Family law regulates the legal relationships of people who are connected to each other by marriage, family relations, custodianship, trusteeship, or legal guardianship. Sometimes disputes involving these relationship occur. When issues regarding a marriage, divorce, adoption, or child custody arise, it is advisable to consult an experienced attorney as early in the process as possible.
The Law Offices of Joseph Lombardo focuses much of our practice on family law. We can guide you through the challenges ahead, help to protect your legal rights and financial interests, and describe to you what sort of proceedings you can expect regarding your matter. Attorney Joseph Lombardo serves communities including Atlantic City, Atlantic County, Gloucester County, Cherry Hill, Mays Landing, Vineland, Linwood, Hammonton, and Hamilton, and has over 20 years of experience representing the residents of New Jersey in matters pertaining to:
- Child Custody Disputes
- Domestic Violence
- Juvenile Criminal Defense
- Marriage Contracts
- Restraining Orders
To start exploring some of the possibilities in a free and completely confidential legal consultation, call our law offices at (800) 930-3241 today.
New Jersey Divorce Laws
Before you may file for divorce in New Jersey, two matters must be settled. First, you must meet the residency requirement, meaning either you or your spouse must have been a New Jersey resident for at least one year. Then, you must decide which grounds for divorce are relevant to your case. New Jersey recognizes the following “fault” grounds:
- Abandonment (Desertion)
- Deviant Sexual Behavior
- Extreme Cruelty
Additionally, “no-fault” grounds include:
- Irreconcilable Differences
You must serve copies of your divorce complaint upon your spouse, who will then have a limited amount of time to respond. If he or she does not respond within the allotted time period of 35 days, you then have 60 days to request a default judgment, though there are special exceptions for certain members of the military. Joseph Lombardo can help guide you through the filing requirements and explain your options, rights, and responsibilities in terms of court hearings and legal paperwork.
How is Child Custody Decided?
Some of the most emotionally-charged issues in all of law fall under the family and domestic law practice, particularly where custody matters are concerned. Every parent wants to maximize the amount of time they can spend with their child, which can lead to contentious and lengthy legal disputes. Joseph Lombardo balances vigorous client advocacy with maintaining an open and civil atmosphere, so that proceedings can move forward as smoothly, efficiently, and rapidly as possible.
Parents may be given the opportunity to devise their own custody plans together, which in some cases is sufficient to resolve the matter. However, if you and your spouse are unwilling or unable to agree on a mutually acceptable custody plan, the court will be forced to intervene.
When making a decision, the court’s primary concern is protecting the best interests of the child. Therefore, the court will consider numerous variables, including but not limited to:
- Whether both parents are willing and able to assume a parental role.
- The income, debts, assets, and other financial considerations for each parent.
- Geographical distance between each parent.
- Whether either parent has any previous criminal convictions.
Domestic Violence and Juvenile Defense
Contrary to popular belief, there is no single crime called domestic violence. Rather, many different crimes can be deemed to have a domestic violence element. Under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1990, the following 14 crimes can all potentially be categorized as acts of domestic violence in New Jersey:
- Criminal Mischief
- Criminal Restraint
- Criminal Sexual Contact
- Criminal Trespass
- False Imprisonment
- Sexual Assault
- Terroristic Threats
If a plaintiff alleges being victimized by any of these offenses, he or she may be able to obtain a restraining order against the alleged abuser. In addition to facing criminal charges related to the underlying offense, such as assault, the person accused of domestic violence may also be subject to civil penalties in accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:25-29.1. Potential fines range from $50 to $500.
Joseph Lombardo also represents juvenile defendants who are under the age of 18. Some of the more commonly charged juvenile offenses include:
- Drug Possession
- Shoplifting (Retail Theft)
- Underage Drinking
- Weapons Possession
Juvenile defendants will attend a hearing at which the judge will make a determination. Juveniles found guilty are “adjudicated delinquent,” and may face penalties such as:
- Community Service
- Driver’s License Suspension
- Fines and Restitution
- Treatment for Substance Abuse
In addition to offering experienced legal representation throughout the initial proceedings, Joseph may also be able to help you and your child appeal the judge’s findings, or help you obtain an expungement for your child’s juvenile record. Once a record is expunged, it will be moved to a separate file which is inaccessible to most of the general public. Juvenile records are also kept confidential in accordance with N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-60.
If you need assistance with any of these issues, family law attorney Joseph Lombardo can help. Joseph offers free initial consultations, and will guide you through the issues related to your matter with the utmost sensitivity and privacy. To set up your free and confidential case evaluation, call Lombardo Law right away at (800) 930-3241.