Does a Restraining Order Affect Child Custody in New Jersey?

child custody new jersey nj

Some of the most legally and emotionally impactful situations in family law revolve around domestic violence and the resulting legal actions of temporary restraining orders and final restraining orders. For victims of domestic violence and abuse, securing legal protection for themselves and their children is of the utmost importance. Conversely, individuals falsely accused of domestic violence need to deal with the restrictions and ramifications of a charge swiftly and effectively in order to avoid serious long-term consequences. One of the consequences of a restraining order in New Jersey is its effect on your right to child custody. For more information, please read on, then contact an attorney experienced in child custody and domestic violence matters today.

Your ex obtained a restraining order under false pretenses – will it change child custody?

If your ex has falsely accused you of domestic violence to obtain a Temporary Restraining Order and curtail your access to your shared child, the courts may reduce his or her access to your shared child during the negotiation of a child custody agreement or a motion to modify a child custody agreement. In the eyes of the court, exposure to a parent capable of such a degree of deceit and manipulation is very likely not in the child’s best interests.

What will happen to your right to child custody after a restraining order has been finalized?

Should the court find that you have, in fact, committed acts of domestic violence, they have the authority to limit your visitation time with your child or deny it altogether, depending on the circumstances of the case. In cases involving domestic violence, a judge will consider the following factors when awarding child custody or modifying a child custody arrangement:

  • Whether the incidents of domestic violence were aimed at the child, the other parent or both
  • Whether the violent parent continues to pose a threat to the child or the other parent
  • Whether the violent parent has a criminal record or a pending criminal case
  • The number of incidents of domestic violence
  • What injuries, if any, were inflicted during the act(s) of domestic violence
  • The testimony of any involved police officers or other concerned parties

What decisions can the judge make?

The judge may order the violent parent to seek counseling, attend anger management or attend parenting courses with the intended goal of becoming a more fit parent. Whether that judge only temporarily limits the offending parent’s child custody contingent upon their rehabilitation or permanently revokes that parent’s access to, and visitation with, their child will all depend on the evidence and the judge’s discretion.

Please do not proceed without one of our skilled domestic violence lawyers in Bergen County, NJ fighting on your behalf.

Contact our experienced Bergen County firm

To speak with our team of family law lawyers today, please contact us online, or through our Hackensack, NJ office at (201) 397-1750.

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