No Custody Change Absent Changed Circumstances
- March 12, 2015
- No comments
In B.T. v. T.T., a case that was appealed from Union County, the Defendant appealed from a 2013 Family Court Order that denied her application to gain custody of the parties’ daughter. The New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed the Order pertaining to the custody issue. According to the Appellate Division, a party “seeking to modify custody must demonstrate changed circumstances that affect the welfare of the children.” Hand v. Hand, 391 N.J. Super. 102, 105 (App. Div. 2007); Borys v. Boyrs, 76 N.J. 103, 115-16 (1978). A party seeking such a modification bears the burden of proof. Innes v. Carrascosa, 391 N.J. Super. 453, 500 (App. Div.) certif. denied, 192 N.J. 73 (2007). In the case on appeal, the parties’ daughter was born in January of 2006 and was removed from the Defendant’s custody in 2011 following an armed home invasion of the apartment that she shared with her boyfriend. The child began living with the Plaintiff, her father, in Pennsylvania at the time. In March of 2011, the Family Court issued an Order continuing the Plaintiff’s temporary custody of the child. In 2012, the court held a two-day hearing regarding the custody of the parties’ child on the application of the Defendant to regain custody. The court subsequently denied the Defendant’s Motion and continued the custody of the child with the Plaintiff and gave the Defendant visitation on alternate weekends. In 2012, the Defendant made allegations that the Plaintiff was not properly attending to the child’s medical and dental needs, allegations that the Plaintiff refuted. In 2013, a Family Court judge noted that he was in receipt of a report from the DCP&P that investigated the allegations against the Plaintiff and found all to be unfounded. The report also indicated that the Defendant’s allegations against the Plaintiff date back to 2007 and all “have been deemed repetitive and . . . unfounded.” The Family Court judge carefully reviewed the entire record and found no evidence to support the Defendant’s different allegations against the Plaintiff and also finding that she failed “to make a showing of substantial change in circumstances.” Therefore, denying her request for a change in custody. For the same reasoning, the Appellate Division affirmed the Family Court’s decision to deny the Defendant’s request. Child custody and parenting time cases are of the most emotional and difficult cases in all of family law. If you anticipate that you may want to petition the court for a modification of your current child custody arrangement it is critical that you seek out the advice of an experienced attorney before moving forward. For more information about child custody, parenting time, mediation, or other family law matters in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes and in no way is intended to replace the advice of an attorney.