Our Toms River Child Custody Lawyers helped a client regain her parental rights today in Ocean County Superior Court. The client was facing a tough DYFS case at the same time her divorce case was going on. As a result of her cases being mismanaged by a prior attorney, her case was a total mess. In fact, these cases appeared hopeless from the surface. However, when our lawyers see a tough case, we get tougher.worked non-stop to fight against the non-stop allegations from her husband, the law guardian and DYFS. The judge was a second away from putting the client in in-patient but we prevented it from happening.continued to fight hard and at the next court appearance, we got the DYFS case dismissed and as a result, the client’s visitation was no longer supervised.
In this case, our client (the father) had a vindictive ex call DYFS (now DCPP) on him and make false allegations of child abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, the client did not call us when dealing with the DYFS investigation. Like many people, he felt that he didn’t need a lawyer because he didn’t do anything wrong. He wasn’t using drugs so why not take a drug test? After passing several tests, he failed one. He swore that he didn’t use any drugs so we made sure that he took a hair follicle test. We then worked with DYFS to close out their investigation once we were able to show them that this was a false positive. We also made sure that DYFS sent over a report to the court. The timing of everything was very close but the court received everything the day before the motion date. As a result, the mother’s motion to suspend parenting time was denied and our client’s visitation rights were restored just in time for the holidays.
This was a very difficult case because the client had a previous DYFS case where he was found to have abused or neglected his child. As a result, he wound up losing most of his parental rights. His parents were given primary custody of the child which worked out fine for a while. However, the client eventually moved out and a rift eventually developed between himself and his parents. They made numerous allegations against him in an attempt to prevent him from having primary custody of the child. The mother had absolutely no parental rights so the real right was between him and his parents. His brother also made very serious allegations against him and the mother of the child joined in with the parents. Thus, it felt like the world was against us. Complicating matters even further was that the client never went back to court to change the custody arrangements. Instead, he just worked it out on his own with his parents. This caused a lot of problems for the court as there was a DYFS finding against the client. Nevertheless, we fought hard over two court appearances. At the end, we were able to preserve my client’s parental rights and we kept him as the parent of primary residence.
This case was a different type of fight. Instead of fighting over custody, we were fighting over jurisdiction. The client knew that the state that established jurisdiction would forever impact his parental rights and obligations. The mother fought to keep the case in New Jersey and we fought to keep it in Pennsylvania. Even though the mother represented herself at the first court appearance, it still wasn’t a cake walk. We had to fight hard to get what we wanted and we did. Within two weeks, the mother hired a powerful law firm to file a motion to reconsider. We had to battle even harder and we did. The Court once again sided with us and the jurisdiction was kept in Pennsylvania.
This case showed that it pays to keep fighting but it also pays to do things the right way first. We represented the mother of a 5 year old who was never married to the father. Since there was no divorce, there was no reason to force the parties in court. However, it would have been smart to reduce the custody and support agreement into a court order. Because they didn’t, all hell broke loose when another family member put the child in danger. The father refused to return the child for parenting time. Without a formal court order, there was nothing for the police to do so both parties filed an order to show cause in family court. Both sides showed up with lawyers and the other side fought hard. The presiding judge met with us in chambers and informed us that the child would be given to the father. Our client was devastated. The judge wanted us to just accept it and go home. We informed the judge that we didn’t get hired to sell the client out so we had to keep fighting. A few minutes later we went back into court and Jef Henninger put everything he had into the case. Amazingly, the judge completely changed her mind and awarded custody to our client! The other side was shocked as they were just gloating as to how they beat us.