Cape May County is the southernmost county in New Jersey and is home to New Jersey's famed beach community, Cape May. Cape May County is home to over 90,000 residents and receives a large number of visitors each year. All legal matters in Cape May County are handled by the Cape May County Superior Court. Matters related to Family Law, including custody, are catered to by the Family Division of the court of Cape May County.
Custody In Cape May County
When a custody battle is about to take place, one thing must be settled before any filings can even begin. It must be determined which county will hold jurisdiction over the matter. Cape May County is in close proximity to both Delaware and Pennsylvania. It can be particularly common for families to be split across these states, which can make settling matters of custody particularly complicated, as states have separate custody laws. Luckily, New Jersey has adopted the Uniform Child Custody Act (UCCA) to prevent complications from arising. Under the UCCA, a state will be granted jurisdiction for a custody battle if it is considered to be the child's "home state." A child's "home state" is typically the one where the child has lived in longer or has been set as the primary residence by an earlier custody agreement. If a custody battle is to take place in Cape May County, the process will follow New Jersey's laws.
In Cape May County, a custody battle typically begins with a phase dedicated to mediation. Court mediation will involve both parties sitting down to decide what they believe is the best path forward. The goal is resolve and settle the custody issue before bringing the case to a full hearing while providing both parties an opportunity for their thoughts to be heard. If an agreement cannot be reached at this stage, then the case will move forward to a hearing in front of a judge. In a custody case, the standard for decision making used will always be to rule in favor of whatever is "in the best interest of the child." Unfortunately, each state, and sometimes even the individual counties within a state will interpret this standard differently. For Cape May County, the "best interest of the child" is weighted most heavily upon the child's physical safety and well-being. Other factors that will play a role in determining a custody case include the child's relationships with the parents, the child's access to education, and more. Any prior instances of domestic violence or domestic violence-related incidents will be weighed more heavily as they directly pertain to the physical well-being of the child.
When proceeding into a custody battle the best way to secure your interests in the matter is to enlist the services of an experienced family law attorney. Even during the initial mediation process, an attorney can make sure you are prepared, and you know what is ahead. Legal counsel can make a huge difference in the outcome of a custody battle.
Contact a Cape May County Attorney Today
If you or a loved one is engaged in a custody battle in Cape May County, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.