South Jersey Child Custody Lawyer
South Jersey Child Custody Attorney
Child custody disputes are some of the more emotional and difficult determinations that the New Jersey Courts must resolve. Disputes range from simple issues of pickup and drop off times to complex issues of parental alienation and a requests for a change of custody. Parents are often required to file motions for the return of a child that has been taken out of state by the other parent, or pro-actively apply for permission through the Court, if the other party fails to comply.
Assessment – Our initial 1-hour consultation will provide you with an assessment of your case. That will include (but may not be limited to): a) The history of your relationship with your child. c) A review of any prior and current orders or signed agreements for custody that may be in place, including any parenting time that you have had in the past. d) A specific timeline of the events that occurred prior to your denial of custody, and e) To what degree and extent you have acted as the parent of primary responsibly in your child’s life. We will also review of your financial status and contributions as they pertain to case. Finally, we will review the “state of the law” with regard to custody and, based on the facts of your case, determine if filing a motion for modification will be advised.
Document Preparation – If appropriate, we will draft your motion for custody or change in parenting time. All motions prepared for the New Jersey Courts to review must be in writing. Based on the statutory requirements, I will advise you what to focus on, and you will provide me with the facts to draft a certification in support of your claim. Depending on the nature of your case, this can be between 3 and 15 pages of details relevant to your case. All accompanying exhibits that tend to support your certification will also be attached. Certifications from other parties including neighbors, teachers, clergy, psychologists, etc…, and their supporting documents may also be attached to your motion.
Motion Hearing and Plenary Hearing – Motions hearings, depending on the Court’s docket or schedule) are typically scheduled 24-30 days after filing. In that hearing, the parties are expected to show up and provide answers to questions that the Judge may have after review of the parties written submissions. Most of the time, the Court will not consider anything that is not submitted in advance, in writing, per the Court’s rules. They day of the hearing is not a time to tell your story, but may be a time to argue your case if the Judge is “on the fence” or does not know in advance what to decide. The error that most client’s make is that they believe their opinions or perspective count for something. They believe they can influence the judge by telling him/her their side of the “story” or by stating that their opponent is a bad person. Judges rarely care about your opinion. They are interested in the facts of the case and who is more believable. The way that you gain the Judge’s trust is by presenting the matter in a clear and concise way and supporting your assertions with exhibits. That is the way that I win cases for our clients in Gloucester County, Camden County and beyond.