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I recently went for grandparent visitation rights, and I had…

Customer Question
I recently went for...

I recently went for grandparent visitation rights, and I had a question. I noticed in the court room that out of the two parents, only one had a lawyer representing themselves and the other one did not. It is legal for that one lawyer to question, advise, and talk to the other client that they were not representing during the court hearing, while the judge was talking and discussing the case?

Lawyer's Assistant: Because family law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

New jersey

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?

Yes, I have a lawyer and I was told by them that is normal for them to do that, however, they are colleagues and do this everyday together for a living, they see each other all the time, so I feel they were protecting each other.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I just didn't understand how a lawyer can talk, advise, and influence a non-client to get the results he wanted.

Submitted: 6 months ago.Category: Family Law
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Answered in 3 minutes by:
12/4/2017
Family Lawyer: Nisha Jones,
 replied 6 months ago
Nisha Jones
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 3,133
Experience: Managing Attorney at Nisha Jones Law, LLC
Verified

Good morning, I am an attorney expert with the JustAnswer website, and former Prosecutor for the State Attorney's Office. I have a near 100% customer satisfaction rate, and I'll be answering your questions today. Keep in mind this is for informational purposes only and we do not have an attorney-client relationship. Please allow me just a few minutes to review your question, thank you!

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
ok thank you
Family Lawyer: Nisha Jones,
 replied 6 months ago

Yes, this is legal.

The reason is because in family court proceedings having an attorney is not mandatory.

That means an individual party has the right/option to decide whether they want to hire an attorney, or not, and opt to represent themselves.

In cases where one party has opted for an attorney, but the other hasn't, the case still proceeds, and the attorney must speak with the non-represented party, as part of case discussions, negotiations, etc.

If not, the family court judicial system would come to a halt, and parties would would be madated to hire a private attorney and pay out of pocket for that.

I hope that helps!

Please let me know if you have any other questions. Also, please take a moment to rate me using the stars at the top of the page, as it's the only way experts are compensated for our time on the site. I do not receive a salary here at JustAnswer, and am only compensated for my time after receiving a rating of 3 stars or more (5 stars are always appreciated). The question won't close after rating, so you can still ask follow-up questions after. Thanks, ***** ***** it!

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
ok, but it is legal to talk amongst the other clients, that they are non-representing during the hearing? Another words, this took place while the judge is talking in the court room, it was not like a cross examination or anything. what was witnessed was that this attorney was persuasive to the other clients to lie and influence their choices. it just didn't seem fair considering they were coached on what to say by another clients lawyer.
Customer reply replied 6 months ago
one other question i have. without getting into the whole situation because it is very complex and long, to make a long story short, there is a family dispute and these parents are using the grandchildren as leverage to gain money, etc...another words to make the family feel bad for them they use the children. with saying that if a judge ask each parent if "they" think it will harm the children if they see their grandparents and they say yes, just from here say with no evidence to back up their answers, is that enough for a judge to deny the visitation or should there have been more proof or an evaluation done?
Family Lawyer: Nisha Jones,
 replied 6 months ago

Can you please clarify ...are you referring to 2 opposing parties, where the attorney was representing one parent, but the other parent did not have legal representation, and the attorney was speaking with the non-represented parent during court proceedings?

Yes, this is still legal.

That other parent has chosen not to have an attorney ...attorneys do speak with and negotiate with each other during court proceedings (even if it's not on the stand, or on the record, out loud in open court). If one party has chosen not to have a lawyer, then the lawyer has no other option than to speak to the non-represented parent directly.

Again, that parent has chosen to not have a lawyer and to represent themselves in the court room, so this unfortunately ends up being part of that process.

I hope that helps clarify!

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Family Lawyer: Nisha Jones,
 replied 6 months ago

Give me just a moment to type up my response to your other question, thanks.

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Family Lawyer: Nisha Jones,
 replied 6 months ago

In New Jersey, there are several (8) factors that the judge takes into consideration when determining visitation, and this includes visitation petitions from grandparents as well.

In making a determination about visitation, the court will consider these eight factors:

  • The relationship between the child and the applicant;
  • The relationship between each of the child's parents or the person with whom the child is residing and the applicant;
  • The time which has elapsed since the child last had contact with the applicant;
  • The effect that such visitation will have on the relationship between the child and the child's parents or the person with whom the child is residing;
  • If the parents are divorced or separated, the time sharing arrangement which exists between the parents with regard to the child;
  • The good faith of the applicant in filing the application;
  • Any history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect by the applicant; and
  • Any other factor relevant to the best interests of the child.

So the parents' opinion will be just one element along with the above 8 factors.

I hope that helps!

​Please take a moment to leave a positive rating for me, 5 stars are always appreciated, thanks!

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
i'm sorry i'm a little confused. I know about the 8 factors and i had proof of all eight factors but the judge ruled just on the answer that was giving by the parents who were acting out of spite to hurt the family, one parents said they did not know if it would cause harm, the other said not physicvally, mentally it would if they saw us, and the third, (as their is two mothers tot he grandchildren, one father), said it would not cause harm to her children if we did NOT see them. The judge made his choice based solely on that as our lawyer did not even bring up all the factors that supported the eight factors in visitation.
Customer reply replied 6 months ago
we have a chance to appeal and i am just trying to see after already spending ten thousand if it is worth i go further to appeal as i really feel the case was not handled correctly.
Customer reply replied 6 months ago
to better clarify, i see the misspelled word. there is one father and two mothers in this case
Family Lawyer: Nisha Jones,
 replied 6 months ago

Thanks for the additional information.

Judges do give great weight to a parent's opinion on the matter, in conjuction with all of the above mentioned factors.

However in recent years the New Jersey Appellate courts have ruled that grandparents have the right to gather evidence to rebut parents claims.

Of course the decision to appeal is up to you, and the site is meant for general informational purposes only, but yes, the law does allow you to present evidence to rebut the parents' claims and possibly be granted visitation rights.

I hope that helps! Best of luck to you with this.

Please remember to click 'Finish' and leave a positive rating so that I can be credited for my help with your question. 5 stars are always appreciated, thanks!

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Family Lawyer: Nisha Jones,
 replied 6 months ago

Hi! Just checking in to see if you have any more questions? I hope I was able to address all of your concerns. Please let me know, I'm here to help. Thanks!

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Family Lawyer: Nisha Jones,
 replied 6 months ago

I also just wanted to make sure you received my last message yesterday, so I've copied and pasted it below just in case.

Thanks for the additional information.

Judges do give great weight to a parent's opinion on the matter, in conjuction with all of the above mentioned factors.

However in recent years the New Jersey Appellate courts have ruled that grandparents have the right to gather evidence to rebut parents claims.

Of course the decision to appeal is up to you, and the site is meant for general informational purposes only, but yes, the law does allow you to present evidence to rebut the parents' claims and possibly be granted visitation rights.

I hope that helps! Best of luck to you with this.

Please remember to click 'Finish' and leave a positive rating so that I can be credited for my help with your question. 5 stars are always appreciated, thanks!

Ask Your Own Family Law Question
Family Lawyer: Nisha Jones,
 replied 6 months ago

Hi! Just checking in to see if you have any more questions? I hope I was able to address all of your concerns. Please let me know, I'm here to help. Thanks!

Ask Your Own Family Law Question
Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Hi, I had one more question. If you have a lawyer representing you, can you, yourself stand up to speak or talk to the judge directly if you have something to say about your case?
Family Lawyer: Nisha Jones,
 replied 6 months ago

Yes you can.

As long as you do so when it's your turn to speak, or if the judge has granted you permission to speak.

You don't want to interrupt the order of the courtroom by speaking at a random time, but yes you can of course still speak when you have the opportunity to, even if you have legal counsel present on your behalf.

I hope that helps!

You never took a moment to leave a positive rating for me before, please take a moment to do so now.

Attorneys are only compensated for our time and answers on the site, after you leave a positive rating. 5 stars are always appreciated, thanks!

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