How Do Criminal Convictions Affect Child Custody in New Jersey?

When couples who have a child or children divorce, one of the most important decisions that will be made is which party will get custody. In New Jersey, there are several types of child custody, including temporary, sole, joint, and split. When a child custody dispute is brought before a New Jersey family court, a judge will look into a number of factors to determine what is in the best interest of the child or children. Some of the factors to be considered are the physical safety of the child or children and fitness of each parent. Due to the fact that character and propensities are relevant to determining these factors, a judge may find a parent’s criminal history to be a significant factor in child custody proceedings.

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Evaluation Time: Have An Advocate Present

A home evaluation is conducted by a Managed Long Term Care Company (MLTCC) after an individual has been approved for Community Medicaid by the Department of Social Services. The evaluation process can be complex and may result in difficulty due to the MLTCC failing to award a Medicaid recipient with sufficient hours. An evaluation by a MLTCC is extremely important, because it is the determining factor for which benefits a recipient is entitled to through the Medicaid program

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Funding An Irrevocable Trust Sooner Than Later

An asset is owned by a trust once it is transferred into the trust that was created. This is known as funding the trust. The transfer of assets into a trust can occur in a number of ways depending on the type of asset. For Medicaid purposes the five-year look back period begins one month after an asset is placed in the trust. This means that if a property deed is transferred into the trust in December, the five-year look back period begins in January and ends five years from that date. Every time a new asset is placed in the trust a new five-year look back period will begin for that specific asset, not for all the assets in the trust.

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New Jersey Alimony Reform

In September 2014, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed the Alimony Reform Act into law, which clarified areas of alimony and extended rights to payers. Although the act mainly applies to future divorces, those who are divorced and have a legitimate reason, such as loss of income, illness, or retirement, may be able to modify their alimony under the new law. Additionally, the term “permanent alimony” has been replaced with “open durational alimony.”

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Placing Property In A Revocable Trust

A common estate planning mistake occurs when individuals own or acquire property outside of a trust. This can lead to unintended tax consequences and exposing property to probate or creditors.

Placing property in a revocable trust provides benefits such as allowing assets to avoid the probate process. In addition, by placing property in a revocable trust, it will allow family members or loved ones to have control over the assets in the event that the creator of the trust becomes incapacitated. Otherwise, a court may need to appoint a guardian.

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Taking On The Role Of “Agent” In A Power Of Attorney

It may be a big undertaking when obtaining a power of attorney for a family member or loved one. A power of attorney provides authority to an agent to make decisions on behalf of the principal in the event that he or she becomes incapacitated. The “principal” is the person for whom an individual is acting as power of attorney. The “agent” is the individual responsible for carrying out the wishes of the “principal.”

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Changes To New Jersey Child Support Laws

The term “child support” gives the general implication that the support is intended for adolescents up until they reach the age of emancipation. However, up until recent years, this was not the case in New Jersey. Prior to recent legislation, many parents would continue to provide child support long after the child reached the age of 18, or would terminate the payments themselves without obtaining a court order. The New Jersey legislature recognized the issue and in 2016 passed a legislation that allows for the termination of child support when the child turns 19 years old. On February 1, 2017, the law went into effect in New Jersey. The law not only applies to future child support orders but existing orders as well.

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Adding A Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement To An Estate Plan

Many people who are looking to tie the knot believe that mentioning a prenuptial agreement eliminates the romance. However, like any business relationship, a prenuptial or even a postnuptial agreement provide a range of benefits and security to both parties involved in the marriage.

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New Jersey Medicaid Penalty Divisor Increased For Gifts

In order for an applicant to eligible for long term care Medicaid in an assisted living facility or nursing home, there is a five-year look back period. This means that all financial records as well as any gifts made during the previous five years must be disclosed to Medicaid. In accordance with New Jersey law, if an individual or spouse made any monetary gifts over the course of the five years prior, then Medicaid would impose a gift penalty.

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Estate Plans Should Account for Digital Assets

Whether it’s through social media, online bank accounts, PayPal or email, today many people are storing their personal information and finances online. When an individual passes away, his or her online accounts will continue to remain active. For this reason, it is important to account for digital assets in an estate plan. By defining what assets an individual owns and how to access them, a person will ensure that their loved ones can access online accounts that may have sentimental, financial, or practical value. Additionally, making these accounts available to beneficiaries after death can prevent them from falling into the wrong hands, resulting in fraud or hacking.

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