The Family Court is solely concerned with what is in the best interest of the child. In some instances, it is the Court’s duty to interfere with a parent’s right to care and make decisions for the children for the best interest of the child.
The Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP), formerly Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), may intervene if there are allegations that a child is being abused or neglected.
The DCPP receives reports from the general public and from mandatory reporters, such as:
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for allegations to be made to the DCPP during the course of a divorce or a custody proceeding, by one parent in an attempt to gain an advantage over the other. It may be unpleasant to have the DCPP involved in your life during an already stressful time, however, they must investigate such allegations. A finding that someone has abused or neglected their child can have far reaching consequences for a parent, not only implicating a potential change or modification of parenting time with their children, but in their employment opportunities and ability to become a foster parent or to adopt.
In extreme circumstances, where the Court has found that a parent has abused or neglected their child, the DCPP could request to terminate a parent’s rights. This means that they will move to sever all rights and legal ties a parent has to their child.
The Deputy Attorney General, on behalf of the DCPP, must prove a number of things including:
In New Jersey, a grandparent or a sibling may make an application to the Court for visitation with a child, over a parent’s objection. This may be an extremely difficult time when someone is requesting visitation with your child. However, the applicant has the burden to prove beyond a preponderance of the evidence that visitation with the grandparent or sibling is in the best interest of the child. A Court must take into consideration several factors, including the relationship between the child and applicant and the relationship between the applicant and the child’s parents or guardians.
The attorneys at Riordan & Associates, LLC have represented parents, grandparents, and other interested parties in these emotional high-conflict matters. Contact our firm at (973) 577-4118 for a consultation.