5 Warning Signs of Parental Alienation

Father and daughter relaxing on a rocky beach by the sea and having time together

No parent wants to think about losing their relationship with their child, but after a divorce or custody battle, this can become a reality for some when your ex turns your child against you and swift corrective action is not taken. 

Parental alienation occurs when one parent tries to undermine the other parent’s parental role and authority to the point of making the child not want to see or communicate with that parent.. Sometimes referred to as brainwashing, programming, or alienating, parental alienation is a serious matter that can lead to parental alienation syndrome (PAS), which is used to describe the child’s behavior as a response to such actions and brainwashing. 

From the team at the Law Office of Blake W. Rush, here are five warning signs that parental alienation may be occurring:  

1. Your ex is being secretive.

If your ex isn’t sharing information about your child, this is a sign of concern. For example, if they refuse to share school reports, medical information, successes and failures, likes and dislikes, and other important things about your child, you may, as a result, become less involved in their life.

2. Your communication is being interfered with. 

With parental alienation, your ex may interfere with how you communicate with your child. They may attempt to monitor and insert themselves into all phone calls, text messages, and interactions you two have. 

3. Your ex interferes with your plans to see your child. 

Your ex may try to interrupt your time with your child. In some instances, your ex may plan special activities that are hard for a kid to resist at times you are meant to be with them, making it hard to compete with. 

4. Your agreed-upon parenting plan or contract is not being followed.

Typically, legal contracts and personal agreements among co-parents are made to determine which parent will be responsible for the child for the day and how they will be raised. If you notice your ex isn’t abiding by your previous agreements or is being inflexible, parental alienation may be occurring.   

5. You notice behavior changes in your child. 

One of the most important signs of parental alienation will be seen with your child‘s behavior. Some examples of parental alienation syndrome include: 

  • Your child is unfairly and falsely criticizing you without any justification.
  • Your child doesn’t admit where their criticisms are coming from.
  • Your child is very negative, sad, angry, or spiteful toward you. 
  • Your child shows no signs of guilt or empathy when they are being mean and hurtful toward you. 
  • Your child’s hatred or distrust extends beyond you to other family members and friends. 

Contact our office today for a consultation with our expert custody lawyer!

If you are experiencing any of the above circumstances affecting your relationship with your child and need to enforce or modify your existing custody rights, we can help. Here at the Law Office of Blake W. Rush, we represent clients in custody matters throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  

Give us a call at (903) 713-9800 or visit our website to contact us and learn more about how we can help you.

How Much Does A Divorce Cost?

dollar money and judges gavel on table. Judgement and bribe. corruption

If you’re considering filing for divorce, you’re likely concerned about how much this will cost you. The overall cost of a divorce can vary considerably depending on: (a) the number and complexity of disputed issues that exist in your case; and (b) how long it takes for both parties to reach an agreement on all issues. 

For divorcing couples who remain amicable and reach an agreement on all issues early on during the divorce process, the average cost can often range between $5,000-$10,000.  However, the average cost of a divorce with multiple contested issues is often significantly higher, typically ranging between $10,000-$20,000 with that range rising the longer the divorce takes. 

Unfortunately, every divorce will have a different price tag. To answer the question, “How much does a divorce cost?” you need to consider these various factors:

Do you and your spouse get along?

You may be planning on getting a divorce, but that doesn’t need to mean you aren’t on good terms. If you and your spouse can communicate effectively and are open to compromise, your divorce will be much simpler and less costly. In some cases, you and your spouse may be able to resolve your divorce by a settlement agreement, avoiding court dates. Approximately 97% of divorce cases are resolved by way of a settlement instead of proceeding with a trial before a Judge. Consequently, you should remain optimistic that your divorce can ultimately be resolved through a settlement even if you and your spouse are not on good speaking terms.

Do you and your spouse agree on essential matters?

Many matters need to be discussed and agreed upon when it comes to divorce, including child custody, child support, alimony, and the division of property and debts. These disputes and the time it takes to resolve them are the biggest drivers of costs for a divorce. It will take time for your lawyer to collect and organize documents and then negotiate a settlement with your spouse’s attorneys. 

Furthermore, your attorney may need to prepare motions and represent you at hearings, which add to your costs. Divorce cases that cannot be settled and end up requiring a trial before a Judge regarding any contested issues are the most expensive type of divorce due to the extreme amount of time and work involved, with costs greatly exceeding the ranges set forth above.

Do you have many assets to split?

The more assets you and your spouse have accrued throughout your marriage will lengthen the time it takes to finalize your divorce, and therefore the costs will increase. Aside from the division of assets, you’ll also have to discuss paying off debts you owe together, which can also take time to determine. 

What fees are involved in filing for divorce?

Aside from paying your New Jersey divorce attorney, you can expect to pay various fees for the divorce process. Some of the extra costs you can expect to pay include filing fees, mediation costs, paying for experts such as financial analysts and appraisers when necessary, and more.  

Contact our office today for a consultation about your divorce lawyer needs!

When going through a divorce, you need an experienced and knowledgeable attorney on your side to guide you through the process. Here at the Law Office of Blake W. Rush, we have more than 16 years of experience representing spouses in both amicable and contested divorces throughout New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania.  

Give us a call at (903) 713-9800 or visit our website to contact us and learn more about how we can help you.

5 Tips for Managing Custody Disputes During the Holidays

The holidays are quickly rolling in and plans are being made, but for separated parents with kids, this can be an especially difficult time to navigate. Though this season is meant to be merry and joyful, managing child custody can create disagreements and arguments that you don’t want to hinder your or your children’s holiday enjoyment. 

The team at the Law Office of Blake W. Rush understands how strenuous child custody can be to manage during the holiday season, so we have some tips to keep in mind for this time of year:

1. Don’t wait to make plans.

The holiday season is always busy and stressful, so it can be easy to procrastinate making arrangements if you are worried about planning with your ex-spouse. However, the closer it gets to the holidays, the harder it will be to communicate and get organized with plans that make both parties happy. Be proactive about holiday planning for your kids for the best results.

2. Make sure your legal agreements are clear.

If you have a legal arrangement for child custody on holidays, make sure you fully understand the parameters. If your divorce was recent, feelings may still be raw and overwhelming, so take the time to revisit the legal agreement to ensure it’s going to be followed; this will help lessen the chance of more disputes arising.  

3. Consider travel times.

Depending on how far you and your ex-spouse live from each other, it’s important to always consider potential travel hazards that could interfere with celebrations and quality time. Plan your travel ahead of time and consider traffic and weather delays. Arriving on time helps ensure each parent gets the correct agreed-upon time with their kids. 

4. Communicate about gifts.

When discussing holiday plans, it’s also a good idea to discuss gift-giving. Take a moment to think about how you feel about spending limits, types of gifts that are appropriate, and not repeating presents. This could save you from arguing about gifts your child received in the future and make sure everyone is on the same page. 

5. Speak with your children.

It’s never a bad idea to be open and discuss plans with your child directly. Depending on their age or maturity, they may want to have a say in how they spend their vacation and holidays. At the end of the day, you want your child to be happy, so speak with them about how you and your ex-spouse can make this a great holiday for them. 

Contact our office today for a consultation with our expert custody lawyer!

If you are seeking to obtain custody or visitation rights or need to enforce or modify your existing custody rights, we can help. Here at the Law Office of Blake W. Rush, representing clients in custody matters throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  

Give us a call at (903) 713-9800 or visit our website to contact us and learn more about how we can help you.

Is it Okay to Date During a Divorce?

Cropped shot of a young woman smiling while on a date at a restaurant

Many soon-to-be divorcees often ask their divorce attorney, “Am I able to date before my divorce is final?” Although the logical answer should be that “it isn’t a good idea until you’re officially divorced,” life just isn’t that simple.

Divorce is rarely an easy decision to make, and the process can leave you feeling lonely, sad, and in need of companionship, and that’s completely natural. If you decide you can’t wait to get your dating life up and running again, we have a few guidelines to help you navigate what’s okay and what’s not for dating through your divorce:

The Don’ts of Dating During Divorce

DON’T consider dating until you are physically separated from your spouse.

If you start dating other people while you are still living in the same residence with your spouse, it often creates an extremely hostile living situation that is a recipe for disaster and could be used against you in court. Not only will a hostile situation make your divorce negotiations more difficult and often more expensive, dating other people while still living with your spouse can lead to domestic violence issues and negatively impact your custodial rights to your children.  

DON’T openly date. 

Dating openly during divorce proceedings could anger your future ex-spouse and lead them to change their mind about prior verbal agreements or otherwise make ongoing settlement negotiations more difficult. It’s also possible the opposing counsel will then try and claim you were having an affair during your marriage. In certain circumstances, your new romantic partner could even be called to testify about your relationship in court. In short, if you’re going to start dating while your divorce is still pending, be very discreet about it.

DON’T start living with your new partner while your divorce is pending.

If you do start dating other people while your divorce is pending, do not jump into a serious relationship and begin living with that person before your divorce is finalized.  Although your feelings for this new person may be strong, and it may make financial sense depending upon your circumstances, it is assuredly a very bad idea to begin living with your new partner while your divorce is still pending.  Abruptly starting to live with a new partner while your divorce is pending will not only sabotage any claims you may have for alimony, it will also be viewed by the court as a poor parental judgment and likely harm your custodial rights.

The Do’s of Dating During Divorce

DO seek support from others. 

If support and someone to talk to is your main reason for seeking a romantic relationship, there are other options. First, you can reach out to family, friends, and loved ones to speak and spend time with. You can also research local support groups in and around your area to connect with others who have or are currently experiencing a divorce, just like you.

DO be honest with potential romantic partners.

If you meet someone you are interested in starting a romantic relationship with, it’s crucial that you are honest with them about your current situation and why it isn’t a good idea to move forward with a serious relationship until your divorce is final.

DO be careful around your kids. 

If you have someone you’re starting to build a romantic connection with, remember that what you say and do in front of your kids will stick with them. This is likely a difficult and fragile time for your children as well, so be careful talking about or bringing new people around them. 

Divorce Lawyer in Clinton, NJ

When going through a divorce, you need an experienced and knowledgeable attorney on your side to guide you through the process. The attorneys at the Law Office of Blake W. Rush have more than 16 years representing spouses in both amicable and contested divorces throughout New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. 

Give us a call at (903) 713-9800 or visit our website to contact us and learn more about how we can help you.

How is Child Support Calculated in New Jersey?

If you and your spouse are separating or are having a child while unmarried, it’s crucial to discuss and consider child support. Every circumstance is unique, but whether you will be the custodial parent or non-custodial parent, determining the precise and fair child support payments is important to move forward with raising a child. 

Here at the Law Office of Blake Rush, we specialize in all areas of family law, including child support, because having a lawyer on your side with the best interests of you and your child is necessary.

New Jersey Child Support Law

In New Jersey, the law states that both parents must financially support their children. With married parents, both parents would financially combine their earnings to help care for their kids. The New Jersey Law for child support is designed to mirror this ideal for unmarried and separating parents to ensure both parents meet their children’s needs financially. 

The court will take a combined total of both parents’ net incomes to inform the non-custodial parent, the mother or father without physical custody, how much they will need to pay the custodial parent, the mother or father who has physical custody.  

Calculating Net Income

The child support payments are based on the parents’ net incomes, defined in New Jersey’s child support guidelines Appendix IX-B. Gross income, including all recurring earned and unearned income such as regular compensation, bonuses, Social Security, gambling winnings, etc., will first be calculated for each party. Then, the net income total is determined by subtracting various regular payments such as taxes, alimony, union dues, etc. 

Though parents can try to calculate this total on their own, working with an expert New Jersey Child Support Lawyer is your best option. Your attorney will ensure the estimated total includes all variables to give you the best idea of how much child support you need to pay or receive.  

Calculating Child Support in New Jersey

The basis for determining child support payments is based on the amount of time spent with the child and the expenses, such as housing, transportation, food, healthcare, etc. 

If the child spends 100 percent of their time living with the custodial parent, their child support payments are defined and determined under Appendix IX-F and the sole parenting worksheet Appendix IX-C. If the child spends at least 28 percent to 50 percent of their nights with the non-custodial parent during the year, child support payments may be calculated based on the shared parenting worksheet Appendix IX-D.

When calculating child support in New Jersey, the courts will also consider any and all additional expenses that help take care of the child and give them what they need to be happy and properly taken care of. Every case is different, and the courts will consider each circumstance upon determining final payment amounts.  

Child Support Lawyer in Clinton, NJ

The attorneys at the Law Office of Blake W. Rush have more than 16 years of experience helping parents decide and work out custody agreements, visitation rights, and child support payments. If you’re looking for a child support attorney in New Jersey, we’re the team to help you.

Give us a call at (903) 713-9800 or visit our website to contact us and learn more about how we can help you.

What Documents Will My Attorney Need For My Divorce?

 

It’s no secret; getting a divorce is complicated financially, legally, and emotionally. One of the most important aspects of a divorce is dividing property and assets, referred to as marital property, acquired throughout the marriage can be one of the most intricate steps. Luckily, with an experienced divorce attorney in New Jersey on your side, your attorney can handle the hard work while you can focus on moving forward.

Documents To Collect For Your Divorce Lawyer in New Jersey:

In order for your divorce case to proceed expeditiously, your attorney will request that you gather various important documents, materials, and information. Use this list for guidance on what documents you should start acquiring and bringing to your attorney for your divorce case:

  • Proof of your current income
  • Proof of your spouse’s current income
  • Individual income tax returns from the past three to five years (federal, state, and local) 
  • Business income tax returns from the past three to five years (federal, state, and local)
  • Recent bank statements and bank account information
  • Pension statements
  • Retirement statements
  • Stock portfolios
  • Mortgage statements
  • Property tax statements
  • Loan documents
  • Credit card statements
  • Utility bill statements
  • Other regular monthly bill statements
  • A breakdown of your regular monthly budget
  • Life, health, homeowner’s, automobile, and other insurance policies
  • Personal property and real property appraisals
  • List of property owned by each spouse prior to the marriage
  • List of property acquired by each spouse during the marriage
  • List of personal property, including clothing, jewelry, furniture, computers, artwork, and more
  • Prenuptial agreements
  • Separation agreements
  • Trust documents
  • Wills
  • Powers of attorney

Though this list may seem very long, these documents will help your lawyer properly analyze the issues in your divorce and address all of your economic concrns. As well, once all of this is gathered and ready, you’ll be able to take a deep breath knowing that you can start moving forward with the divorce, as well as your personal life.

If you are unable to gather the above information for any reason, you should advise your attorney promptly so that the attorney can take the necessary steps to obtain the information by other means. However, it will save you a considerable amount in overall legal fees if you are able to gather the requested information on your own instead of having the attorney spend the additional time obtaining the same.

Keep in mind, every individual divorce case is unique and may require additional documents. Consult with your divorce attorney to be certain you are gathering all the proper documents, materials, and information for your case.

Divorce Lawyer in Clinton, NJ

When going through a divorce, you need an experienced and knowledgeable attorney on your side to guide you through the process. The attorneys at the Law Office of Blake W. Rush have more than 16 years representing spouses in both amicable and contested divorces throughout New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. 

Give us a call at (903) 713-9800 or visit our website to contact us and learn more about how we can help you.

5 Questions to Ask Your Divorce Lawyer During Your First Meeting

 

Lawyer Discussion

A divorce can be a stressful, emotional, and overwhelming time for anyone. Having an experienced attorney on your side to guide you through the process is the best way to ensure a successful case and help you feel at ease. 

While hiring a divorce lawyer is necessary, you shouldn’t have to settle since they are the ones helping you make important decisions about your life and family. And for this reason, it’s essential you know what to ask when meeting with them for the first time.

Take a look at five important questions you should be asking your divorce attorney in New Jersey during your first meeting:

What is your strategy for my case?

First, you’ll want to get an idea of your attorney’s experience and plans for how to handle a divorce case. Divorces can be complicated and weigh heavily on you, so understanding what to expect from the process and what your lawyers’ plans are to ensure the most successful outcome possible is important. You never want to be left in the dark about your lawyers’ strategy for your case.

How do you prefer to communicate?

Communication is key to a successful case. There will be times when you’ll want to speak with your attorney as soon as possible, or they’ll need to reach you quickly. Because of this, asking them ahead of time their preferred communication method and their average response time can be very beneficial.

What do you need to know about me and my marriage?

A divorce can open up a lot of private, emotional, and potentially painful information about your marriage, family, and life. There likely is a lot of history between you and your spouse, so you may be wondering where to start with your story and what needs to be shared. Don’t be afraid to ask your attorney precisely what they need to know about you and your situation so that the necessary information required for the case is shared.

How can I make this divorce less expensive?

It’s no secret that a divorce can be costly, and you may be concerned about the financial strain this process will have on you. Asking your attorney about strategies and tips on how to proceed while making your divorce as cost-effective as possible should be on your list of questions.  

What are the next steps?

Now it’s time to know what’s next for you in this process. What documents need to be gathered? When will court start? When do you need to start paying? These questions need to be answered, and you’ll want to be prepared for what’s next for you and your attorney. So, don’t hesitate to ask these questions at the end of your meeting and feel confident about moving forward.

Divorce Lawyer in Clinton, NJ

When going through a divorce, you need an experienced and knowledgeable attorney on your side to guide you through the process. The attorneys at the Law Office of Blake W. Rush have more than 16 years representing spouses in both amicable and contested divorces throughout New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. Give us a call at (903) 713-9800 or visit our website to contact us and learn more about how we can help you.