Type of Client: Alimony Modification
- Client’s Issue: The client was concerned that his ex-wife was planning to seek an extension of her limited duration alimony to a permanent alimony award based upon a bogus medical condition.
- Attorney Micklin’s Approach: We filed to increase the amount of child support the client was paying so that we could return to court immediately for a positive reason since we were seeking to increase the child support the client was paying and eliminate the ex-wife’s ability to foster a false medical claim.
- Result: The ex-wife was required to raise the fact that she intended to seek an increase in alimony but was forced to concede that she had no medical information to support the claim.
Type of Client: Custody Dispute
- Client’s Issue: The client was a dentist in the Air Force. He received a surprised notice that his ex-wife was seeking to eliminate his custody and visitation rights.
- Attorney Micklin’s Approach: We filed a cross motion to deny the application and increase custody and parenting time. Our position was that the mother’s application suggested that she was trying to alienate the father from the child.
- Result: Our application was granted. The client received joint legal custody and extended parenting time.
Type of Client: Emergency Relocation
- Client’s Issue: The client came in and advised that the mother of his child was moving to Florida the very next day. The mother never advised the client or sought his permission. It is unlawful to remove a child from New Jersey without the other parent’s permission or a court order.
- Attorney Micklin’s Approach: Within two hours of the client meeting, we drafted and filed an emergency order to show cause to prohibit the relocation.
- Result: The judge entered an order the same day that we met with the client and prohibited the mother from moving to Florida with their child.
Type of Client: Alimony Modification
- Client’s Issue: The client was laid off from his job and took a new position in another country at a dramatically lower income. He could not afford his alimony and child support payments at the current levels and went into substantial arrears. As a result of his arrears, his passport was suspended and he could not travel to the United States.
- The Micklin Law Group Approach: We filed for a plenary hearing on the issue of Plaintiff’s changed financial circumstances and to modify his support obligations accordingly. We also filed to reinstate his passport.
- Result: The court granted Plaintiff’s application for a plenary hearing on the issue of his reduced income and whether a reduction in his support obligations was appropriate. The court granted his application to reinstate his passport so he could travel to the United States to participate in the litigation.
Type of Client: Support, college contribution and other modification of the client’s obligations pursuant to a divorce agreement
- Client’s Issue: The client experienced a significant decrease in earnings and could not meet his support and other obligations set forth in his divorce agreement. There were also several ancillary issues including a Newburgh College issue, emancipation of one of the children who was attending a 5th year of college, and a poorly-drafted equitable distribution provision (by another law firm who represented the client at the time of the divorce several years prior). The provision allowed the client’s ex-spouse annual access to a real property owned by the client which once was a vacation house, but later became the client’s primary residence, for an indefinite period of years.
- The Micklin Law Group Approach: We filed for a plenary hearing on all of the issues namely, but not limited to, Plaintiff’s changed financial circumstances and to modify his support and other obligations accordingly.
- Result: We succeeded in getting the court to order a plenary hearing on all issues, and the adversary’s request for the court to order the client to advance certain outstanding support and other payments was denied pending the plenary hearing. During the pendency of the litigation, we were able to negotiate a favorable settlement on roughly 80% of the issues with the other party, the substance of which significantly reduced the client’s current obligations and made them “manageable.” We were then able to limit the issues for the plenary hearing to about 20% of what was originally raised in both parties’ pleadings, thereby significantly simplifying the trial and costs associated with preparation for the trial.
Type of Client: Child and spousal support modification of the client’s obligations pursuant to a divorce agreement.
- Client’s Issue: The client experienced a significant decrease in earnings and could not meet his support and other obligations set forth in his divorce agreement. As a result, we filed for a plenary hearing on the issue of support modification, which we were successful in obtaining, the trial court judge having found that our client demonstrated a “prima facie” case of changed circumstances entitling him to a hearing. However, the trial court judge conditioned the plenary hearing going forward on the client making certain payments to the other party, including but not limited to a lump sum payment towards support arrears and counsel and expert fees for the other party.
- The Micklin Law Group Approach: We filed an interlocutory, i.e. emergent, appeal of the trial court judge’s decision to condition the plenary hearing on the client’s payment of arrears, counsel and expert fees.
- Result: The appellate division granted our interlocutory appeal and reversed and remanded the case back to the trial court judge. The appellate division held, essentially, that it was wrong to require our client to “pay to play” after having found that he demonstrated a prima facie case of changed circumstances.