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CIVIL DIVISION

Division Manager: NINA THOMAS
The Civil Division consists of three distinct operational sections: the Civil Part, Special Civil Part and Chancery/Probate Part.

Civil Part
Location: 3rd Floor, Suite 354, County Office Building
Telephone: 609-518-2815

The Superior Court of New Jersey, Civil Part, is a court of general jurisdiction under the direction of the Civil Presiding Judge. Civil Part in Burlington County has a yearly average of 4,000 filings. There is no limit to the monetary amount that can be recovered in the Civil Part. One of the main functions of the Civil Case Management Office is to process legal documents, received for filing both in person and by mail. These documents include, but are not limited to:

The forms necessary to file a case in the Civil Part can be obtained from the Central Processing Office on the 1st Floor of the Courts Facility. In addition, many forms can be obtained from the Judiciary’s web site at www.njcourtsonline.com.

The Lawyer Referral Service of the Burlington County Bar Association can refer individuals who are seeking the assistance of a lawyer, by calling 609-261-4862. The Civil Part Office does not provide legal advice to litigants who represent themselves (pro se litigants). However, procedural advice and other questions can be answered by office personnel in the respective offices of the Civil Division. Civil case files are located in Suite 354 of the County Office Building and may be reviewed between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. unless the file has been ordered by the Court as closed (sealed) to the public. Copies of documents can also be obtained through this office.

The Civil Part Teams are also responsible for the effective management of these cases and their assignment to trial before the judiciary. In addition, arrangements for the following actions should be made through this office:

Complementary Dispute Resolution Programs (CDR)
Civil Part also offers a large array of Complementary Dispute Resolution (CDR) options which are available to attorneys and litigants as they search for timely and economical methods to resolve disputes. These programs include:

Statutory Arbitration for automobile, personal injury and commercial cases. Statutory Arbitration is a mandatory process in which a dispute is presented to an experienced neutral attorney with at least seven (7) years of litigation experience in the related field. Arbitrators accept sworn testimony from the parties, listen to the arguments of counsel, review the evidence and render a decision as to the value of the case. These hearings rarely last longer than an hour and are less formal than a traditional court proceeding. The arbitrator’s decision is non-binding and allows attorneys and clients the opportunity to request a trial instead of accepting the award recommendation made at the hearing. Cases that do not resolve through this process are immediately referred to the case management teams for trial listing.

Voluntary Binding Arbitration for verbal threshold cases. Voluntary Binding Arbitration is solely for automobile cases with verbal threshold insurance agreements. Before the commencement of the hearing, a consent order is entered by the court dismissing the case. It also records the agreement of the attorneys and parties to abide by the outcome. The attorneys select one plaintiff and one defense orientated arbitrator for the hearing. A judge serves as the third arbitrator and only enters into the decision making process if the two pre-selected arbitrators cannot agree on the outcome. A Statement of Facts must be submitted to the hearing officers in advance of the hearing date. On the hearing date, testimony is taken from the parties, evidence is reviewed and limited arguments are heard from counsel. An award is rendered at the conclusion of the hearing. This award is considered binding and the judge may sign an order for judgment. The decision is non-appealable.

Foreclosure Mediation is for homeowners who have filed an answer on a foreclosure matter and are contesting the foreclosure, as well as homeowners who fail to contest the foreclosure.  The mediation is with a mediator, the mortgage company’s attorney, homeowners, housing counselor, and if possible, the homeowner’s attorney.  The mediator is a neutral third party who facilitates the mediation in hopes of helping the parties come to an agreement.  The hearing can take up to an hour; it could be longer, and sometimes it will be shorter than an hour.  The homeowner submits a mediation packet that consists of a mediation request for mediation, a financial worksheet, and the homeowner’s proof of finances (pay stubs, bank statements and tax returns).  With this information, the bank and homeowner try to come up with an agreement so the homeowner can keep their house.  If no agreement is reached, homeowners will be given choices of what they can do outside of mediation.

Other CDR Programs: Attorneys and litigants may also avail themselves to several other less formal CDR programs in Burlington County. They include insurance settlement days, mini trials and summary jury trials. All offer dispute resolution options that may be less costly and timelier than traditional court processes.

Special Civil Part
Location: 3rd Floor, Suite 315, County Office Building
Telephone: 609-518-2865
Asst. Div. Mgr. Jo Ann Ezze

The Special Civil Part is a civil court of limited jurisdiction within the Civil Division. It is a high volume court with an average of 25,000 annual filings There are three case types in the Special Civil Part: Landlord/Tenant (LT) Cases; Small Claims (SC) (lawsuits seeking up to $3,000.00 in monetary damages); and Special Civil (DC) Cases (lawsuits seeking up to $15,000.00 in monetary damages). Please note the exception that cases involving security deposit issues can be filed as a Small Claims action for up to $5,000.00.

Typical Small Claims and Special Civil lawsuits include breach of a written or oral contract, return of money used as a down-payment, loss or damage of property caused by an automobile accident, back rent, bad checks, return of a tenant’s security deposit, payment for work performed, or defective merchandise. Upon payment of the appropriate filing fee and submission of the completed summons and complaint forms, along with the appropriate number of copies, service of these cases is performed by the Special Civil Part Office by simultaneous mailing of the summons and complaint to the defendants via regular and certified mail.

Special Civil (DC) and Small Claims (SC) cases must be filed in the county where at least one of the defendants resides. If the defendant is a business, the case must be filed where the defendant’s office is located. If none of the defendants reside in New Jersey, the case can be filed in this State if the cause of action occurred in New Jersey. It must, however, be filed in the county where the action arose.

Landlord/Tenant matters involve disputes between landlords and tenants. The only relief obtainable in these matters is a judgment for possession. Landlords are not permitted to evict a tenant (self-help evictions) without first obtaining a Judgment for Possession or other court order. A landlord must file a complaint with the Landlord/Tenant section of the Special Civil Part to permanently remove a tenant. The typical legal basis for a landlord to file such a complaint are a tenant’s alleged failure to pay rent, continued late payment of rent, continued disorderly conduct, willful destruction of property, violation of lease rules, or a tenant’s conviction of a drug offense or other transgression. Upon the submission of the proper filing fee and completed summons and complaint forms, along with the appropriate number of copies, the Special Civil Part Office will serve the tenant by regular mail. A Special Civil Part Court Officer must also personally serve the tenant with the summons and complaint or affix it to the door of the leased premises. In Landlord/Tenant (LT) cases, the landlord must file the lawsuit in the county where the rental property is located.

The forms necessary to file a case within the Special Civil Part can be obtained from the Central Processing Office Intake Team on the 1st Floor of the Courts Facility or the Special Civil Part Office on the 3rd Floor of the County Office Building. In addition, many forms can be obtained from the Judiciary’s website at www.njcourtsonline.com.


CRIMINAL DIVISION

Location: 3 rd Floor, 50 Rancocas Road
(Criminal Division)
Telephone: 609-518-2565
Division Manager: Shannon DeNise-Budenas

Under the direction of the Criminal Presiding Judge, the Criminal Division is responsible for processing and managing all indictable criminal cases involving adult offenders. In rare instances, juveniles may be waived to adult court based on the severity of the offense. The office handles all pre-adjudicatory functions of the Superior Court, Criminal Division, as well as Post Conviction Motions. Disorderly persons, petty disorderly person’s offenses and motor vehicle violations are normally heard in the Municipal Courts. Typical clients of the Criminal Division would be those:

The Intake/Bail Unit conducts bail investigations and indigence determinations for those defendants committed to the Burlington County Jail charged with indictable offenses. These defendants are given a first appearance via video during which the court advises the inmate of the charges against him/her, the right to a public defender if the defendant cannot afford to pay for an attorney and the amount of bail set in the case. First appearances are conducted daily. Bail options include:

NOTE : The court does not endorse the services of any bail bondsman. Anyone needing this service may find a bondsman listed in the telephone directory.

A bail filing fee of $30.00 is required when bail is posted regardless of the type of bail required. Bail monies may be refunded by the Finance Division after the defendant is: 1) sentenced; 2) completed Pre-Trial Intervention; or 3) the case is dismissed. Failure to appear for any scheduled court appearances will result in a bench warrant being issued for the defendant’s arrest and the forfeiture of bail.

Bail for all indictable cases and cases downgraded to the Municipal Court can be posted at the Burlington County Jail located at 49 Rancocas Road in Mt. Holly.

Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) : The Pre-Trial Intervention Program is a diversionary program that offers criminal defendants an alternative to prosecution and conviction. Upon acceptance into the program, the judge postpones all further court proceedings against the defendant for a period of up to three years. The judge often orders special conditions that require the defendant to actively participate in rehabilitation. A probation officer, who ensures compliance with the court’s orders, supervises the defendant. Successful completion of the imposed terms of PTI supervision results in a dismissal of the defendant’s charges. Violation of the court-imposed conditions may result in the defendant being terminated from the program and the charges being reactivated and returned to the trial list.

Pre-Sentence Investigation (PSI) is required by law to be completed on defendants who are convicted of criminal offenses. The report is a comprehensive social background on the defendant including the defendant’s prior court history, offense circumstances and any victim information along with a sentencing recommendation. The report provides information for the judge to use in determining the appropriate sentence.

Drug Court is an opportunity to sentence appropriate, non-violent offenders to drug treatment and intensive probation supervision, rather than incarceration. The program brings many resources (prosecutor, public defender, treatment providers, substance abuse evaluators, probation officers and most importantly the judge) together to insure the defendant has the greatest chance for success. Breaking the cycle of addiction and returning the defendant to society as a productive member are the goals of drug court.

Records Management and Public Access are also responsibilities of the Criminal Division. All public records are maintained by the office. A public access computer terminal is available for interested parties who wish to search the Judiciary’s database (Promis/Gavel). The database contains information on charges, schedules and dispositions of criminal matters.

Expungements: When the court grants an order for expungement, it permanently seals a defendant’s criminal record from all inquiries made by agencies seeking criminal history information. The expunged record or any information pertaining to it will not be released for any reason except as authorized by law. You may contact the Criminal Division for additional information. There is a pro se packet for expungements available on the Judiciary’s website at www.njcourtsonline.com.

Attorney Referrals: If a defendant cannot afford an attorney for a criminal proceeding in Superior Court, he/she may apply for a Public Defender. The defendant must apply with the court, not the Public Defender’s Office. Court staff cannot recommend private attorneys.

Gun Permits:

Permits to Purchase a Handgun: If your municipality has a full-time police department, contact the Chief of Police. If your municipality does not have a full-time police department, contact the State Police station serving your municipality. Out-of-state residents may apply at any State Police station. If the application is denied by the state or local police, the applicant may request a hearing on the denial at the Superior Court by contacting the court in writing, within 30 days of the denial. Appeals of denials at the Superior Court level may be filed with the Appellate division. Permits to purchase are valid for 90 days.

Permits to Carry a Handgun: Contact the Chief of Police if your municipality of residence has a full time police department. If your municipality has no full-time police department, contact the State Police station serving your municipality. Out-of-state residents may apply at any State Police station. Employees of armored car companies should apply at any State Police station. Unlike permits to purchase, permits to carry require Superior Court approval. Permits approved by the state or local police are forwarded to the Superior Court for review and decision. If a permit is denied at the local level, the applicant may make a request within 30 days of the denial to the Superior Court. If the permit is denied by the Superior Court (either a primary or secondary denial), an appeal may be filed with the Appellate Division. Permits to carry expire 2 years from the date of issuance or upon termination of employment if an armored car employee.


FAMILY DIVISION

Location: 3 rd Floor, Courts Facility
Telephone: 609-518-2645
Division Manager: Barbara Sopronyi

The Family Division of Burlington County is dedicated to the prompt resolution of disputes, assuring the rights of litigants and the protection of the community. The Family Division Presiding Judge, all Family Judges, the Family Court Managers and all division employees are committed to providing all court consumers with exceptional service. It is our goal to ensure that members of the public are treated with dignity and respect and that their cases are handled in a prompt and efficient manner.

Family Administrative Team - 609-518-2691

Under the direction of the Family Presiding Judge, the administrative team consists of all Family Judges, the Division Manager, two Assistant Division Managers, six Team Leaders and several administrative staff. All work performed in the Family Division is overseen by this group, including the management of docket-specific teams as well as all administrative responsibilities such as budget, human resources and purchasing. The Family Division is responsible for the screening and processing of all family related matters. The division handles all complaints from the time they enter the system until they reach final disposition. The case types and their docket designations handled through this division are listed below.

Case Reception/Intake Team - 609-518-2645

The Case Reception/Intake Team is the centralized information and filing center for non-dissolution and dissolution matters. This team processes all pro se complaints for child support, visitation, medical coverage, paternity, custody, spousal support and modifications. Walk-in litigants are interviewed, their cases are screened, scheduled and all parties in the case are noticed with a court date. Additionally, the team handles applications via mail, accommodates emergent matters and answers phone inquiries. All out-of-state child support petitions are also handled through the intake team.

The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) governs the collection and enforcement of child support orders across state lines including case establishment or modification and filing for emancipation of a minor. Under UIFSA, the plaintiff is not required to appear at the hearing and will be represented by the local welfare agency. Individuals may obtain applications in person or by mail. There is a $6.00 application fee for filing. Applicants should expect a three-month waiting period before hearing from the other state. Although the unit is open Monday through Friday, intake interviews are conducted by appointment only.

Dissolution/ Non-Dissolution Teams - 609-518-2645

Dissolution complaints are filed in the Central Processing Unit at a cost of $250.00. An additional Parent Education fee of $25.00 is required if child support or custody is a relief sought. Motions are filed at a cost of $30.00. Pro se litigants with post-divorce issues may file a motion using the pro se motion packet provided by the Family Division.

Non-dissolution complaints may include some pre-divorce issues (child support, medical coverage, visitation, custody and spousal support) and issues between non-married parents and other parties. Most non-dissolution child support cases are scheduled before a child support hearing officer who is skilled in calculating child support. This officer makes a recommendation to a judge. The judge will review the recommendations. If the judge approves the recommendations, it becomes a court order.

Children-in-Court Team - 609-518-2812

This team handles all cases involving children who have been abused or neglected and who are under the supervision of DYFS. This team is responsible for managing the cases of children who may be placed outside of their homes because of alleged parental abuse or neglect. The team is also responsible for the processing of all abuse, neglect, guardianship and adoption cases filed. There are multiple docket types that fall under the Children-in-Court team. These include FC, FN, FG, FL and FA dockets.

Domestic Violence Team - 609-518-2642

Domestic violence complaints may be filed between 8:00 am and 3:30 pm in the Domestic Violence Unit. After 3:30 pm, or on weekends or holidays, complaints and requests for restraining orders should be filed at a police station or municipal court in the municipality where the incident occurred or where the person lives. Restraining orders are issued by the court. Initially, a determination is made on whether or not a temporary restraining order (TRO) should be issued. If a TRO is not issued, the party requesting the TRO is entitled to an automatic appeal before a Superior Court Judge. If a temporary restraining order is granted, a hearing for a Final Restraining Order (FRO) is scheduled within 10 days.

Juvenile Team - 609-518-2661

The juvenile team handles complaints filed against persons under the age of 18, as well as Family Crisis Petitions. This team is responsible for the docketing and scheduling of all juvenile delinquency and family crisis matters. Cases are divided into the following categories for purposes of scheduling court hearings: 1) Court, Representation Mandatory Calendar; 2) Court, Representation Not Mandatory Calendar; 3) Juvenile Referee; 4) Juvenile Intake Service Conference; and 5) Juvenile Conference Committee.

Assignment of counsel hearings (5A hearings) are held for all cases listed on the Representation Mandatory calendar. According to household income, families may be eligible for either a Public Defender or a court assigned attorney or they may be required to obtain private counsel.


INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DIVISION

Location: 3rd Floor, Courts Facility
Telephone: 609-518-2525
Division Manager: Andrew Myers


The Information Technology Division is essential in introducing, implementing and supporting technology in the Burlington Vicinage. The IT Division determines Court operation technical needs and provides the necessary assistance. The Burlington Vicinage Information Technology (IT) Division:


PROBATION DIVISION

Location: 50 Rancocas Road, 1 st Floor
(Probation Division)

Telephone: 609-518-2885
Chief Probation Officer: Division Manager Gregory Lambard

The Burlington County Probation Division, as part of the Judiciary, plays a vital role in accomplishing the mission of the Court. The fair and just resolution of disputes is achieved when court orders are fully and fairly enforced. The constitutional rights of citizens are protected by effective supervision of probationers in the community. Probation plays a vital role as the dispositional enforcement arm of the Court.

The role of Probation is to promote the welfare and safety of children, families and communities in New Jersey by enforcing court orders, supervising offenders, monitoring behavior, and intervening to produce positive outcomes.

The major units of operation are:

The Burlington County Probation Division is committed to achieving statewide operational goals in all units by providing comprehensive quality supervision, service and enforcement.

Supervision Goals :

Supervision Services

Location: 50 Rancocas Road, Ground Floor
Hours of Operation: Mon., Thurs., and Fri., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tues. and Wed. 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Telephone: 609-518-2885
Assistant Chief: Kathleen Riker

Adult Supervision

The Burlington County Probation Division provides community supervision of offenders placed on probation by the Superior, Family and Municipal Courts. Offenders are required to report to their probation officers on a regular basis. Probation officers also supervise offenders in the community by making home visits. Probation officers enforce compliance with court orders which require probationers to submit to drug screening, alcohol/drug abuse treatment, mental health counseling, perform community service, obtain employment, attend school or training and pay court ordered fines and penalties.

Specialized Units include: Domestic Violence caseload, Pre Trial Intervention caseload, Sex Offender Treatment caseload and Drug Court Supervision caseload.

Community Service Unit

The Burlington County Probation Division community service unit enforces compliance with the completion of approximately 50,000 court ordered hours each year. The Burlington County Probation Division is always looking for additional community service work sites. Offenders have successfully performed hours of valuable service.

Comprehensive Enforcement Program

The Burlington County Probation Division collects over one million dollars in court-imposed fees annually. The Division has the responsibility of enforcing regular payment of fines and penalties through a variety of measures including payment plans, tax offsets and civil judgments. The money collected is designated for such public purposes as crime prevention programs, crime-victim compensation and restitution. Payments can be mailed to:

Burlington County Central Processing Office
Court Facility, 1 st floor
49 Rancocas Road
Mt. Holly , NJ 08060
OR
Made in Person to the above address
Monday – Friday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm

Payments must be made in cash, check or money order and made payable to Treasurer – State of New Jersey. Account numbers should be written on the check or money order.

Juvenile Supervision

The Juvenile Unit monitors, supervises and enforces the compliance of 450 adjudicated youth with the completion of all standard and special conditions of probation. Juveniles are required to report regularly to their probation officer. In addition, officers visit juveniles in their schools and homes. Officers work cooperatively with schools and partner with community agencies to provide appropriate services to assist juveniles in staying arrest free, attending school and successfully completing the conditions of probation. Specialized units include: Sex Offender caseload, Aftercare caseload, and Cognitive Skills Program.

Support Enforcement

Location: 50 Rancocas Road, 2 nd Floor
Telephone: 609-518-2750
Assistant Chief: Max Wolford

Probation’s Child Support Enforcement Unit enforces child support orders. The unit monitors child support payments and seeks court action when those payments are overdue. Probation Officers use many techniques to ensure that overdue payments are made including: credit reporting; immediate income withholding; seizure of state and federal tax refunds, lottery winnings and unemployment benefits; license suspension; and Financial Institution Data Match (FIDM). The Probation Division oversees the collection of more than $65 million in child support payments annually.

A child support representative is available to answer questions about litigants’ child support cases. Each caseworker can be contacted directly. If the caseworker is not available, litigants should leave a voice mail message with his/her name, case number and telephone number. All calls will be returned within 48 hours. Routine case or payment information may be obtained by dialing the 24-hour Child Support Hotline at 1-800-621-KIDS (5437).

The New Jersey Office of Child Support has an interactive website that enables the public to get information about individual child support cases online. By going to www.njchildsupport.org you can find information about the case status and recent payments. When prompted, enter the case number (CS number) and enter the last four digits of the party’s social security number.

Payments may be made in person in the Central Processing Office located on the 1 st floor of the Courts Facility. For proper credit and identification, litigants should include the case number on all payments and correspondence.

Address for mailed payments:

NJ Family Support Payment Center
Probation PO Box 4880
Trenton , NJ 08650

Parents who owe or are owed child support should be aware of the following:

Child Support is calculated according to the New Jersey Rules of Court and the Child Support Guidelines. The guidelines ensure that the income of both parents and special needs of the children are considered when calculating child support. Child support obligations may be automatically adjusted every two years to reflect changes in the cost of living index.

The Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act of 1998 is the federal legislation that makes it a felony for a parent to move to another state or country with the intention of evading child support payments if the debt has remained unpaid for over one year or is greater than $5,000.

Other Collection and Enforcement Remedies Include:


SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT
Location: 2nd Floor, 50 Rancocas Road
Telephone: 609-518-2750

Support Enforcement provides monitoring and enforcement of spousal/child support and health benefit orders in a timely and efficient manner. Criteria for enforcement is established by federal and state law. Costs of funding this unit are reimbursed through Title IV-D of the Social Security Act at about 66% a year. The orders are established through the intake unit of the Family Division. Cases are handled by three teams of child support workers and a team of court workers.

There are three major types of enforcement:

All questions concerning the enforcement of spousal and child support orders should be directed to this office.


COUNTY CLERK'S OFFICE
Location: 1st Floor, Courts Facility (Rear)
Telephone: 609-265-5122

The County Clerk's Office provides many functions for both Burlington County and the Superior Court. For the County, this office records, microfilms and indexes all mortgages and deeds. The Passport Office issues passports, gun permits, ABC cards, swears in notaries and registers firm names. (Corporation names are registered through Trenton.) The Clerk's Office also has an Election Unit which is responsible for various election matters in Burlington County. The Clerk's Office also records liens against property in Burlington County.


SURROGATE'S OFFICE
Location: 1st Floor, Court Facility
Telephone: 609-265-5005

The Surrogates Office handles the following:


CHANCERY: GENERAL EQUITY and PROBATE PARTS

Olde Historic Courthouse, 120 High St., Mt Holly
Telephone: 609-518-2850 

The courts in the Chancery Division (General Equity and Probate Parts) hear cases that seek equitable relief rather than monetary compensation. Equitable relief usually involves the court compelling or restricting actions of one of the parties (such as labor injunctions, foreclosures, dissolution of a corporation or partnership, execution of wills and distribution of estates). The jurisdiction of the Chancery Division to grant relief is delineated in the following areas:

General Equity Part:

NOTE: Foreclosures are filed with the Clerk of the Superior Court, Attn: Foreclosure Processing Services, Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex, 25 Market Street, P. O. Box 971, Trenton, NJ 08625. All foreclosure complaints, answers, requests to enter default, and motions to enter final judgment should be sent directly to that unit. The Superior Court Clerk’s Office forwards all cases in which contested answers are filed (and all subsequent papers involving the contested foreclosure) to the Burlington Vicinage’s Chancery Division.  Questions about this process may be directed to the Superior Court Clerk’s Office at (609) 421-6100.

Probate Part:

NOTE: All pleadings involving probate matters should be filed with the Burlington County Surrogate, Courts Facility, 49 Rancocas Road, Mt. Holly, NJ 08060 or call 609-265-5005.

Emergent Applications:
There are three types of actions which are heard on an emergent or developing basis: 1. Orders to show cause; 2. Sheriff’s evictions; and 3. Special medical guardianships. Currently there are no forms available for use by self-represented litigants in the General Equity and Probate Parts. Information and sample forms for these are generally available in law libraries or public libraries. The Lawyer Referral Service of the Burlington County Bar Association can assist individuals who are seeking the aid of a lawyer by calling 609-261-4862.

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