Custody situations are never easy to deal with, but when a child's safety is at risk, it becomes much more serious. The State of New Jersey has a method for dealing with threats to a child's safety, known as an emergency custody order. If you feel such an order applies to your child's situation, then you must act quickly and effectively. If you don't, the consequences could be dire.
Emergency Custody in New Jersey
In New Jersey, parents have the option of addressing threats to their children by means of an “Order to Show Cause” or an emergency custody order. Parents may seek emergency custody when they feel their child is at serious risk of harm and ask that the child be placed in their or someone else's custody until the child is safe.
As an emergency custody order supersedes any existing custody order, the burden to provide evidence that your child is in danger is high. An emergency custody case might apply if the normal custodial parent is in jail or imprisoned, the child has been taken to another state or country without the other parent's permission, the child has been physically or mentally abused by the parent or anyone staying in the home, if the child has been exposed to substance abuse in the home, or in other situations that could pose harm to the child.
Denial of Emergency Custody Can Have Tragic Consequences
A recent case in New Jersey shows how a denied custody order failed to protect a child. On March 3, the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office received a report from the State's expert witness that six-year-old Corey Micciolo died by homicide on April 2, 2021, as a result of blunt force impact to the chest and abdomen. His father, 29-year-old Christopher Gregor, has been charged with his son's murder.
One day before Gregor allegedly beat his son Corey to death, Corey's mother, Breanna Micciolo, had filed for emergency custody of her son. For almost one year, Micciolo had been in contact with the New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP), stating that Corey had been coming home with bruises, scrapes, black eyes, and a “bite mark” for all of that time.
Upon seeing a pediatrician the day before Corey's death and finding him with several bruises, Micciolo filed an emergency custody order pending the completion of DCPP's ongoing investigation. According to the judge that ruled against Micciolo's order, she had not demonstrated that the minor child was “in danger or imminent or irreparable harm.”
The next day, Micciolo left Corey with his father and later received a call that Gregor had dropped Corey off at the hospital for being “lethargic.” Gregor left the state that same day and was later charged with Corey's murder.
How a Custody Attorney Can Help
Getting an emergency custody order is not always easy, and it often takes the expertise of a custody attorney for the order to be granted. An attorney with experience handling child custody cases will understand the gravity of your situation and be able to navigate the process quickly and efficiently for you. If you believe you need an emergency custody order for your child in New Jersey, contact Lento Law Firm by calling 888-535-3686.