If you've received notice that you must attend a family court hearing in Burlington County, you may be feeling overwhelmed with many questions running through your mind. What should I expect? Will it be long? How can I protect myself and my loved ones? The questions may leave you feeling paralyzed and uncertain of your next steps. The good news is that you don't have to face this challenge alone. A talented attorney with expertise and experience can help you navigate the overwhelm and craft a legal strategy that ensures your rights (and those of your loved ones) are protected. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has dedicated his career to helping his clients fight for their rights, and he will passionately stay by your side until your family law issues are resolved.
Burlington County Family Court
When you prepare for a restraining order hearing, a visitation rights hearing, or anything connected to child custody determinations, your case will be handled by the Family Division in Burlington County. The Burlington family court hears cases that are relevant to family law. This may include issues such as juvenile delinquency, adoption, termination of parental rights, child custody, child support, restraining orders, and more. At the Lento Law Firm, Attorney Lento specializes in child custody determinations and restraining order hearings but can assist with any family court matter.
Where Should You Go for Your Family Court Hearing?
If you're scheduled for a family court hearing in Burlington County, your hearing will take place in Mount Holly, NJ, at the Burlington County Court Facility, where the Family Division will hear your case. Before your court date, you want to map out your drive and possible traffic congestion. Arriving late or rushed on the day of your hearing, could leave you flustered and overwhelmed on an already-stressful day! Allow enough time to park and find your way into the building wherever you and your attorney agree to meet.
The address for the Burlington County Court Facility is 49 Rancocas Road, Mount Holly, NJ 08060.
A restraining order is a legal document that restricts (and dictates allowable) contact between named individuals. They are usually issued in order to protect alleged domestic violence victims from further harm.
Restraining orders come with long-term consequences, whether they are temporary or final. They can impact child custody and support determinations and may also impact work promotions or the ability to get a job. Restraining orders also usually dictate the distance an individual must maintain from the alleged victim, thereby indirectly controlling where they may and may not go.
New Jersey has two different types of restraining orders: temporary restraining orders and final restraining orders. The type of restraining order you need (or receive) depends on what stage of the proceeding you're at.
Temporary Restraining Order
Temporary restraining orders, or a TRO, is issued one of two ways. First, a judge (via the Family Division in the Burlington County Superior Court) may issue one. This usually occurs if the TRO is requested during regular court hours of Monday through Friday, between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm. If an alleged victim requests a TRO at a time when the courts are not open, then the TRO will usually be issued by the municipal court and facilitated by the state or local police department. At this point, the temporary restraining order has an expiration date and a hearing date within no more than ten days.
Final Restraining Order
A final restraining order (or FRO) may be issued by a judge at the hearing following a TRO. It permanently impacts the ability of the named individuals to interact. An attorney is important at the FRO hearing so that you can make sure your case is as strong as possible. The strength of the arguments and evidence will determine how the judge decides. FROs can only be changed by the courts.
Child Custody Overview
Judges make child custody determinations in New Jersey based on the standard of what is in the child's best interest. In fact, in New Jersey, both parents are given equal consideration when it comes to visitation rights. Although most people refer to “visitation rights,” the courts here use the phrase “parenting time,” which highlights the fact that the adult role is one of a parent, not a visitor.
There are two types of custody that will be accounted for in your child custody determination. The first is physical custody, or where the child will reside. The second is legal custody, or how much say a parent will have in decisions that impact the child's health, education, and wellbeing. The exact configuration of a final child custody determination will be unique to the child's needs and what is in their best interest.
What Factors Influence Child Custody Determinations?
When the courts consider what is best for the child, they usually look at several key areas including: family relationships, schooling, special needs, domestic violence history, and parental fitness. Here are some examples of questions a judge might ask. This is just a taste—they will most likely explore more questions than these.
- Can the parents communicate, cooperate, and agree about decisions that concern their child?
- What allows for the least possible change and the most consistency for the child's schooling? What is the best education option for the child?
- Is there a prior unwillingness to allow parenting time that isn't based on substantiated abuse?
- What are interactions like between the child and their siblings? The child and their parents?
- Is there a history of domestic violence?
- What does the child need? Are there any special needs or accommodations?
- How much quality time do the parent and child spend together?
Best Family Law Attorney in Burlington County
If you are facing a family court hearing, with so much at risk, you want to ensure you have the best advocate standing by your side. You want someone with impeccable communication skills who will fight on your behalf as if you were their family. Attorney Joseph D. Lento is efficient, compassionate, and dedicated. He's spent his career using his knowledge and expertise to defend his clients in their family law issues. If you would like the best of the best to help you navigate this challenging time, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888.535.3686 or reach out online for a consult.