If the idea of appearing in Salem County Family Division is overwhelming, hiring a knowledgeable attorney with years of family court experience can ease the burden. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has spent a considerable portion of his career helping New Jersey families navigate the experience by developing legal strategies for his clients that increase their chances of the best possible outcome. No matter the issue, whether you are preparing for a restraining order hearing or fighting for custody, Lento Law Firm can help.
Salem County Family Court
The family court in Salem, Salem Family Practice Division, oversees several different types of cases, including divorce, child support, paternity, custody, parent time, domestic violence, juvenile delinquency, family crisis, foster care placement, kinship legal guardianship, abuse and neglect, termination of parental rights, and adoption. While Attorney Lento works within all areas of family law, he concentrates on child custody determinations and restraining order hearings.
When parents file for divorce or unmarried parents decides to split, they may try to create a child custody agreement without court intervention. For the parents seeking a divorce, the court will order whatever determination the parents have agreed on. But most of the time, parents are unable to make such amicable agreements because of all the emotions involved in splitting up. For these parents, the court will intervene. In Salem County family court, the judge will consider certain factors to determine what is in the child's best interest. It is important to note that neither parent has more rights to the child than the other in New Jersey. The factors the court will consider are as follows:
- 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 they are old enough (whether a child is old enough depends on their level of maturity, natural age; it is subjective and completely up to the discretion of the judge)
- 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.
According to New Jersey Law, there are two types of custody. Physical custody stipulates where the child will reside, and legal custody grants the parent the legal authority to make or influence decisions regarding your child's health, education, and welfare.
Once the court determines what is in the child's best interest, they will evolve on that determination to include physical and legal custody. This means they will be creating a structure of child custody that matches your unique family dynamic. They 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.
Struggling with child custody agreements is common in legal dissolutions of marriage or when unwed parents decide to separate. Having a knowledgeable attorney on your side who can point out concerns and craft an equitable child custody agreement between you and your ex that addresses these concerns is essential.
There are two types of restraining orders in New Jersey: temporary and final restraining orders. Which you are served with will depend on what stage of the restraining order proceeding you are currently on.
Temporary Restraining Orders
Temporary restraining orders (TRO) are an attempt to protect an alleged domestic violence victim from further abuse. Usually, when a victim reports the incident, law enforcement will give them the option to file for a TRO. If they choose to do so, law enforcement officials will serve the defendant with the document. The TRO lasts for about ten days and will list the restraining order hearing date where a judge will determine how the parties are to move forward.
Final Restraining Orders
While TROs are temporary, final restraining orders (FRO) are more permanent. The purpose of a FRO is to protect the victim from further domestic violence if a judge determines that that is a possibility without the FRO in place. A judge will only decide that a FRO is necessary if the parties were involved in a domestic relationship and the defendant is found to have committed a predicate act of domestic violence.
Restraining orders can have long term consequences that affect more than just physical distance. In fact, restraining orders, temporary or final, can remove the defendant from their living situation, prevent the defendant from working, or affect child custody and support orders. Additionally, all defendants of restraining orders are entered into the police database and must pay several court fees.
Family Court in Salem – MAP
When attending family court in Salem County, you will have to visit the Family Court Intake Courthouse at 92 Market Street, Salem, NJ, 08079. It's important to double-check your summons ahead of time to ensure you're going to the correct address. And don't forget to arrive early, so you have time to find parking and consult with your attorney beforehand.
How a Qualified Family Law Attorney Can Help
If you must attend family court for any type of family law proceeding, you're going to want to have a knowledgeable attorney at your side. Experienced attorneys will point out areas of concern you should be aware of and create concrete legal strategies to better ensure the court decides in your favor. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have years of experience working in family court and can ensure the court fully upholds your rights. Call 888.535.3686 today to schedule a consultation. Don't try to navigate this alone; let Attorney Lento help.