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Articles Tagged with child custody

thomas decataldo NJSBAThomas DeCataldo, a partner in Skoloff & Wolfe’s matrimonial department, was recently designated to represent the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Family Law Executive Committee as a co-author to an amicus submission filed with the Supreme Court of New Jersey in the published decision of S.C. v. New Jersey Department of Children and Families.

The NJSBA asked the Supreme Court of New Jersey to require that DCF eliminate the finding of ‘not established,’ when investigating allegations of child abuse, arguing that the standard, which only requires ‘some evidence of abuse and neglect,’ but falls short of requiring further involvement of the Division, is too amorphous and leads to arbitrary results because there is no objective or measurable standard to differentiate between findings of ‘not established’ and ‘unfounded.’ The NJSBA also expressed concern that a ‘not established’ finding could tarnish a person’s reputation, or have a prejudicial impact on parties to child custody disputes.

The Court agreed that the standard for making findings of ‘not established’ is vague, amorphous and incapable of any objective calibration, and that it has led to shortcomings in fairness for parents and guardians involved in investigations. Although the Court declined to eliminate the classification entirely for procedural reasons, it instructed the Division to clarify the standard and ensure future findings are backed by credible evidence. A copy of the Court’s May 27, 2020 opinion is available here.

By: Thomas DeCataldo

Divorced parents COVID-19
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has caused the tragic loss of life and spurred international panic. Adding insult to injury, the economic impact of this health crisis has thus far been devastating, with stock markets collapsing and many struggling to keep businesses afloat while being unable to work or attempting to do so remotely. As a result of the tumult caused by this virus, divorcing couples and separated parents find themselves attempting to cope with several accelerants to an already stressful situation.

Against this backdrop, in recent weeks many parents questioned the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on custody and parenting time arrangements, whether entered formally as Court Orders or informally by agreement of the parties. The pandemic presents many hotbed areas for disagreement among separated or separating parents, particularly for those in high-conflict situations.

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