If you're facing a restraining order hearing or a potential custody hearing, you may be concerned about how to face this challenging time. Family court can be scary and overwhelming, but the good news is that you don't have to do it alone. An expert attorney can help you plan strategies and navigate the complex legal system. Family court is responsible for a variety of cases that impact families. These cases might include child support, child custody, legal guardianship, divorce, domestic violence, and juvenile delinquency. Attorney Joseph D. Lento of the Lento Law Firm has spent many years practicing family law and now focuses his attention on restraining order hearings and child custody determinations.
Temporary and Final Restraining Orders
A restraining order legally determines the length of time that two individuals must maintain a set distance from each other. Sometimes it's also referred to as a protection from abuse (PFA) order. There are two types of restraining order—a temporary restraining order (TRO) and a final restraining order (FRO).
A TRO comes with an expiration and is usually issued one of several ways. If the request is made while the courts are open, it will happen in the Family Division of the Superior Court of Monmouth County. If it is at any other time, the request will go through the state or local police and the municipal court.
An FRO replaces a TRO permanently and is in place until the Courts decide otherwise. Both TROs and FROs have serious consequences, however, the FRO's consequences can be more long-lasting. The person in violation will be photographed and entered into a statewide database, and their ability to own a firearm might be limited. Penalties for FRO violations also are more severe.
TROs and FROs can also impact custody determinations, if those are underway.
Custody in New Jersey
Although there's always hope that parents will be able to come to an agreement about child custody, that's not always the case. In these unfortunate but frequent circumstances, the court will intervene on behalf of the child. This occurs whether the parents are divorcing or aren't legally married.
In Monmouth County, New Jersey law considers two types of custody: legal and physical (sometimes called Residential). Physical custody addresses where your child(ren) will live and spend most of their time. Legal custody specifically refers to having a say in major decisions about your child's welfare. This would be important if something medical or health-related came up. It's also often relevant when it comes to decisions about education.
If you're concerned about custody, you probably want to fight for visitation rights so that you can spend time with your child(ren). Actually, the family courts here in Monmouth County use the term “parenting time” rather than “visitation rights.” A knowledgeable and experienced family law attorney will be able to help you navigate the legal system to ensure that you achieve the best possible outcome when it comes to your child.
There are a few different types of configuration when it comes to custody, such as one primary residential parent and one alternate residential. Perhaps both you and your ex want equal custody—it is possible to have equal or shared residential and legal custody.
What Is the Best Interest of the Child Standard?
Above all, the decisions about custody will be based on what the judge deems to be the Best Interest of the Child. That means that it's important you build a strong case for what you want when it comes to the custody of your son or daughter.
What Are Some of The Factors That Influence Child Custody in Monmouth County?
When a judge is deciding custody in a separation or legal dissolution, there are many components that she or he will take into consideration. Here's an overview of some of the most prominent questions the judge will most likely look at.
- If the child is old enough and able to form an educated and unbiased opinion, what is their preference?
- Can the parents communicate, cooperate, and agree—or at least land on a middle ground—when it comes to decisions about or circumstances about the child?
- Where will the child receive the best quality education? What allows for the least possible change and the most consistency for the child's schooling?
- How much quality time did the parent spend with the child prior to (or after) the separation?
- Is there a prior unwillingness to allow parenting time that isn't based on substantiated abuse?
- How does the child interact with their parents and siblings? What are their relationships like?
- Is there a history of domestic violence?
- What does the child need? Are there any special needs or accommodations?
- How stable are the home environments that are offered?
- Is the parent employed? How will their work schedule affect their ability to be present to the child(ren)?
- How fit are the parents?
- How close, geographically, are the two homes?
- How many children are involved, and what are their ages?
As you can see, there's a lot of care and consideration that a judge takes into account when they make a decision about a custody arrangement.
Where in Monmouth County Is My Family Court Hearing?
When it comes time to appear at the hearing for your family court concern, your summons, or hearing notice, will have the name and address of the courthouse. It'll also have the time of your hearing. Make certain you allow enough time to arrive early and park. You don't want to feel like you're rushing at all for something as important as a custody or a restraining order hearing. If you can settle in early, you'll be able to consult with your attorney before the hearing begins.
For family court in Monmouth County, you'll need to go to the Superior Court located at 71 Monument Street, Freehold, NJ 07728-1266.
The Best Family Law Attorney in Monmouth County
With so much at stake, you want to ensure that you have the most talented and experienced family law attorney to fight by your side. Their knowledge and expertise work to protect your interests. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have helped many clients over the years face similar challenges. He's passionate about defending his clients' rights. Whether you need 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.