Philip Puglisi, a Bergen County divorce lawyer, thought you would be interested in the recent case regarding who can and can not be be a caregiver of a child in NJ. In “New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services v. J.S., App. Div. (Sabatino, J.A.D.) (32 pp.) Defendant, a biological father, appeals from the Family Part’s judgment terminating his parental rights as to his minor child following a multiday trial. Among other things, defendant argues that the trial court erred in upholding a decision of the Division of Youth and Family Services to “rule out” two cousins who had expressed interest in serving as alternative caregivers for the child. Affirming the final judgment, we reject defendant’s argument that the division lacks the authority to rule out relatives under N.J.S.A. 30:4C-12.1 based on considerations of a child’s best interests. Instead, we hold that the applicable statutory provisions and a related regulation, N.J.A.C. 10:120A-3.1, allow the division to rule out a relative on such best-interests grounds, regardless of the relative’s willingness or ability to care for a child. However, the division’s rule-out authority is always subject to the Family Part’s ultimate assessment of that child’s best interests. We also uphold the validity of the language in N.J.A.C. 10:120A-3.1(b) prohibiting a relative who the division rules out on best-interests grounds from pursuing an administrative appeal of that agency determination. However, we urge the division to act with reasonable diligence in notifying a potential caretaker that he or she has been ruled out, once the investigation of that person has been completed.” Joseph Noto says people should bear this case in mind: that the best interest of the child applies when determening a caregiver.
Philip Puglisi, a Bergen County divorce lawyer, wants grandparents to know that that there is a bill regarding their visitation rights before the legislature that would erect High Hurdles to grandarents seeking visitation. The New Jersey Law Journal on December 2, 2013 reports that: “the Legislation that would toughen New Jersey’s statutory standards for granting visitation rights to grandparents, and siblings, over parental objections is drawing closer to final passage. The legislation—approved Monday by the Assembly Judiciary Committee—would codify a decade-old state Supreme Court holding that applicants may be granted visitation only if they prove denial would harm the child.” Philip Puglisi will keep his blog viewers posted on the ultimate status of this Bill.
Philip Puglisi, a Bergen County divorce attorney and Family Law lawyer, gives to his blog viewers a recent ruling that was made in 20-2-2358 S.M. v. K.M., App. Div. (Koblitz, J.A.D.) (10 pp.) where the court granted leave to appeal from an order preventing a father in a pending divorce case from having any contact with his two children until the criminal charges against him, involving an allegation that he pointed a BB gun at his son, are resolved. It reversed and remanded for a hearing before the Family Part judge at which the prosecutor, criminal defense attorney and two family lawyers may be heard. The court relied on Rule 5:12-6 and AOC Directive 03-09, which control visitation decision-making when an abuse and neglect case is being heard in the Family Part while a parent has criminal charges pending. Philip Puglisi says family law lawyers and divorce attorneys should be acquainted with this case when dealing with vistation issues.