A Note From Brad Micklin
Custody cases can get tricky, which is why you need a strong advocate by your side helping you make the right decisions for you and your children. As a dedicated divorce attorney for over 20 years, my practice focuses on men’s complex custody issues like parental alienation and custodial interference. I have handled all of the intricacies of New Jersey custody laws and always fight for your rights as a father; particularly where it comes to your relationship with your kids.
Men’s Complex Custody Issues: Can Fathers Get Custody?
You may have thankfully noticed the era of mothers automatically receiving sole legal and physical custody of the children is ending. Fathers, like you, in New Jersey are getting custody at an unprecedented rate, which is heartening news for many men like you. Your bond with your children is precious and always worth fighting for.
As your attorney, we will first determine whether you want sole, equal, join, or residential custody. Next, we will discuss the process, necessary witnesses and proof to provide and whether any experts will be needed. Then, together we will fight to get you custody.
You may be facing a parent who is moving out of state (relocation) – a scenario I’m more than familiar with. You may be panicking, wondering “Will my ex take my kids? Will she gain full custody of our kids?” I can assure you your chances are better now than ever that you get custody.
If you agree to let the children move, I will advocate or your rights to see your kids as often as you choose to, and negotiate terms that align with your work, travel, and holiday schedule.
You might feel like you may get the short end of the stick simply because you are a man, the dad. If you are actively engaged in your children’s lives, the courts should respect that. From the beginning of our relationship, we will state your intent to have shared or full custody of your children. It’s becoming more and more common for judges to see the value that you bring to the lives of your children…not just the mother.
You will find friends and family offering advice on custody issues, but I urge you not to listen too closely. Your case is unique, so a strategy that worked for your neighbor might be ineffective for you.
If you and your spouse are on good terms, the process goes much more smoothly. Unfortunately, that’s not usually the case. Either way, I’m here to fight for your rights as a father who wants to spend as much time with his children as possible.
When representing clients involved in difficult family legal matters, Brad makes sure he takes as much time as each client needs to discuss concerns, hopes and fears. From there, he tailors his services to match overarching goals and budgets. He also offers his time, articles and other resources to continually teach his clients about the law, even after representation is over. He even holds client dinners and other events.
Type of Client: Client was faced with a motion for sole custody.
Client’s Issue: He did not want to lose custody of his son and have no say in future decisions regarding the child.
Our Approach: Filed a motion to dismiss as there were no merits to the claim.
Result: Our motion was granted, and the mother’s motion was dismissed. The Court found there was no genuine issue in dispute and held that the law favors having both parents equally involved in a child’s life.
Type of Client: Client was concerned that the mother was beginning to alienate the child. The child was acting out before visits and refusing to go.
Client’s Issue: He wanted to stop the alienation and regain uninterrupted parenting time.
Our Approach: We had the client begin saving his email communications into several different internal email folders labeled “drop off problems”, “missed parenting time”, and “co-parenting problems.” He did this for several months so that each inbox contained a long history detailing each specific issue. We were then able to compile a chronology from each of these folders to present the alienation with clarity and written proof to the judge.
Result: Court found there was interference and ordered reunification therapy. The judge also admonished the mother regarding her conduct and advised her that she could lose custody in the future if it persisted.
Type of Client: A father was faced with his 3rd motion to change custody in a 3-year period.
Client’s Issue: He was afraid he would lose custody and he wanted to find a way to prevent from filing in the future.
Our Approach: We told him there is, unfortunately, no way to stop the other parent from filing, but he could try to discourage her by seeking to have her pay legal fees. However, we told him it was unlikely he would get his fees covered because judges rarely grant legal fees even though the law supports it in cases like his. We advised him that he didn’t need an attorney because we felt certain this motion would be denied just like the others. He hired us anyway.
Result: The motion was dismissed and our client was awarded nominal legal fees.
What Our Clients Say
“I highly recommend The Micklin Law Group, LLC for your family law matters. Brad Micklin is very confident in the courtroom and is always well prepared! He is also very passionate for fighting for father’s rights! I especially recommend anyone that is going through a high conflict custody matter to give The Micklin Law Group, LLC a call! You won’t be disappointed!” – Lealah A.
“I am a Police Officer for Essex County New Jersey. I was having a custody battle with my 5-year-old child’s mother who was moving out of the state. I needed a lawyer who focused on domestic issues in a fair and impartial manner. Brad Micklin represented me and helped me get joint custody, reduce child support and dropped all false charges thrown at me by the child’s mom. I am living proof that if not for Mr. Brad Micklin, I would not be employed as a Police Officer today.” – Albert P.
Is your lawyer more concerned about fees than your children’s future? Learn how we do this – on our dime, not yours.
FAQ: Men’s Complex Custody Issues
In New Jersey, custody takes two forms: legal and physical. Depending on the age of your children, there are many factors that contribute to the time you will spend with your children including the emotional and physical environment in which they would be, safety, moral atmosphere, mental and physical health of you and your spouse, the children’s age, what your child wants, your relationship with your spouse, ability to care for your children, and more.
Each case will vary depending on the complexity of the issues, the relationship of the people and the court’s ability to schedule the matter expeditiously. Once I have a sense of your issues, I can do my best to give you a range but you must understand that it could end up being much more or less than I an estimating because there are so many unknowns.
Once the case is filed, the process can last between three (3) to nine (9) months on average.
You will have to go to court approximately three (3) to six (6) times. The first hearing will be the return date on the application where the court has argument. The next will be for mediation which, in some circumstances, occurs on the same day as oral argument. A third return date to get the court’s decision to either the initial application or to set the process that needs to follow and what other future hearings may be necessary.
In some cases the judge will interview children but it is rare. If this is something you are interested in you must affirmatively seek it in the paperwork that you file. The judge will normally do it in-camera which means privately without the parties listening or watching but you can obtain a transcript of the interview.
There really is no age at which a court will let a child decide an issue like who should have custody of him/her. Judges do not like to put children between their parents and they don’t, generally, feel the children are capable of making such an important decision. However, at and after the age of 13, many judges will consider what the child wants.
A parent needs to show a material and substantial change of circumstances that inures to the child’s best interests before the court will consider a change of custody application.
There are provisions in the law to allow you to seek to have your spouse pay your legal fees. There are a number of factors that the court must look to but most commonly they look and rely heavily upon discrepancy in income and good or bad faith positions throughout the litigation.
However, I generally advise clients not to expect it because judges don’t grant fees unless it is to enforce an agreement and, even then, they don’t usually award a lot.
There’s unfortunately no limit to the amount of times a parent can bring you back to court. However, if the court believes that it being abused, they can order sanctions to try to control or limit it.
If you have an order for parenting time you are not permitted to deny the parent the court ordered parenting time or visitation schedule. If you do not have any court ordered parenting time or visitation schedule, you are able to refuse parenting time or visitation if you believe it is in your child’s best interest.
If you have ever been to court for divorce, custody, visitation or any other issue involving the two parents and your child, you are not permitted to leave the State of New Jersey with your child without either the other parent’s consent, preferably in writing, or a court order. If you have never been to court on any issue involving your child, you are able to leave the State of New Jersey without permission.
Resources for You
Standards for Custody Process I was asked by a colleague to discuss a little bit about the prima facie showing that you need to have when entering a case for the custody process in New Jersey. There a...
For any parent, being divorced during the holiday season is especially tough. Starting with the long Thanksgiving weekend that’s just about here and continuing through New Year’s, it seems that th...