Gebhardt & Kiefer Family Blog http://www.gklegal.com/blog/ recent posts en-us Sun, 19 Nov 2017 04:08:18 -0600 The Risks of Withdrawing a Conditional Offer of Employment Based on Medical Reasons http://www.gklegal.com/blog/the-risks-of-withdrawing-a-conditional-offer-of-employment-based-on-medical-reasons/ The recent unpublished Appellate Division decision of Philip Marchesani v. J.B. Hunt Transportation, Inc., et al., Appellate Division, Docket No. A-4751-15T2 (decided October 31, 2017), illustrates the challenges faced by employers who issue a conditional offer of employment. 

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2017-11-13 00:00:00 http://www.gklegal.com/blog/the-risks-of-withdrawing-a-conditional-offer-of-employment-based-on-medical-reasons/
Military Pensions: How the “Frozen Benefit Rule” Applies in Divorce Cases http://www.gklegal.com/blog/how-the-frozen-benefit-rule-applies-in-divorce-cases/ On December 23, 2016, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA 2017) was signed into law.  This new rule, sometimes referred to as the “Frozen Benefit Rule,” affects the law on military pensions for almost everyone, and also affects equitable distribution of military pensions in divorce cases.  This applies to those still serving who divorce after December 23, 2016. 

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2017-11-10 00:00:00 http://www.gklegal.com/blog/how-the-frozen-benefit-rule-applies-in-divorce-cases/
Volunteer Firemen May Not Pursue a Whistleblower Claim Under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act http://www.gklegal.com/blog/volunteer-firemen-may-not-pursue-a-whistleblower-claim-under-the-conscientious-employee-protection-act/ Judge Accurso of the Appellate Division recently ruled in the case of Jeffrey Sauter v. Colts Neck Volunteer Fire Company No. 2 that volunteer firemen are not entitled to the protection of the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), N.J.S.A. 34:19-1, et seq., because a volunteer firefighter is not an employee of the fire company, even though such volunteers may receive Length of Service Awards Program (LOSAP) benefits and other remuneration.

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2017-10-26 00:00:00 http://www.gklegal.com/blog/volunteer-firemen-may-not-pursue-a-whistleblower-claim-under-the-conscientious-employee-protection-act/
Employers: Avoid Comments About Employees’ Religions or Religious Practices http://www.gklegal.com/blog/employers-avoid-comments-about-employees-religions-or-religious-practices/ To steer clear of potential issues, employers should follow this plain and simple rule: don’t permit comments about employees’ religions or religious practices in the workplace.

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2017-10-23 00:00:00 http://www.gklegal.com/blog/employers-avoid-comments-about-employees-religions-or-religious-practices/
How Childhood Lessons Are Relevant in a Divorce Case http://www.gklegal.com/blog/how-childhood-lessons-are-relevant-in-a-divorce-case/ Anyone who has a child (or once was a child) knows the values and virtues that parents try to instill in their children.  These common values and virtues are typically reinforced by schools, teachers, and religious educators.  Many of these same teachings that we learn in our childhood are applicable for people going through a divorce.  Here are a few examples (in no particular order), based on my experience handing numerous divorce cases:

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2017-10-11 00:00:00 http://www.gklegal.com/blog/how-childhood-lessons-are-relevant-in-a-divorce-case/
Ten Things You Should Never Post on Social Media When Going Through a Divorce http://www.gklegal.com/blog/ten-things-you-should-never-post-on-social-media-when-going-through-a-divorce/ The way you conduct yourself on social media websites can often hurt your divorce case.  As a general rule, staying off of social media before, during or after your divorce is a best practice, but if you cannot achieve total abstinence, consider the following tips and things you should never do:

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2017-09-26 00:00:00 http://www.gklegal.com/blog/ten-things-you-should-never-post-on-social-media-when-going-through-a-divorce/
Are Municipal Fire Companies Subject to the Open Public Records Act? http://www.gklegal.com/blog/are-municipal-fire-companies-subject-to-the-open-public-records-act/ Background For a number of years, there have been vexing questions as to whether volunteer fire companies are considered public entities or simply a group of volunteers who get together to fight fires.  The uncertainty arises from the fact that fire companies consist of a group of self-governing individuals who volunteer to fight fires without significant oversight from municipal officials.  Volunteer firemen often raise significant funds for their operation; they independently elect officers, provide for their own training and often purchase significant amounts of their own equipment.  On the other hand, the municipality in which they are located must permit their operation, often makes significant financial contributions, and frequently approves membership.  Many municipalities have ordinances establishing the creation or recognition of volunteer fire departments and those ordinances exercise various levels of control.  In addition, municipalities fund large capital expenditures for heavy fire equipment and make Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP) contributions.  Furthermore, while volunteer fire companies agree to fill the municipal function of firefighting, they also operate as social or fraternal organizations that provide recreational, educational and other benefits to members.

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2017-08-30 00:00:00 http://www.gklegal.com/blog/are-municipal-fire-companies-subject-to-the-open-public-records-act/
Out-of-State Relocation Standard in Divorce Cases Changed to “Best Interest” Analysis http://www.gklegal.com/blog/out-of-state-relocation-standard-in-divorce-cases-changed-to-best-interest-analysis/ In New Jersey, the statute N.J.S.A. 9:2-2 allows a parent to relocate out of state with the parties’ children if the other parent agrees or if the court issues an order allowing the move.  In cases where there is a true shared custody arrangement or equal parenting time, the court would apply a “best interest” analysis, similar to the analysis in deciding custody of children in a divorce case.  In cases where there is a parent who has primary residential custody (parent who has the majority of overnight parenting time), the standard the court applied for the last sixteen years in these relocation cases is set forth in Baures v. Lewis, 167 N.J. 91 (2001).

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2017-08-17 00:00:00 http://www.gklegal.com/blog/out-of-state-relocation-standard-in-divorce-cases-changed-to-best-interest-analysis/
Name Change of a Minor in the Twenty-First Century http://www.gklegal.com/blog/name-change-of-a-minor-in-the-twenty-first-century/ In June 2017, the trial court published an opinion addressing a matter of first impression in the State of New Jersey[i].   Plainitff, the mother of the 16-year-old child, petitioned the Court to allow the parties’ transgendered child to change his name from Veronica to Trevor.

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2017-08-11 00:00:00 http://www.gklegal.com/blog/name-change-of-a-minor-in-the-twenty-first-century/
Court Rules Against Employer for Not Accommodating Employee’s Religious Belief of “Mark of the Beast” http://www.gklegal.com/blog/court-rules-against-employer-for-not-accommodating-employee-s-religious-belief-of-mark-of-the-beast/ Recently, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a near $600,000 award against an employer for failing to accommodate an employee’s religious belief after a biometric hand scanner was installed in the workplace (EEOC v. Consol Energy). The employee claimed that the scanner would label him with the “Mark of the Beast,” contrary to his evangelical Christian religious beliefs.

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2017-06-28 00:00:00 http://www.gklegal.com/blog/court-rules-against-employer-for-not-accommodating-employee-s-religious-belief-of-mark-of-the-beast/
What Happens If Your Divorce Case Goes to Trial? http://www.gklegal.com/blog/what-happens-if-your-divorce-case-goes-to-trial/ The goal of every person getting divorced should be to settle the case as quickly, painlessly and inexpensively as possible.  There are many ways to settle a divorce case, including through the collaborative divorce process and mediation.  There are also certain events within the court system that are designed to help settle a case that is in the litigation process.  Although rare, unfortunately there are some cases that require a trial.  If you find yourself in that situation, what can you expect and how can you prepare for a trial as a divorce litigant?

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2017-06-23 00:00:00 http://www.gklegal.com/blog/what-happens-if-your-divorce-case-goes-to-trial/
What Happens When You Don’t Have an Estate Plan? http://www.gklegal.com/blog/what-happens-when-you-don-t-have-an-estate-plan/ 2017-06-16 00:00:00 http://www.gklegal.com/blog/what-happens-when-you-don-t-have-an-estate-plan/ Should I File a Motion in the Midst of a Divorce Settlement? http://www.gklegal.com/blog/should-i-file-a-motion-in-the-midst-of-a-divorce-settlement/ One of the most frequently asked questions in a divorce, custody, or support proceeding is “when and how do I get before the judge to have him/her decide my case/issue?”  Unfortunately, it is a somewhat complicated, multifaceted answer.

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2017-06-15 00:00:00 http://www.gklegal.com/blog/should-i-file-a-motion-in-the-midst-of-a-divorce-settlement/
City’s Delay in Abating Dangerous Condition Deemed Not Unreasonable http://www.gklegal.com/blog/city-s-delay-in-abating-dangerous-condition-deemed-not-unreasonable/ The Appellate Division recently held that a delay of more than one year in abating a “dangerous condition” was not “palpably unreasonable” because the municipality was required to publicly bid a contract for such repairs.

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2017-05-23 00:00:00 http://www.gklegal.com/blog/city-s-delay-in-abating-dangerous-condition-deemed-not-unreasonable/
Court Finds That Uncooperative OPRA Litigant is Not Entitled to Attorney’s Fees http://www.gklegal.com/blog/court-finds-that-uncooperative-opra-litigant-is-not-entitled-to-attorney-s-fees/ Typically, a prevailing party in a lawsuit seeking disclosure of records under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) is entitled to attorney’s fees.  N.J.S.A. 47:1A-6.  However, the Court held in Grieco v. Borough of Haddon Heights, No. L-2876-15 (N.J. Super. Ct. Law Div. Oct. 19, 2015) that an uncooperative litigant who rushed into Court instead of alerting the municipality to an obvious mistake in its production of documents was not entitled to attorney’s fees.

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2017-05-22 00:00:00 http://www.gklegal.com/blog/court-finds-that-uncooperative-opra-litigant-is-not-entitled-to-attorney-s-fees/
The Right of First Refusal for Parenting Time…a Blessing or a Curse? http://www.gklegal.com/blog/the-right-of-first-refusal-for-parenting-time-a-blessing-or-a-curse/ Many parents want to include a right of first refusal provision in their custody and parenting time or marital settlement agreements.  Such a clause requires a parent to contact the other parent if they are going to be unavailable to the children for a certain period.  This requires the parent to do so before contacting a third party to watch the children. 

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2017-04-24 00:00:00 http://www.gklegal.com/blog/the-right-of-first-refusal-for-parenting-time-a-blessing-or-a-curse/
Appellate Division Confirms that Personal Information on OPRA Requests Is Protected from Public Disclosure http://www.gklegal.com/blog/appellate-division-confirms-that-personal-information-on-opra-requests-is-protected-from-public-disclosure/ The Appellate Division recently upheld a trial court’s determination that telephone numbers, home addresses, and email addresses of OPRA (Open Public Records Act) requestors could be redacted in response to a request for public documents.  Wolosky v. Somerset Cty., et al., Docket No. A-1024-15T4 (March 30, 2107).

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2017-04-07 09:24:35 http://www.gklegal.com/blog/appellate-division-confirms-that-personal-information-on-opra-requests-is-protected-from-public-disclosure/
Seventh Circuit Rules Civil Rights Law Covers LGBT Bias http://www.gklegal.com/blog/seventh-circuit-rules-civil-rights-law-covers-lgbt-bias/ In a long-awaited decision by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, an eight to three ruling was rendered on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 that workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

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2017-04-07 09:14:30 http://www.gklegal.com/blog/seventh-circuit-rules-civil-rights-law-covers-lgbt-bias/
Why Is Divorce So Painful? http://www.gklegal.com/blog/why-is-divorce-so-painful/ In our society, there is a great emphasis on relationships.  This includes relationships with friends, with family, and romantic relationships with significant others.  Most of us like to spend time with other people, whether it be seeing a movie, eating a meal, going to a concert, attending a sporting event, or just socializing.  Even many forms of entertainment are based on relationships.  Think about the TV shows we watch, the movies we see, the music we listen to, and even many of the sporting events we watch…they are popular because of the way the characters interact with one another, and/or the way the stories connect with us. 

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2017-03-24 00:00:00 http://www.gklegal.com/blog/why-is-divorce-so-painful/
Premarital Agreements For People Over 50 http://www.gklegal.com/blog/premarital-agreements-for-people-over-50/ The rate of divorce for first marriages is approximately 40-50%[i]; that number jumps to an estimated 73% for second marriages[ii].  Now consider that the majority of New Jerseyans divorcing are over the age of 50[iii].  If you are over age 50 and considering a second (or third) marriage, how can you adequately protect yourself and your family?

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2017-03-13 00:00:00 http://www.gklegal.com/blog/premarital-agreements-for-people-over-50/
Employer Takeaways From First Official Affordable Care Act Repeal and Replacement Proposal http://www.gklegal.com/blog/employer-takeaways-from-first-official-affordable-care-act-repeal-and-replacement-proposal/ On March 6, 2017, House Republicans offered their first official proposal for an Affordable Care Act (ACA) roll-back.  While much remains to be seen regarding the proposed draft, employers should be mindful of the following as matters unfold:

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2017-03-10 00:00:00 http://www.gklegal.com/blog/employer-takeaways-from-first-official-affordable-care-act-repeal-and-replacement-proposal/
Can a Court Force You to Pay For Your Child’s College, Even If You and Your Former Spouse Agree Not to Do So? http://www.gklegal.com/blog/can-a-court-force-you-to-pay-for-your-child-s-college-even-if-you-and-your-former-spouse-agree-not-to-do-so/ Approximately 35 years ago, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued an often-cited opinion in which it held "the privilege of parenthood carries with it the duty to assure a necessary education for children." Newburgh v. Arrigo 88 N.J. 529 (1982). The Newburgh court established a series of factors for courts to consider when assessing whether to compel one or both parents to contribute to the costs of college and, in some cases, even graduate school. Generally speaking, these include the child's aptitude and educational interests, the parents' financial circumstances, and the relationship between the child and each parent.

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2017-03-03 00:00:00 http://www.gklegal.com/blog/can-a-court-force-you-to-pay-for-your-child-s-college-even-if-you-and-your-former-spouse-agree-not-to-do-so/
NJ Legislature Considers OPRA Amendment to Limit Access to Personal Information and Alter Fee-Shifting Provision http://www.gklegal.com/blog/nj-legislature-considers-opra-amendment-to-limit-access-to-personal-information-and-alter-fee-shifting-provision/ In February 2017, New Jersey Assembly Bill 4532 was introduced and subsequently voted out of the State and Local Government Committee.  The bill would amend the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) by exempting certain personal information from disclosure and narrowing the circumstances under which a successful litigant can be awarded attorney’s fees.

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2017-03-02 00:00:00 http://www.gklegal.com/blog/nj-legislature-considers-opra-amendment-to-limit-access-to-personal-information-and-alter-fee-shifting-provision/
Employers: Anti-Discrimination Policies Can Help You Defend Against Vicarious Liability Claims http://www.gklegal.com/blog/employers-anti-discrimination-policies-can-help-you-defend-against-vicarious-liability-claims/ New Jersey Courts have recently acknowledged that an employer is entitled to an affirmative defense to a hostile work environment claim based on the employer having exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct any harassing behavior. To obtain the protection of this defense, an employer must prove that it exercised reasonable care to prevent and to promptly address and correct the alleged behavior, and that the plaintiff employee failed to avail him or herself of preventive or corrective opportunities available, or to otherwise avoid harm. Courts look disfavorably toward claims where there is a policy prohibiting discrimination in the workplace, with instructions on how to report harassment, yet the plaintiff fails to report any such incidents to his/her supervisors, and instead pursues legal action. 

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2017-02-27 00:00:00 http://www.gklegal.com/blog/employers-anti-discrimination-policies-can-help-you-defend-against-vicarious-liability-claims/
Divorce, Tax Liability, and Innocent Spouse Relief http://www.gklegal.com/blog/divorce-tax-liability-and-innocent-spouse-relief/ Innocent Spouse Relief can be a strong defense for a spouse who discovers a tax liability during a divorce.  That is assuming the spouse qualifies as an “innocent spouse,” according to IRS guidelines.

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2017-02-23 00:00:00 http://www.gklegal.com/blog/divorce-tax-liability-and-innocent-spouse-relief/