Saturday, January 12, 2013

Court Fails to Consider Intent of Domestic Violence Statutes

Under the New Jersey domestic violence statutes, the non-abusive spouse is to receive custody of the children barring extenuating circumstances. New Jersey Statute 2C:25-29b(11) includes a presumption that the best interests of the children are served by an award of custody to the non-abusive parent. Additionally, exclusive possession of the marital residence is granted to the non-abusive party and the best interests of the children are further served by remaining in the home they are accustomed to. In the recent case, J.D. v. M.A.D., the New Jersey Appellate Division reversed the decision of the trial court which continued the parties agreement granting the abusive defendant temporary custody of the parties' children and possession of the martial home. The trial court erroneously held that defendant should continue as the primary caregiver of to the parties children. The trial court failed to properly consider that Defendant became the primary caregiver and obtained sole custody of the marital residence after excluding wife therefrom following multiple episodes of domestic violence when he discovered she was having an affair. The basis of the Appellate Division's reversal was the intent of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act to protect victims of domestic violence. The N.J. Appellate Division also pointed to the correlation between domestic violence and child abuse in reversing the decision regarding who was to be primary caregiver. If you are facing a custody dispute as a result of a domestic violence matter, you should consult an experienced family law attorney immediately in order to protect your rights. For more information on child custody, domestic violence, paternity, child support, parenting time/visitation, adoption, dissolution of a civil union, marriage or domestic partnership, modifications, alimony, palimony or other family law matters in New Jersey visit This blog is for informational purposes only and in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney regarding your specific matter.

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