By Matt Rooney
Planning ahead is important, and family court is certainly no exception to the rule.
Unless you can meet the stringent threshold for an emergent motion, your New Jersey family court motion could take a month or longer to work its way from your attorney's office's mail bin to an actual hearing before a judge of the New Jersey Superior Court.
Here's what N.J. Court Rule 5:5-4(c) has to say on the subject:
5:5-4. Motions in Family Actions
(c) Time for Service and Filing. A notice of motion, except for motions brought pursuant to R. 1:10-3 and motions involving the status of a child, filed more than 45 days after the entry of the written judgment of divorce or annulment, other than an ex parte motion, shall be served and filed, together with supporting affidavits and briefs, when necessary, not later than 29 days before the time specified for the return date. For example, a motion must be served and filed on the Thursday for a motion date falling on a Friday 29 days later. Any opposing affidavits, cross-motions or objections shall be served and filed not later than 15 days before the return date. For example, a response must be served and filed on a Thursday for a motion date falling on a Friday 15 days later. Answers or responses to any opposing affidavits and cross-motions shall be served and filed not later than 8 days before the return date. For example, such papers would have to be served and filed on a Thursday for a motion date falling on the Friday of the following week. If service is made by mail, 3 days shall be added to the above time periods.
29 days is also a “best case scenario.”
Other factors — ranging from court holidays and judicial vacations to how crowded your assigned judge's docket is at that moment in time — can impact your motion's ultimate “return date” (the date for oral argument before a judge). It is also not unusual for the other party or his/her lawyer to request an “adjournment” (a postponement) of the court date for one reason or another. Adjournment requests contextually evaluated but they are often granted.
The bottom line? Expect it to take months, not weeks, before you have your day in court.
That means time is rarely on your side when you need a family judge's assistance securing your rights or those of your children. Litigants who, for example, want to modify a holiday season parenting time schedule are ill-advised to wait until Thanksgiving to consult an attorney.
Also keep in mind that the 29-day time frame does not take account of the time required to prepare the actual motion application with the assistance of your attorneys.
Every family court case is inherently personal; your children, your relationship with them, and even your hard-earned income or assets may be on the line.
Some good news? The attorneys at DeMichele and DeMichele
are skilled advocates who are ready to assist you as you navigate the complexities of New Jersey's Family Part court rooms and strive for an optimal result relative to the facts at issue in your case. You do not have to go it alone.
Contact us online
today or by telephone at (856) 546-1350 to schedule your confidential consultation.