Domestic Abuse/Violence in New Jersey and leaving your partner/spouse. Views from the inside. Views from the inside is a blog by Hudson County New Jersey Family Law and New Jersey Divorce Lawyer Santo Artusa and what he sees as a divorce/family lawyer, father, husband, family man, businessman in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Sadly, New Jersey is a no fault state in terms of divorce. However, that does not mean you cannot file for divorce in Hudson County New Jersey Family Court based on extreme cruelty and for other reasons that include domestic abuse/domestic violence, a sad reality that remains in our country and is culturally accepted in some cultures but not in this office and not in the courts. If you hit my daughter, you are dead. As a Jersey City-Hudson County divorce attorney, I have seen and handled many difficult situations and I know I can help you if you are ready to.  Domestic abuse is not just about women its also about men being mentally and physically abused. It is not a weakness to be hit and not fight back, it is not a weakness to admit someone abuses you in one way or the other. It happens everyday to both genders and it must be stopped and you must get our before the worse two things happen: 1. Your kids see this behavior and 2. You get killed or you kill your spouse defending yourself.

Below are 7 reasons to file for divorce or consider when you seek a divorce in New Jersey and domestic violence/abuse is involved.

  1. First, if you are in the early stages of your marriage and there is domestic abuse already and you do not have children, why stay in the marriage? Get out while you are young and while you have need been harmed for that long.
  2. The longer you stay, the harder it is to leave.
  3. If your spouse abuses you, and you have children and they witness this, they are more prone to be abusive or be in an abusive relationship, is that fair? No its not.
  4. You may believe you can shield your kids or family from the abuse you feel inside but your family will know you are suffering because of the intensity of it. This will hurt you and your health.
  5. Be fair to yourself. Respect yourself. Do not let anyone hit you, mentally abuse you. Life is too short to live that way. Begin to take positive steps.
  6. You can always file for a restraining order to get your spouse out of the home to protect yourself. If the abuse is more verbal, you can still do that but if you feel physically safe it may be best to just file the divorce and handle the next steps that way.
  7. You can still obtain a divorce based on abuse/extreme cruelty even if you never called the police. The fact is many people never call the police in a domestic abuse/violence situation. Many people are scared and or ashamed. We can help you and advise you.
  8. Does your spouse take advantage that your family lives in another country or far from the marital home/apartment? I see this a lot where a spouse takes advantage of the fact that the wife/husband’s family, close friends live in India, Pakistan, China, France, Italy, parts of Africa.

Divorce is rarely a pleasant experience but nor is surgery but when you have to get rid of the cancer in your body, you must do what you have to do to save yourself. As the tension rises between you and your spouse, only bad things can happen from there if you do not begin taking steps to get out of the marriage. If you are ready to file for divorce and/or can no longer take the abuse or fake accusations of abuse, contact my Jersey City family law team on 201-706-7910 today for a confidential appointment.

Divorce in Jersey City, NJ Hudson County

New Jersey Divorce Attorney Santo Artusa Jr

The New Jersey Superior Court, Chancery Division-Family Part, Hudson Vicinage is located at 595 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, NJ. “595” is where all family law issues are heard before the various judges that focus on family law matters that pertain to Hudson County residents who seek to file new motions, divorce cases, domestic violence/restraining orders, child custody, and/ or former Hudson County residents that seek to modify an old court order. Jersey City Attorney Santo Artusa focuses his practice primarily on family law matters in New Jersey. Mr. Artusa’s team is well versed in family law matters appearing before Judges Daniel D’Alessandro, Judge Maureen Mantineo, Judge Anthony D’Elia, Judge Mirtha Ospina, Judge Espinales, Judge Vito Scianclepore, arguing on behalf of their clients who seek: divorces, annulments, child custody, modifications of court orders, alimony, child support, domestic violence restraining orders, and beyond. If you have a case based in Hudson County and seek representation from attorneys that know and understand how to approach family law issues, contact the Artusa Law Firm today on 973-337-9643 to discuss your case confidentially.

New Jersey Family Law Attorney


For a New Jersey Divorce Lawyer practicing out of Hudson County with many clients coming from the ever growing areas of Jersey City, the main focus in divorce actions in Hudson County-New Jersey and in Northern New Jersey are usually about alimony, child support, child custody, parenting time and the division of assets, tax planning and understanding the tax ramifications of making certain settlements is just as important as the settlement itself. As a New Jersey Divorce Attorney, I am not a tax expert but I do know many important elements of taxation and how settling your divorce in certain ways can help minimize tax implications and maximize tax benefits to help you mitigate any money that must be paid or that will be received to or from your spouse.

Alimony is a monetary transfer between spouses. Internal Revenue Code 215 (IRC 215) addresses the topic of deducting such payments (the payor). One advantage of paying a higher amount of alimony versus child support is that alimony is tax deductible while child support never is.  Furthermore, not only is alimony a tax deduction but it is a deduction that lowers the adjusted gross-income of the payor which is much better than an itemized one. Itemized deductions on the other hand can be limited to 2% of the overall gross income and after that, you lose the tax benefit.

For the person receiving alimony, that person must claim the alimony as income which does provide a benefit in the sense that this “earned income” can be used on the tax filings which permits the spouse to make contributions to an IRA for retirement planning. (IRC 219-f-1). However, if the parties agree that the alimony payments will not be subject to taxation and deductions, that is permitted under the law (Treasury Regulation 1.71-T(b)(A-8)).

The payment and tax planning of alimony can work out for both parties if done correctly. Depending on the income tax brackets of the parties, a plan can be created through income shifting to take advantage of the tax code.

Payments that are considered alimony according to the Internal Revenue Code must:
1- Be part of a divorce or separation which includes: A court decree or separate maintenance, or a written instrument incident to such a decree.
2-Any other court decree requiring one spouse to make payments for the support/maintenance of the other spouse.
3- A written separation agreement entered into by the spouses.

The alimony payments must also be made in cash which includes, checks, money orders. Services cannot be exchanged and considered alimony.


The dependency exemptions are also important in the divorce planning/child custody-support process. Post 1985-The custodial parent is entitled to this tax benefit unless the non-custodial parent and the custodial parent reach an agreement in writing as to the deductions and sign the written declaration Tax Form 8332, (2) Where a multiple support agreement exists. Multiple support relates to where no one person is paying for more than 50% of the support of the child (sometimes when the child lives in a home with the mother, grandparents, uncles, etc., who can argue they all contribute to the home expenses, food, etc.).

The Child Tax Credit

Under President Clinton, The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 became effective in 1998. This credit begins to phase out after a certain AGI is reached. So in divorce and tax planning , using the child tax deduction may not be wise for the higher earning spouse because of the income phase outs. The credit itself is not substantial alone in that it is worth about $500 per qualifying child, however, it is always better for the IRS to send you a refund then you sending them a check so try to utilize as many credits as possible and consider it in the divorce.


Retirement Plans- One of the bigger assets people tend to have or that couples tend to build their assets with are retirement plans. The company 401k, an IRA, A Roth IRA, etc. To transfer the assets in the plan to a spouse regarding a divorce, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order is needed or a QDRO. This prevents any taxation or penalties form the IRS when this transfer occurs. However, the QDRO does not prevent future taxation when money is taken out of the 401k or other retirement asset.

Marital Residence in New Jersey-Transferring your stake in the property to your spouse will not subject you to taxation, however, if the house is sold, you must check with your accountant to discuss the cost basis and so forth to determine tax liability. The marital residence carries with it many tax benefits if one spouse is to keep the property and if the spouse or the parties agree to sell it, there are many ways to defer tax liabilities if proper tax planning is done. For example, if one spouse takes his or her share of the net proceeds and rolls these proceeds into another property after the divorce and certain conditions are met, each spouse can elect to take advantage of a $125,000 exclusion, if both do, $250,000 is the maximum ($125,000 each).  If the property is sold during the divorce, the exclusion may be limited to $125,000 total. If the property is held and to be sold at a later date (more than 2 years after the divorce), the spouse that leaves the residence and loses the “principal residence” status can lose his or her ability to use their $125,000 exclusion for their half interest and then suffer major tax consequences. For information about divorce and settling your case with different assets to work with, read our article on lexis nexis about New Jersey Divorce Lawyer with financial background and how that can help your case.

Let us move on to the TAX FILING STATUS

If you are married or divorced on December 31 of that tax year, that is your tax status. For example, you filed for divorce in November of 2014 but are still married as of December 31, 2014, you would still be considered married for tax purposes. However, if you have your divorce judgment on or before December 31 of the tax year, you are divorced and can claim single on your taxes.

So in conclusion, when you are seeking a divorce in New Jersey, have assets, have children, there are more considerations than, just split everything or whatever wrong information people out there will tell you. There is a lot involved in a divorce in New Jersey. New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, has strict child support and alimony laws among other things so it is very important in planning your future to hire an experienced and caring attorney who will look out for pitfalls and future problems. The team at the Artusa Law Firm is heavily devoted to family law and divorce issues throughout the State of New Jersey including but not limited to: Hudson County, Bergen County, Essex County, Middlesex County and Union County. To setup a consultation in our Jersey City office or over the phone, give us a call on 201-706-7910. To read more bout our work, visit: Artusa Law Firm-Divorce Lawyers of Jersey City.

For information about where New Jersey family court and divorce  cases are heard in New Jersey and where our main office is located, please visit our custom map below.


As a divorce lawyer in Jersey City, I have represented people throughout New Jersey and from other states that have divorce and family law issues in Hudson County, Essex County, Middlesex County, Bergen County and Union County. Regardless if it is a simple divorce where both parties come in to sign all the papers or we must find your spouse and serve him in another state or country, we can handle it. If the case has complex child custody or diverse assets to divide, we have dealt with it and are ready to help you with your case. The best way for us to help you is if you have an idea of what you are seeking so we can evaluate your case and tell you if it is worth pursuing financially and what the positives and negatives of your case are. We will help you choose a cause of action for your divorce, inform you of what you may be entitled to and help you move forward from there. Our headquarters are located at 35 Journal Square, Suite 531, Jersey City, NJ 07306. Our main contact number is 201-706-7910. 

Every divorce case is different as are the issues involved in the case. Is your case about dividing assets? alimony? child custody? child support? parenting time? getting your maiden name back? a cheating spouse? adultery? domestic violence? extreme cruelty? If you tell us the situation, we will guide you toward the best course of action.

In a recent case we had, the spouse refused to provide his address and would not sign for the divorce papers in front of a notary. We were able to find him in Western New York, serve him, his 35 days to respond expired and we were able to have our client get a divorce and resume her maiden name, that is all she wanted and we got it. She did not want to seek a division of assets or alimony, she just wanted to move on with her life and put a bad relationship behind her.


In another case, both parties came into my office and indicated that they divided any assets they had years ago, the kids are grown and they just want a divorce. We made the divorce papers for them, the plaintiff signed, we filed, received the docket number back about 2 weeks later and the spouse signed waiving his 35 days and soon enough, they were divorced without even having to go to court. Yes, believe it or not, there are many divorces that are not ugly, that there is no bad blood and people just want to move on legally as they have moved on in their lives. For more information about uncontested divorces, click here.

So if you are ready to move forward with a divorce, annulment or other family law matter in the Jersey City area, contact my team on 201-706-7910 or email me directly on santoartusa@gmail.com today to discuss your case in confidence and to setup an appointment to fully explain what is going on and we will discuss how we can help you.

Until then, Happy New Year!


ARTUSA LAW FIRM, P.C. 35 Journal Square, Suite 531, Jersey City, NJ 07306

Jersey City Lawyer for Child Custody and Divorce Cases-What you need to know

Advocating for clients in Jersey City at the Hudson County Superior Court takes: patience, persistence, toughness, respect for others and a positive attitude. Being a Jersey City lawyer who also lives in Jersey City, I understand the people, I understand the Judges and regardless how good someone claims to be, sometimes the facts are strongly against you but you need to make the best of every case you work on and be persistent. Hudson County is home of many small firms and solo offices. Even the “bigger” firms are small and do not have any “wiz kids.” When the time comes that you need to hire an attorney for any reason, whether you have been arrested during a domestic violence dispute, are seeking to file for a divorce, have been served with child custody motion papers, it is critically important to meet with a lawyer as soon as you can. Motions and/or applications for specific relief require an answer within a certain amount of time and that time ticks away very fast. Divorce papers when served properly, require an answer within 35 days or you run the risk of default and a judgment being entered against you. One reason I say you need a positive attitude when in court is because if the matter involves something important, say child custody or parenting time for instance, it is important to come across as caring and at least willing to try and reach a resolution. A person that comes to court expecting everything and not willing to try to work matters out will lead to one certain loser, your child. Despite how much you may currently hate the opposing party or opposing parent, that parent, in most cases, loves your child too and that is the key element in any child custody or divorce case. As a father, I know the most precious time god gave us is the time we have with our children. Abusing that gift by not caring for your kids and or missing parenting time, not paying child support on purpose is terrible. On the other hand, trying to brainwash your children to hate the other parent is just as bad if not worse. My office is dedicated to finding solutions to people’s legal problems, whether its a family court issue, a car accident, a criminal matter and so on. If you or someone you know faces a legal situation, contact us today on 201-706-7910 for a confidential consultation at our Jersey City Office.

DIVORCE LAWYER IN HUDSON COUNTY-Negotiating in Divorce Law in Hudson County and Bergen County New Jersey

Martindale Award for Client Distinction 2015

As a Hudson County Divorce Attorney, I know the following all to well–A divorce in New Jersey does not go to trial unless on of the parties in the divorce action seeks to do so. It only takes one person to ruin a settlement negotiation and force a trial. While this is fine, you must be prepared and must prepare your divorce case as if you will go to trial from the onset. My team at the Artusa Law Firm is ready to try your divorce case regardless of which issues are in contention ranging from: alimony, child custody, parenting time, child support, equitable distribution, domestic violence/restraining order defense, attorneys fees and even the cause of action (adultery, extreme cruelty etc).

From the time I meet with someone in my Jersey City office, I try to understand what that individual’s case goals are, what are their motivating factors, which issues are more critical than others, are they willing to resolve the case without going to trial, are they willing to fight all the way?  The more information I have, the more I can use the tools I have and use the training I received throughout my life. While a divorce is determined in a court room, it is lawyers job to help the Judge visualize how my client’s life is outside of court, how their children are outside of court and how a detrimental order or judgment will affect everyday, real life. A lawyer needs to have the Judge involved in the case and to prevent the Judge from thinking this is just another file with different names, same issues.

A humble wise man once told me, “Negotiate from a position of strength, not weakness.” His name is Curtis Dahl, one of my first mentors and dear friend, who is not an attorney but a business man, father, mentor, uncle, and friend. What does that quote mean to a divorce attorney in Jersey City? Everything. You must be fully prepared to go all the way when negotiating in a family law, divorce law, or criminal law situation.

When Curt told me about negotiating in strength, I was 23 years old, and I had no idea what he was talking about but as time went on, I understood and I apply it daily in my family law litigation practice.


Why would someone negotiate with you if they know you are not prepared or are operating from weakness? They will, but they wont give an inch (if they know what they are doing of course). Preparation is key to excellent representation in any law practice but especially in family law where important matters of parenting time, divorce, child custody and beyond are decided and hard to reverse. By preparing, you are building and strengthening your case, enabling you to negotiate from a position of strength, not weakness.  The great Benjamin Franklin said it best, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” At the Artusa Law Firm we believe that preparing for a case is critical and is one of the reasons why people call us from all over the United States to represent them in their family law cases. For more information about me, visit : Hudson County Jersey City Divorce Lawyer.

If you have a family law issue or divorce in Jersey City, Hudson County or beyond, contact us today on 201-706-7910.

Child Custody, Child Support Family Law Attorney in Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey

New Jersey Child Custody Lawyers

New Jersey Child Custody Lawyer-Never Give Up!

Child Custody- the decision as to where a child should live and whether which legal custody (sole vs. joint custody) are very important cases and are heard almost daily throughout the family courts of New Jersey. The above picture of Sir Winston Churchill hangs on the wall of the Artusa Law Firm and is the principle of the firm, to never, never give up! Especially in family law when all seems lost and all seems to be going against you, attorneys that won’t give up is a critical aspect of your case. Child Custody and parenting time are arguably the most critical and important aspects of the law. While a $20 billion merger is critical in the business world, A billionaire without being able to see his son is a poor man. A woman who cannot see her child without supervision is a travesty. Jersey City Divorce Lawyer Santo Artusa knows this situations all to well.

The Artusa Law Firm team is skilled in the critical aspects of family law and how to represent their clients effectively before the Judges of Hudson County, Bergen County, Essex County and beyond. Today, another snow day in February 2014, a wicked winter in New Jersey, we dedicate this day to Sir Winston Churchill on his persistence and his guidance for all of our staff and attorneys at the Artusa Law Firm, the go to law firm for family law matters in Jersey City, Hoboken, Bayonne, Hudson County, New Jersey.

If you have a family law case and feel that your family issues are incredibly important, contact the attorneys who feel family law is the most important aspect of the courts today, contact the Artusa Law Firm on 201-706-7910.

The divorce process in Hudson County, New Jersey

The following information concerns the divorce process in Hudson County, New Jersey, one of the busiest courts in the State of New Jersey.

Step One- The creation of the divorce papers. The person filing the divorce is the Plaintiff and shall remain the Plaintiff for as long as the case goes on. The Judge takes no interest in who filed for divorce first, so if you are second and are considered the Defendant, don’t panic.

Step Two- The filing of the divorce. Once the divorce papers are signed and notarized, the papers are filed on the first floor of 595 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, NJ. The filing fee is $250 or $275 depending on if children/custody is at issue.

Step Three- The docket number and serving your spouse. This can be easy or stressful, depending on if you still reside together or not. If its unexpected, I would imagine, it is stressful, if it has been discussed and planned, then less stressful. You can have your spouse served or your spouse can sign an acknowledgement of service.

Step Four- 35 days. After service, your spouse has 35 days to respond to the divorce or he or she CAN WAIVE his or her right to answer if he signs an acknowledgment of service and waiver of answer.

Step Five- If he or she has signed, move for default. If he or she contests, check my blog on contested issues.

Step Six- Prepare the divorce judgment and go to court, YOU are DIVORCED. If you hire an attorney, a court date could be waived in Hudson County.

If you have a divorce case in Hudson County, contact the team at the Artusa Law Firm today on 201-706-7910.