Custody and Parenting time

When people select a lawyer to represent them in their divorce, it is important they first identify what makes sense for the kids and what they will need financially when they are no longer married.  In contemplating the divorce, the children should be a priority in determining custody and parenting time, the relationship with the non-custodial parent, their education, health and happiness.  When considering what is best for the children try and get out of your shoes and dispute with your spouse and put yourself in your children’s shoes.  The change in the family can bring about positive and negative reactions.  There is no set formula for success.  For many years it was almost automatic that the mother was the primary custodian and the father had little input and time with the children.  The current approach under the law is that neither parent has a greater right to custody of the children and the philosophy is that the children do best if they have comparable access to both parents.  Many fathers today play a much greater caretaking role than they did in the past.  The family rolls and pattern must be considered in each case individually.

When selecting a lawyer for divorce you want one who does not have fixed concepts.  A lawyer should ask questions and understand your unique family dynamic and goals.

Tanya Helfand has handled numerous custody cases with different plans customized for the family.  At all times Tanya Helfand has an open mind and will address her client’s concerns and most case are settled taking into consideration the various personal and legal factors.  When needed, she will skillfully bring the matter to court for disposition if necessary.  She capably justifies her client’s position with evidence and a factual basis for her client’s concerns.  She knows the law and she presents convincing oral arguments to the judge.  On the personal side, she is the divorced mother of a son in college giving her an understanding of what it takes to raise a child as a single parent.

In custody and parenting time matters, if the parties cannot agree, it requires very detailed histories and identification of rational reasons for proceeding to Court for rulings.  For example, sometimes a party is unwilling to share the children or is obstructive and disrespectful toward the other parent.  In other cases, the child has special needs which requires more in depth understanding of how to care for the child, or there are mental health issues, or substance abuse.  Every divorce is different and every custody decision should grow out of the family interaction with the goal of protecting and nurturing the children.  If the parties want to settle, they are the boss.  The lawyer’s job is to advise and it is preferable for the clients to settle.  In fact, the Judges will tell the litigants in divorces that they want the parties to settle.

Financial Outcomes

When contemplating a divorce, it is helpful if the client knows the family finances.  It is important for the client to know what he/she will need in the future.  This helps to determine how much alimony and support is needed and what can be afforded.  A divorce is more acrimonious usually if the parties (a) do not know what their finances are and do not understand the budget and do not want to be fair or (b) there is a true intent to deceive or harm.  Most people are afraid of the divorce process so it can be hard to be balanced and reasonable.  But that is the ultimate goal.  A good lawyer that is objective can guide you there.

In the end, through the discovery process, it is highly unlikely that one party will be able to hide money but the more the client knows before the better.  This knowledge saves money because it can avoid litigation and discovery costs.  Discovery is done through the Case Information Statement data, interrogatories, production of documents, requests for admissions, depositions and with experts such as forensic accountants.  It takes patience and diligence to go through the process especially if someone is evasive, but it is necessary to resolve the case.  Both parties must have full financial information.  Once again, if the client wants to settle, he or she is the boss.  The lawyer’s job is to advise. Settlements are not only about the amounts of support or assets, it includes the duration of support, and circumstances as to when it will change or stop or how assets will be distributed.

Tanya Helfand is skilled and excellent at attaining fair and just financial outcomes because she is a businesswoman.  In addition, she has owned other businesses.  She is named one of the Top 25 Businesswomen in New Jersey for 2020.  She is a certified matrimonial attorney and also a bankruptcy lawyer.  Her careful review and analysis of discovery and her diligence in pursuing questionable areas, and when needed the use of experts, helps to attain full disclosure.  When negotiating finances her business experience assists the clients in reaching a fair outcome which is livable.  It is very rare for someone to come out a big winner, because most cases are settled.  If there is a trial and the Court has come up with an erroneous decision, it will be appealed and remanded.

Tanya Helfand has handled thousands of divorces for her clients and has represented numerous parties in post-judgement cases in which modification is required due to changed circumstances (now common during covid-19), or retirement resulting in a termination of support.  We also handle cases for modifications of custody and parenting time as well, these too require specific changes in circumstances.

Modification of support often requires litigation because it is to lower support when one party becomes inconvenienced or harmed by the original amounts due to no fault of his or her own.  Custody can be modified if the children’s circumstances have changed as well.  Once the facts are gathered in any case,
Tanya Helfand will always first request a fair settlement in an effort to save money and ongoing litigation.  If the case cannot be settled amicably, she is prepared to defend your rights strongly, and professionally in Court.   The Courts look at statutory factors and case precedent affecting both sides if an application to be filed.


Please call for a free half hour consultation on all matrimonial matters including divorce, domestic violence, father’s rights, custody, support, equitable distribution of property, pre-nuptial agreements, post-judgments and modifications.  Tanya Helfand is also a qualified mediator.  Please call (973) 428-0800 for more information.