Edward R. Weinstein, Esq.

This is a red-hot issue for New Jersey lawyers, judges and child custody experts alike. This is because New Jersey law has recently changed the legal standard regarding a parent’s ability to move from New Jersey to another state. Previously, a judge of a New Jersey Family Court would consider the parent was moving away “in good faith” and is it in the best interest of the child. However due to the following new case that they attorneys at our law firm have studied with a close eye, the new stand is only whether or not the move would be in the best interests of the child.

In Bisbing v. Bisbing, Jaime Taormina Bisbing and Glenn R. Bisbing, III married on August 27, 2005. Twin daughters were born of the marriage on November 17, 2006. During the marriage, Jaime, the wife, commuted to work in New York City while Glenn, the husband, worked in New Jersey. The parties separated in 2013 and constructed a Marital Settlement Agreement (“Agreement”), which was executed on March 8, 2014. The terms of the Agreement stated that Jaime would be the parent of primary residence, meaning the children would live with their mother. According to the Agreement, the twins would visit Glenn one weeknight every other week and stay over Glenn’s house every other weekend. The Agreement also stated that the parties would share joint legal custody, meaning that Jaime and Glenn would decide together on important issues regarding their children. The Agreement provided a holiday parenting schedule and allowed both parents to attend all events relating to the children. The Agreement also addressed the issue of relocation. The relocation provision stated that the parties would notify each other if there was a change in residence, and that neither party would move out of New Jersey with the children without written consent from the other parent.

Continue reading

No. Child Support under New Jersey law is clear that child support is intended for the “child” and not the “parent.” Therefore, the lawyers at our law firm in East Brunswick, New Jersey understand that as the child support is legally for the “child,” a parent cannot waive the money as it is not theirs to waive.

In Conte v. Ainsworth, the parties had one child, a daughter, born in 1992. After the child was born, the parties consented to an agreement that included a parenting time schedule and an amount the father was to pay the mother each week in child support. The father agreed to pay the mother child support each week until the parties’ daughter was emancipated, meaning when she would be legally recognized as an adult. The father never utilized his parenting time and did not see the parties’ daughter until she was an adult. At the time of the trial, the father was paying $330 per week in child support toward the parties’ daughter, who is presently twenty-five years old.

Continue reading

Yes. Once a Judge of the Family Part of the Superior Court of New Jersey finds that domestic violence happened on the day(s) in question, they shall then allow your lawyer to take testimony of any and all acts of domestic violence that have occurred in the past. Significantly, a history of domestic violence shall be taken into consideration by a judge of a New Jersey Family Court even if was never reported to the police. This is because it is sadly often that the victim of the cycle of domestic violence is afraid to reach out for help for fear of revenge at the hands of their domestic abuser. Other factors that frequently come into play for the attorneys at our law firm is the victim is afraid they may lose custody of their children or they are at the mercy of their

In S.M.E. v. A.E., husband A.E. appealed from a final restraining order entered by the Superior Court of New Jersey, Family Part of Morris County on January 3, 2016, after finding that he assaulted his wife, S.M.E. at her house, and threatened her when they were in the middle of getting a divorce. The New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed the final restraining order, for substantially the same reasons expressed in David J. Weaver’s comprehensive oral opinion that was rendered before entry of the final restraining order. Generally, just proving that that one of the predicate acts of domestic violence established in New Jersey Statute 2C:25-19(a) occurred is not enough to automatically trigger the entrance of a domestic violence restraining order. While such a determination may be self evident, the authoritative standard is whether a restraining order is needed, according to an evaluation of the factors enumerated in New Jersey Statute 2C:25-29(a)(1) to -29(a)(6), to protect the victim from immediate danger or to prevent future abuse. However, in S.M.E. v. A.E. the New Jersey Appellate Division held that when a predicate act of domestic violence is an action that inherently involves the use of physical violence and force, the decision to enter a final restraining order is most often perfunctory and self-evident. As such, the New Jersey Appellate Division deferred to the findings of the Honorable Judge Weaver, which they found to be based on substantial credible evidence in the record, and affirmed the final restraining order entered by the Family Part of Morris County.

Continue reading

First of all here in New Jersey, the child custody lawyers at our law firm understand that every child deserves to have weekend (i.e., “fun”) time with each parent, respectively. Furthermore, it is important for both parents, absent extreme circumstances, to have weekend time with their child. All told, if one parent does not have any weekend time with school aged children then they become the “bad cop” during the school week while the other parent gets to be the “good cop” on fun weekends. This lawyer’s following analysis of a recent New Jersey appeal demonstrates how these attorneys made their respective arguments as to the issue.

In Fisher v. Szcyglowski, mother Melissa Fisher appealed an order of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Family Part of Burlington County dated January 8, 2015, that directed that each parent would share equal parenting time, on an alternating weekly basis, with their only child, Tom. Melissa argued that the father’s, Gregory Szcyglowski, parenting time should have actually been limited to Thursday through Sunday on alternating weeks. After reviewing the relevant legal principles and the factual record, the New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed the order of the Family Part.

When Tom was born in January 2014, the parents had been dating for about two years. At the time of the litigation, Melissa lived in New Jersey and Gregory lived in Maryland. Both the parents worked for the United States Navy. Melissa worked at a naval base in Philadelphia, and Gregory worked at a naval base in Maryland. Due to their respective maternity and paternity leave benefits, the parents were able to live together after Tom was born, until June 2014. From Tom’s birth until Gregory’s paternity leave ended in March 2014, the family lived in Melissa’s house. After Gregory resumed his job, the family lived together in his house in Maryland during the workweek, and in Melissa’s house on the weekends. As such, for about the first five months of his life, Tom was cared for by both parents who lived in the same household.

Continue reading

Yes. Under New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act any threats made through a mutual friend or family member intended for the victim to hear represents harassment to this restraining order attorney. In fact, all of the lawyers at our East Brunswick, New Jersey law firm are all well versed on all aspects of what amounts to domestic violence.

In S.R. v. M.D., the parties were married in February 2012 in Jordan. The parties had fraternal twins born in June 2013.   The parties separated later in 2013. The children lived with the wife in the United States while the husband traveled between the United States and Jordan because he was not a United States citizen. The wife filed a complaint seeking a Final Restraining Order (“FRO”) against the husband under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991 (“PDVA”) on October 2, 2015. In the complaint, the wife alleged acts of domestic violence. In the complaint, the wife claimed that the husband harassed her on September 1, 2015 and September 25, 2015 by sending threatening text messages and phone calls to the wife and her friends. The wife also claimed that the husband called her inappropriate and offensive names, threatened to take the children away, and threatened to tell welfare that the wife had made fake claims. The husband allegedly made these threats because the husband’s immigration status was revoked when the wife discovered that the husband was married to another woman in Jordan and reported the husband to the immigration authorities. In the complaint, the wife also claimed that there was a history of domestic violence. Specifically, the wife stated that the husband threatened to kill her by holding a knife to her chest on March 5, 2013. The husband also allegedly drove his car toward the wife and a friend in July of 2014, and the husband allegedly threatened to rape the wife in May 2015.

Continue reading

When I first began my career as a divorce and family lawyer in 1996 in my hometown of East Brunswick, New Jersey, I quickly understood that the credibility of my client in the eyes of a judge of the Family Part of the Superior Court of New Jersey was essential. To that end, as we have all watched the technology explosion dramatically change the way we live our day-to-day lives, both attorneys and judges alike now have a flood of hard evidence right there on everyone’s smartphones and the like.

EDDIEVIDEO-300x225

In fact, a vast majority of evidence entered into family law trials in the state of New Jersey are either text messages or Facebook posts. In a recent case, the mother of a child moved for sole custody alleging the child would be in danger if left alone with the father. However, hard evidence demonstrated that the mother repeatedly text the father, on the very same weekend that she was drafting her ex parte Order to Show Cause, repeatedly asking him to watch their child. Needless to say, this parent’s credibility was shattered and her request for sole custody was denied. Following please find a detailed analysis of this case that is a great example of credibility being king in a courtroom.

Continue reading

In over 20 years of family law and divorce practice here in my hometown of East Brunswick, New Jersey, I can assure you that we strive to settle our cases. However, it is essential that your lawyer will not “blink” when our adversary states, “we shall have trial.”

Following you shall see how the zealous and diligent attorneys at our law firm prepare for trial. As the old lawyer cliché says, “Preparation is everything.”

TRIAL PREPARATION

No. As seasoned parenting time lawyers, the attorneys at our law firm appreciate that while most New Jersey Family Court judges prefer to grant a parent the right of first refusal, the court’s decision shall always be driven by the best interests of the child. In other words, if one parent cannot be with the child and the other parent is available, then that parent should have the right to spend time with their child before the child went to a third party such as a babysitter or daycare. However, if a New Jersey family Court finds that the child is not best served in such a scenario, the right of first refusal shall be denied. Of significant note, if the child’s parents are constantly fighting, this could cause a judge to limit their interactions. The case below contains similar facts as well as the court’s reasoning for denying the argument of right of first refusal in this instance.

In Ferrer v. Durkin, ex-husband Joseph Durkin appealed from an order of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Family Part of Camden County which was entered after a plenary hearing on December 16, 2015, that denied his request for more parenting time. On appeal, the New Jersey Appellate Division found that Judged Shusted, the Family Part judge, correctly applied the law to the specific circumstances of the case as he found them after hearing testimony, and affirmed the decision of the Family Part of Camden County.

Continue reading

The ability to serve an individual with a lawsuit on Facebook and other popular social media and social networking services.is quickly becoming a reality under New Jersey law. In a recent case, an adopted ten-year-old child was being harassed by a stranger claiming that they were the child biological father, first via Instagram and then on Facebook. He even used pictures that he obtained from the child’s mother’s Facebook page and posted them on his Facebook page in order to further claim that he is the child’s father. The parents then hired an attorney to obtain a permanent injunction

EDDIEVIDEO-300x225

The typical manner in which an attorney shall serve a party is via “personal service.” A sheriff’s officer or a process server personally handing the Complaint upon the defendant effectuates service. However, the are other matters, pursuant to New Jersey’s Rules of Court, that allow for regular and certified mail as a proper method of serving a defendant. Finally, as a means of last resort, a lawyer may serve a defendant by was of publication.   Practically speaking this means obtaining permission from a judge to place a notice in the defendant’s local newspaper in order to give them notice that they have been named as a defendant in a lawsuit in New Jersey.

Continue reading

The lawyers at our law firm here in East Brunswick, New Jersey, handle many child custody disputes. Needless to say, emotions run very high which may result in one parent having to obtain a restraining order against the other while the child custody case is still ongoing. The attorneys at our New Jersey based law firm have had many cases wherein the temporary restraining order was absolutely necessary to protect the victim. However and regretfully, we have also had cases in which a questionable temporary restraining order is obtained by one parent with the underhanded goal of hoping to gain an “upper hand” in the child custody dispute. This blog analyzes how a judge of the Family Part of the Superior Court of New Jersey decides if the restraining order is “credible” or was obtained for the sole purpose of gaining an unfair advantage in the pending child custody case.

EDDIEVIDEO-300x225

In A.S. v. V.S., the Honorable Judge Jones of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Family Part of Ocean County, addressed the problem of evidentiary issues in a domestic violence case, when a complaint is simultaneously filed in a Family Part court relating to issues of parenting time, child custody, support, divorce, separation, or other related issues. Judge Jones held that under the principle enumerated in Murray v. Murray, when a complaint alleging domestic violence is filed on or near the same time as another family court complaint, the may can appropriately consider the proximity of the filing as relevant to issues of motivation, credibility, bias, and the possibility that the domestic violence complaint was filed in order to gain a legal advantage, in regards to rulings about support, custody or other similar issues. However, in terms of evidence, Murray does not automatically create a presumption that a domestic violence complaint that is filed at the same time of companion family court litigation is not legitimate. Even though it is possible that one party may have filed a domestic violence complaint in an effort to acquire a legal advantage in another litigation, it is just as possible that as a result of family court litigation, the other party committed domestic violence. Furthermore, because of the specific nature of domestic violence, a complaint alleging domestic violence can be substantiated by testimonial evidence by one of the parties, without the need for video proof, or eyewitnesses.

Continue reading