Hackensack Custody Dispute Attorneys
Protecting the Best Interests of Your Children
Perhaps the most crucial issue to get a handle on as early as possible in the proceedings is whether custody or parenting time will be in dispute. Often, parties are taken by surprise by the institution of a divorce proceeding and even when both parties have discussed the divorce in advance and agree to proceed with dissolution, they often have not given consideration to what their post-divorce lives with the children will look like.
Trust Laterra & Hodge, LLC. Our Hackensack family law attorneys are ready to help you through your dispute. Call (201) 580-2240.
Mediation vs. Court
Shortly after the filing of the Complaint for Divorce, the parties’ first court appearance takes place. This court appearance is called a case management conference, and it is the hearing at which the judge has the opportunity to meet the parties and ascertain the issues in dispute.
If the parties cannot definitively tell the judge on this date that the custody and parenting time issues will not be in dispute, then the judge will order the parties to attend custody and parenting time mediation. This mediation takes place soon after the case management conference.
If the parties cannot reach an agreement at mediation, then a custody evaluation becomes necessary. It is important that if custody is in dispute that they begin the evaluation process as soon as possible with the help of a Hackensack family lawyer, as the process can be lengthy, and neither party wants to find himself or herself without an expert report when the time for trial arises.
As for evaluation process, custody experts are assigned to perform these evaluations. Custody experts are usually either psychologists, psychiatrists, or licensed clinical social workers. The parties have their option of either agreeing on a single custody evaluation to perform a joint custody evaluation, having the court appoint an expert to perform a single, joint custody evaluation, or each of the parties may appoint his or her own custody evaluation.
Pursuant to the New Jersey Rules of Court, the court may not entertain the recommendations of a custody expert until the party opposing the recommendations has had the opportunity to cross-examine the expert. Moreover, parties are to be afforded the opportunity to secure a rebuttal expert. The point here is that because custody determinations are sensitive and concern the well-being of a child, courts are requires to take extra caution in making such determinations.
At Laterra & Hodge, LLC, our Hackensack child custody lawyers pride ourselves on the degree of attention that we give to disputes concerning custody and parenting time. We will be with you every step of the way to prepare you for the mediation, evaluation, and litigation process. Schedule your free consultation now.