- Firm Overview
- About The Process
- Initial Consultation
- Divorce Process
- Non-Divorce Matters
- Interstate/International Matters
- Appeal Success
Saminski Fuller Family Law, LLC is a law firm practicing divorce, family law and related matters. Our practice represents clients throughout New Jersey as well as clients from out of state and internationally. Our firm members are experienced matrimonial lawyers. Karen Kirchoff Saminski, Esq., is a former Jersey City Municipal Judge and a seasoned matrimonial attorney with over 35 years legal experience. Our team will be able to draw on extensive knowledge, network, expertise and valuable insight in providing legal services in a professional assertive manner, while always keeping clients’ specialized divorce and family law goals in mind.
We are highly rated attorneys on Avvo.com as well as being recognized by other organizations. Our firm strives to be as accessible and responsive as our clients need us to be. We want to make your participation in your legal matter as convenient as possible. To this end, we maintain multiple office locations. Our staff is knowledgeable, supportive and ready to help with your needs. Members of our legal team are fluent in Spanish and Polish and are available to further assist you. The phone is answered during business hours (only on rare occasions will you reach an answering machine) and we have extended business hours several nights per week. Contact emails from the website form are read outside business hours. Telephone calls are returned promptly. We work extensively with e-mail for reason of efficiency and expediency, as well as out of consideration for our clients' time, saving them trips to the office whenever possible. We have the right technology in place and are able to successfully handle matters for clients across the United States as well as internationally.
The goal of the free initial consultation is to identify your issues and find out about your children, finances and your goals. We provide a free consultation to encourage potential clients to call early and empower themselves with knowledge backed by legal expertise. You may have issues dealing with child custody (joint or sole custody), alimony, child support or equitable distribution. You will find out what is realistic to expect and how to plan for and budget for your matter. We will start to gather facts and discuss your options under the law such as whether your goals can be met best through mediation, negotiation or litigation or collaborative law. In certain cases, you will be provided with referrals to additional professionals such as financial planners, accountants, mental health professionals, mortgage resource experts and others who may be needed to assist you in reaching your desired outcome.
If you choose an in-person appointment, when you arrive at one of our offices, you will be greeted by a member of our team and asked to fill out a form containing basic information about you, your children and important dates such as date of marriage, separation and birthdays. This takes approximately 10 minutes. Alternatively, once you have made an appointment, you may print out an Initial Client Information Sheet and fill out the pertinent information prior to your initial consultation.
After completing the form you will meet with Ms. Saminski to discuss your reasons for consulting with an attorney, basic financial data, and your concerns regarding your children, your finances and your life during and after litigation. Your interview with Ms. Saminski is in-depth and confidential, as it is protected by attorney client privilege.
While we recognize that in a family law practice it may be necessary to bring your children to the office, please realize that it is not appropriate for children to be present during the interview. Therefore, we strongly urge you to bring another adult along who can attend to your child while at our office. We will not meet with children above the age of infancy in the room with attorney and client.
Many of our clients choose to meet by phone. Scheduled telephone consultations are also available for those unable to fit an office visit into their schedule. In certain prearranged cases, clients may e-mail or fax information in advance of their first meeting to acclimate Ms. Saminski with information in order to streamline the initial interview process.
Having a practice devoted solely to family law issues, our firm is committed to providing solutions to challenging family issues. While litigation can be expensive, we strive to use your retainer in the wisest manner, always taking cost benefit analysis into consideration. This allows us to conserve your resources to address your priorities. If you have a limited budget we will strategize with you and attempt to formulate a plan to achieve your goals within your budget. In some cases the Court may order the other party to reimburse your counsel fees. In virtually all matters, charges are by the hour.
All details regarding payment for legal services are fully outlined in a Retainer Agreement which is a contract for services between an attorney and client and is required by Court Rule. A retainer is a deposit against the future services to be rendered from which hourly time is deducted. Retainer amounts will vary, depending on the complexity and immediacy of your case.
- 1. Filing a Divorce Complaint immediately.
- 2. Negotiating with attorneys present.
- 3. Meditating with only a mediator present (Divorce Coaching is recommended in this instance).
- 4. Attorney assisted Meditation
- 5. Collaborative Divorce.
Ms. Saminski is a Divorce and Family Law Mediator as well and will discuss with you whether Mediation is a good option or a potential costs saving measure in your case.
Filing a Divorce Complaint is generally the first step in the divorce process or many elect to negotiate through attorneys prior to the filing of a Complaint for Divorce. However, many people consider trying to resolve the issues relevant to ending their marriage through mediation. It is advisable to consult with an experienced family law attorney before entering the mediation process. Many people choose to consult with their attorney throughout the mediation process. Ms. Saminski is a qualified family law mediator and is therefore able to guide you before and during mediation.
If you decide to file a Divorce Complaint immediately rather than pursue mediation, your case will proceed differently. Your Divorce Complaint will be filed and your spouse will have thirty-five days to respond to your Complaint. From there, you and your spouse will prepare your Case Information Statements. These forms are financial statements which are required to be filed with the Court. You will also begin a process called Discovery in which you and your spouse will respond to formal requests for information. The time within which to respond to these dates is usually outlined in a Court Order called a Case Management Order.
Once discovery is complete there are certain programs required by the Court to assist you in trying to reach a settlement of your case. One such program is called the Early Settlement Panel. This program involves each party presenting their positions (through counsel) before two experienced matrimonial attorneys who volunteer their time to serve as panelists. Ms. Saminski is a former panelist in Hudson County and a former member of the Early Settlement Panel Committee. If your case does not settle at Early Settlement Panel, you are then provided the opportunity to participate in Economic Mediation. During Economic Mediation, attorneys who are qualified mediators hear from you and your counsel in an effort to help you reach a resolution of your open issues. At the conclusion of Economic Mediation your attorney reports back to the judge to advise the Court of the status of your case. If your case is still not settled, the Court will likely schedule a Settlement Conference and/or a Trial date. When a Trial date is set, intensive trial preparation unique to your case begins.
This is just a basic outline of the divorce process. Each case presents its own issues that can cause it to proceed in a variety of ways. Many times expensive litigation can be avoided with effective negotiations conducted on your behalf by an experienced advocate.
In addition to divorce matters, families often find themselves in Court when there are unmarried parties with custody, visitation or child support issues, or when grandparents or other caretaker rights are litigated. Other situations may occur when DCPP has filed proceedings, an adoption takes place, or there is post-judgment divorce litigation, a change of circumstances, enforcement issues, a name change or domestic violence proceedings.
Each of these case types takes a different path through the Court system and the process will be thoroughly explained in your initial interview.
In the Interstate arena, the UCCJEA (formerly UCCJA) controls in cases where the parties reside in different states in the United States. The Federal PKPA (Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act), Hague convention and ICARA (International Child Abduction Remedies Act) can also come into play. Our attorneys are well-versed in all of the varying laws that come into play in the Interstate/International context.
In International cases, the process depends upon whether or not a parent wrongfully removed or wrongfully retained a child in a jurisdiction. If a parent suspects that child abduction by the other parent is imminent, our team is experienced in bringing the appropriate same-day emergency application to the Court. These matters are procedurally complex and need to be closely analyzed on a case by case basis. The process is dependent upon the specific facts of your case and will be explained in your consultation either in person or by telephone. Procedures also vary depending upon whether the foreign country is a signatory to the Hague Convention (international child abduction).
In family law, as in other areas of law, a court decision can be appealed if the judge made the wrong decision or a legal mistake affected the outcome of your case. You may also need to defend a court decision that was decided in your favor. No matter what reason you choose to appeal, you must select your lawyer carefully.
Many family law attorneys choose not to practice Appellate Law. Practice in the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey requires a unique set of research, writing and oral advocacy skills. However, the attorneys at Saminski Fuller Family Law, LLC excel at Appellate Law. You can rely on our specialized knowledge of divorce and family law as well as our skills as appellate attorneys.
We take appeals of cases that were originally tried by other attorneys. Sometimes a case is referred to us by an attorney who does not practice Appellate Law. In some situations, a client is unhappy with the prior attorney's performance and chooses our firm for the appeal. We also defend our own successful trial outcomes at the appellate level in all areas of family law. We are confident in our own work; however, if an inequitable court decision occurs, we are always prepared to move forward with an appeal.
Below is a summary of some of the recent cases that we have successfully argued on appeal.
Kiely v. Kiely, No. A-0738-12T4, 2013 N.J.Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2784 (App. Div. Nov. 19., 2013)
Representing the Father on appeal we were successful in having that portion of the Motion Judge's Order finding his daughter "unemancipated" reversed. We argued, among other things, that the Judge erred in not finding the daughter emancipated due to her failure to enroll in any school as well as her inconsistent attendance at school. The Appellate Division found that the evidence presented by the daughter was insufficient to support the Motion Judge's decision. Completing some evening classes during a single semester in three years and an expressed intent to register for courses in the future does not defeat a Motion for Emancipation. Now our client will not be obligated to provide support without a sufficient showing of proof.
Blancas v. Blancas (N.J. Super., 2012)
We succeeded in lowering the amount of income imputed to our client for purposes of child support. The trial court imputed $136,791.00 in annual income to the plaintiff, due to his previous employment as an attorney in Mexico and his recent legal education in the United States. The Court chose this income based upon the testimony of defendant's expert. We were able to demonstrate that the imputation of income was not equitable because it was comparable with the salary of an attorney in the New York City metropolitan area, and that our client had never practiced law in the United States, nor was he licensed to do so. Due to the success of this Appeal, the amount of our client's child support payment was re-evaluated. Our firm did not represent the plaintiff at the trial level.
Falkowski v. Falkowski (N.J. Super., 2011)
Representing the plaintiff, our firm succeeded in arguing for unequal distribution of equity in our client's favor due to his personal labor in renovating both the marital home and the vacation home. We argued, and the court agreed, that our client was entitled to a greater share of the property (in excess of 50%) due to his sacrifice and hard-work, which the judge referred to as "sweat equity." We represented the plaintiff at trial and defended the appeal.
Drakeford v. Rivers (N.J. Super., 2010)
As a result of documents signed by the client before she retained us, the trial court awarded custody of the children to the plaintiff without a plenary hearing. Representing the children's mother, we were successful in arguing that the court should conduct a full and complete hearing before awarding custody. This successful appeal was crucial in order for our client to achieve a fair hearing. We represented the client in trial court and brought the appeal.
Levine v. Levine (Unpublished, 2007)
Representing the defendant mother, we successfully defended the plaintiff's appeal. Plaintiff argued that the trial court improperly added back certain tax deductions when calculating his gross income for purposes of determining child support. We were successful in showing that the accelerated method of depreciation used by the plaintiff for calculating his depreciation expenses was excluded by the child support guidelines. In addition, we were also able to show that deductions for home office expenses are excluded by the guidelines. We were able to show that a disbursement from a retirement account is properly counted as income. Lastly, we were successful in arguing that the guidelines provide for the inclusion of interest income from investments in calculating gross income for child support. By combating claims made by the plaintiff, we were able to protect our client's child support award for her children at the Appellate level. We represented the defendant both at trial and defended the appeal.
Our attorneys are determined to provide a favorable result for our clients. While our desire is to succeed at the trial level, we will not hesitate to challenge certain decisions on appeal. Your goals are always our priority at Saminski Fuller Family Law, LLC
Saminski Fuller Family Law, LLC
Our divorce and family law attorneys can assist you from our multiple office locations in New Jersey:
221 River Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030
123 South Avenue East
Westfield, NJ 07090
2500 Plaza 5, 25th floor
Harborside Financial Center
Jersey City, NJ 07311
1704 Maxwell Drive
Wall, NJ 07719
We are known as the divorce lawyers, family law attorneys, child support lawyers, custody lawyers, alimony lawyers and spousal support lawyers of Saminski Fuller Family Law, LLC. We represent clients in Northern New Jersey, Central New Jersey and Southern New Jersey. We represent clients in the communities of: Hudson County: Jersey City, Bayonne, Hoboken, Kearny, Guttenberg, Hackensack, Secaucus, Weehawken, West New York, Union City, North Bergen, Passaic County: Clifton, Bloomingdale, Haledon, Little Falls, Paterson, Pompton Lakes, Ringwood, Totowa, Wayne, West Milford, Woodland Park, Essex County: East Newark, Bloomfield, Cedar Grove, South Orange, Essex Fells, Glen Ridge, Maplewood, Montclair, Nutley, West Orange, Bergen County: Hackensack, Paramus, Fair Lawn, Englewood, Edgewater, Bergenfield, Teaneck, Rutherford, Hasbrouck, Heights, Fairview, Bogota, Union County: Westfield, Clark, Cranford, Fanwood, Kenilworth, Mountainside, Plainfield, Roselle, Elizabeth, Hillside, Scotch Plains, Summit, Linden, Morris County: Morristown, Randolph, Dover, Parsippany Troy Hills, Denville, Pequannock, Cedar Knolls, Whippany, Mount Olive, Hanover, Rockaway, Montville, Mount Arlington, Chester, Wharton, Madison, Freehold, New Brunswick, North Hudson, as well as residents of Hunterdon County, Ocean County, Monmouth County, Somerset County, Middlesex County and Warren County.