The New Jersey Child Custody statute (N.J.S.A. 9:2-4) is one of the many State child custody statutes which mandate that one of the factors which a court must consider in making a child custody determination is the “fitness” of each parent.
Very often in the midst of a contested New Jersey child custody case, one or both parties claim that the other party is “unfit.” However, a general allegation of “unfitness” is not sufficient to deprive a parent of legal custody of his or her child. The New Jersey Child Custody statute specifically states that a parent shall not be deemed unfit unless his or her “conduct has a substantial adverse effect on the child.”
One parent’s substance abuse or mental illness can certainly lead to a finding of unfitness. Some people might think that celebrities who live a high-profile life get special treatment in those types of matters. Usually, that is not the case.
The most recent example is the Florida family law matter involving Creed singer Scott Stapp. Stapp is married and has three children who range in age from 16 to 4 years old. Sadly, Stapp has apparently been struggling with substance abuse and addiction for some time. He was recently placed in a psychiatric facility for several days and has been committed to facilities before. He allegedly exhibits irrational behavior, sometimes warranting others to call law enforcement for help. Stapp’s behavior can be seen in videos posted to social media and is further evidenced by posts made by his oldest child.
As a result, a Florida family law judge has granted Stapp’s wife sole legal and physical custody of the children. It is unclear whether Stapp will be afforded parenting time. The judge has also issued an order instructing that Stapp stay away from his family’s home, which should be occupied solely by his wife and children.
With all of that said, it is important to remember that people make mistakes and that there is treatment available. With something as important at stake as custody of your children, it is essential that you retain the experienced legal counsel to represent your interests.
Salvaggio Law Group LLC devotes its entire practice to New Jersey Divorce and Family Law matters, including New Jersey child custody and parenting time cases. If you want to talk, please call us at (973) 455-1220 or fill out the Contact Form on our website.
Child custody is a very real issue for many American mothers and fathers. Although some might think that those that live a high-profile life get special treatment in these types of matters, that usually is not the case. In matters involving children, judges are obligated to make decisions according to the best interests of the child standard. This obligation exists whether the parents are of celebrity status or not. This is evidenced by a pending family law matter involving Creed frontman Scott Stapp.
Stapp is married to Jaclyn Nesheiwat and has three children ages 16, 7 and 4. Apparently Stapp has been struggling with substance abuse and addiction for some time and this has put a strain on his family life as a whole. He was recently placed in a psychiatric facility for several days and has been committed to facilities before. He allegedly exhibits irrational behavior, sometimes warranting others to call law enforcement for help. Stapp’s behavior can be seen in videos posted to social media and is further evidenced by posts made by his oldest son.
Unfortunately for Stapp, it seems that his substance abuse and irrational behavior was enough to warrant losing custody of his children. A Florida court has decided to grant Stapp’s wife Jaclyn sole legal and physical custody of the couple’s three kids. It is unclear whether Stapp will be afforded visitation. The judge also issued an order instructing that Stapp stay away from the home where he once lived with his family and that the home be occupied by his wife and children alone.
This case shows that you are at risk of losing custody of your children if it is in their best interests to remain with someone else, especially in a case involving substance abuse. But, it is important to remember that people make mistakes and that is why family law attorneys are available to assist you in proving that you are fit to take care of your kids.