Tag: Ashbury Park Child Custody Attorney

Attorneys Assisting Clients with Third-Party Custody Cases in Freehold and Toms River NJ

New Jersey law grants custody to parents, but a third party can ask for the custody of the child or children involved if there’s sufficient proof that the child’s best interest is unsatisfied.

Third Party Custody Cases in New JerseyUsually, custody battles involve the biological mother and father of the child.  Sometimes, neither parent is suitable to care for the child, and another adult steps in like grandparents, aunts, uncles, older siblings, older cousins, foster parents, or godparents.  These are called third-party custodians, and they are used only in the most extreme circumstances when the parents are unwilling or unfit to care for the children in their care. Unfortunately, it is a situation that has augmented in its frequency despite the court’s intentions to keep children with their parents. There are also third-party custody cases involving a child’s clear psychological parent being someone other than their biological parent.

Most of the time, third-party custody cases are between grandparents and biological parents. As grandparents have a longevity that carries them into their 80’s and 90’s, their retirement can last 20 years, providing them the time to spend with their grandchildren and develop a solid relationship. That is one of the reasons why grandparents usually play a “psychological parent” role. Honestly, anyone who has developed a close relationship with the child, such as a godparent or older sibling, can become a psychological parent.

What Are Some Circumstances Where a Third Party Has a Claim for Custody?

Before custody can be considered, the biological parents had to have allowed the child to develop a parent-like relationship between the third party and the child for a period of time long enough to have developed a solid relationship.  Also, the third party and the child must live together.  The third-party must have taken on partial emotional and financial support of the child in a parental role.

If both parents are living, but they are deemed unfit, they can lose custody. If one parent is unfit and the other has passed away, custody can be lost.  If both parents have given up their parental rights or the child has been living with a third-party person for an extended period of time, parents may lose custody. Physical child abuse and corporal punishment (a kind of abuse) are the number one reason that a parent’s custody is put into question.  Violent abuse can be a result of substance abuse or mental and psychological untreated trauma in either parent.  Sexual abuse is a more cut-and-dried reason to lose child custody.  The second most common reason is abduction.  Just because the child is yours does not allow you to drive three states out to reside with you and your new partner. Absconding with your child can be considered kidnapping. Lastly, a parent who accuses the other falsely of abuse is in jeopardy of having their visitation reduced or lost completely, depending on the egregiousness of their accusations.

The courts prefer keeping children with their biological parents.  It is very hard to get a child removed other than through the incidents discussed above.  Any measure of substandard housing, nutrition, medical care, access to education, or substance abuse has to be proven undoubtedly in order to get the ball rolling.

How Does One Prove a Bond with a Child in New Jersey?

The first part is physical proof that the child has been living with the third party, and their physical and medical needs have been met without seeking redress. Secondly, a relationship between the child and the third party must be vetted to show their emotional needs are being taken care of as well.  Day-to-day decisions such as enrolling the child in areas of interest such as sports or the arts, acute knowledge of the child’s academic results, and help without class assignments are another part.

Third-Party Custody: An Actual Case

In a case in the Appellate Court, C.P. v. N.V.P there was a custody dispute between a paternal grandmother (Catherine) and the grandchild’s mother, Nora, for the custody of six-year-old Rose.  The grandmother appealed the decision that granted Nora full custody of the child.  The grandmother had Rose in her home practically since birth but when she was older, there were conflicts in the home regarding Rose’s unwillingness to go to school, which resulted in the plaintiff’s roommate yelling at Rose, something she apparently had done to Rose frequently.

Now, due to the judge’s decision, Rose was living with her mother, Nora, in what the plaintiff referred to as substandard conditions, in an unsafe environment with Nora’s partner.  Rose had no privacy, and her health was in danger because the couple smoked marijuana. In actuality, Rose had a tent-like structure above her bed to give her some privacy. While the mother admitted to smoking marijuana before getting custody of Rose, she assured the court she was no longer using.  She was looking for a better job to move to a more suitable apartment.

Third Party Custody Attorney in Ocean County NJThe Appellate Court’s decision was to keep Rose with her mother because although the plaintiff would have been a suitable choice, the court did not see evidence of harm, gross misconduct, or abandonment.  As courts usually do, the original judge’s decision to keep the child with her mother, instead of a third party, was upheld. It indicates that the courts want to keep families together and that just because parents lose custody of their child, there are ways to retrieve that custody.

Ultimately, it is very difficult, though not impossible, for a third party to prove all that is needed to establish custody of a minor.

Connect with an Ocean Township Child Custody Attorney for Answers in Your Third Party Custody Case

The fundamental rights of parents and families are something New Jersey law protects vigorously.  That being said, decisions are not always made on absolutes.  Children, at times, cannot be with one or both parents when they aren’t safe in doing so.  Third-party custodians can fill a gap when it is desperately needed. Although the ultimate goal is to return the child to their biological family in an environment where they are safe, this may not be a possibility in some situations.

Whether your custody issue is regarding a third party claim for primary custody or visitation, at Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, we have you covered.  Are you afraid of losing custody of your children?  Is someone close to you threatening to take you to court to get custody of your children and call you an unfit parent? Are you in need of help pursuing custody as a third party who you believe is best for the child’s needs? No matter what, it can be a frightening and stressful time. Our team of top-notch family lawyers can help you to navigate the family courts and make sure that you are heard if you need assistance in Little Egg Harbor, Sea Girt, Jackson, Asbury Park, Barnegat, Rumson, or any other town across Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

Contact us at (732) 812-3102 or fill out our contact form to make an appointment for your free, confidential consultation.  There is no time better than the present to best serve your family and the children you love.

The Rise of Platonic Parenting in New Jersey

Science has progressed in such a way that the possibilities to have a family are dizzying and have opened the door to the phenomenon of platonic parents.

Platonic Parenting in New JerseyThe 1950’s image of a traditional family, man, and woman in a monogamous relationship, having children after marriage, has become only one of many different kinds of families. Now more than ever having a family does not necessarily follow marriage.  Some couples prefer adoption in lieu of pregnancy, while others have their biological children and adopt more. For infertile couples, the option of surrogacy or IVF treatments opens the way for them to start a family.  Even the family members have strayed from the “traditional” pattern.  Heterosexual couples who choose not to get married, same-sex couples who get married and want children, a single man or woman who wants children without a partner and uses a sperm or egg donor.

What is Platonic Parenting?

Platonic parenting is a relationship between two people who want to have children without romantically getting involved with each other.  These couples can be composed of friends, strangers, former coworkers, or acquaintances.  Platonic parenting is especially popular in the LGBTQIA community. Some heterosexual couples opt for natural insemination even though they aren’t a couple in the romantic sense because other methods are prohibitively expensive. Gay and lesbian couples typically choose IVF, surrogacy, artificial insemination, or adoption. When sexual chemistry and a physical relationship are no longer factors, the child becomes the focus rather than the couple.

What are the Advantages of Platonic Parenting?

For many people who choose platonic co-parenting, a failed marriage or long-term relationship is in their close past, and as they didn’t have children with their now-ex-spouse, the biological clock is ticking.  Perhaps they don’t want to be a part of another romantic relationship.  Maybe their last one caused a lot of emotional traumas that they are just not willing to go through again. Sometimes married couples want their surrogate or the biological parents of an adoptive child to be a part of the family.  These are basically strangers who would be parenting with them.  Whatever the reason it is vital that all of the parties involved create an agreement regarding the raising of the child.

Developing a Platonic Parenting Agreement in NJ

The couple should have discussed the items before sitting down with an attorney and creating an agreement.  Also, the smaller details such as, ”Do you have a good relationship with your parents?”, “Do you like your job?”, What do you do in your free time?”, “What are your religious beliefs?” and many others.  This is not someone with whom a team science project is being done.  It is a life-long investment in a relationship to raise a child cooperatively.

Examples of the items to include in the agreement are listed here:

  • Who will attend the birth/prenatal appointments.
  • The eventual explanation to the child of their relationship and conception
  • Religious practices (if any)
  • Child-rearing techniques and the use of a babysitter/nanny
  • Who will make the medical decisions
  • The child’s name
  • Decisions about vaccines
  • Visitations, holidays, and vacations
  • Education, who will attend teacher’s meetings
  • Financial responsibilities of each parent.

Many others can be added based on the concerns of the couple.

Platonic Parenting Pitfalls

Platonic Parenting Agreement Attorney in Brick, NJNo relationship is perfect.  If we consider that a married couple is joined by their love for one another, a platonic couple’s strongest bond is their child.  There may be jealousy issues when the platonic parents begin to see someone romantically.  Maybe a romantic relationship leads to a move to another town or city.  Sometimes one parent demonstrates a romantic interest in the other that is unrequited, and resentment builds.  It is one thing to make an agreement, but when the rubber meets the road and decisions need to be made in the moment of discipline and education, there can often be discord.  If one parent lives in a separate dwelling, finances can be strained and previous agreements of who would pay what and when they would pay it simply aren’t a possibility.

How To Make It Work

Making a platonic parenting relationship is hard work and very similar to a traditional parenting relationship.  Communication is the key:  expressing expectations, discussing concerns, being kind and thoughtful, being careful with what is said or texted.  It is about expressing one’s concerns, fears, and anger maturely, keeping in mind the child is the focus of the relationship. Frequently discussing personal and family goals as well as checking in about the roles each parent should play are great ways to communicate.  Respecting each other, whether it be a right to privacy, a romantic relationship, or social life, and avoiding jealousy or snarky remarks about the people with whom the parent chooses to go out.

Considering a Platonic Parenting Relationship? A Family Law Attorney in Brick NJ Can Guide You

There is a wide range of instances in which a lawyer can be of great help.  First, they can help create the parenting agreement, which lists the roles and responsibilities of both parents along with other details.  If there is difficulty getting both sides to agree, a lawyer can facilitate a mediator or a round table to hammer out the sticking points. If the parents decide to uncouple, visitation, support, custody issues, etc., will need to be worked out with an attorney.

There is a lot of planning and talking that goes into an agreement like this.  Starting a family is a major step, and you want to do it in the best way possible.  Now is a great time to get the ball rolling because the process will take some time. At our offices, we will more than happy to guide you in the entire process, if you live in Holmdel, Colts Neck, Rumson, Little Silver, or any other place across Monmouth and Ocean Counties, do not hesitate to get in contact with us.

At Bronzino Law Firm, LCC, our knowledgeable team wants to help your dream to have a family become a reality. We are here to walk you through this process and any challenge that may arise from beginning to end.

Contact us online or give us a call at (732) 812-3102.

Considerations for Parental Time and Child Refusal in Brick and Sea Girt, NJ

Contact us for assistance if you have questions regarding your child’s visitation refusal, need help enforcing a child custody order, or face a contempt of court charge related to your custodial agreement.

Visitation Refusal: Legal Concerns That Arise When A Child Refuses Parenting-time in NJIf you have a child custody order due to divorce litigation, a civil union dissolution, or because you are a grandparent or the unmarried parent of a child, your parenting time and visitation rights are legally protected and enforceable. If you refuse to comply with a visitation order with your co-parent or someone you share custody with, you risk being charged with parental alienation and being found in contempt of a court-mandated order and could face possible jail time, penalties, or a reduction in your own parenting-time.

NJ laws are set up to protect children and assure that their best interest is paramount. If your child refuses visitation, it requires your most objective perspective when listening to, acknowledging, responding, and reflecting on why they feel that way. Balancing the need to understand the situation at hand and to keep your child safe from possible emotional, psychological, or physical trauma resulting from a forced visit with an untrustworthy parental figure should not resulting in you violating the other person’s rights.

If you fear for your child’s safety or have previously been involved with high-conflict custody matters with the person you share custody with, contact an experienced Ocean and Monmouth County, NJ child custody attorney to discuss your options. An attorney can advise you on making the best decision, whether requesting emergency custody or arranging mediation to understand the issues at hand better. When your child’s safety is at stake, you may feel overwhelmed, but an experienced attorney can help you make informed decisions so you can fully exercise your rights and protect your child.

To speak with someone and arrange a free consultation related to your child custody issue, call our Brick, NJ office at (732) 812-3102.

At What Age Can A Child Refuse Visitation in NJ?

A child custodial order requires parents to ensure their child is reasonably available for visits with the other party and is a productive tool to help children maintain and build healthy relationships with their parents. Children can go through phases where they may not want to visit their other parent or may have peer-related activities that they would instead participate in. For the rejected parent, this can be painful.

When a child reaches the age of 18, they are considered adults, and adults can decide with whom they share their time. Even if that particular parent they are expected to visit pays child support, and the child has not yet graduated from high school.

Until that child reaches the age of adulthood, each parent is obligated to inform their co-parent when the child is ill or otherwise unable to make a scheduled visit. They are also expected to encourage the visitation process with their child. Of course, there are circumstances when parenting time is impossible, but exploring other options that facilitate or support “virtual visitations” should be explored.

Other Reasons Why a Child Might Refuse to See a Parent in New Jersey

Why a Child Might Refuse to See a Parent in New JerseyIf you have concerns that your child is the victim of child abuse or child neglect, or even in danger due to others who may live with or frequent the home of the other co-parent or guardian, you should contact the police and your attorney immediately. Due to the severe nature of this type of action, it should be used if your child is in imminent danger.

If you need to report abuse, contact the Division of Child Protection & Permanency Child Abuse Hotline (State Central Registry): 1-877-NJ ABUSE or 1-877-652-2873.

However, in most circumstances where visitation is not posing a danger to the child, you need to show a judge that you are doing everything you can to make visits possible. This could mean protecting yourself in these situations by carefully documenting facts and involving your child and the other parent in cases where a child refuses visitation.

Create a Safe Place and Listen to Your Child

When a child refuses visitation, it can be painful for one parent while putting the other in an emotionally challenging position. To gain better insight as to the reasons, one of the most important things to do is provide the child with a safe and comfortable space, so they can openly and freely talk with you.

Depending on the age of the child, if the visit is during the divorce process or following the marital settlement, these feelings may be due to the impact or inconveniences in their new life schedule (i.e., preferring visits with friends, hassles of changing homes, travel time between both locations, possibly missing out on another event or activity, etc.) or an emotional one where they feel either bored, ignored, they don’t have fun, or the co-parent is too strict.

Two options a parent may consider are: having your child discuss their feelings with a child psychologist or request that a child custody evaluation be conducted to get to the root cause of their refusal. Another option, especially in more contentious situations, is for your child to have their own attorney representing their needs and best interests.

Essentially, honesty and openness with both your child and the person with whom you share your custodial agreement can help relieve some of the stress and possible misunderstandings regarding the reasons for refusing visitations.

Practice Open and Compassionate Communication With Your Co-Parent

Because your custody arrangement and parenting time agreement are based on specific court-ordered schedules detailing how your child’s time will be divided between parents, each party has expectations regarding how the shared parental duties of childrearing will be. The reality is that the co-parenting experience requires a bit of flexibility if certain unforeseen (i.e., illness, transportation problems, etc.) circumstances occur and lots of open communication to make sure all parties are on the same page.

Slight adjustments to your parenting time schedule are probably not an issue for the New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part to weigh in on – unless one parent is actively withholding another parent’s rights to spend court-approved time with their child. Minor changes to recoup lost time can likely be managed through an informal agreement between the parents.

When it comes to parenting plans revised due to the COVID pandemic, the ability to compassionately or non-violently communicate for additional hours or days, especially as we move closer to the holiday season, is key.

If you have a successful co-parenting relationship, you could ask that person to call the child on the phone or via video chat or visit your house and you both try to speak with the child who is refusing visits.

A Family Court judge may express more understanding of a parent whose teenager refuses parental visitation, as compared to a five-year-old who does so. What you don’t want, in emotionally confusing situations like these, is for a judge to penalize you for your child’s defiance or your inability to discipline and control the child.

What If I Need to File A Motion for Contempt in Toms River, NJ?

File a motion with the court for contempt by a co-parentWe are prepared to collaborate with your spouse to reach a child custody arrangement peaceably. Still, we are also ready to aggressively defend your rights and needs in court if it becomes necessary.

If no other options exist, our family law team can assist with your case by making application to the court for contemptby your co-parent. In our complaint, we can assemble the most compelling body of evidence to suggest that your child’s other parent has not been abiding by the mandatory orders of the court with regard to parenting time and visitation.

Child Refusing Visitation in Ocean County? We can Help.

The team of attorneys at Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, over the years, has acquired extensive experience providing legal services to clients in Mantoloking, Lavallette, Jackson, Lanoka Harbor, Brick, Toms River, Lacey, and nearby places in all family law-related issues.

Mr. Peter Bronzino as the lead attorney in the firm, shares his experience with each of his clients by working side by side, with fluent communication along the way to help you determine what is the best path to follow in your particular case.

To speak with Peter Bronzino and the legal team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding any parenting, visitation, or child custody issue, please get in touch with us online or through our Brick, NJ office at (732) 812-3102 today.

If Parents Disagree about COVID-19 Vaccines, an Experienced Divorce Attorney can Help

Many divorces are rife with disagreements, some can be worked out in one conversation, and others require several before a consensus is achieved.

Divorce, Children and Vaccines: Who Calls The Shots in New Jersey?If an agreement-even through mediation cannot be reached-it must be decided in family court. Each partner feels that their opinion makes the most sense, and the decision should go their way.  Sometimes, the disagreement comes from an emotional place, whereas the content is not as important as is “winning.”  Frequently, it is helpful to seek legal advice from a knowledgeable source who can give you direction.

This is especially the case when deciding whether or not the children will be vaccinated. With the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines, which are now available in pretty much every pharmacy around, the WHO has recommended that children ages 12 and up to be vaccinated due to the stronger Delta Variant, which has recently been identified as a stronger strain. That being said, opinions differ over vaccines and some parents inevitably fall on different sides of the issue due to religion, medical, and other considerations and priorities.

What about the Child Custody Agreements?

Before discussing which parent has the say-so regarding vaccines, one must identify the type of custody and the rights there within. The custody agreement identifies what kind of custody is endowed to each parent. Legal custody can also be sole or joint and refers to the parent’s educational, religious, and medical decisions (s) for the children. Sole physical custody enables a parent to have the children reside with him/her.  Joint physical custody means the ex-spouses share physical custody of the children.  Frequently, a schedule is worked out between the parents; many choose one week on and one-off or two weeks at a time. Parent’s Joint custody means that both parents must reach an agreement.  If, after discussion, the parents disagree, a trip to family court may be the only solution.

What are my Scenarios in Case of Disagreement?

Hopefully, the disagreement will be solved between you and your former spouse; however, if that isn’t the case, keep the following in mind:

Parents’ Personal Opinions

Both parents are permitted to present evidence/experts to support their refusal to vaccinate their child or not. Historically, personal opinions are not as vital as professional testimony from the child’s medical providers.

Religious beliefs

This is also another point of contention when vaccinating or not vaccinating the children is in dispute. The court must be convinced, with evidence demonstrating a devout following of the religion, to give credit to the argument. Even then, it is frequently insufficient evidence to sway a decision.

Parental involvement

What are my Scenarios in Case of Disagreement?This is also taken into consideration by the court when making its decision.  If the father has spent a much greater percentage of time with the children and is opposed to vaccinating them, the court may rule in his favor.

Parents have their children’s best interests at heart. If one parent refuses to have their children vaccinated, due to a religious belief or a health concern, when an agreement cannot be reached between both parents, the court must decide.  You must have the best legal representation to guide you through this process.

Contact our Family Law Attorneys for a Free Consultation

Our knowledgeable attorneys are ready to go to bat for you and protect you and your children’s rights at Bronzino Law Firm.

Our team is committed to listening to your personal argument and helping you reach an agreement in the child´s best interests. We encourage you to contact us for immediate help in this respect. We have successfully represented a multitude of clients in Brick, Sea Girt, Toms River, Lakewood, Berkeley, Wall Township, and across the Jersey Shore.

If you are involved in or anticipate becoming involved in a legal fight over the COVID-19 vaccine, we urge you to contact us online for a free initial consultation or through our office in Brick, New Jersey at (732) 812-3102.

Children’s Rights vs. Parental Rights Attorneys Ocean and Monmouth County NJ

Serving Families in Ocean and Monmouth County towns including Toms River, Wall, Asbury Park, Point Pleasant, and Brick, NJ

Children's Rights vs Parental Rights Attorneys Ocean and Monmouth County NJNew Jersey child custody laws try to assure that in divorce, civil union dissolution, and unmarried parents child custody cases, that “the best interests of the child” are considered. This basic concept provides NJ Family Courts with the parameters and flexibility in making the most appropriate decisions regarding a child’s placement. As each family situation is unique and because no two cases are exactly alike, and although what constitutes a child’s best interest can vary from case to case, New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part holds the wellbeing of the child at the center of all negotiations in divorce and custody hearings.

Because divorce and custody issues can be emotionally charged experiences for a young child, which can leave a lasting impression on someone suddenly thrust into a very maturely adult process, many parents, as well as courts, are reluctant to involve a child in their decision-making process.

At The Bronzino Law Firm, we are ideally equipped to help you answer tough family-related questions like, “Who will my child live with? What will my relationship with my child look like? and Who gets to decide what is in my child’s best interest?” We understand how to identify each client’s unique concerns and needs when deciding on child custody and craft a plan of action that is in the best interest of our clients and their children. Having fought for – and won – favorable child custody resolutions for clients in Ocean County, Brick, Jackson, Toms River, Point Pleasant, and the surrounding areas, The Bronzino Law Firm is ready and willing to help you too.

Call our office today for a free and confidential consultation regarding your questions and concerns and discuss how we can best serve your needs.

How Does a NJ Child’s Age Factors into Their Ability to Choose Which Parent to Live With?

Divorce and parental separation will affect each child differently. By recognizing each child’s difference and the need to treat them as individuals, this awareness can also help parents understand their child’s ability to participate in deciding which parental figure to live with.

“Sufficient age and capacity” is not defined by law in NJ. Therefore, a child under age 8 is presumptively incapable of expressing a preference. However, the Family Court trial judge will conduct a private interview with the child, using each parent’s questions and the judge’s own. When interviewing children between the ages of 8 and 17, most judges take the child’s version of facts seriously. Using their judicial discretion, they will seek to accommodate the child’s stated wishes if possible.

Although there is no hard and fast age that a child can choose to live with a given parent in NJ, according to state law, a child cannot absolutely decide which parent to live with until they turn 18.  Before that age, a judge will pay close attention to the child’s stated parental living arrangement preferences and base their finding on their best interests.

NJ Children’s Bill of Rights: Can a Child Refuse to Visit their Non-custodial Parent?

The New Jersey Children’s Bill of Rights outlines children’s rights and what they should expect from their parents when the marital relationship ends. A child’s Bill of Rights has often been incorporated into the divorce decree and post-judgment agreements in many cases. Experienced family lawyers see the NJ Children’s Bill of Rights as a key way to ensure that parents understand that their child(ren) should always be their priority while co-parenting.

Your child should have adequate visitation with both parents and should never be denied those visits because of a disagreement between you and your high-conflict co-parent. Even if it is not the child’s desire, each parent has the right to visitation with their child.

A child’s persistent refusal to engage in parenting time with one of the parents can be a strong indicator that something has gone substantially wrong within the family unit and could be a sign of parental alienation. With the support of an experienced family lawyer, a judge may insist on some mental health intervention: a child custody and parenting time forensic evaluation, child therapy, child-centered therapy, family therapy, custody/parenting time mediation, divorce coach, parenting coordinator, parental therapy (individual or otherwise).

Therapy can play a vital role in unlocking your child’s emotional doors, help the child better understand their conflicted feelings, and can support a healthy long-term solution to various family relationship problems.

Contact a Child Custody Attorney with Offices in Brick and Sea Girt, NJ

Child custody attorney Peter J. Bronzino understands that custody hearings can be incredibly stressful. We take pride in mitigating the legal process’s many stresses while protecting our clients’ legal rights throughout Sea Girt, Spring Lake, Wall, Point Pleasant, Silverton, Toms River, Brick, Ocean, and Monmouth Counties. Lean on our extensive experience to secure an amicable and fair child custody agreement whether you are going through a divorce, civil union dissolutionannulment, or are unmarried parents. Attorney Bronzino works hard to reach civil resolutions to family law disputes but will not hesitate to litigate when necessary aggressively.

Please contact us online or through our Brick or Sea Girt offices by calling (732) 812-3102 today for a free and confidential consultation regarding your child custody needs.

What Age Can a Child Decide Where to Live in Ocean and Monmouth County?

Serving Clients in towns including Asbury Park, Wall, Toms River, Brick, Sea Girt, Manasquan, Neptune, Spring Lake, Brielle, and more

What Age Can a Child Decide Where to Live in Ocean and Monmouth County?When facing divorce or civil union dissolution litigation, one of your major concerns may be child custody. As an unmarried parent whose romantic relationship has ended, child support and child custody can play just as important, and often difficult-to-resolve role as they do during any divorce. What will your relationship with your child(ren) look like? Who will the child(ren) live with? And who gets to decide what is in the child(ren)’s best interest? 

Are you involved in a high-conflict custody battle where there is a history of domestic violence or substance abuse? Or are you the parent of someone currently in the middle of a divorce and concerned about your rights as a grandparent and your visitation rights  with your grandchildren?

At The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC we are ideally equipped to deal with tough questions like these. Our experienced attorneys can help you present your position to the courts, help you understand and comply with the associated legal requirements and processes, and ultimately help you to secure the type of custody and visitation agreement that is fair to you and the child(ren). We understand how to identify each client’s unique concerns and needs when deciding child custody, and how to craft a plan of action which is in the best interest of our clients and their children, and in accordance with New Jersey Child Custody Statute N.J.S.A. 9:2-4.

Having fought for – and won – favorable child custody resolutions for clients in Ocean County, Brick, Jackson, Toms River, Point Pleasant, and the surrounding areas, The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC is ready and willing to help you too.

Call our Brick or Sea Girt office today at (732) 812-3102 to discuss your unique needs, concerns, and situation when it comes to any kind of custody matter in a free and confidential consultation.

When Will the Court Consider a Child’s Parental Preference?

According to N.J.S.A. 9:2-4(c), the court must consider 14 factors before making a determination regarding child custody. One of which is the child’s parental preference if they are of sufficient age and capacity to reason. A child’s maturity and ability to reason, not necessarily their chronological age, is assessed on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the presiding judge.

Although it’s highly unusual for a child to testify during a custody hearing or divorce proceedings, the child’s opinion may be made known through a variety of means that removes much of the stress and trauma a child may feel if it has to choose one parent over the other in a public forum. In some cases the judge may interview the child, using their own questions and additional ones provided by attorneys for each party. Responses to these questions are recorded and documented in a court transcript.

Generally, a judge doesn’t have to follow the custodial preferences of a mature child, although a young child’s expressed preference could be an influence affecting a judge’s custody decision. However the court decides, the goal and intent are with the child’s best interests in mind.

Will I need a Guardian ad Litem or child custody evaluator?

Another option in lieu of a child testifying is that the court can appoint a Guardian ad Litem (“GAL”) to represent the best interests of the child. The Guardian ad Litem may do investigations into the fitness of the parents to determine who fits the needs of the child most and can speak with the child to better ascertain their needs and wishes, and share these feelings as part of the custody proceedings. 

A custody evaluator, on the other hand, may be more common in cases that cannot be resolved through mediation. Pursuant to New Jersey Family Courts Rule 5:8-1. Investigation Before Award, many cases involving child custody disputes will involve a child custody evaluation. These evaluations are generally done by family experts, psychologists, social workers, or other individuals who are qualified to recommend a beneficial custody arrangement for the child. At the end of the evaluation process, the findings of the evaluator often have a strong impact on the eventual child custody agreement.

Contact a Toms River Child Custody and Parental Preference Attorney Today

At the Toms River, NJ law office of Peter J. Bronzino, we understand how important your children are to you, and we are ready to work with you to pursue a co-parent or child custody arrangement that works for you and your children. 

We know how to help you negotiate for the child custody settlement you want while staying focused on the best interests of your children. In some situations, it is possible to resolve child custody disputes with creative negotiations and a pledge to collaborate. We are prepared to work with your spouse to peaceably reach a child custody arrangement, but we are also ready to aggressively defend your rights and needs in court if it becomes necessary.

To speak with our offices today in a free consultation about your child custody issue, please contact us online or through our Brick offices at (732) 812-3102.