) and Nicole A. Kobis, partner at Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook, & Cooper, P.C., explain how divorce can be handled virtually

If classroom lessons and workout classes can be conducted virtually, does the same hold true for divorce proceedings?

The short answer to this is yes. Virtual alternative dispute resolution will result in a faster divorce process during times like these when the courts have limited capabilities and a back log of matters to be heard.

It goes without saying that the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) is presenting an unsettling and challenging time for individuals across the globe. People are grappling with economic consequences due to employment interruptions and working hard to create a schedule that ensures continuity in their children’s lives.

For individuals who are coparenting and following a parenting time schedule whereby their children split their time between two homes, the current set of circumstances may present a unique set of challenges and considerations. Since there has not been a global incident of this magnitude in recent history with which to compare these recent set of circumstances, there is no model of how divorced or separated parents should handle these challenges.

To the best that you are able, you should continue to adhere to the parenting time schedule that you have already been following. This will provide your child or children with a level of structure and consistency especially given the extended absence from their schools, friends and everyday routines. However, it is also important to be flexible and work together as employment interruptions and childcare needs may force alterations to established schedules.  It is understandable that during this time necessary modifications may be in the best interest of your child and children in order to safeguard them or other members of your family from exposure to the virus. Communication is always important as you continue to coparent, and open dialogue is especially crucial during a time like this.

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Regardless of whether you are the spouse who initiated divorce proceedings by filing a complaint with the Court or whether you are the spouse who has just received the divorce complaint, you may be dealing with a range of emotions and unclear as to what steps you should take next. In this situation it may be easy to make sudden decisions or act impulsively which can have long-lasting negative consequences should you do so before understanding your rights and the general divorce process in New Jersey.

If you and your spouse have children, you should together determine the best way to tell them about your pending divorce the changes likely to occur within your family unit. This may mean engaging the assistance of a mental health professional to discuss what approach is in the best interests of your children. Do not speak poorly of your spouse in front of or to your children and try to keep your children separated from the divorce process as much as possible.

Do not make any changes to your insurance policies. This includes the type and amount of coverage, the individuals covered under policies and the beneficiary designation(s) of policies. If you have already made any changes, you will likely have to undo the changes you have made. You should also confirm that your spouse has not made any changes to policies that may be in their control.

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Nicole Kobis recently authored an article for the New Jersey Law Journal in which she provides insight to an often overlooked and extremely important task that needs to be addressed; obtaining and/or maintaining life insurance policies for each divorced spouse along with ensuring documentation is in place to allow each party access to the policies’ pertinent information.

To read the full NJLJ article click here.

 

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When couples are ending their marriage or relationship there are many financial issues that need to be resolved including the division of property and respective ongoing support obligations. Two different categories of ongoing support one spouse may be responsible for are child support and spousal support, sometimes referred to as alimony. Child support is paid by one spouse to the other for the benefit of the children that they have in common. Alimony is paid for the benefit of the other spouse to account for a disparity of income that may exist between the couple upon their divorce.

Once the amount of each obligation is either agreed upon or ordered, the former spouses can then move forward and create their new personal budgets knowing the amount of support that they will have to pay or the amount of support that they will receive. But, what happens if one of the spouses dies after a divorce? This is where the existence of life insurance policies to secure these obligations becomes particularly important.

Unless agreed upon otherwise, the obligation to pay alimony terminates upon the death of either spouse. However, if a payee spouse has relied upon a certain amount of spousal support being paid to them, the sudden termination of alimony could be a life altering event. If a life insurance policy was in existence for the benefit of the payee spouse, the payout of the policy can help to mitigate the negative financial impact that sudden death can cause.

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With the holidays approaching, people are busy making travel arrangements and shopping lists, digging out old recipes and getting their homes ready for what is arguably one of the most family oriented times of the year. However for couples with children who are ending their marriage or relationship these times come with an added layer of concern as to how they will share time with their children during these special events. When a couple decides to divorce or end their relationship and they have a child or children in common, there are many issues that need to be resolved relative to their children. Many questions arise regarding how the children will react to their parent’s split and the many changes that will inevitably take place. Regardless of the parent’s marital status (married, co-habitating, dating or separated) these issues are present and will need to be addressed proactively so as to minimize any negative impact on the children

There is no “one size fits all” formula used to determine how to handle parenting time during the holidays. Many choose to alternate years in which they have parenting time with the children for a specific holiday. Other people find it difficult to not see their children on a holiday and if distance and plans permit, opt to share the day every year with an exchange of the children taking place during midday so that the children can participate in activities with both sides of the family.

Couples may recognize that a certain holiday has traditionally been spent with one side of the family during their relationship and therefore decide that the children should continue to spend that holiday with that spouse and continue the traditions to which they have already become accustomed.

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