Tag: visitation rights
Critical Information You Can’t Miss to Defend Your Visitation Rights
Child Support and Visitation Rights Lawyers Providing Support in Little Silver, Lavallette, Toms River in Monmouth and Ocean Counties
There are few things about divorce that are easy, but one of the most difficult for ex-spouses to navigate interpersonally and emotionally is how their divorce will impact their kids. Issues around physical and legal custody of the child can be heart-wrenching for both parents, as everyone wants for their children’s best interests to be at the center of their world. In fact, the New Jersey Superior Court: Family part also places children’s best interests at the heart of any divorce settlement, and it affects everything from their judgments on child custody to visitation and child support. Read on to learn more about how visitation is determined in New Jersey child custody cases and how child support affects it.
Child’s Rights to Spend Time with Both Parents
New Jersey law considers it a child’s right to have a relationship with both parents. As such, the courts consider a child’s time with both of their parents paramount in any divorce and they will ensure that when a parent has been granted full custody, the other parent will receive as much visitation with the child as is appropriate and safe. Whatever the custodial arrangement, both parents will have fair visitation time with their child, as outlined in a parenting time agreement. New Jersey labels the custodial parent, one who the child spends over 72 percent of their time with, as the “parent of primary residence” (PPR). The non-custodial parent is called the “parent of alternative residence” (PAR) in New Jersey. Both have the right to spend quality time with their child if it is safe for the child.
Child support is court-ordered payment by the PAR to the PPR to help the child’s upbringing, and it is not directly related to visitation. However, a court may withdraw visitation rights if a parent does not make their ordered child support payments.
Delayed Support Payments and NJ Visitation Rights
It is not a parent’s prerogative to determine the visitation rights of a child outside of the court-ruled arrangement. As such, if a parent is late on their child support payments, it is the PPR’s duty to report late payments to the New Jersey Department of Human Services, the New Jersey child support payment agency.
Extreme Scenarios to Deny Visitation Rights to a Parent in New Jersey
The New Jersey Family Court is always going to hold the child’s best interests as their central pillar in child custody determinations. The court will generally award the non-custodial PAR either ‘reasonable visitation,’ ‘unsupervised visitation,’ or ‘supervised visitation’ with their child. In some cases, however, the court will deny the parent who does not receive sole custody visitation rights. This generally occurs in severe cases in which, due to a history of domestic violence or drug or alcohol addiction, the court deems the non-custodial parent to be an unsafe influence in the life of the child. This is reserved for extreme cases, as the court considers it a child’s right to have a relationship with both parents regardless of custody status.
What to Do if a Spouse Denies Visitation Rights in NJ
As the non-residential parent, it is your right to have visitation with your child if the court has awarded you reasonable, supervised, or unsupervised visitation. A PAR who has a court order and parenting time plan detailing the original agreement that has been denied may approach the court to hold the custodial parent in contempt. As a first step, you can contact your local authorities to enforce the court order or contact your New Jersey county’s child abduction response team.
If your visitation rights have been arbitrarily suspended in New Jersey, seek counsel from our Brick NJ Family and Custody Lawyers
If you have been denied visitation, a New Jersey family law attorney will ensure that you are granted your rights, both in your child’s best interests and your own. A court ruling that has denied visitation for safety issues due to your past can be revisited with the help of a family lawyer. Additionally, a parent who has been granted visitation by the Superior Court but has issues with the custodial parent following through with the parenting time agreement can rely on the preparation, education, and experience of a lawyer to file a motion in court to enforce the order and even change custodial designation.
If you have been denied visitation rights or your visitation is being withheld, our lawyers are exceptionally positioned to serve on behalf of your child and your best interests. At Bronzino Law Firm, we understand how important your relationship with your child is for their healthy development. We advocate for parents in child support and custody matters in Point Pleasant, Ocean Township, Middletown, Barnegat, Beach Haven, Rumson, and across Ocean and Monmouth County to fight for justice when it comes to custodial and visitation arrangements.
Contact (732) 812-3102 for a free consultation to discuss your particular case and the roads that we can assist you with taking to rectify the situation.
How to Prove a Parent Unfit in a Divorce Case in New Jersey
Divorce is a tough decision to make and having children involved, the complexity becomes even harder to manage.
Divorce is no easy task. Even when separating spouses have an amicable relationship, emotional energies can reach explosive levels due to the many stresses that a divorce proceeding invokes. When children are involved, these conflicts between spouses can reach a whole new level. When parents cannot agree on a custody arrangement, and each is seeking sole or primary custody, their tactics for trying to prove that they are the right to fight for their children can include some downright nasty allegations against the other spouse.
In some cases, these allegations are simply the result of a battle for custody. In other cases, however, a spouse really is unfit to care for the children. If you’re trying to prove that it is not safe for your children to spend time with your ex, and they are unfit to care for your children and should have restricted visitation rights or none at all, contact our divorce and family law firm to learn how we can help protect your family.
What is the definition of an unfit parent in NJ?
According to New Jersey law, an unfit parent is someone who is unable to create a safe and nurturing environment for a child. This could look like a variety of different things: a parent who fails to properly protect and maintain the child, as well as to ensure that their educational needs are met, could be determined by the court to be unfit to care for the child. Another hallmark of a parent who is unfit to provide safety and nourishment for their child is one who engages in dangerous or reckless behavior that could endanger the child, such as someone who abuses drugs or alcohol or someone who has a history of violence in the home. Such a person could lose their custodial or parenting time agreement rights to visitation.
What constitutes an unfit parent in New Jersey?
A New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part judge will review a case against a parent alleged of being unfit to have visitation or custodial rights in a custody hearing. The judge will look for evidence that the parent has created physical, emotional, and psychological harm for the child.
This could include a parent who has:
- displayed dangerous behavior, either directly endangering the child or proving such behavior as habitual in or around the home;
- continuously struggled with alcohol and drug abuse;
- displayed mental health issues, either through examinations conducted in service of the child custody hearing, or prior;
- committed acts of domestic violence against the children or their ex-spouse;
- placed their child in danger by means of neglect.
How do you prove a parent unfit in Ocean County, NJ?
Proving that your ex-spouse is unfit to care for or visit your child is very difficult to do. This is because it is the New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part’s primary focus to keep the well-being of involved children at the center of all custody hearings. And, the Court considers that it is in a child’s best interest to spend time with both parents. As such, in order to prove that a parent is unfit, you must show that your child was harmed by the behavior of your ex-spouse, and it is, therefore, the child’s best interest to not interact with your ex.
In order to prove that your ex is an unfit parent, you will need to gather substantial proof. This could come in the form of documentation such as social media posts and photos that display reckless behavior, court records showing prior legal trouble as well as prior domestic violence claims, medical records evidencing substance abuse, documentation from your child’s school in which they have been reviewed by a school psychologist, and other New Jersey documentation.
You can also document behaviors that show potential for harm for the child. In 2019, the New Jersey Department of Children and Families updated its system for identifying and reporting child abuse. The “Allegation-Based System” can be drawn from to prove that a parent is unfit to have custodial access or visitation rights to a child. The fifteen factors for determining whether a parent is causing harm to a child and is therefore unfit to enjoy basic parenting time agreement rights are reasonably straightforward. In some cases, the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) will become involved, since they are required to initiate an investigation after receiving any report of child abuse or neglect.
Seek the advice of a Family Law attorney to help you make wise decisions for you and your children’s best interest in Brick, NJ
It is highly advisable to consult with a well-versed attorney who regularly handles New Jersey family law and child custody issues to ensure you have strong foundations for your case. When you retain one of the attorneys at Bronzino Law Firm, LLC., you know you can count on a professional who will walk by your side every step of the way. Moving through the law and all of its implications requires knowledge and experience that our attorneys have at your service.
Contact us online or call us today at (732) 812-3102 and allow us to help you in these troublesome times. We are ready to serve your needs as we often do for clients in Howell, Toms River, Manchester, Jackson, Lacey, Point Pleasant, Neptune, and Wall. You can also schedule an appointment to visit our offices in Brick and Sea Girt for a free consultation.
Experienced Family Law Attorneys Will Guide you in your Visitation Rights-Related Case
The nuances of divorce are many, and as society has evolved and the types of custodial arrangements have shifted with them, there have been evolutions to divorce law regarding family visits.
When it comes to grandparent visitation, a national precedent was set in 2000 when the United States Supreme Court ruled in Troxel v. Granville (Washington state) that loose and sweeping fundamental grandparent and third-party visitation rights were not in alignment with a parent’s right to decide what is best for their children. Across the country after that decision, many cases sprung up with parents attempting to reverse rulings in which grandparents had been granted legal rights to visitation under state law. It was in 2003 that this issue hit home in New Jersey. In Moriarty v. Bradt, which went to the New Jersey Supreme Court, the Court ruled that because this underlying visitation right could go against a custodial parent’s view of their child’s best interests, it was therefore unconstitutional and not able to continue as it currently stood. The Court introduced that for grandparent visitation rights to be granted by a New Jersey court, the grandparents would have to prove that their absence from the child’s life caused harm to the child; additional factors of a child’s best interest were laid out that grandparents would have to prove were not being met in their absence.
Moriarty v. Bradt spoke to two specific aspects of the standing grandparents’ visitation rights and created a more solid context for applications for visitation rights. According to the New Jersey Grandparents and Siblings Visitation Statute, all grandparents can apply for the visitation of a grandchild in the custody of their own child’s ex-partner. The specifics of what applications would be accepted are what Moriarty v. Bradt outlined.
When can grandparents have visitation rights?
As noted above, two specific clauses of the New Jersey Grandparents and Siblings Visitation Statute were put into place in Moriarty v. Bradt. The primary question taken into consideration is whether the child will be placed in harm’s way by not having a relationship with the grandparents. The grandparent (as applicant or plaintiff for visitation rights) holds the burden of proof to show that their grandchild is in harm’s way by not having visitation with their grandparent. If the applicant cannot meet this burden of proof, the claim will be dropped without even undergoing a plenary hearing.
The second clause addressed in Moriarty v. Bradt involved an inquiry into the circumstances that would allow for a modification in a current visitation agreement. The Court ruled that “grandparent visitation agreements should be subject to a change of circumstances standard only if the agreement is incorporated into an order or judgment and an application to the court is made for ‘modification of a consent order governing grandparent visitation.’” This means that no circumstantial change is required for grandparents to apply for and receive visitation rights. If a grandparent determines that they believe it is just and in the child’s best interests to have visitation rights with their grandparents, they may apply, even if nothing has changed. Of course, they must meet the threshold showing that the child is faced with undue harm through the separation.
What are some key considerations in determining whether grandparents are allowed visitation?
The New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part considers many factors within the umbrella of the two main standards for accepting a visitation rights application. In determining the threshold for harm to the child, some such considerations include whether the child lived with the grandparent, and for how long; whether the grandparent supported the child financially for any part of their life; how active a role the grandparent played in the child’s life, and whether removal of that presence would cause social/emotional or other harm to the child; whether the grandparents are capable of caring for the child during visitation, in terms of their physical capacities, their mental abilities, and the nature of their relationship with the child’s custodial parent.
To ensure that you are well supported while seeking visitation with your grandchild, it is important that you seek the support of a qualified family law attorney.
Contact our Family Law Attorney for a free consultation at our Brick Office
If you are considering applying for grandparents’ visitation rights or wondering if you may be granted visitation with your grandchildren, speak with a member of our legal team today to discuss your individual situation and find the answers you are desperately seeking.
The Bronzino Law Firm is committed to providing the best quality representation for residents of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, like Little Silver, Holmdel Township, Rumson, Barnegat, Wall, and Beachwood.
If you are facing a suit for grandparent visitation or if you are a grandparent who has been cut off from your grandchild, contact us for help today at (732) 812-3102.
Adoption Attorneys and Parental Rights for Stepparents Monmouth and Ocean County NJ
With the growing number of divorces and single parents finding love again, blended families become increasingly common.
A bond that develops between a stepchild and a stepparent can be extremely close and could be as strong as that of a biological parent and child. Civil union dissolutions and divorce dissolves a marriage, but not parental rights, thus allowing parents’ biological parents to maintain their parental rights to their child. Unfortunately, stepparents who find themselves in the same situation have few legal rights or protections, or inherent child custody options, or visitation rights without pursuing adoption.
Alternatively, the Family Court may view a strong, healthy relationship between the child and the stepparent as beneficial in terms of the child’s best interests. In unique situations like these, the court may favor the stepparent over one of the biological parents, thus positively creating tri-parenting opportunities that give the children a well-rounded and healthy childhood or negatively create parental alienation.
Divorce and high-conflict custody battles are tough, life-changing, and stressful, and children should be shielded from acrimony. If divorce and adoption have not taken place, there are still actions a New Jersey child custody and visitation attorney can take on your behalf to ensure your family’s rights and future are secure. Contact the Bronzino Law Firm, LLC online now to make sure your stepparent rights are protected.
Stepparent Adoptions May Mean The Relinquishing of Parental Rights in NJ
Even if the biological parent against whom the stepparent is seeking a divorce is an unfit parent, the law states that in such a situation, the custody of the child should revert to the other biological parent, not to the stepparent. Although there are some minimal exceptions, it is not totally impossible for a stepparent to sometimes gain custody of a stepchild. If a stepparent believes that both parents are unfit and can demonstrate that abuse has occurred, a stepparent may be able to successfully request custody if he or she can also show that ending a relationship between the child and the stepparent would be detrimental to the child. However, a stepparent should be aware that a court will almost always prefer a blood relative to be the custodian of a child, such as a grandparent, aunt, or uncle.
Particularly noteworthy, in 2014’s K.A.F. v. D.L.M., the NJ Family Court recognized that it was in the child’s best interests to maintain a relationship with a “psychological parent,” a same-sex couple who were ending a civil union. Thus issues raised during this case may be used to defend the rights of a stepparent in other kinds of child custody cases.
The only sure way for a stepparent to be guaranteed to request custody or visitation is to adopt the child. To complete a stepparent adoption, the spouse of the stepparent must agree. If the adoption is completed, the law views the stepparent as the biological and legal parent of the stepchild with the same rights and responsibilities as a biological parent.
Creative Options to Relinquishing Parental Rights & Understanding Stepparents’ Rights
The relinquishing of parental rights is really a worst-case scenario option. A different and effective option that can help you better understand and protect your rights is putting a child custody agreement that will grow and change in different situations as solutions may present themselves. In essence, as long as you are putting your stepchild’s best interests first, you can have the reassurance that the solution you choose is the right one.
The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC team of family law attorneys are devoted to helping parental figures, and the children in their life maintain their relationships. If you or a friend is facing a change in your family life, please schedule an appointment with us today to discuss your rights and plan of action.
Is a Stepparent Financially Obligated to Pay Child Support in NJ?
Stepparents don’t have a specific financial obligation to provide for their stepchild. Generally, NJ Child Support Guidelines calculations do not consider the stepparent’s income or financial situation. The only exception being, if the stepparent adopts the stepchild.
In the event of an adoption, as the child’s legal parent, with all of the same rights and responsibilities of a natural parent, the stepparent could either gain custody of the child or be ordered to pay child support.
Consult a Monmouth Stepparent Parental Rights & Adoption Attorney Today
At The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, our New Jersey family law attorneys are skilled in supporting families across Asbury Park, Wall, Manasquan, Neptune, Spring Lake, and surrounding towns as they undergo the process of negotiating child custody agreements and parenting time schedules.
Our direct approach ensures that the best interests of the child and the rights of our parental clients are met incompatible ways.
Child Custody Attorneys Advising on Vacation & Visitation Schedules During COVID-19
It is time to start talking with your co-parent about child custody modifications or negotiating alternative holiday and special-day visitation schedules.
As summer transitions towards Fall and schools discuss re-opening, COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders, business shutdowns, and civil unrest have prevented many parents who have dissolved their civil union, divorced, separated, or who are unmarried from being able to keep their court-appointed parenting time or scheduled visitations or take the vacations they booked months in advance. This can be exceptionally devastating for co-parents or even grandparents who had not expected this pandemic to last as long as it has, and who have for whatever reason, been limited for an extended period of time, to electronic-based visitations via FaceTime, WhatsApp video chats, Google Hangouts, or Facebook’s various Live or messaging functionalities. Despite the significant increase in COVID-19 cases across the country, many co-parents are ready to reintroduce normalcy to their children’s lives and want to spend quality time with their children and engage in typical summer activities.
With amusements parks and restaurants opening up again, “stay-at-home” being rescinded, and parents who are no longer able to work remotely are preparing to go back to work or send their children to uncertain learning environments, as it relates to child custody, many parents are uncertain how to make up the missed time, get it reinstated, or amend a previous visitation order (i.e., agreeing to a Thanksgiving visit instead of Christmas).
At The Bronzino Law Firm, we understand the value of the parent-child relationship and the significant emotional toll conflicts related to custody and parenting time during this corona pandemic can take on you and your child. Family law attorney Peter J. Bronzino is committed to representing your interests in child custody matters and will take the time to listen to your concerns, understand your family’s unique situation and act as your advocate at every step.
Proactive Co-parenting: Why You Should Rethink Your Winter Vacation Plans
As we mentioned previously in “COVID-19 Co-Parenting Crisis Planning,” fortune favors the prepared. With Christmas five months away, now is the time to start talking with your co-parent about child custody modifications or negotiating fair and reasonable alternative holiday and special days visitation schedule options to reduce stressful high-conflict situations, prevent disappointment, and present a united front in your child’s best interest. This is especially true if, during this pandemic, a co-parent has had to relocate some distance in-state or simply out of state due to work or personal circumstances (i.e., a sick relative).
By providing an opportunity for open dialogue and a transparent, communicative process earlier, the likelihood of misunderstandings or additional conflict can be greatly reduced and hopefully resolved before the child’s actual scheduled visitation period.
Not having options available to you, especially around the typical winter family holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas, could mean your child being greatly disappointed, extremely traumatized, feeling abandoned, or in a situation that leads to parental alienation and additional stress in an already unprecedented time of death and uncertainty. It could even lead to one parent bringing legal action to enforce a child custody agreement or visitation rights.
The family law attorneys at The Bronzino Law Firm have helped parents maintain their close relationships with their children and have fought for and won favorable child custody resolutions for clients in Ocean County, Brick, Jackson, Toms River, Point Pleasant, and the surrounding areas. Our experienced attorneys know how to craft a plan of action in the best interest of our clients and their children and are ready and willing to help you too!
Should I Keep My Travel Plans to Another State or Travel Outside the USA?
As a result of New Jersey listing 22 states as COVID-19 hotspots and many states and countries requiring visitors to quarantine for up to 14 days, it may not be advisable to risk infection or because of voluntary self-quarantining only see the inside of a hotel room. It is recommended you discuss your travel plans with your co-parent and consider rebooking your vacation for another time or request a refund for any expenses related to a trip you are unable to take during this pandemic.
Let Us Fight Your Custody Battle – Across Ocean & Monmouth County
If you are involved in or anticipate becoming involved in a legal fight over the visitation schedule or custody of your child, we urge you to contact us online for a free initial consultation or through our office in Brick, New Jersey at (732) 812-3102.