The prospect of attending family court in Cape May County can feel overwhelming, but having a skilled attorney working on your side can bring peace of mind. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has spent years developing legal strategies for their clients that increase the probability of your best possible outcome. Whatever you need, whether it's negotiating a custody agreement, preparing for a restraining order hearing, or fighting for grandparent visitation, Lento Law Firm can help.
Cape May Family Court
The Family Practice Division – “family court” – oversees all cases involving divorce, child support, paternity, custody, parenting time (“visitation”), domestic violence, juvenile delinquency, family crisis, foster care placement, kinship legal guardianship, abuse and neglect, termination of parental rights, and adoption. At Lento Law Firm, our attorneys specialize in child custody arrangements and restraining order hearings.
Whenever a marriage ends, and children are involved, the hope is that the parents will be able to agree on a custody. If so, during the divorce proceedings, the court will use that agreement. But, as it happens, most parents aren't able to reach such agreements without court intervention. Thus, the court will intervene. This also applies if the parents were never married, but the parents are unable to agree on the custody of the children after they are born. In Cape May County, neither parent has more of a right to custody than the other. The court will consider certain factors to determine what is in the best interest of the child. These factors include, but are not limited to:
- The ability of the parents to agree upon, discuss and cooperate on matters that involve the child;
- If there is a history of domestic violence;
- The child's needs;
- The preference of the child, if appropriate
- The stability of the home environment;
- The quality of the child's education;
- The parent's fitness – parents aren't generally thought to be unfit unless a court finds that their conduct has a substantial adverse effect on the child; and
- The extent and quality of the time the parents spent with the child before and after their separation.
After the court determines what is in the best interest of the child, it will decide what type of custody agreement it will create. New Jersey law stipulates that there are two types of child custody: physical and legal. If the court awards you physical custody, it means that the child will reside with you. If the court grants you legal custody, it means you have the legal authority to make or influence decisions regarding your child's health, education, and welfare.
Additionally, the court will further evolve on the child custody agreement and might:
- Award sole custody to one parent, while the other gets visitation,
- Grant joint legal custody to both parents – they will both make decisions on the child's health, education, and welfare – but give sole physical custody to one parent and visitation to the other,
- Give both parents joint legal and joint physical custody with both parents having equal visitation, or
- The court could combine any of this in whatever order it wishes, depending on what is in the child's best interest.
If you, or someone you love, is struggling with a child custody agreement or is facing time before a judge to make this decision, reaching out to an attorney for a consultation is an important step. A knowledgeable attorney will be able to point out red flags you should be concerned with and help craft an equitable child custody agreement between you and your ex-partner.
In New Jersey, there are two types of restraining orders you could be served with: temporary or final restraining orders.
Temporary Restraining Order
A temporary restraining order (TRO) is a short-term effort to separate an alleged domestic violence (DV) victim and the party that supposedly committed the act of domestic violence. Generally, the police give a victim the option to file a TRO after they report the DV. After, law enforcement officials will serve the defendant with the TRO and inform them of the initial hearing date – usually no longer than ten days later.
Final Restraining Order
Final restraining orders (FRO) are a bit more permanent and endeavor to keep the victim and defendant separate if the court decides that it will inhibit future acts of DV. But a judge will only find this is if the parties were also in a domestic relationship, and the defendant committed a predicate act of domestic violence.
It's important to remember, restraining order can affect more than just physical distance. For instance, temporary restraining orders can displace a person from their current living arrangements for a certain period of time. And final restraining orders can interrupt their work schedule, prevent promotions, and even affect child custody and support orders. If the court decides a restraining order is necessary, the individual will be entered into a police database subject to court fees – and potentially the victim's attorney's fees.
Family Court in Cape May – Map
If you are required to attend a hearing in Cape May Family Court, you will head over to the Cape May County Courthouse at 9 North Main Street, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210. Make sure you double-check your hearing notice to ensure the name and address of the courthouse.
How an Experienced Family Law Attorney Can Help
Experienced family law attorneys will help make an uncomfortable experience more bearable. Their fundamental role is to protect your interests. Whether you are seeking a restraining order, have just been served with one, or are facing a child custody hearing, Attorney Joseph D. Lento will work quickly and diligently to ensure the court upholds your rights. Call 888.535.3686 today to schedule a consultation. Attorney Lento takes pride in helping his clients succeed in court. Let him help.