Coronavirus Family Law DisputesI have already fought for many clients involved in coronavirus pandemic parenting time disputes. Those disputes are emotional. There are three important documents to keep in mind:

  1. New Jersey Statute 9:2-4 provides that it is the public policy of New Jersey for children to have “frequent and continuing contact” with both parents in separation and divorce situations.
  2. Court Orders as to parenting time are valid and enforceable, even during a pandemic.
  3. Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 107, which generally requires most people to stay at home, specifically exempts “visiting family members as a caretaker”.

I will not let a parent use the coronavirus to deny my client his or her court-ordered time with a child.

That said, both parents must comply with the Governor’s ordered precautions (e.g., social distancing, hand-washing) while he or she has care of a child. Do not give the other parent an excuse to withhold the child (e.g., Facebook post of parent and child at a crowded gathering).

When one parent is ultra-cautious, and the other less so, I work to try to find a fair and reasonable middle ground, as in any other dispute.

There are economic coronavirus disputes as well, e.g., payment of child support and/or alimony when the payor has been laid off or furloughed and dividing the stimulus checks for the child.

Contact me for help.

Your Rights in a Child Custody Matter in New Jersey


When you are involved in a divorce proceeding and there are minor children in the home, you’ll need to come to an agreement about who will have custody and what visitation will look like. As a parent, you want what’s best for your children, but you also want to play a meaningful role in their growth and development.

Physical Custody vs. Legal Custody

The first thing you need to understand is that the law makes a distinction between physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to where the child resides most of the time, i.e., where the child would consider “home” to be. In most instances, the court will grant primary custody to one of the parents and allow visitation with the other parent. In determining which parent will have primary custody, the court will give priority to “the best interests of the child.” (See our discussion below).

Legal custody, on the other hand, refers to each parent’s right to participate in the decision-making process with respect to things like health, education and religious training. As a general rule, the courts prefer to grant joint legal custody, so that both parents are involved.

The Best Interests of the Child

When making decisions that have an impact on minor children, the courts in New Jersey are bound to promote the “best interests of the child.” As a general rule, the “best interests of the children” are served by encouraging regular contact with both parents. The court will also look at specific criteria, including:

  • The age, gender, and physical and mental health of the child
  • The mental and physical health of both parents, including the ability to parent, as well as any allegations of domestic violence or abuse
  • The respective lifestyles of both parents, including alcohol, tobacco and drug use or inappropriate exposure to sexual matters
  • The emotional bond the child has with each parent
  • The ability of the parents respectively to provide for the child’s financial, physical and emotional needs
  • The lifestyle and routines to which the child has become accustomed
  • The impact that changing the child’s residency would have
  • The preference of the child, if the child has reached a certain age, typically 12 years of age

Contact Attorney David M. Lipshutz

We will only take your case if we know we can help. For an appointment, contact our office online or call us at 856-627-1990. We are available to meet with you Monday through Friday, between 9 am and 5 pm.

Grandparent Visitation Rights in New Jersey

for-reading-813666_640Grandparent visitation rights are extremely weak in New Jersey.  The courts have generally taken the position that parents have a constitutional right to raise children as they see fit, even if that means cutting off their children from their grandparents.

However, there is a major exception to this rule – if the grandparent can show that the child would suffer harm if deprived of contact with his or her grandparent(s).

Family Law Attorney in New Jersey

How does an attorney prove such “harm”?  Unfortunately, just stating, “Of course any child suffers harm from not seeing a grandparent!” is not enough.  In order to prove harm, a grandparent generally must show that he/she:
(1) has a close relationship with the grandchild;
(2) has spent significant time with the grandchild (actually having lived with the grandchild is extremely helpful); and
(3) has had significant responsibility for the grandchild’s care.

Disputes between grandparents and parents over seeing children are extremely emotional and sad.  However, an attorney experienced in this field can make all the difference in gaining visitation/blocking visitation.

Contact Our Office

To set up an appointment, contact our office online or call us at 856-627-1990. We are available to meet with you weekdays between 9 am and 5 pm. We won’t take your case unless we know we can help.