Before It’s Too Late: Emergency Custody Requests

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Apr 28, 2023 | 0 Comments

A New Jersey mother is mourning the loss of her son after he was allegedly beaten to death by his father.

The six-year-old was pronounced dead at a New Jersey hospital after the boy's father brought him in with complaints of nausea and shortness of breath. Authorities determined that the cause of death was blunt impact trauma and charged the father with homicide.

Just one day earlier, the boy's mother had requested an emergency custody order to protect him from his father's abuse. A judge denied that request, ruling that there was insufficient evidence to warrant such action. The mother had been reporting the child's father to the state's Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) since 2019.

The boy's death is a tragic end to a long story of alleged abuse, and it raises questions about the legal remedies available to parents who fear for their children's safety.

Child Protection Services in New Jersey

While every custody case is different, there are situations where immediate, sweeping action is necessary to protect a child from harm. New Jersey uses an emergency custody order known as an “Order to Show Cause” to provide this protection, and requires considerable evidence of imminent danger before such an order will be issued. In most cases, the court will work with DCP&P to substantiate the claims of mistreatment and determine the best course of action.

DCP&P's services include providing family counseling and individual treatment and investigating allegations of abuse or neglect. The agency can also remove children from the home in extreme cases, and recommend termination of parental rights.

Protecting Your Child From An Unfit Parent

When making decisions about custody and parental rights, New Jersey's Family Court will always look to what is in the “best interests of the child.” This process makes it imperative that the court have access to all pertinent information, especially when there's evidence of neglect and abuse.

In the case above, where the mother had filed more than 100 complaints with DCP&P, the judge indicated that his decision to deny emergency custody relied heavily on the agency's recommendations. Why DCP&P did not intervene in this case remains unclear. However, the denial does highlight the complexity of emergency custody investigations and the importance of having a skilled family law attorney on your side when you believe your child is in danger from a parent or other custodial caregiver.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Family Law Team have extensive experience helping families navigate the legal system in a difficult custody battle. Whether you have been falsely accused of abuse or neglect, or you need assistance with an emergency custody order, the Lento Law Firm will fight to help you achieve the best possible outcome.

Contact the Lento Law Firm online or call (888) 535-3686 to schedule a consultation today.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a veteran of one of the nation's busiest family courts with nearly 20 years' experience passionately helping families. By day, he worked in the trenches of family court, and at night, he studied the law. He helped countless families while working at family court, and he went on to become an attorney, dedicating his law practice to continuing the work he started years earlier. Mr. Lento's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's family law matter from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in New Jersey and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings! He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and protects their interests.


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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience practicing Family Law in New Jersey. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you and your family, contact our offices today. Family Law Attorney Joseph Lento will go above and beyond the needs for any client and fight for what is fair.

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