News

New Jersey Supreme Court Rules in “Not Established” Case

On November 18, 2019, on behalf of the New Jersey State Bar Association, Jeralyn Lawrence argued before the New Jersey Supreme Court. The case examined the “not established” standard under New Jersey’s child welfare laws and whether or not a parent/caregiver is entitled to appeal when the Division of Child Protection and Permanency concludes “not established” following an investigation of abuse or neglect. The New Jersey State Bar Association took the position that the “not established” finding should be abolished altogether. “The potential for misuse, the likelihood of interference with an individual’s right to parent, and the consequences of a damaged reputation with no real course of remediation is clear and harmful,” argued the association.

Last week, the Supreme Court issued their decision. In their ruling, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that the Department of Children and Families’ use of the “not established” standard, agreeing with the New Jersey State Bar Association’s amicus curiae arguments. The Court held that the standard for a finding of “not established” is “vague, amorphous, and incapable of any objective calibration” because it requires less than a preponderance of the evidence and only requires some evidence. The Court did not address the abolition of the “not established” finding because the plaintiff in the case did not raise it as an issue in the underlying case.

“The majority opinion agreed with our arguments and added levels of protection on the standard and specifically said it would be ‘well worth the effort’ of the state Department of Children and Families to revisit that regulatory language concerning the standard ‘as well as its processes related to such findings.” Justice Albin, in his dissent, did agree with the NJSBA position, opining that the standard should be abolished,” Lawrence said. “Even though the finding didn’t abolish the category, the NJSBA moved the needle significantly and in doing so, helped many, many families,” she said.

The NJSBA’s brief was written by Lawrence, Daniel A. Burton, Thomas J. DeCataldo, Jr. and Family Law Section Chair Ronald G. Lieberman. Joining as amicus were Legal Services of New Jersey, the New Jersey American Civil Liberties Union and the state Public Defender’s Office of Parental Representation.

Subscribe to Our Blog

SHARE THIS POST:

Related Posts

News
Jeralyn Lawrence to Discuss Child Support Guidelines

Jeralyn Lawrence, founder and Managing Partner of Lawrence Law, will present Deviations from the Child Support Guidelines at NJICLE’s Family Law Summer Institute. The Family Law Summer Institute, presented in cooperation with the New Jersey State Bar Association Family Law Section, is a 2-day live webcast program on July 21 and 22 from 9 a.m….

Read More
News
Jeralyn Lawrence Joins Somerset Health Care Foundation Board of Trustees

Jeralyn Lawrence, founder and Managing Partner of Lawrence Law, was named to the Board of Trustees of the Somerset Health Care Foundation. Somerset Health Care Foundation provides funding to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset – the only hospital in Somerset County – enabling it to provide comprehensive health care in a patient-friendly environment. Lawrence…

Read More
News
Rita M. Aquilio Reappointed to the Family Law Section Executive Committee

Rita M. Aquilio, a matrimonial and family law attorney with Lawrence Law, was reappointed to the Family Law Section Executive Committee (FLEC) of the New Jersey State Bar Association. 2020 marks the seventh year in a row that Aquilio has been reappointed to the Executive Committee. She has also again been appointed to serve as…

Read More
News
Rita M. Aquilio To Moderate ABA COVID-19 Program

Rita Aquilio, a divorce and family law attorney with Lawrence Law, will moderate a webinar entitled The Intersection of Family Law and Insurance Claims in the Age of COVID-19. The panel will discuss issues facing individuals with support obligations, such as child support and alimony, when their business or employment has been disrupted due to…

Read More
News
Jeralyn Lawrence Installed as President-Elect of the New Jersey Chapter of AAML

Today, Jeralyn Lawrence, founder and Managing Partner of Lawrence Law, was installed, virtually, as President-Elect of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. She previously served as First Vice President of the New Jersey Chapter of AAML, as well as in other positions in the Academy. Lawrence says, “I am excited…

Read More
News
Jeralyn Lawrence Among Honorees of New Jersey Law Journal Professional Excellence 2020

On September 23, 2020, at Brooklake Country Club in Florham Park, Jeralyn Lawrence will be among the honorees at the New Jersey Law Journal’s Professional Excellence 2020 awards dinner. Lawrence is being recognized in the Mentors category. She was nominated by her colleagues at Lawrence Law who submitted nominations answering the following: tell us about…

Read More
Call Now ButtonCall Us