New Jersey Family Courts Beleaguered By Pandemic Restrictions

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Sep 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

The COVID crisis has limited court proceedings for months,while also precipitating a need to modify parental agreements due to new health concerns. The courts in New Jersey are facing unprecedented backlogs, and Family Courts have been hit particularly hard.Co-parents with shared custody issues requiring legal attention have to contend with Family Courts' shifting pandemic restrictions, and the potential delays and filing errors of an over-burdened system. Adding to the confusion is the fact that modifications for rules on remote hearings, document delivery, and other court requirements vary across all 21 New Jersey Counties. You need an experienced New Jersey family law attorney, up-to-date on all pandemic court regulations, to protect your parental rights as efficiently as possible. Attorney Joseph D. Lento, an expert family law strategist, and negotiator, will fight tirelessly for you during this stressful time. Contact the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686.

Cooperatively Modifying Parental Agreements

You and your co-parent should renegotiate the terms of your custody agreement to address pandemic safety concerns for the health of your child. Any differences of opinion regarding specifics on social distancing, use of masks, and other safety precautions must be ironed out, since the health and well-being of your child are at stake. You must agree on safety precautions for your child's transportation between households and guidelines for protective measures in each home and any public exposure. The shared custody agreement may need adjustment if:

  • one parent is an essential worker in a high-risk profession; 
  • shares a residence with roommates or family members who are not taking safety precautions;
  • is required to quarantine, or;
  • lives in an area experiencing a high-incidence of coronavirus infections.

A family law attorney can help you revise your custodial agreement and include additional contingencies for potential emergency situations.

Non-Compliance With Custody And Parenting Orders

Unfortunately, your co-parent might exploit the chaos created by the pandemic as a chance to violate custody agreements and illegally limit or block your parental visits. Your co-parent might be emboldened to act in non-compliance, because they are banking on your counter legal action encountering delays and obstacles caused by pandemic court restrictions. Additionally, an antagonistic co-parent may also undermine your relationship with your child, damaging your emotional bond and reducing your child's desire to spend time with you. If your co-parent actively interferes with parenting time and custody rights, first attempt to work out your differences directly or through your lawyers before resorting to legal action.

Take Immediate Action To Protect Your Rights

Contact an experienced family law attorney immediately, especially since the courts are backlogged and may have pandemic restrictions. The law is on your side. New Jersey Courts do not taketake interference in the parental relationship lightly and try to maximize time with both parents. Failure to follow a parenting order could be the basis for changing custody. If your former spouse deliberately ignores court orders, you can file a Motion to Enforce Litigant’s Rights, asking the court to hold your ex-spouse in contempt. The courts also favor an on-going healthy relationship between the child and both of the parents. If the court recognizes that your co-parent is actively alienating your child from you, the court will most likely rule in your favor if you foster an open and positive relationship with your co-parent.

If Your Co-Parent Refuses Necessary Pandemic Precautions

Urgent legal action against your co-parent is warranted if you fear for your child's health and safety because you believe your co-parent is subjecting your child to high-risk coronavirus exposure. You can hire an attorney to file an Order to Show Cause with the New Jersey court system, which will bypass any delays and prompt an emergency hearing. The court can take immediate action…without notice to [your co-parent], in order to prevent immediate and irreparable harm to your child. Your family law attorney can gather the necessary proof to warrant a custodial emergency modification.

If your parental custody rights have been jeopardized or infringed on due to the pandemic or other unfortunate circumstances, hiring an experienced New Jersey family attorney can help you reclaim those rights. Call attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 to discuss your options.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a veteran of one of the nation's busiest family courts with nearly 20 years' experience passionately helping families. By day, he worked in the trenches of family court, and at night, he studied the law. He helped countless families while working at family court, and he went on to become an attorney, dedicating his law practice to continuing the work he started years earlier. Mr. Lento's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's family law matter from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in New Jersey and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings! He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and protects their interests.


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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience practicing Family Law in New Jersey. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you and your family, contact our offices today. Family Law Attorney Joseph Lento will go above and beyond the needs for any client and fight for what is fair.

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