Practice Areas

Howard B. LeopoldBergen County Lawyer Experienced in Family Law, Litigation, Estate Planning, Personal Injury, and Collections Matters

Legal proceedings often have significant repercussions for years to come, and representation by an attorney can make a huge difference to your future. Bergen County family law attorney Howard Leopold can provide knowledgeable counsel and vigorous representation to people in Northern New Jersey. With 25 years of experience, he also serves clients in New Jersey and New York who need assistance with matters involving corporate litigation, civil litigation, estate planning, personal injury, and collections.

Pursuing a Divorce in New Jersey

In New Jersey, you can obtain either a no-fault or a fault-based divorce. The former is available when the spouses have irreconcilable differences or have separated. Fault-based divorces tend to be more contested and require one spouse to establish that the other was responsible for the marriage breaking down, due to addiction, deviant sexual conduct, imprisonment, extreme cruelty, desertion, or adultery. In most cases, a no-fault divorce is preferable when children are involved.

Child support is usually awarded based on a statutory formula. However, child custody arrangements are determined individually, based on the best interests of a particular child. Following N.J.S.A. 9:2-4, the court starts by presuming that it is in a child's best interests to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents.

Factors that the court is required to consider when determining a child’s best interests include the parents' ability to communicate and cooperate about matters related to the child, the child’s relationship to parents and siblings, the parents' willingness to accept custody, any history of domestic violence, the child's needs, safety considerations, the geographical proximity of the parents' homes, the stability of the home environment, the age and number of the children, and the parents' employment responsibilities. If a child is old enough to make an intelligent decision, his or her preference will be considered.

Corporate Litigation

Some of the corporate litigation cases that we handle include partnership and shareholder disputes, breach of contract actions, business torts, employment disputes, fraud, unfair competition, toxic torts, product liability, regulatory compliance, trade secrets, franchise disputes, covenants not to compete, land use and zoning, real estate disputes, insurance coverage disputes, construction cases, banking and creditors' rights, licensing disputes, and consumer class actions.

Our firm represents both plaintiffs and defendants in these matters. The statute of limitations varies for different types of lawsuits. For example, a plaintiff suing for breach of contract has six years to file a claim. These actions involve establishing that the parties entered into a valid contract with definite terms, the plaintiff did what the contract required it to do, the defendant failed to perform one or more terms of the contract, and the breach caused the plaintiff to suffer a loss.

Civil Litigation

We can provide knowledgeable representation in civil rights actions, employment disputes, probate litigation, land use disputes, and defamation and slander cases, as well as insurance bad faith actions. Insurance can have a significant effect on certain types of civil lawsuits, and a denial or withholding of a defense or benefits can be financially devastating. A plaintiff may seek consequential damages for a bad-faith failure to pay an insurance claim when the failure to pay arises out of a denial or withholding of benefits for reasons that are not debatably valid, and the economic losses suffered were clearly contemplated by the insurance company.

Personal Injury

We represent victims of motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, wrongful death, and defective products in bringing claims for compensation. Most personal injury actions arise out of negligence, which requires proving a duty of care, a breach of duty, causation, and damages.

Estate Planning

The estate planning instruments that we can prepare for you include wills, trusts, powers of attorney, living wills, health care directives, and family limited partnerships. Trusts are arrangements of an estate in which a party known as a trustee holds legal title to assets and other property for someone known as a beneficiary. Certain types of trusts are drafted in order to reduce a federal estate tax bill, which only affects people with estates worth more than $5 million.

Collections

We represent business and professional interests in commercial debt and loan collections, liens, judgment enforcement, and other collections matters. When collecting debts, creditors must be careful not to run afoul of both state and federal laws. It is important to try to collect a debt without filing suit because litigation can become expensive quickly, and the bill for litigation may exceed the debt at issue. However, in certain cases, it becomes necessary to go to court to obtain a judgment. If a debtor fails to appear, it may be possible to file a motion for a default judgment. Once a default judgment is entered, a judgment creditor has numerous tools, including wage garnishment and levies, by which to collect the debt.

Contact a Litigation, Injury, Estate Planning, Collections, or Family Law Lawyer in Bergen County or Beyond

If you need a Bergen County family law lawyer or representation in an injury, estate planning, or collections matter, Leopold Law is ready to assist you. We also can assist businesses and individuals that need a litigation attorney. Call us in New Jersey at (201) 345-5907 or in New York at (646) 650-2106. We represent clients in Passaic, Hudson, and Essex Counties and throughout Northern New Jersey, as well as in some areas of New York.

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