Legal concerns are always challenging; however, when it involves your family, it's even more worrisome to have to attend a hearing at family court. One way to calm your nerves is to make sure you prepare diligently; being prepared can help reduce the overwhelm you may be feeling. An experienced attorney who understands the Gloucester County family court system can assist you with crafting a strategy and support you every step of the way. You don't have to tackle this alone.
Gloucester County Family Court
Often, different courts address different sorts of cases. Specifically, the family court handles cases that involve and impact families. The Family Practice Division is responsible for all cases that involve family situations. Some examples of cases they hear include child custody, domestic violence, legal guardianship, and restraining orders. With so much at stake, you want to ensure that you have a practiced attorney with expert knowledge when you attend your hearing in Gloucester County.
What are the Different Types of Child Custody?
There are two main types of custody in New Jersey. The first is physical custody, which determines where the child will live. The second, legal custody, allows parents legal authority to make decisions about a child's health, welfare, and education, among other things.
In New Jersey, decisions around child custody and parenting time are anchored in a child's best interests. This means that neither parent has priority automatically: both parents have equal footing in the eyes of New Jersey law. It also is why each custody arrangement may be unique. The custody arrangement may rely on many factors, such as the parents' work schedules, the child's relationships with each parent, and any special needs, whether psychological, medical, or otherwise. It can be a complex puzzle to determine how all of the components fit together so that the child's best interests are met.
The hope is always that when a marriage or partnership ends, the parents will be able to come to an agreement on their own. However, when that is not possible, the courts will intervene, and a judge in Gloucester County will use factors such as those mentioned above to come to a determination.
If you or a loved one is facing a hearing to determine child custody, contacting an attorney for a consultation is a critical first step. They can help evaluate the facts of your case and will understand which components may strengthen or weaken child custody. A knowledgeable attorney will know what red flags to watch for and how to best create an equitable child custody agreement between you and your ex.
Restraining Orders in Gloucester County, NJ
Restraining orders are legal documents that a judge orders in order to restrict a specific individual from engaging with another person. Frequently, they're used as a way to protect an individual or individuals from instances of domestic violence. Usually, they will specify what type of communication is or is not allowed, and the physical proximity that is not allowed (within ‘x' feet). In Gloucester County (and all of New Jersey), there are two types of restraining orders: temporary restraining orders (TROs) and final restraining orders (FROs). The difference between them is usually what stage of the process you're at. Both FROs and TROs can impact child custody agreements as well as child support payments.
Temporary Restraining Order
A temporary restraining order is the first step to separate someone from alleged domestic violence. There are a few ways that a TRO can be issued. Often, if someone reports an incident to the police, they may give the victim an opportunity to file the TRO. Another way that it could happen is through the Family Practice Division of the Superior Court in Gloucester County. The sheriff or police will serve the TRO and inform them of the initial hearing date. This date is usually within ten days. TROs have an expiration date, which is why they're temporary.
Final Restraining Order
Final Restraining Orders are much more serious than TROs, and more permanent. They last until the Courts remove the FRO. Although an FRO is civil, rather than criminal, there are still severe consequences. As a result of receiving an FRO, an individual is fingerprinted and placed on a domestic violence registry. If at any point there is reconciliation between the two individuals, they still need to respect the FRO and have it changed by the courts, otherwise they will be in violation of the FRO.
Do You Need a Lawyer for a Restraining Order?
Whether you need a restraining order, or you've recently been served with one, you do not want to go to your TRO or FRO hearing alone. The proceedings can be complex and hard to navigate. It's wise to retain an attorney who can help strengthen your case and represent you before the judge.
Where Should you Go for a Family Court Hearing in Gloucester County?
If you have a scheduled family court hearing for a case in Gloucester County, you will go to Woodbury. The address is 1 North Broad Street Woodbury, NJ 08096, and it's important to make sure you go to the correct courthouse. Leave with plenty of time to park and enter the courthouse with time to spare. Feeling rushed on a day that's this important can add unnecessary stress to a day that is already high-stakes.
An Experienced Family Law Attorney Can Help
When you are facing something that can impact your family this severely, you want an experienced and passionate lawyer who will fight on your behalf. A lawyer who knows the legal system in Gloucester County and has a proven track record of dedication to clients can make all the difference in how your case proceeds. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have many years of experience working hard to achieve the best possible outcome for their clients. Whether you need help getting a restraining order, have just received one, or need support with a child custody hearing, the Lento Law Firm is here for you. Call 888.535.3686 today to schedule a consultation or reach out online for more information about how they can help.