When Child Custody Laws, Criminal Law, and Two States Collide

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Jan 22, 2021 | 0 Comments

Losing custody of your child is devastating, no matter the reason. However, losing custody of your child during a questionable traffic stop in another state adds insult to injury.

Unfortunately, that's what happened to a couple from Manchester, New Jersey, in early December. Raymond Cheley Sykes, Kalia Boulware, and their 9-month old son, Truth, were driving through Montgomery County, North Carolina, on December 3rd when police officers pulled them over for having a white tail light. The couple claims that the officers drew their guns and beat Mr. Sykes when they refused to exit the van for a search after being asked to do so.

Montgomery County, N.C. police claim that the couple was driving "in a manner, place and time that was suspicious," the vehicle registration plate was not registered, and that they detected the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. They also claim the Mr. Skyes punched a deputy and that the assault prompted the couple's arrest. The police handed the couple's son over to social services that night due to the incident.

Both parents were released the next day. However, when they went to social services to get their child back, they had to pay $750 for an overnight DNA test to prove they were the child's parents. Social services also accused the parents of being homeless and required them to undergo mental and drug screenings.

The couple denied the entirety of these accusations and have been staying in a North Carolina hotel while they fight for their son. Thankfully, on December 21st, the court released their son into his grandmother's custody in New Jersey. However, the custody case is not over. North Carolina transferred the matter to the New Jersey family court for review.

Getting Your Child Back From Protective Services In New Jersey

The circumstances of this couple's arrest and the subsequent removal of their child are questionable at best. Unfortunately, now that the custody matter has been transferred to New Jersey, the couple likely will have to clear a few more hurdles before getting their son back in this state as well.

The NJ Department of Children and Families ("DCF") can permanently or temporarily remove a child from a home if their investigation reveals that there is an impending danger or risk to the child. Some common situations that have resulted in the removal of children in New Jersey are:

  • The child suffers a serious injury which is suspicious and is unusual;
  • Their parents have injured the child's sibling or other children in the past;
  • The child is subjected to emotional and physical neglect or abuse due to conflict between the parents, a family financial crisis, or personal crisis;
  • The child's behavior poses a risk to themselves or others; and
  • The physical condition of the home is assessed as hazardous for the child's health.

In this case, DCF will likely work with the parents and their son's guardian to develop a plan that keeps the child's safety and family interests in mind while conducting its safety assessment.

How To Get Help

If you or someone you know is concerned about their child's custody or is facing an investigation by the New Jersey Department of Children and Family Services, Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm can help.

Joseph D. Lento cares passionately about families and will work tirelessly to protect yours. Call 888-535-3686 to schedule a private and confidential consultation for your custody case today.

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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