Articles Tagged with Parenting Time

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On August 15, 2017, the New Jersey Appellate Division approved for publication the decision in the matter of E.S. v. H.A (A-3230-14T2 and A-3256-14T2), in which the Appellate Division addressed whether a parent may be required to admit to a crime as a condition for that parent to be able to make an application for visitation with one’s child.  The Appellate Division concluded that parents cannot be required by the state to forego their Constitutional right against self-incrimination as a condition to seek custody or visitation with their child.

In this case, the parties divorced in 2009, but they had been unable to resolve their custody and parenting time dispute over their son, Richard, by the time of the divorce.  During the litigation, Plaintiff’s two requests for domestic violence restraining orders against Defendant were denied.  During the litigation she reported to the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) that Defendant had sexually abused Richard on two occasions, leading to the suspension of Defendant’s visitation.   One month after the divorce, DCPP determined that the “abuse was substantiated for sexual molestation” of Richard by Defendant as to one of the two alleged incidents.  While Defendant pursued an administrative appeal of the DCPP findings, Plaintiff filed an application in the family court seeking to reinstate a suspension of Defendant’s parenting time.  The family court scheduled a hearing to determine whether it was in Richard’s best interest for parenting time with Defendant to resume, and appointed a psychologist to conduct an evaluation.

By the time of the hearing in 2012, Defendant had withdrawn his appeal of the DCPP findings.  The family court in 2013 issued an oral opinion, finding that there was clear and convincing evidence that Defendant had sexually abused Richard.  The court granted Plaintiff sole legal and physical custody of Richard and denied Defendant parenting time.  As recommended by the psychological experts, the court further ordered that if the Defendant (1) admitted wrong-doing; (2) submitted to a psycho-sexual evaluation; and (3) participated in individual therapy, he could apply for a consideration of future parenting time through Therapeutic Management Reunification.

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Earlier this month, a March, 2017 written opinion by family court judge the Honorable Russell J. Passomano, J.S.C. was approved for publication in the matter of BG-v-LH (FM-07-468-13).   In this published opinion the court addressed issues of296050aba1c021ff4a7e4cab0ed498d2-1-300x200 jurisdiction in a custody and parenting time dispute where one party had relocated with the children out of the state of New Jersey, but the parties had reached an agreement as part of their divorce that future custody disputes would be decided under New Jersey law and in New Jersey courts.  This case contains a detailed analysis that a family court undergoes to resolve jurisdiction issues and the application of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. Continue reading

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The 18th century educational writer, W.E. Hickson, is credited with popularizing the proverb: “’Tis a lesson you should heed: Try, try, try again. If at first you don’t succeed, Try, try, try again.”  On IMG_0187June 10, 2016 the New Jersey Appellate Division decided the case of KL-v-DL, in which after nearly three years of continuous litigation, a father succeeded in having the trial court reconsider its prior order relating to additional visitation with his daughter.  The protracted litigation began not long after the divorce complaint was filed on June 14, 2013.   Continue reading

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I am always encouraged when parents who are ending their relationship strive to put aside their own personal conflict with one another to try to do what is best for their children.  It is well aacknowledged that it is important to children’s development for them to have consistency and stability in their lives.   Children may have already experienced and witnessed discord and strife when their parents are splitting up, and may experience worry and uncertainty about what their living arrangements are going to be when their parents are no longer living together.   Parents who strive to maintain a life of consistency and reduced volatility after the parents have ended their relationship should be lauded.  How to put into practice the desire for consistency for the children can be difficult. Continue reading

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Regardless of your faith, or lack thereof, the American holiday season is upon us. Few would disagree that Halloween is the preseason opener and Thanksgiving the actual kick-off to the holiday season.  It really doesn’t matter what you believe; you recognize these holidays and have a manner of dealing with them. Over time, the method of recognizing or ignoring holidays becomes a family tradition, one which establishes our footing in the world. When we marry, we bring these traditions with us and try to build them into our new family.  As children are born, we build these traditions around our children and the modern reality that life and career may move us far from our place of origin. Continue reading

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Frequently, clients come to me complaining that their spouse or partner is exposing their children to dating relationships or conversely ask what should be their response to a spouses objection. Generally I advise that one should follow a common sense approach, meaning one should look at the effect on the children and not rush to judgment automatically, contrary to the position of one’s spouse. I think it is fair to say in general that children should not be exposed to serial partners who are all introduced as mom’s or dad’s new best friend. Continue reading

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On January 12th 2015, the Appellate Division published its opinion in the case of Costa v. Costa.  In Costa, the parties were married in 1994 and divorced in 2006.  They had two children together, one being born in 1997 and the other in 2000.  By way of settlement agreement entered into at the time of the divorce, the parties agreed the mother would be the primary residential custodian and that they would share joint legal custody of the children. Continue reading

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The Appellate Division recently handed down a clear and unambiguous message to triall courts and litigators alike regarding custody disputes and how they should be handled procedurally, regardless of whether the case is pre- or post-judgment.  The case, entitled D.A. v. R.C., involved the biological parents of a fourteen (14) year old boy each seeking to be designated as the parent of primary residence approximately ten (10) years after entering into a consent order resolving all issues of custody between them.  Continue reading

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We all look forward to the holiday season. Traditions developed around holidays build a collective family memory that binds us together uniquely and permanently. We bring the traditions we learn in our childhoods into our marriages and incorporate them with our spouse’s traditions into a new hybrid tradition. We do this generation to generation creating traditions and cementing the family across generations. Continue reading

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On August 6, 2014, the Appellate Division published the decision in KAF v. DLM., in which the Court clarified the standard that family courts are to apply when considering applications by a third party seeking custody and/or visitation and claims that he or she is a “psychological parent” to a child who already has fit and involved legal parent(s). Continue reading