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  • 3 Nov 2020 9:00 AM | AAML NJ Admin

    By Sharon L. Klein, Wilmington Trust 

    In this video interview by Family Law Magazine, Sharon L. Klein, president of Family Wealth in the Eastern U.S. for Wilmington Trust & Lee Rosenberg, New York Fellow, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, reveal their top tips & traps for leveraging life insurance in premarital planning and settlement agreements.


  • 15 Oct 2020 10:30 AM | AAML NJ Admin

    By Carolyn N. Daly Esq. 

    Do you have a “Sexting” Partner?  If so, the Appellate Division says you could be in a “Dating Relationship” under the NJ Prevention of Domestic Violence Act

    Want to obtain a restraining order in New Jersey?  The appellate division made that a little easier with a published decision in C.C. v. J.A.H., released on May 4th.

    First, a little background: you cannot simply obtain a restraining order in New Jersey against a stranger.  Restraining orders, in a non-criminal case, are issued under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, and, in order to obtain one, you must be a “victim of domestic violence.”  Pursuant to New Jersey Statute 2C:25-19d, a “Victim of domestic violence’ is defined as:

    “…a person protected under this act and shall include any person who is 18 years of age or older, or who is an emancipated minor and who has been subjected to domestic violence by a spouse, former spouse, or any other person who is a present household member or was at any time a household member.  “Victim of domestic violence” also includes any person, regardless of age, who has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim has a child in common, or with whom the victim anticipates having a child in common, if one of the parties is pregnant.  “Victim of domestic violence” also includes any person who has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim has had a dating relationship.

    It is the context of a dating relationship that the court had to address in C.C.  Did the relationship in this case constitute a dating relationship?

    Testimony by C.C. revealed that the parties met in 2018 at a fitness center.  Plaintiff, a 22 year-old gym manager, engaged in frequent conversations with the Defendant, who was 42 and a member at the gym.  The conversations became more intimate, and in September, the two began to text each other.  The messages included a number of “sexts,” or sexually explicit messages.  Although the two discussed meeting up, they never did.  In November, Plaintiff advised she just wanted to be friends.  At that point, Defendant became aggressive and threatening and started harassing Plaintiff.  Plaintiff then sought a domestic violence temporary restraining order and was granted one. 

    At the hearing to obtain a Final Restraining Order (FRO), Defendant argued that the parties were not in a dating relationship and Plaintiff therefore could not obtain a restraining order under New Jersey law.  The judge disagreed, and, after conducting a hearing, granted Plaintiff an FRO.  Defendant appealed.

    The appellate court ultimately agreed with the trial judge that the relationship in this case constituted a dating relationship.  The court reasoned that despite never engaging in a sexual relationship or, indeed, going on a single in-person “date,” the sexually explicit conversations between the parties turned their relationship into that of the dating variety.  In fact, the court held this was more of a dating relationship than two individuals who had actually been on a date (albeit only a single one).  The difference between the two, the court noted, was that the parties in this case had known each other for several months and engaged in profoundly intimate conversations.

    This decision is particularly interesting in light of present circumstances, during the COVID-19 pandemic.  As relationships take place online, rather than in person, victims should take note that even if there is not a single in person date, a lengthy on-line intimate relationship can still be considered a “dating relationship,” provided it advances far enough, and they are thus, protected by New Jersey law from acts of domestic violence.

    If you need an attorney, or have any questions about the issues raised in this article, we encourage you to reach out to Daly & Associates at (973) 292-9222.  We are here for you during this difficult time.

  • 6 Oct 2020 10:00 AM | AAML NJ Admin

    Daniel R. Roche, CPA/ABV, ASA and Stefanie A. Jedra, CPA

    During our presentation “The Future of Discovery and Data Analytics in Divorce” we shared how our team at Marcum has utilized artificial intelligence (“AI”) and machine learning to extract data and significantly reduce the time spent on data entry. We also discussed how we seek to continually improve the depth and quality of our analysis using data analytics.

    There were some questions regarding Marcum’s processes related to data extraction, the review / analysis of the extracted data and how conclusions derived using extracted data would be perceived in the court room. These questions lead to a discussion about whether other companies and/or accounting firms were utilizing similar technology. This blog post seeks to address these questions and provide some additional background on the reach of AI in the accounting, finance, and legal communities.

    The Data Extraction Process

    In forensic accounting engagements, data is generally required to be entered into a useable electronic format – preferably Microsoft Excel.  From there, the data is analyzed and conclusions presented in a summary format to educate the trier of fact about the conclusions reached. 

    Historically, this data was manually entered by administrative assistants / paraprofessionals and, depending on the amount of data, the process could take weeks or months to complete.  Not only was the work tedious and time consuming, but these administrative assistants / paraprofessionals often had other competing tasks to accomplish.  Utilizing computer processes and AI to extract data allows us to get the needed information into a useable format quicker and more accurately than the manual processes historically utilized.  This technology also allows the administrative assistants / paraprofessionals to be more focused on their other job responsibilities.

    Regardless of the data entry method (human vs. computer) Marcum’s Quality Control procedures with respect to vetting the underlying data and review of the analyses completed remain unchanged. With the ability to extract larger volumes of data, we have been able to more thoroughly understand the universe of information affecting our conclusions, while reducing the cost to our clients. This has enabled us to provide conclusions that are more informed and meticulously supported.

    AI in the Courtroom

    There appear to be many court cases involving the extraction of data; however, these cases involve the extraction of data from cellphones using software that requires specialized or technical knowledge to get the data in a format useable / presentable in the court room. Accurately and reliably extracting the data from a cell phone requires technical knowledge based on training and experience that a lay person does not possess. It is not possible for a lay person to verify the resulting extracted data, which has caused questions about the reliability of the data under the rules of evidence.

    Unlike the extraction of data from cellphones, it would be possible for a lay person to verify each line of data extracted from any bank statement, general ledger, or other document. As demonstrated during our presentation, a column populated with the bates numbers, pages numbers, or another identifier is included within the extracted data and enables a lay person to easily source the information back to the source document.

    AI in the Accounting, Finance and Legal Communities

    Artificial Intelligence is not new in the accounting, finance, and legal communities; however the use of AI has become further reaching over the last few years. In June 2016, JP Morgan launched “COiN” which stands for Contract Intelligence. Using image recognition software the program reviews commercial loan agreements, which the bank indicated once took lawyers 360,000 hours of work each year! In JP Morgan’s 2016 annual report, the bank highlights the success of this program by noting the capabilities have “far-reaching implications considering that approximately 80% of loan serving errors today are due to contract interpretation errors.”

    Even more impressive, in JP Morgan’s 2019 annual report, the bank indicated that they have “used technology and machine learning to reduce fraud losses in the credit card business by 50%”. In the same report, the bank stated that they plan to continue to “evaluate emerging technologies and reshape [their] approach to data to bring the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to all [their] businesses”.

    It was great seeing everyone at our presentation.  Please reach out to us if you have any questions on this topic.




  • 30 Sep 2020 9:39 AM | AAML NJ Admin

    By Jeralyn Lawrence Esq. 

    As of August 2020, over 150,000 Americans have died because of COVID-19. While evidence suggests that children are at a lower risk of experiencing symptoms of the illness, this is not always the case. There is also a possibility that they will acquire the illness and spread it to others, and this may be something to consider when it comes time to hand your child over to his or her other parent.

    You Generally Cannot Unilaterally Modify Parenting Time

    It is important to understand that you don’t have the authority to defy or attempt to modify a parenting time schedule on your own. Instead, you can talk to the noncustodial parent about any concerns that you have about your child’s safety during this unprecedented time. If you have a good relationship with the noncustodial parent, it may be relatively easy to come to an agreement without the need to go to court. However, if issues do arise, don’t hesitate to contact Lawrence Law to speak with one of our divorce attorneys to learn more about your options.

    Review the Parenting Plan

    Ideally, you and your former partner created a parenting plan that would outline how you two would work together to raise your child. The plan should spell out what happens in the event of a custody dispute and how any arguments should be resolved. For instance, the document might stipulate that disagreements are to be resolved with the help of a mediator.

    Most mediators have worked as family lawyers or otherwise have the training and experience to help resolve issues in a timely and civil manner. Working with a neutral party can be especially helpful considering that you probably didn’t anticipate custody issues stemming from a global health emergency.

    Gather Evidence to Justify Your Position

    If you’ve already taken steps to limit parenting time, consider reaching out to an attorney. A divorce lawyer can help you gather evidence that might justify any steps that you took to defy or modify an existing custody order. For instance, if the other parent tested positive for the virus, you may be justified in not allowing your child to see that individual. If you know that your child has shown symptoms of the condition, you could claim that you were looking out for the other parent’s health and safety.

    Medical records or physician testimony could be used to show that you have been immunocompromised and at higher risk for contracting COVID-19 after spending time in close proximity with others who tested positive. Medical professionals have also found evidence that individuals with asthma, who are overweight or who have diabetes experience greater side effects of the coronavirus. One of our family lawyers at Lawrence Law could help you obtain medical records or help to put them into context during a court hearing.

    A judge might agree with your decision to withhold custody in the event that the other parent has traveled to an area where the virus is prevalent. Finally, it may be possible to avoid penalties for defying an existing court order if you can show that your child will be exposed to individuals who don’t practice social distancing.

    The Other Parent Still Has Rights

    As a family law attorney will likely tell you, the other parent still has the right to be in your child’s life. Even if arrangements are made to avoid physical contact for the time being, you should allow your child to call or write letters to that person. Depending on your child’s age, it might be appropriate to allow your child to communicate with a parent through social media.

    It may also be a good idea to allow for video chats so that your child doesn’t have to go weeks or months without actually seeing his or her mother or father. Whatever arrangement that you and the child’s noncustodial parent come to, it is important that it takes your son or daughter’s best interests into consideration.

    What Happens If You Violate a Custody Order?

    You could face a variety of consequences for violating a visitation order. The severity of those consequences will depend on your actions, if you have violated the order in the past and the judge’s discretion. In some cases, offenders are simply be told to comply with the order or risk being in contempt of court. If you are in contempt of court, you could be fined, sent to jail or lose custody of your children on a temporary or permanent basis.

    family law attorney may be able to provide greater insight into what will happen if you don’t follow the parenting time schedule. Legal counsel could help you prepare for a hearing and share advice about how you should act in court. Ideally, you will come to a hearing well-rested and looking respectable, and it is also a good idea to be polite to the judge and the child’s other parent. By showing that you take the matter seriously, the judge will more likely to show leniency when making a ruling.

    The Parenting Time Schedule Might Be Modified

    There is a chance that the judge overseeing your case will modify the current parenting time schedule. This may ease your concerns while still doing what is in the best interest of the child. For example, the noncustodial parent might be allowed to come over for a family dinner once or twice a week. It’s possible to stipulate that visitation will be suspended until after the noncustodial parent tests negative for the coronavirus for a certain period of time.

    Consider Whether Your Objections Are Truly Related to COVID-19

    When a relationship ends, there is a good chance that you will experience a variety of emotions such as anger and sadness. However, it is important that you don’t let your personal feelings for your former spouse or partner get in the way of doing what is best for your children. One of the best ways to avoid allowing negative emotions to stop you from being a great parent is to process them in a healthy way.

    For instance, it might be a good idea to talk with a therapist, enroll in a yoga class or start running every night after work. Any healthy hobby can be good for dealing with stress. A divorce lawyer will tell you more about the benefits of controlling your emotions and where you can get help coping with what has happened in your life. Generally speaking, learning how to become mentally strong makes it easier to help your child deal with the changes that he or she is being forced to adapt to.

    Seek Legal Assistance Before Making Rash Decisions

    If you need a family law or divorce attorney, feel free to contact Lawrence Law at your earliest convenience. You can reach us by calling 908-645-1000.  It is also possible to get in contact with us by sending an email to We’re prepared to answer any legal questions related to child custody and the COVID-19 crisis.

    Original Post:

  • 16 Sep 2020 11:02 AM | AAML NJ Admin

    Post by AAML NJ Electrum Sponsor Wilmington Trust 

    In this podcast by Family Lawyer Magazine, Christy Watkins, Wilmington Trust’s Senior Investment Advisor and member of the National Matrimonial/Divorce Advisory Practice, discusses the types of financial information family lawyers need in order to negotiate the best deal possible for their clients.

    Link to the podcast:

  • 14 Aug 2020 1:00 PM | AAML NJ Admin

    By Jeralyn L. Lawrence, Esq. 

    One of the most stressful things that parents are dealing with is parenting time issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. I came up with these general guidelines regarding custody and parenting time during this crisis.

    1. If there is an order in place addressing custody and parenting time, follow that order. The only exception is if the best interests of the child dictate otherwise.
    2. Courts do not like self-help and unilateral violations of court orders. How one behaves and co-parents now and the good faith, or lack thereof, shown to the other parent will matter. Courts will hold the parent acting unreasonably or in bad faith accountable, in time.
    3. Now more than ever, parents must work their hardest at cooperating, communicating, compromising, and co-parenting.
    4. Executive Orders issued by a State’s Governor must be followed. Social distancing, stay-at-home and all other COVID-19 directives are to be followed.
    5. Exposure alone to someone infected to COVID-19 is not enough to deprive a parent of their parenting time. Should someone show symptoms or evidence of illness, that may yield a different result and an expectation to self-quarantine away from the child.
    6. Your child is listening to you. Be careful in how you speak and what you say. Do not instill unnecessary fear or worry. Limit exposure to the media.
    7. Be creative. If one parent misses parenting time, offer virtual time and be generous with make-up time.
    8. Find ways to turn this crisis into an opportunity to create vivid, yet fun, memories with your child with stories for them to tell for years to come.

    The above guidelines are achievable. I recommend that you adopt them. By doing so, parenting time issues during the COVID-19 pandemic will be limited. Please let me know if you have any questions about this blog post.

  • 14 Jul 2020 12:42 PM | AAML NJ Admin

    Post by AAML NJ Electrum Sponsor Wilmington Trust 

    In this video interview by Family Law Magazine, Sharon L. Klein, Wilmington Trust’s President of Family Wealth, Eastern U.S. Region and Head of the National Matrimonial/Divorce Advisory Practice, and Mark Bank, Michigan Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, review their top tips & traps for negotiating divorce settlement agreements.

    Link to the interview:

  • 4 Jul 2020 9:00 AM | AAML NJ Admin

    By Madeline Marzano-Lesnevich, Esq.

    New Jersey has entered Phase II of its reopening, and more and more people will be venturing out of quarantine, into what’s being called ‘the new normal’: six feet apart, outdoors, wearing a mask, etc. We urge you to follow CDC guidelines and take the necessary precautions, but also to enjoy some summer sunshine (for more on this, please see my previous blog post:

    Part of summertime is, of course, celebrating our country over the Fourth of July weekend. With the global pandemic still in effect, and each state at a different timeframe in their re-openings, we realize some of the July 4th weekend may look different: postponed fireworks, so as not to attract large gatherings; a car parade instead of a traditional parade; and smaller grill-outs that may include ‘doubling your bubble’ or only taking your mask off to eat.

    You can still, of course, celebrate the Fourth, and if you have children, and are in the middle of a divorce, or just in a rocky place in your relationship (heightened by quarantine!), here are three tips on how to celebrate nevertheless:

    1.      Consult with your co-parent/spouse/partner. Now more than ever keeping the lines of communication open are vital. It’s important to know what your co-parent is comfortable with: going to a public beach, and staying socially distanced? having a child’s best friend over to use the pool? venturing out to a theme park? Everyone’s going to have different opinions as to what’s safe to do this summer, and it’s best to consult with your co-parent, and respect his or her level of comfort.

    2.      Be creative! Use this odd time to find new ways to celebrate July 4th, and even educate your children about the history of America. That could mean writing and performing a short show in which your children play Uncle Sam, George Washington and Betsy Ross, or leaving it to the professionals and firing up Disney+, popping the popcorn, and settling in with your family for a quarantine-watch of the mega-smash, original cast Broadway musical Hamilton on Friday, July 3rd. Either way if you’re not yet comfortable gathering with folks outside your bubble— or if rain dampens your socially-distanced, outside celebration— there are plenty of innovative ways to celebrate the founding of the country.

    3.      Remember the ‘me’ time! Our Megan Hodes has written before on the importance of ‘me’ time as it relates to co-parenting (, and it’s even more relevant both during this global pandemic, and when a holiday weekend comes up during ‘the new normal.’ Everyone’s given to feelings of stress, exhaustion and overwhelmingness, and even though it can be tough to carve out just one hour to soak in a bath, take a walk, get lost in a novel or have a glass of wine and just sit, it’s more important than ever to take some ‘me’ time. Not just for you, but for your mental health, for your ability— and patience—  to parent, and for your ability to really relate to your co-parent.

    Everyone at our firm wishes you a safe, healthy, fun and Happy 4th of July weekend!

    A version of this article already appeared on my blog,


    Madeline Marzano-Lesnevich, Esq. is the co-Chair of the Family Law Department at the New Jersey-based law firm of Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O’Cathain & O’Cathain, LLC ( Madeline is a Diplomate of the American College of Family Trial Lawyers. She is a prior President of the national American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, as well as past President of its New Jersey Chapter, and past Chair of the Family Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association.

  • 23 Jun 2020 2:00 PM | AAML NJ Admin

    In this video interview by Family Law Magazine, Sharon L. Klein, Wilmington Trust’s President of Family Wealth, Eastern U.S Region and Head of Wilmington’s National Matrimonial/Divorce Advisory Practice, and Madeline Marzano-Lesnevich, past president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, reveal their top tips and traps for negotiating premarital agreements.

    Link to interview:

  • 19 Jun 2020 12:27 PM | AAML NJ Admin

    By Madeline Marzano-Lesnevich, Esq. 

    Warmer weather and longer days are here— we’re officially in summertime— but let’s face it: this is weird. Coping with the ongoing novel coronavirus, and dealing with phased re-openings as the pandemic persists throughout summer, will feel different because it is different. And if you’re co-parenting, it may even feel more difficult than co-parenting through quarantine, because our— and our kids’— natural desires are to go out and enjoy summertime fun in the sun!

    And you still can. But there are a few things you and your co-parents should talk about, and do, before you all leave the house and enjoy the season.

    1. Prioritize health: Agree with your co-parent that everyone’s health and safety is paramount. If that means strict quarantining for 14 days before or after taking a trip or expanding your circle (or “bubble,” in our new pandemic language), so be it. If it means patiently explaining to a child that they have to wear a mask when they go to a park with a friend, it’s worth it. Safety first.

    2. Consult with your co-parent: With summer plans changing (okay, we’re not going on our usual getaway this year) or outright canceled (goodbye, summer camp! Maybe, to the beach?) it’s more imperative than ever to consult and talk honestly. It means being flexible and adaptive in giving your children— and your co-parent— a chance to enjoy a bit of my favorite season, and everyone a chance to make a summertime memory during the pandemic.

    3. Be creative: A day at the beach too crowded? What about a wading pool in the backyard, complete with all the make-your-own popsicles you can eat? You can even set up a lawn chair with amenities and escort your child to their reserved spot. An afternoon movie matinee at the local cinema out of the question? Screen a classic summer blockbuster and set up a snack stand, with admission tickets and hand-drawn movie posters. Family trip to the ice cream place after dinner out of the question? Set up a make your own sundae bar or, if you really want to go for it, make your own mason jar ice cream. Use your imagination this summer!

    4. Make it fun-damental: Just as it isn’t a ‘normal’ summer, it wasn’t a ‘normal’ school year. Most schools transitioned to remote learning at some point, and pretty much any teacher or parent will tell you something was lost in translation in Google Classroom, or over the transom of the Chromebook. Therefore, encouraging children to pursue a vigorous summer reading list, or keep a journal of their pandemic summer, or watch online educational videos relating to science, math, English and history could be a positive way to continue learning throughout the summer— especially if you and your co-parent can agree on how to jointly promote learning. The same way adults working from home many not realize what day it is, the lines between summer and school are going to be blurred this year. 

    5. Stay cool— and stay safe: Even without the ongoing threat of the novel coronavirus, we know, due to climate change, it’s going to be another hot summer. The temptation may be to flee to the beach or town pool immediately, but even if these facilities are open, it’s important to use them wisely. Wear a mask. Consult with your co-parent so that everyone’s following the same recommended guidelines. Stay 6 to 10 feet apart from other families on a beach. And if you don’t feel comfortable cooling off in a public place, see if you can make your home a cool one. That doesn’t mean you have to rush to add an expensive pool; an investment in a long, new hose, plenty of water balloons on hand, or a reasonably priced slip-and-slide might just do the trick.

    6. Give everyone a break: Just like a normal summer family trip or experience, there’s going to be meltdowns. Rainy days when no one wants to do anything but sulk. Tears over something not being the way it used to be— and not just from the kids. And that’s okay. It’s okay to be not okay this summer, and to try and simply get through it— and to try to enjoy what summer moments you all can.

    7. Remember: how we act toward each other, during this pandemic, will set a tone for after the pandemic. We hope you have a responsible, safe, happy— and healthy— summer!

    A version of this article already appeared on my blog,

    Madeline Marzano-Lesnevich, Esq. is the co-Chair of the Family Law Department at the New Jersey-based law firm of Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O’Cathain & O’Cathain, LLC ( Madeline is a Diplomate of the American College of Family Trial Lawyers. She is a prior President of the national American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, as well as past President of its New Jersey Chapter, and past Chair of the Family Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association.

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