Family Law

Making the right choice when you are confronted with a family issue can be exceedingly difficult. Whether you are confronted with pre-marital planning, separation, divorce, child custody, domestic violence, you will benefit from the advice and guidance of an experienced family law attorney. MMGBB offers a full range of services to guide you and protect your interests.

Divorce

Whether you are seeking a divorce or your spouse has confronted you with a request to divorce, you need a lawyer who understands that you and your family are confronting a life-altering challenge. You will need a caring, experienced advocate who will guide you through the process, a lawyer committed to your cause who will discuss and offer alternatives suited to your unique circumstances and needs. With over 25 years of experience representing men and women in contested and uncontested matters in New Jersey and New York, partner Dean T. Bennett, Esq. provides thoughtful, insightful counseling, practical advice and passionate, assertive advocacy of your interests.

Alimony/Child Support

Alimony laws have undergone substantial change in recent years and continue to evolve. Contrary to much misguided public perception, alimony, or “spousal support’, is not automatic or formulaic but requires a close, fact-sensitive analysis of many factors besides the mere comparison of income to determine whether you or your spouse is entitled to alimony and, if so, to determine the appropriate term and amount to be paid. Whether you are the “payor” or “payee”, you need the guidance of an experienced attorney who is familiar with emerging law and experienced in applying these factors to ensure that your interests are protected.

If you have children and are getting divorced, or if you are one of an unmarried couple with children, you need the guidance of experienced counsel to determine appropriate levels of child- support. While the determination of child support begins in most cases with applying a relatively simple formula based on the comparative income of each parent, other factors need to be considered, especially in cases involving high income earners. These factors may include the parenting time schedule, the age of the child, other expenses, support obligations from previous relationships and, in high income cases, a fact-sensitive “lifestyle” analysis. It is vital to your interests that these factors be thoroughly analyzed by experienced counsel.

Custody

Custody and parenting time disputes require special knowledge and care. Far too often, parents misuse custody disputes to vent their own grievances against the other parent. MMG is committed to protecting your interests and to seeking reasonable solutions compatible with the best interests of the children.

Pre-Nuptial Agreements

In today’s environment, pre-planning has become essential. While no one marries with the intention of getting divorced, the reality is that a very high percentage of new marriages will end in divorce. Moreover, as the average age of first-time marrieds has increased, more men and women than ever before bring substantial assets into a marriage. Knowing your rights and protecting them can bring peace of mind and get your marriage off on the right foot. Independent consultation with a qualified attorney is especially important for those who have been presented with a proposed agreement by his or her intended spouse. MMG has counseled and negotiated pre-marital agreements on behalf of men and women throughout New Jersey and New York. Most found the relatively small investment made upfront to be worth many times its cost over the long haul.

Collaborative Law

Many couples, recognizing that protracted legal proceedings can have devastating long-term emotional and financial consequences, are opting for a less adversarial approach to resolving their marital disputes. Collaborative divorce is an emerging method for couples seeking non-litigated resolutions of marital disputes. MMG founding partner Dean Bennett was a founding member of the New Jersey Collaborative Divorce Alliance (NJDCA) and is a member of the International Association of Collaborative Professionals. MMG can assist its clients who seek non-litigated solutions to their family disputes using this team-oriented, interdisciplinary alternative to traditional litigation.

Domestic Violence

Unfortunately, many individuals and families confront domestic violence stemming from harassment, assault, criminal mischief and other aggressive behaviors inflicted by their husbands, wives, other family members or partners. MMG offers extensive experience obtaining temporary and permanent restraining orders and trying cases on behalf of men and women who have been victimized or accused of committing domestic violence. Mr. Bennett has extensive experience representing victims of domestic violence in courts throughout New Jersey.

Post-Judgment Matters

Changing circumstances which occur after divorce often require legal intervention to alter or modify divorce agreements or judgments which are no longer fair. MMG has achieved appropriate modifications of alimony, support and child custody plans on behalf of men and women throughout negotiated agreement, mediation, post-nuptial agreements and trial.

LGBT Family Law Matters

Marriage equality has profound consequences for gay, lesbian and transgender couples and families. MMG is familiar with and sensitive to the unique legal challenges that often confront LGBT families. Many legal issues which confront LGBT families are not very different from those confronting “traditional” families. However, many issues unique to LGBT families remain. For example; what do I do if I am already registered in a civil union but want to get married? Will my marriage be recognized in other states? Will my marriage be recognized by the Federal Government? What are my rights as a transgender parent?

Moreover, disproportionate numbers of LGBT couples are confronted with legal issues stemming from the application of alternative means of reproduction. Surrogacy contracts and the division of frozen eggs or sperm upon divorce or separation, for example, present legal challenges that require the assistance of counsel who is familiar with these issues and sensitive to the unique challenges faced by same sex, transgendered persons or others in non-binary relationships.

Guardianship

When a loved one is unable to care for himself or herself, you may seek a court-ordered guardianship to ensure that the person is protected and cared for. Typically, a close family member will be awarded guardianship and the full authority to make decisions for the person in need of a guardian upon a physician certified showing that the subject is no longer able to handle his or her affairs. MMGBB has successfully prosecuted contested and non-contested guardianships on behalf of families seeking to protect their loved ones and provide for their care.

Mediation

Dean T. Bennett, Esq. is a qualified family law mediator. As a mediator, MMG brings his extensive experience to bear in assisting couples resolve their disputes. Mr. Bennett serves frequently as a panelist in the Essex County Early Settlement Program and has assisted hundreds of couples in resolving their disputes.