Custody can always be changed, it is just a matter of when it is warranted. An example of where and when it was warranted.
I had a recent case where a married couple lived in the same 2 family house, mom downstairs, dad upstairs. At the time, the mom had custody of the children with the kids staying with dad about half the time whether by way of overnights or having dinner with dad after school. Mom began dating a man known to be a drug dealer and convicted felon who started sleeping over the house more and more. Dad would smell the intense odor from their marijuana use and the children corroborated seeing a green substance and “weird looking pipes.” We went to court for an immediate hearing by way of order to show cause in the Essex County Family Court where the Judge ruled that the boyfriend could not be in the home at all. After a few weeks, the boyfriend reappeared and the same problems began to present themselves placing the children at risk. Again, we went back to court for an emergency hearing where the Judge gave dad full residential custody and had mom tested for drugs which came out positive for marijuana.
It is often difficult for a single parent or a divorced parent to know that a new man or woman is around his or her kids but life goes on. Old cases in New Jersey made it harder for the paramour/new love interest to be around but a recent case heard by Judge Lawrence Jones focused on the new reality of divorce rates, single parenting and so forth. Judge Jones called for fewer restrictions on contact between the child and the new person in mom or dad’s life, which does make sense. In his August 3, 2015 decision, Judge Jones indicated that an indefinite ban on contact is unenforceable absent any evidence of inappropriate conduct. He then went on to say that contact should be increased gradually and that is tailored to the child’s needs. Common sense finally prevails. While we do not want a single mother or father introducing their children to every love interest they ever meet, the time should come when the children meet the man or woman when the time is right and after determining that the man or woman is worthy of meeting your kids.
Whether you are dealing with a situation trying to prevent contact or to encourage it, contact my team at the Artusa Law Firm today on 201-706-7910 to discuss your case in detail.