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Roger
Roger, Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 26157
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by West
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Live in South Jersey. My middle Daughter was brutally murdered

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Live in South Jersey. My middle Daughter was brutally murdered by the Father of her then 2 year old son. He was placed with me on the day her body was recovered by DYFS. Since then, the Father remains in County awaiting trial, and his Parents who had not seen our Grandson are suing me for Custody. It has been a very ugly custody trial, with me being on the stand for the last two full days. I have been crossed like XXXXX XXXXXez as though I am the criminal. Although I do not have a social media account, my niece started one on FB IN Loving memory of my daughter. I write to her what goes on during his hearings, and what happens during the trial, a lot of it is most disgusting. Although I never curse, I am very passionate. An example, during one of the murderer's hearings is mother, and her two children showed up, and were laughing... I am always accompanied by the Victims Advocate who couldn't believe it. I put in my writing, that his disgusting Mother and siblings were laughing, as though they were at a party, not a hearing for your murder. During Monday's custody hearing, their attorney, got up in my face with the printed pages from the FB pages, and started screaming at me, did you call her disgusting, I said yes, ... yes I did, he took one word of a long writing and zoomed in on just that. My oldest daughter plays soccer for the Woman's National Team, and she has won a Gold Medal at last years Olympics, went to the World Cup the year before, this attorney started to scream at me, that my daughter did not speak for some time due to her sexual preference (she is gay), I did not handle it well. I told him that was disgusting, and I never had a problem with it, I love my daughter, and the questions he kept yelling at me, I did not handle them too well, I think they have forgotten I have lost my daughter, and my world has stopped. The Paternal grandparents, live in a trailer, have 3 other children who do not work, one of which has a domestic violence conviction, and must be supervised in my grandson presence. My daughter although she had left the father over a year before her death, they consider it Domestic Violence as he is the Father of her child. My grandson, has several disabilities now, night terrors, he witnessed the murder, he has Apraxia due to the trauma, he is in therapy, and goes to a special school to help him with his disabilities. I am the one who has put all of these in place for him. I do know, my posts have not helped me in the court room, and my inability to just sit there and answer without letting the questions bothering me, plus the fact he broke me several times, that I broke down, which was embarrassing, and not how I wanted to be seen by the murderer in court. Also of note, the murderer has two older children that the paternal grandparents have tried to get visitation through the court system, and they were denied. Ultimately, I would like my oldest within the next few years to raise him full time, as she feels this is what my daughter would want, and purchased a home 1 mile from me to be close. Is there anyway with what I have told you, that I could lose custody to these people? I have an appointment with my attorney, as I have not been very happy with his job on this so far, and I do not want another day on the stand. I actually cannot take it. I want to see what my options are. My grandson also has very bad asthma and uses a nebulizer, and they all smoke, and have been court ordered not to. But every time he returns from a day visit he wreaks of smoke. Is the Judge seeing through this? Or should I be worried. I literally cannot take anymore badgering in the courtroom with this attorney. I still have not had any peace to grieve for my Daughter.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Roger replied 1 year ago.
Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Family Law litigation attorney. Thanks for your question, but I am certainly sorry for your loss and what you're dealing with in regard to this child custody issue.

In child custody cases, there usually has to be a material change in circumstances to even warrant one to seek a change. If so, then the judge must do whatever is in the best interest of the child, and in doing this, judges in New Jersey must consider the following factors listed in N.J.S.A. 9:2-4:

The parent's ability to agree, communicate and cooperate regarding the child;
The parent's willingness to accept custody and share custody with the other parent;
Any history of domestic violence;
The child's and either parent's safety from physical abuse by the other parent;
The child's needs;
The age and number of the children;
The preference of the child if he or she is capable of forming an intelligent decision;
The quality and continuity of the child's education;
The distance between the parents' homes;
The stability of each parent's home environment;
The amount and quality of time spent with the child before the divorce;
The parent's employment responsibilities; and
The fitness of the parents to raise the child.

Basically, the courts generally take the approach that if the current custody arrangement is working well, there's no need to change it. Thus, you should have a good position in this regard, but there's never an absolute right to custody, so there is a possibility that you could lose custody - - but it is an uphill climb for the other side because there's a requirement to prove that you actually are unfit or that the child is in danger, etc., and if the child has been well taken care of, they've got a tough position.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Mr. Adams,


 


Although I appreciate your response, it really doesn't apply. There was no divorce, My daughter was never married to the Father. The Paternal grandparents & I had no relationship when the children were a couple, so there is no reasonable chance that will happen in the future. I was the one who took their son in several times, upon my daughter's urging after his parents threw him out several times during their courtship. So since this is not a typical parenting divorce situation, where do I go from here. I have written our governor who assisted when my daughter was first murdered, as they wanted the Father to have visitations in the jail. He was court ordered no contact with my Grandson by pictures, visits, etc. There isn't anything in this case that falls within the normal situation. The Judge ordered evaluations on all of us over 6 months, ago, and said I had an articulate understanding of my grandson's needs and that what is in place should be followed, to allow stability, and for him to grow from the trauma he has suffered, however, it was thrown out of court, because neither side wanted to spend $1,200.00 to use it. We weren't told that until after they were done. I have already spent $14,000 on this and i see no end in sight.

Expert:  Roger replied 1 year ago.
Hi - I can see how this may be a little confusing, but marriage or no marriage, this is what the NJ statutes set out as factors for the court to consider when determining custody and custody modification matters.

If all you have said here is true - - especially that there is really no relationship between the child and the other grandparents, it is going to be very difficult for them to be successful in their efforts.

Also, if the judge has previously ruled that you are the best to take care of your grandchild and the needs he has, then you should be in the best position.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Mr. Adams,


 


I hate to be annoying, however, this is just too important to me. What I said was before my daughter was murdered, they had not seen my grandson for almost a year. Since then, the court system has ordered me to allow them to see him every other weekend day from 11-7. He has never been allowed to stay overnight, etc. This Judge has only done the custody trial, not all the other issue on this case. They had re-assigned Judges since then.

Expert:  Roger replied 1 year ago.
You're not bothering me at all. From your post, I know that the child was very young when your daughter passed away, so I assumed that there was no real relationship before. Nevertheless, if you were found to be the most fit parent initially when custody was first given to you - AND IF NOTHING MATERIAL HAS CHANGED with your custody and care of the child - it would be very hard for a judge to find reason to change custody.

It is certainly possible, and I nor either attorney involved in the case can say what the judge WILL do, but in my experience, a judge isn't going to change custody without GOOD CAUSE usually related to the health, safety and well-being of the child. Thus, no one can make a guarantee to you as to how this will turn out - - but, you are in the best legal position (as opposed to the position of the other grandparents).
Roger, Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 26157
Experience: BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by West
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