Camden County is one of New Jersey's most populous counties. With over 500,000 residents, and close proximity to Philadelphia, Camden county has a number of assets, including a campus of New Jersey's Rutgers University. Overseeing the County, is the Camden County Superior Court, located in Camden. Matters of Family Law, including custody will be handled in Camden County Superior Court's Family Division. Many counties in New Jersey follow a uniform process for determining custody cases.
Custody Matters In Camden County
New Jersey, and all of its counties, are under the UCCA, the Uniform Child Custody Act. This act helps organize custody battles across state lines. Camden County in particular, with its proximity to Philadelphia, PA may gain particular use from this act, as some families may be split across the two nearby states. The act basically sets forth the jurisdiction and court processes for custody to be used in a child's "home state" which is designated by the court. This is usually the state where the child has primary residence or where the child has lived for a long time. Once this is established, if the custody battle falls under Camden County's jurisdiction the process can begin.
The child custody process in Camden County, as well as any New Jersey county and across most states, is always settled by what the court deems is in the best interests of the child. However, "the best interest of the child" tends to take on new meanings for each state. While the general idea is the same, some states weigh out certain factors more heavily than others. In Camden County, the physical safety and health of the child is always at the forefront. This will be weighed more heavily than anything else. Physical safety includes risk and prior incidents of domestic violence, which will be weighed particularly heavily in a custody battle as well. Other factors included are age of the child, needs of the child, the child's preference, and each individual parent's ability to care for the child. Depending on the situation, the court may consider other extenuating circumstances.
In Camden County Superior Court, all cases of custody will ultimately be heard by a judge. When a family attends court seeking a custody proceeding, they will first need to make a filing. This can be done with the assistance of an attorney. An experienced Family Law attorney will be able to handle most clerical issues, and also provide representation should the case make it to a full custody trial.
The process for custody in Camden County usually begins with a brief mediation phase. The purpose of the mediation phase is to thin the caseload for the courts, and to try to get the parents to amicably agree on a custody agreement that serves both of them and their respective needs accordingly, while also ensuring that the child is not put under a heavy strain. If mediation fails, however, the matter will then be directed to a trial with a Camden Superior Court judge overseeing the matter. As noted, a judge will always rule in favor of what is in the "best interest of the child."
It is best to have an attorney involved early on in the custody process. This way, you can ensure that you and your family's interests are protected. Custody battles can be exhausting and unfriendly, but with an experienced Family Law attorney, you can feel safe knowing your interests in the situation are protected.
Contact a Camden County Attorney Today
If you or a loved one is currently engaged in a custody battle or other matters of family law, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.