Archer & Greiner, P.C.: Empowering families through the law

Empowering families through the law

When a couple decides to divorce, they will be faced with countless difficult decisions that will affect everyone involved for years to come. In such times, a dedicated, capable attorney is essential.

Family law attorneys offer guidance in a number of areas: divorce, custody disputes and arrangements, adoption, domestic violence, child support and prenuptial agreements, as well as college contributions and relocations. When dealing with such issues, an experienced attorney who specializes in family law can provide valuable insight about your rights, obligations and possible legal outcomes.

Partner Stephanie Zane

The power of proven expertise

Like many aspects of life nowadays, resolving legal matters is more complicated than in the past, so working with an attorney you fully trust is key.

Headquartered in Voorhees, Archer has offices throughout NJ and in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York and Texas. The firm is known for delivering client-driven, quality representation. A core principle of the firm is to offer a vast depth of services but still be responsive, efficient and available to clients. This unique level of service is evident in the family law division.

“Our firm has been in existence for 95 years, and the family law department is staffed with many seasoned attorneys with state-wide recognized reputations,” says Stephanie Zane, who started at Archer in 2000 as an associate and now chairs the Family Law Practice Group. 

Zane notes that the advantages of Archer’s breadth of experience extend outside the family law practice. “As a full-service law firm, we have the ability to address just about every area of the law which may impact our client and/or their businesses,” she says. “Being able to work cooperatively with attorneys from within the firm to address all of our clients’ needs instead of having to refer them out to other resources allows for a more streamlined, cost-effective and focused representation.”  

Partner Jennie Owens

Prioritizing your parenting rights

When divorcing, if parties have children, generally, their greatest concern surrounds the ongoing custody and care of their children. A court makes the determination regarding custody, and the shared division of parenting time between the parties, based upon the best interest of the children. 

In making that determination, the court will consider a number of factors including the parents’ ability to agree; the safety and needs of the child or either parent; the extent and quality of the time spent with the child before and during separation; where each parent lives, as well as the preference of a child, if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form an intelligent decision, says Jennie Owens, an Archer family law attorney. 

“It is crucial to work with a skilled and experienced family law attorney who can advise you as to the intricacies of the relevant statutes and their numerous factors to ensure the best interest of your children going forward,” says Owens.

Protecting your assets

Clients are often concerned about how assets will be split and how it could impact their current and future lives. In the case of divorce in New Jersey, the Court must first determine what assets are subject to distribution between spouses – as all assets are not necessarily part of the marital partnership, says Archer Family Law Attorney Drew Burach. 

Partner Drew Burach

Upon determining what assets are to be divided, distribution involves a “factor-based analysis” to address each family’s unique situation, he explains.  Those factors include the duration of the marriage, the economic circumstances of the parties at the time of distribution of those assets, as well as any written agreements between the parties.

Given the high stakes involved, a trusting relationship between attorneys and their clients is key, he says.

“It is important to create a settlement agreement with detailed terms for asset distribution from the start,” Burach adds. “If the other party does not follow through with that distribution, having clear terms will help if there is a need to go back to the court due to non-compliance.”

Prenuptial Agreements: protection for both parties 

In the past, Prenuptial Agreements were often considered taboo, but today they are more common, and are often understood as a reasonable request to protect each of the individuals entering the marriage.

“You may be entering a second marriage and want to protect assets you already have. Or there may be a family business and generational wealth to protect,” explains Zane. “Prenuptial Agreements are typically very well thought out, well-planned and thoroughly discussed documents. These agreements offer a structured way for couples to discuss finances, expectations, values, goals and priorities in the event of a future divorce.”

Zane notes that both parties should have independent legal counsel during the process. “We want to be sure that both parties are given the chance to make informed decisions when the agreement is prepared,” she says. “Having your own representation helps ensure that the agreement is reached with both parties having full understanding of its implication.”

Mediation: a quicker, more cooperative approach

While Archer attorneys are well prepared to go to court for divorcing clients when needed, a large backlog of cases in the legal system is pushing more cases towards alternative routes, especially mediation, says the Hon. Marie Lihotz, part of Archer’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice Group. 

Of Counsel Marie Lihotz

“In some counties, matters cannot even be considered by judges until 2025,” says Lihotz, noting that the courts are still reeling from the repercussions of the Covid shutdown coupled with a shortage of judges. Those who don’t want to wait that long discover other advantages in what she calls “an adaptable, non-binding process where a mediator collaborates directly with the parties and their legal counsel.” 

Where mediation works well is when separating spouses are open to working with a neutral party to come up with a compromise document, says Lihotz, who joined Archer as Of Counsel after serving 20 years as a member of the New Jersey Judiciary, including more than 11 years in the Appellate Division. 

“Often, these solutions are creative and account for individual needs, keeping the focus firmly on the advantages of a mediated resolution,” she says. “This is in stark contrast to the costs associated with protracted litigation, which include time, emotions and finances.”

Knowing who to rely on 

When looking for a family law attorney, many people will ask a friend or family member – who has firsthand experience – for a personal recommendation. And that’s a good idea, says Zane. Attorneys in Archer’s Family Law Practice Group often receive referrals from former clients, sometimes when it’s least expected. 

“There is no better referral than from the former spouse of the client you represented,” Zane says. “To me that means they recognized you did a good job and they trusted the result you advocated to obtain.  In our area of the law, that is a high compliment.”  


856-795-2121 |