New Jersey Child Custody Decisions Are Affected By A History Of Domestic Violence Within The Family; Retain An Experienced New Jersey Private Investigator

New Jersey Child Custody Decisions Are Affected By A History Of Domestic Violence Within The Family; Retain An Experienced New Jersey Private Investigator

When New Jersey Family Courts are considering a Child Custody Motion filed by a New Jersey Family Law Attorney, the New Jersey Court will put great weight to its decision if there is a history of domestic violence or a restraining orders within the family relationship.  It is of critical importance in a New Jersey Child Custody Motion containing an element of violations of the New Jersey Prevention Of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA) you retain

Former Jersey City Police Chief Robert Cowan addresses the public in City Hall as Mayor Steve Fulop, Police Director Jim Shea and Members of the City Council look on.

a competent, trained and knowledgeable New Jersey Private Investigator in order to gather historical evidence of the domestic violence.  It is an absolute necessity the New Jersey Private Investigator you ultimately hire for your New Jersey Child Custody Motion has an extensive background and experience as a New Jersey Municipal Police Officer; you can rest assured a New Jersey Private Investigator with a background in Municipal Law Enforcement will have had yearly training and actual hands on experience in having dealt with domestic violence victims, assailants and the children who had unfortunately been witness to the emotionally scarring domestic violence.

The hiring of an experienced New Jersey Private Investigator is critically important for reasons that are two fold;

1) If you have been the victim of domestic violence, even if it has been unreported, a New Jersey Private Investigator experienced in New Jersey Domestic Violence Laws can often uncover additional evidence of reported or un-reported Domestic violence, and

2) If your spouse or significant other has made untruthful allegations of current or historical domestic violence against you an experienced New Jersey Private Investigator can often gather evidence to disprove the charges.

It is not un-heard of that that domestic partners during a New Jersey Divorce or Child Custody Motion will often fabricate the existence of Domestic violence in order to gain an advantage or use as leverage in the litigation.  For the two reasons I just cited (you will hear me say it again) it is imperative the New Jersey Private Investigator you retain for your New Jersey Divorce or Child Custody Motion possesses a background in Municipal Law Enforcement, former municipal police officers will very often have hands on experience handling domestic violence as these acts are actually occurring.  These New Jersey Private Investigators with Municipal Law Enforcement Backgrounds also have received no less then eight hours of formal training per year in the New Jersey Prevention Of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA).

I served twenty-five Years on the Jersey City Police Department; for those who don’t know, Jersey City is the second largest municipality in New Jersey with the second largest municipal police department.  I am the former Chief of the Jersey City Police Department, twenty-seven of my thirty-five years were served in various supervisory capacities and roles (sergeant, lieutenant, captain, deputy chief).  As a patrol officer and afterwards as a supervisor I had a front row seat to view the horrendous violence perpetrated upon the victims of domestic violence; this violence was both physical as well as emotional.  The victims of domestic violence crossed all demographic barriers.  You could be a victim of domestic violence whether you are wealthy, middle class or poor; you could be a victim regardless of your ethnicity, whether White, Hispanic, African-American, Asian or any other ethnic group you can think of.

When I first became a police officer in 1979 I worked a radio car in socially depressed areas as well as well to do neighborhoods.  At that time Domestic violence assaults were not given the same weight as other similar crimes; this was so because of the overall societal attitude regarding assaults of a domestic nature. An assault resulting in four stitches over the eye of a woman in the context of a domestic relationship was looked upon as less severe then other assaults because it had happened in the context of a “domestic relationship”.  In 1979 and the 1980’s, consciousness police officers would always make an arrest on such an assault, regardless of who the victim was, other less dedicated police officers were afforded tacit approval by their supervisors and society if they  overlook the assault which had occurred in a “domestic situation”;  these less consciousness police officers would give the attacker a ride out of the area and a warning to not come back to the next day when things “cooled down”.

Two Common Types Of Child Custody

In a New Jersey Child Custody Motion filed in a New Jersey Family Court the New Jersey Court has the ability to award Child Custody in several ways, some of the MOST COMMON for purposes of this discussion are:

Joint Residential/legal Custody-  where one parent has primary physical custody of the child and legal decisions concerning the child are shared by both parents, or

Sole Physical and Legal Custody- where one parent has sole physical custody of the child AND is responsible to make all legal decisions concerning the child.

When a New Jersey Family Court awards this type of Child Custody to one parent over the objectives of the other parent it is often because the Court is concerned over the safety of thy child; either physical and/or psychological concerns.  Often when sole physical and legal custody is issued to one parent over the other parent the Court may require supervised visitation, or the involvement of other professionals such as forensic psychologists.   If a Court is concerned about one parent or the others physical safety because of a history of domestic violence the Court can also order to that any change of custody for visits take place within a police facility.  Needless to say, Courts have a wide latitude in making decisions and their decisions are based on the best interests of the child and the safety of all involved.

New Jersey Family Courts are required to weigh a lengthy number of factors when deciding as to the type of custody award is in a child’s best interest, these factors are:

  • parents’ ability to agree, communicate and cooperate in matters
    pertaining to their child  **
  • parents’ willingness to accept custody as well as any history of unwillingness to allow the other parent to have parenting time, unless there is a substantiated history of abuse. **
  • interaction and relationship of the child with parents and siblings
    Any history of domestic violence,  **
  • safety of the child and the safety of either parent from physical abuse by the other parent. **
  • preference of the child, however this will be only when the child is old enough to reach a reasonable decision
  • needs of the child
  • stability of each parent’s home environment. **
  • extent and quality of the time each parent spent with the child before and after the parents separated **
  • quality and continuity of the child’s education
    fitness of the parents **
  • geographical proximity of the parents’ homes
  • parents’ employment responsibilities, and **
  • age and number of the children.

** These are specific areas in which a New Jersey Private Investigator can be extremely effective in obtaining evidence to assist you and your attorney to a successful conclusion of your Child Custody Motion before a New Jersey Family Court.

In conclusion, the New Jersey Family Court must consider any history of domestic violence when deciding as to what parent obtains custody, and under what type of Child Custody Arrangement.

For more info, please visit our Child Custody page.

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Bob Cowan is the owner of Cowan Investigations a full service New Jersey Private Investigations Firm

If you wish to speak with me regarding this article, or if you need a consultation regarding it’s contents please do not hesitate to call me at 732-837-8444, seven days a week 8:00am to 8:00pm.

About the author: Bob Cowan is the owner of Cowan Investigations a full service New Jersey Private Investigations Firm, Bob is the former Chief of the Jersey City Police Department and has 35 years experience as a police officer.