Call For A Free Consultation


Family Law

New Jersey Family Lawyer

Family law encompasses a broad range of legal topics involving marriage and children. Common family law subjects include divorce or annulment, child custody and visitation rights, child support payments, and alimony. Family law deals specifically with children in regard to adoption, guardianship, state child protection, and domestic violence.



The decision to dissolve a marriage can be one of the most difficult decisions a person makes, even in the best situation. When a couple cannot agree on provisions within the divorce, however, another layer of anxiety is added to an already difficult process. Whether the disagreement is about child custody, property division, alimony, or the divorce in general, the divorce becomes contested. Contested divorces take longer, and they require more negotiation for the couple to reach an agreement.

Contested Divorce

The most common disagreements in divorces are custody arrangements and property division. However, a contested divorce can refer to a disagreement on anything, including grounds for divorce, child support, visitation rights, debt incurred before the divorce, or even the divorce itself. When a spouse contests a divorce, he or she needs to file documents explaining the issue and his or her side of the argument. The documents then need to be examined before a judge who will make a determination on the final outcome.

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce can make for less hostility and less time in court, especially if the divorce is handled by an experienced uncontested divorce attorney. The couple has already agreed upon parameters within the divorce decrees, and they simply must file the paperwork and begin the divorce proceedings. Most of the time, uncontested divorces only take a few months to conclude. Uncontested divorces are always encouraged by the court so couples can avoid disagreements and litigation in the future. However, reaching even an uncontested divorce settlement can be challenging. Divorces have many components that need to be worked out individually, some of which can be just as complicated as they would be in a contested divorce. A competent divorce lawyer can help clients reach agreements in all aspects of divorce.

Child Custody

The issue of child custody is the most common dispute in family court. As should be expected, parents are extremely concerned with the safety, education, and overall wellbeing of their children. Custody decisions become even more difficult following a divorce or breakup, as parents tend to be distrustful of each other at these times. Regardless of the state of affairs between the parents, judges will always decide custody based on “the best interests of the child.”


In an effort to do what is best for the child, the court can assign legal and physical custody to one parent, or these rights can be shared. A typical schedule would allow the child to spend weekends, summers, and alternating holidays with the non-custodial parent, with both parents having an equal say in major decisions affecting the child. When approving a custody schedule, the court will do what it can to avoid unnecessary disruptions to the child’s life.


You want time with your children. But can you have joint? shared? legal? physical or sole custody? It is our mission to safeguard your parenting time with your children and secure your future.


  • Joint or Shared Custody: Parents who don’t live together have joint custody (also called “Shared Custody”) when they share the decision-making responsibilities for, and/or physical control and custody of, their children.
  • Legal Custody: Legal custody of a child means having the right and the obligation to make decisions about a child’s upbringing.
  • Physical Custody: Physical custody means that a parent has the right to have a child live with them.
  • Sole Custody: One parent can have either sole legal custody or sole physical custody of a child.

You cherish your kids. Whether you need to establish custody arrangements because of separation or divorce or you need change an existing parenting time plan or you (or your ex) are relocating out of state and need to understand your legal rights, DeZao Law can help.

How Are Child Custody and Visitation Established?

Child custody issues often arise when a couple goes through a divorce. If the couple can come to an agreement on child custody and visitation on their own, the court will usually honor this agreement. However, if the couple cannot reach an agreement, the court will issue a child custody plan based upon “the best interests of the child” legal standard. The court will use several factors (e.g. parent’s ability to provide, health of the parents, preference of the child, etc.) to determine what child placement situation is best for the child.

Restraining Orders

There’s no question about it–divorce can bring out the worst in people. Usually, divorce-related bad behavior is aimed at the other spouse, but, it can also impact the children. Many times, an embittered spouse’s actions during a divorce can cause significant emotional and financial hardship. You can try to minimize the effect of some of this behavior with a temporary restraining orders (TRO).


A TRO is a court order that temporarily prohibits someone from taking certain actions. It can be frightening to think about all the things a vindictive or greedy spouse can do in a relatively short period of time. Some of these might include:


  • Packing up the children and moving them out of state
  • Cleaning out bank accounts
  • Canceling insurance policies, such as health and auto
  • Changing the beneficiaries on a life insurance policy
  • Taking out a loan and using joint assets (such as a house) as collateral, and
  • Removing funds from a retirement account.

If you’re worried about these types of issues, a TRO may be essential to maintaining the status quo until your divorce is over. It’s called a temporary restraining order because it will normally expire at the end of the divorce process. At that point, either the spouses will resolve the various aspects of the divorce by reaching a settlement, or there will be a trial, where the court will decide all outstanding issues. In either scenario, the result will be a written judgment which incorporates the settlement agreement or the court’s ruling, and the TRO will no longer be necessary.

Other Reason For Obtaining A Temporary Restraining Order

Other reasons for obtaining a temporary restraining order can include domestic violence and or receiving threats. Such threats are considered “predicate acts.”

In New Jersey, a person commits the predicate act of harassment if (with the purpose to harass another) he:

  • Makes, or causes to be made, a communication or communications anonymously or at extremely inconvenient hours, or in offensively coarse language, or any other manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm;
  • Subjects another to striking, kicking, shoving, or other offensive touching, or threatens to do so; or
  • Engages in any other course of alarming conduct or of repeatedly committed acts with purpose to alarm or seriously annoy such other person.


Alimony (also known as spousal support) represents regular payments made from one spouse to the other during a separation or after a divorce. The purpose of an alimony is to recognize the recipient spouse’s contribution to the marriage and to assist that spouse to achieve financial independence after the marriage ends. The amount of spousal support assigned will depend on the specific state but generally is greater the longer the duration of the marriage.

Do I Need a Family Attorney?

Family law issues can be some of the most contentious legal disputes. In addition, the Court process and legal provisions regarding any family law matter can often be very confusing. Consulting an experienced team of family law lawyers like those at The Law Offices Of James C. DeZao can help you understand your rights and to protect your interests.

Our Credentials

We can help you move forward.

Discuss your situation with us during a free, confidential phone consultation.We have bilingual staff available to speak to you. Take the first step in the right direction by calling our firm at 1-833-JIMHELPS or filling out the form to the right.

Free Consultation