NJ family courts take restraining orders and accusations of domestic violence very seriously when it comes to custody matters. However, a restraining order doesn't have to be a death knell in your parent-child relationship. There are still ways to parent well during this time as long as you are mindful of a few key tips.
Tip #1 Follow The Terms Of The Restraining Order
Regardless of whether a temporary restraining order ("TRO") or final restraining order ("FRO") is pending against you, complying with the order's terms will give you the best chance of parenting well during this time. A family court judge will likely consider your compliance as a factor when making custody decisions in the future. Your ability to follow the order also may determine whether you get access to your child at all. So no matter how arduous, follow the restraining order's restrictions is one of the most essential steps to parenting well.
Tip #2 Comply With Your Custody Arrangements
The law requires judges to make custody decisions in a child's best interest. In making custody decisions aligned with that law, judges will consider many factors, including the parents' ability to communicate, the child's needs, and the history of domestic abuse, if any.
Courts have concluded that exposure to domestic violence is not in the child's best interest. So a judge might suspend your visits with your child, require supervised visitation, or prohibit visitation entirely until the restraining order in your case has been lifted or you have completed a counseling or parenting class. No matter the requirements, parenting well means following the terms of your custody arrangements too. You will increase the likelihood that you remain in contact with your child, and your child will learn how to handle adverse situations by observing your behavior.
Tip #3 Avoid Further Interaction With Your Co-Parent
Interacting with your co-parent when a restraining order is pending can only lead to additional legal problems, even if your co-parent initiates the interaction. Any contact with your co-parent can also affect your visitation rights. So one of the most impactful ways for you to parent well is to stop all contact with your co-parent. If there are child-related issues that you must discuss, hire an attorney to help you communicate in a way that won't violate the restraining order or impede your ability to parent in the future.
Tip #4 Get Legal Help
If you have a custody issue, Attorney Joseph D. Lento can help. Joseph Lento and the Lento Law Firm care passionately about families and will work tirelessly to help yours no matter the circumstances. Call 888-535-3686 to schedule a private and confidential consultation for your custody case today.