My daughters father has a history of domestic violence & gun charges, can I file for sole custody and get a restraining order?

Hello, My daughter's Father, out of spite may only be filing for visitations. His life style is entirely unsuitable for a child. I know that he has supervised visits with two of his other 5 children now due to domestic violence. He also has a history of domestic violence and gun charges.....what is the likelihood that I can keep my daughter safe from this way of life, by getting sole custody and now a restraining order due to the fact that he is verbally attacking me on the phone and text messages....I am scared for myself and my daughter more than anything. I can not deal with 2 minutes if she has to leave me to go over there alone!

Old Bridge, NJ -

Attorney Answers (3)

Mary Tom

Mary Tom

Family Law Attorney - Wayne, NJ

If you are being harassed by your daughter's father, you can file for a domestic violence restraining order against him and get temporary sole legal and physical custody and suspension of visitation pending the outcome of the final restraining order.

If you want sole custody of your daughter, that can be done by filing a complaint with the court under the non-dissolution/support case. In that court, the court can make suitable findings of fact as to the necessity of sole physical custody. If you are looking for no visitation or supervised visitation, you will need more than "unsuitable" lifestyle as a basis. Courts tend to foster visitation between parent and child.

You should consult with an experienced family law attorney concerning custody as there are many factors to be demonstrated to a court to take away legal and physical custody rights of a parent.

Good luck.

Wayne Plaza II
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This message does not constitute legal advice and is for informational purposes only. This message does not... more
James R Fridie III

James R Fridie III

Family Law Attorney - Cinnaminson, NJ

As always Mrs. Tom has provided sound advice. You can file a temporary restraining order (TRO) against your ex on the basis of his phone calls and texts. The predicate acts of domestic violence would be harassment and possibly terroristic threats (depending on if he threatens you or not). The TRO would grant you temporary sole residential custody. You shouldn't file a TRO just to get custody, as Mrs. Tom mentioned you could file a motion for sole residential custody and request that his parenting time be supervised. I'd like to encourage you to contact an attorney ( many offer free consultations) in your area to fully apprise you of your options.

Disclaimer: The information here is general and not intended to be construed as legal advice or form an attorney-... more
Mark M Cheser

Mark M Cheser

Domestic Violence Lawyer - Union, NJ

My colleagues are correct if he has committed an act of Domestic Violence (DV) against you. If he has not you cannot obtain a restraining order based on his prior acts against other people. Also, from experience, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to terminate his visitation because of his character. The visitation can be limited and supervised based on prior acts against others though. I have been successful in ending such attempts by asking the Court to require psychological evolutions, (which he needs to pay for) and if they fail to comply you can end the matter.

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