Going to the Warren County Family Division for a family law proceeding can be daunting – especially if you've never been before and don't know what to expect. But what if you hired an experienced family law attorney, someone with the knowledge and skill to get you prepared for the proceedings with legal strategies that could actually help? Attorney Joseph D. Lento has spent his career helping his clients fight for their rights and what they believe in. Whether you are preparing for a restraining order hearing, a grandparent fighting for visitation with your estranged grandchild, or parents seeking a child custody determination, or any other family law issue or concern, the Lento Law Firm can help. Call today.
Warren County Family Court
In Warren County, the Family Practice Division ("family court") supervises every case that involves 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. At Lento Law Firm, Attorney Lento specializes in child custody determinations and restraining order hearings.
At the end of a parental relationship, whether the parents were married and are seeking a divorce or unmarried and simply separating, there are tremendous emotions involved in the split, making amicable child custody agreements challenging to ascertain. Some parents can create child custody agreements without court intervention, and for these parents, if seeking a divorce, the court will uphold this agreement. Courts will also uphold the agreements of unwed, but now separating parents. When this is not an achievable goal, the judge will consider certain factors to determine what is in the child's best interest. These 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 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.
In New Jersey, there are two types of custody – legal and physical. Legal custody grants a parent the legal authority to make or influence decisions regarding their child's health, education, and welfare. And physical custody determines where the child will actually live. Once the court determines what is in the child's best interest, they will mold their custody determination to match the family dynamic that is distinctive to your family. 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.
If you or someone you love is seeking a child custody agreement but is having a hard time or worried about facing a judge to make the decision, contacting a knowledgeable family law attorney is essential. An experienced attorney will work diligently to ensure the court understands and upholds your rights to your children.
New Jersey has two types of restraining orders – temporary and final. Depending on what stage of the restraining order proceeding you are in will determine which you are served with.
Temporary Restraining Orders
A TRO, or a temporary restraining order, is a way for the police to protect an alleged domestic violence victim from further violence until a judge can determine the next steps. A domestic violence victim will file for a TRO when reporting the incident, and the police will serve the TRO on the defendant. The TRO is temporary, lasting no longer than ten days, and will stipulate the restraining order hearing's date.
Final Restraining Orders
If you've already had a TRO hearing, you will be scheduled for a final restraining order (FRO) hearing later on. A court will only find that a FRO is necessary if they believe it will help protect the victim from further domestic violence. And they will only make this determination if the defendant and victim are in a domestic relationship, and the defendant committed a predicate act of domestic violence.
Restraining orders have long-term consequences. For instance, they can control how the defendant moves through the world (you generally can't be within a certain distance of the victim), where you can live, if you get a promotion at work, and even how and where you work. It can also affect child custody and support agreements. The defendant will be photographed, fingerprinted, placed into a police database, and potentially owe court fees.
Family Court in Warren – MAP
For individuals attending the Warren County family court, the Family Practice Division is located at 413 Second Street, Belvidere, NJ 07823. You will want to arrive early to ensure you have ample time to find parking, find your courtroom, and speak to your attorney beforehand.
How a Skilled Family Law Attorney Can Help
Family law attorneys, especially those that specialize in child custody and restraining order hearings, have years of experience helping their clients develop legal strategies to ensure the court upholds their rights. The whole objective of a family law attorney is to utilize the law to protect your interests. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm take pride in helping his clients succeed in court. Don't try to navigate these murky waters alone. Call 888.535.3686 today to schedule your consultation.