Growing up in Livingston, N.J., in the 1960's and 1970's, divorce was not common.
But I quickly learned that it sucked nonetheless.
When I was 7 years old, my mother explained to me that my friend's parents were going to be getting divorced.
I didn't know what it meant.
But I never saw my friend again.
When I was 15, I mistakenly called a friend's divorced mother "Mrs. his last name" instead of "Mrs. her maiden name".
She screamed at me.
I was humiliated but couldn't understand what I did wrong.
When I was in college, a friend's family went through a divorce.
I found it to be disorienting to have known them intimately as a family, and now to have seen them living in two separate homes and dating other people.
I learned at an early age that divorce sucks.
MY LEGAL EDUCATION AND FORMAL TRAINING IN DIVORCE LAW
Those early experiences with my friends' parents' divorces fueled my interest in learning about how I might help divorcing people once I became a lawyer.
So I took every one of the divorce-related classes that my law school offered.
I also took a concentrated mediation program in 1981, well before divorce mediation was common.
In 1986 I obtained a clerkship with a well-respected New Jersey Family Court Judge, and I learned how divorce law works from the "inside".
I worked hard for really long hours, trying to absorb as much as I could.
At the same time I began dating a woman (who later became my wife.) I quickly learned how divorce worked (or didn't work) in the real world.
I moved down to Monmouth County from North Jersey in 1987 at the end of my clerkship with Judge Graves. I moved in with my girlfriend and her then 2 year old boy and her 6 year old girl (now 35 and 39, respectively.)
I got a job with a large Monmouth County law firm and worked my way up over the next 9 years, from the newest associate attorney in the divorce department ultimately to the co-chairman of the divorce department.
Then, I left the firm and I started my own Family Law practice in 1997.
Ultimately, I decided to get my practice highly focused by taking ONLY divorce cases, and ONLY in Monmouth County. This allows me to devote all of my time and my energy to focusing on how things are done here in Monmouth County.
I was named a divorce "SuperLawyer" by NJ Monthly Magazine for 5 consecutive years, was on Monmouth County's Divorce "Early Settlement Panel" for over 20 years, and was Chairman of the Early Settlement Panel for 3 years.
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCES WITH DIVORCE LAW
During my entire 32 year career as a divorce lawyer, at the end of the workday I came home from Court and experienced some of the consequences of divorce personally, both as a step-father and as the husband of a previously-divorced woman who herself was divorced in Monmouth County back in the mid-1980's.
There are many examples of things that I learned being part of a stepfamily that have contributed to my depth of understanding of what my divorce clients are going through.
These personal experiences help me to empathize closely with my clients.
For the past 32 years, I have personally helped thousands of Monmouth County women & men successfully strategize their divorce cases to achieve the best possible results.
I received the NJ Monthly Magazine SuperLawyer Award in Divorce & Family Law for 5 consecutive years, and was selected to be the Chairman of the Monmouth County Early Settlement Program for 3 consecutive years. I was on the Early Settlement Panel for over 20 years.
Since 1987, I have "lived" divorce law, both professionally as a Monmouth County divorce attorney, as well as personally, as the husband of a previously-divorced woman and a step-father to her two kids.
I have experienced the good and the bad of the Monmouth County divorce court, both as a professional and as the husband of a litigant and the step-father of stepchildren who come from divorced parents.
I understand what you are going through now and what you will likely go through in the future.
It would be my honor to be your guide through the Monmouth County divorce system.