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Case Types

DISSOLUTION (FM)

1. DISSOLUTION (FM)

Description:
Dissolution case processing provides case management for all cases concerning the dissolution of a marital relationship. These include divorce, separate maintenance, annulment, palimony, equitable distribution of assets, alimony, child support and issues concerning custody and visitation and severance of legal partnerships.

Statute: N.J.S.A. 2A:34-1 to 2A:34-52 Court Rule 5.2-5.8 inclusive
N.J.S.A. 9A:2-1 to 9A:2-21 (Custody)

Contact Person:

  • Christopher Puskarik x3302 - FM / FD Team Leader for, Judge Rafano, Judge Silva and Judge Vignuolo.
  • Dean Smith x3293 – FM / FD Team Leader for Judge Lydon, and Judge Flynn. FM only Team Leader for Judge Paone.
  • Katherine Fread x3286 - FM / FD Team Leader for Judge Venezia and Judge Jorgensen FM only Team Leader for Judge Natali.

Filing Motions: Evelyn Pecoraro - x3226;
Complaints and Answers: Lisa Bianca- x3242 and Melissa Duprey - x3228;

Calendar Coordinator – Files / Dispositions / Scheduling:
Maggie George x3319 - Child Support Hearing Officer
Carmen Lopez x3296 - Judge Venezia
Cheryl Byrom x3291 - Judge Flynn
Trevor King x3290 - Judge Jorgensen
Patricia Hilgar x3305 - Judge Paone
Anila Mody x3297 - Judge Rafano
Patsy Malvo X3306 - Judge Silva
Twanita Wilcox x3298 Judge Vignuolo

Confidentiality: Dissolution records are not considered confidential and are open to public inspection, unless sealed by court order.

Scheduling: Early Matrimonial Settlement Panels (ESP) are scheduled on Tuesdays. Motions are heard as scheduled by the NJ Supreme Court, generally every other Friday.

Vocabulary / Acronyms:
Case Information Statement (CIS)
Case Management Conference (CMC)
Early Settlement Panel (ESP)
Property Settlement Agreement (PSA)
Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA)

Dissolution Case Processing Flow Charts

NON-DISSOLUTION (FD)

Description:
Non-Dissolution case processing provides management for all cases concerning child support, paternity and issues of custody and visitation, that are not FMs.

Statute: N.J.S.A. 2A:4-30.24.30.64 inclusive Court Rule 5:1-R.5:8; 5:14.5:25-3

Contact Person:

  • Laverne Harvey x 3313 - FD Team Leader for Child Support hearings
  • Dean Smith x 3293- FM / FD Team Leader for Judge Flynn, Judge Paone
  • Katherine Fread x 3286 - FM / FD Team Leader for Judge Venezia and Judge Jorgensen
  • Christopher Puskarik x 3302 - FM / FD Team Leader for Judge Rafano, Judge Silva and Judge Vignuolo

Filing Complaints, OTSC, UIFSA Complaints, Answers and Motions: Pam Bogart x 3218
Michael Demcovitz x 3225
Gladys Arias x 3220
Erika Portillo x 3219

Calendar Coordinator – Files / Dispositions / Scheduling:
Maggie George x 3319 - Child Support Hearing Officer
Brendaliz Matos x 3303 – Judge Paone
Michele Sabosik x 3289 – Judge Flynn
Gladys Arias x 3288 – Judge Jorgensen
Adrian Ailey x 3304 – Judge Silva
Brinda Sreevatsava x 3294 – Judge Vignuolo
William TenBroeck x 3295 – Judge Rafano

Confidentiality: Non-Dissolution records are not considered confidential; exception information on NJ Kids/Facts is confidential.

Filings Initiated By: A spouse, parent, grandparent, guardian or Board of Social Services and other interested parties may file pro se or represented.

Alternative Dispute Resolution: Consent Conferencing, Custody / Visitation Mediation.

Process: The Middlesex County Board of Social Services (Welfare) files complaints for child support and paternity with the Family Division. The Division schedules the matter before the Hearing Officer.

The Hearing Officer computes the NJ Guidelines and makes recommendations regarding child support. The recommendations are submitted to the Judge for ratification in the form of a court order. Either party may object to the Hearing Officer’s recommendation at the conclusion of the hearing and are referred for an immediate appeal (same day hearing) before a Judge.

Custody / Visitation complaints are processed by the Family Division FM /FD Team and are scheduled.

Scheduling: The hearing officer is scheduled in Middlesex 5 days per week. On Thursday, the Hearing Officer handles probation enforcement.

Related Vocabulary / Acronyms:
Certificate of Parentage (COP)
Child Support Enforcement Network (CSENet)
Child Support Improvement Act (CSIA)
Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act (FFCCSOA)
Hearing Officer (HO)
Human Leukocyte Antigent-Paternity Test (HLA)
NJ Child Support Guidelines
NJ KiDS – Computer system that tracks child support
Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA)
Temporary Assistance to Needy Family (TANF)
Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA)

Non - Dissolution Flow Charts

Domestic Violence (FV)

Description:
The intent of the Domestic Violence Act is to ensure victims of domestic violence the maximum protection from abuse by providing access to emergent relief or restraints. Child support, spousal support, custody and visitation can also be added if restraints are in place.

Statute: N.J.S.A. 2C:25-33 Court Rule 5:7A
N.J.S.A. 9A:2-1 to 9A:2-21 (Custody)

Contact Person: Michelle Rubin x 3233 - Team Leader

Filing Instituted By: Victim / Plaintiff or Third party if victim is incapacitated.

Confidentiality: All domestic violence records are confidential and cannot be released to the public or an organization unless there is an Order authorizing release.

Alternative Dispute Resolution: None.

Process: Victims can file a complaint for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) either through the Superior Court, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., or through the local Police Department/ State Police after 3:30 p.m. - Monday through Friday and on weekends and holidays. Superior Court and Municipal Court Judges and DV Hearing Officers hear ex-parte applications. If a TRO is entered, the Defendant is then personally served with copies of the Order, Complaint and Affidavit by law enforcement or by regular and certified mail if the defendant is out of state. If the complaint originating at the Municipal level is denied a TRO, the matter is not dismissed, but must be forwarded to the Superior Court for dismissal. If the victim feels they want to appeal the action, he/she may re-file the domestic Violence Complaint to be considered by a Superior Court Judge. If a complaint originating in the Superior Court is dismissed, the matter is closed and the victim would have to file a new complaint on a new incident if the victim wanted restraints.

All Final hearings (FRO) for restraining orders are heard by a Superior Court Judge. Either testimony is taken by the Court to determine an act of domestic violence or a Defendant can acknowledge on the record that they committed an act of domestic violence for a Final Restraining Order to be entered.

Note: The Family Division must be notified if there is a request by a counsel either through a matrimonial action or via a motion for modification to dismiss a Domestic Violence Restraining Order. Any modification provisions or dismissal must be on a standard Domestic Violence Form.

Scheduling: Temporary Restraining Orders are heard daily upon completion of intake. Final Restraining Orders are heard every day.

Vocabulary / Acronyms:
Domestic Violence (DV)
Final Restraining Order (FRO)
Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)

Risk Assessment – interview and evaluation of parents by Family Division or other designated agency to determine if the non-custodial parent is a risk to have access to his / her child(ren).

Domestic Violence Flow Chart

Domestic Violence Contempt & Weapon Forfeiture Hearings (FO)

Description:
This docket is to provide timely adjudication of violations of Restraining Orders and the retaining or return of weapons seized during a domestic violence act.

Statute: 2C:25-33 Court Rule 5.7-A

Contact Person: Sharon Andresen x3262 - Team Leader
David Hyde x 3235 - Investigator

Filing Instituted By: Prosecutor’s Office, Local/State Police

Alternative Dispute Resolution: Once the contempt matter is downgraded to a non-indictable offense, the matter is diverted to the Family Division. Any negotiations for resolutions are handled by the Prosecutor’s Office

Process:

ModificationsModifications are filed by a party to the action. They are scheduled for the Judge who did the FRO.

ContemptComplaints are filed by law enforcement or victim through either the Local/Sate police or Prosecutor’s Office. The complaint is reviewed by the prosecutor. Once the matter is downgraded to a non-indictable offense, the Family Division receives a copy of the complaint and schedules the case for a Contempt Hearing. At the hearing, there is either a plea of guilty or a determination is made of guilty or innocence and the defendant is usually sentenced immediately.

Weapons – Weapons and identification cards are usually seized during an act of domestic violence or as a result of a Restraining Order being entered by the Court. Once seizure has occurred, the Prosecutor’s Office files a Weapons Forfeiture Petition with the Family Division. The matter is then scheduled within 15 days for disposition.

Confidentiality: All domestic violence, contempt and weapon forfeiture records are confidential and cannot be released to the public or an organization, unless there is an order authorizing their release. However, all matters processed by the Criminal Division prior to being downgraded to family are a matter of public record.

Scheduling: Domestic Violence Contempt matters and Weapon Forfeitures are heard every Monday, Thursday and non-motion Fridays.

Vocabulary / Acronym: See Domestic Violence Outline

Domestic Violence Contempt Flow Chart
Domestic Violence Weapon Forfeiture Flow Chart

JUVENILE DELINQUENCY (FJ)

Description:
Juvenile Delinquency matters are handled to preserve the unity of the family whenever possible; to protect the public interest; to prevent juveniles from committing further delinquent acts and to provide adequate acts and adequate program supervision.

Statute: 2A:4A Code of Juvenile Justice Court Rule 5:19-25

Contact Person:

  • Lisa Landis x3248 - Team Leader for Judge Hyland
  • Joycelin Bierach x 3247 – Coordinator for JCC

Filings Initiated By: Police Departments, Prosecutor’s Office, private citizens

Alternative Dispute Resolution:

Station House Adjustments -Conducted by police Departments; no complaint is filed.

Juvenile Conference Committee (JCC) – Consists of a board of citizen volunteers who conduct interviews with juveniles and their parents. Board assesses and prepares recommendations to the court. Majority of JCC cases involve disorderly person’s offenses.

Intake Service Conferences (ISC) Similar to the JCC, but conference is conducted by a Probation Officer.

FCIU – Complaint can be diverted to FCIU when it appears the nature of the incident consists of a family crisis situation in need of treatment.

Juvenile Referee Program

Process: (See attached Flow Chart)

Confidentiality: Records pertaining to juveniles are confidential and are to be safeguarded from public inspection. Records shall only be made to any court or Probation Department, Attorney General or Prosecutor, parents or guardian and attorney for the juvenile, Division of Child Protection & Permanency, if providing care of custody of the juvenile, any institute to which the juvenile is currently committed any person or agency interested in the case.

Scheduling: Juvenile matters are scheduled every day except Motion Fridays. Juvenile Prelims are scheduled every court day before noon. Shelter placements are scheduled every day at 1:30 p.m.

Organization Interfaces:
Division of Child Protection & Permanency (DCPP) – Michael Habib x3282, Liaison
Shelter – Middlesex Youth Shelter – James White - 732-297-8991
Detention – David Chippendale - 732-297-8991
MDT Coordinator – Mary Tarrant - 732-745-3655
Juvenile Justice Commission (JJ) – Elgie Neloms x3283, Liaison

Vocabulary / Acronyms:
Child Assessment Resource Team (CART)
Counsel Mandatory (CM) – attorney is required as per 2A:4A-39
Counsel Not Mandatory (CNM) – attorney is not required
Deferred Disposition – adjourning formal entry of disposition as per 2A:4A-43(b)(1)
Disposition – sentence
Intake Service Conference (ISC)
Pre-Disposition Report (PDR)
Substance Abuse Evaluation (SAE)

Juvenile Delinquency Continuum of Services
Juvenile Delinquency Case Process Flow Chart
Juvenile Delinquency Screening Process
Juvenile Delinquency Adjudication Process
Juvenile Delinquency JCC Process
Juvenile Delinquency Intake Service Conference (ISC)
Juvenile - Referral to Another Court Flow Chart

FAMILY CRISIS PETITION (FF)

Description:
Juvenile Family Crisis Intervention Units are a contracted service in each County. In Middlesex County, the Crisis Intervention Unit is run by Mobile Response Team at UMDNJ. Contact number: 877-652-7624.

Statute: 2A:4A Code of Juvenile Justice Court Rule 5:15-18

Contact Person: Middlesex Mobile Response Hot Line # 877-652-7624

Filing Instituted By: Family Crisis Intervention Unit.

Process: The Juvenile Family Crisis Intervention Unit provides continuous 24 hour on-call service through the Crisis Hotline. The service is designed to attend and stabilize juvenile family crises. Where a family crisis continues to exist, a Petition is filed with Family Court Intake. The Court’s role includes protecting and advocating for the juveniles involved. Judicial intervention is not to punish anyone, but rather to assist dysfunctional families by providing proper guidance and/or protecting the juveniles from harm.

Confidentiality: Records pertaining to juveniles are confidential and are to be safeguarded from public inspection. Records are only to be made available to any Court or Probation Department or Attorney General or Prosecutor, parents or guardian and attorney for the juvenile, DCPP, if providing care or custody of the juvenile, any institution to which the juvenile is currently committed and any person or agency interested in the case.

Scheduling: Shelter placements are scheduled every day at 1:30 p.m.

Family Crisis Petition Flow Chart

CHILD PLACEMENT (FC)

Description:
The Child Placement Review System (CPRB) consists of boards of volunteers located within each County and functions as part of the Family Division. They are charged to review every child that is placed outside of his/her home by the Division of Child Protection & Permanency (DCPP).

Statute: Title 9; N.J.S.A. 30-4C-50 Court Rule 5:13

Contact Person: Diane Benesz x 3268 – Team Leader

Backup Person: Susan Antonelos x 3269

Filings Initiated By: Division of Child Protection & Permanency

Process: When a child is placed outside of their home, DCPP must file a Notice of Placement with the Court within 5 days. Within 15 days, the Court signs an initial Court Order authorizing the placement to continue if it determines that DCPP has made “reasonable efforts” to prevent placement. CPRB holds an initial interview within 45 days of placement and makes recommendations to the Court regarding the placement and DCCP’s plan for the family. Interested parties, including the child, parents, foster parents, DCPP caseworker, therapist and school personnel are invited to attend. The Board questions those who attend regarding the placement and the plan. The board writes a recommendation for each case, which is submitted to the Judge for review and approval. Subsequently, the Court reviews under the FN case.

Confidentiality: All hearings under the Child Placement Review Act, either held by the Review Board or by the Court, are confidential with only those individuals in attendance who have direct involvement in the proceedings. All records are confidential and must be safeguarded from public inspection except as authorized by Order of the Court.

Scheduling: The two (2) Child Placement Review Boards meet twice a month.

Interfaces:
DCPP (Files Complaint)
Deputy Attorneys General
CPRB (Reviews placement and reports to Judge)
CASA (Volunteer assigned to child)
Office of Parental Representation
Resource Family Member
Law Guardian

Acronyms
CASA – Court Appointed Special Guardian advocate for a child placed out of home
CPR – Child Placement Review
Dodd – Children in Court Order to Show Cause
DCPP - Division of Child Protection & Permanency

ABUSE & NEGLECT (FN)

Description:
The Division of Child Protection & Permanency has the primary responsibility, by statute, to investigate allegations of child abuse and neglect. These proceedings can either be pursued criminally and/or civilly.

Statute: Title 9; N.J.S.A. 30:4C-1 et sq. Court Rule: 5:12 & 5:13

Contact Person: Diane Benesz x 3268, Team Leader

Backup Person: Susan Antonelos x 3269

Filings Initiated By: DCPP via Deputy Attorney General

Alternative Dispute Resolution: Mediation.

Process: When a child is placed outside of their home, DCPP must file a Notice of Placement with the Court within 2 court days. Within 15 days, the Court signs an initial Court Order authorizing the placement to continue if it determines that DCPP has made “reasonable efforts” to prevent placement. CPRB holds an initial interview within 45 days of placement and makes recommendations to the Court regarding the placement and DCPP’s plan for the family. The Court reviews subsequently every 2-3 months until an approved permanency plan is in place. The plan is then reviewed by the Court annually until met. Interested parties, including the child, parents, foster parents, DCPP caseworker, therapist and school personnel are invited to attend.

Confidentiality: All hearings under the Child Placement Review Act, either held by the Review Board or by the Court, are confidential with only those individuals in attendance who have direct involvement in the proceedings. All records are confidential and must be safeguarded from public inspection except as authorized by Order of the Court.

Scheduling: Daily.

Organizational Interfaces: (See Child Placement Review)

Related Vocabulary / Acronyms: (See Child Placement Review)

Abuse/Neglect (FN) Flow Chart

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS (FG)

Description:
Guardianship involves the termination of parental rights of the parent/guardian of the child(ren) who are the subject of litigation. It is usually the end result of an abuse/neglect prosecution and a prerequisite of placing the child(ren) for adoption.

Statute: Title 9; N.J.S.A. 30-4C-50 et seq. Court Rule 5:13

Contact Person: Diane Benesz x 3268 – Team Leader

Backup Person: Susan Antonelos x 3269

Filings Initiated By: Deputy Attorney General on behalf of the Division of Child Protection & Permanency

Process: A Complaint is filed with an Order to Show Cause. The return date for the Order to Show Cause is set down within 30 days. If a parent is indigent, an application is made for Assignment of Counsel to determine indigence. If indigence is determined, an attorney is appointed by the Court. If the parent fails to appear on the return date and the Deputy Attorney General can provide proof of service, a Judgment by Default is entered. Typically, one or more Case Management Conferences are held prior to a trial. Trial should occur within 6 months.

Confidentiality: All hearings by the Court are confidential with only those individuals in attendance who have direct involvement in the proceedings. All records are confidential and must be safeguarded from public inspection, except as may be authorized by order of the Court.

Organization Interfaces / Acronyms – See Child Placement Review

Termination of Parental Rights (FG) Flow Chart

Children in Court Flow Chart

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