Four Important Issues When Building a Strong Criminal Defense

When facing charges related to any type of crime in Milltown, it is important to immediately get an experienced, aggressive Middlesex County criminal defense attorney on your side. Attempting to handle the matter yourself or delaying legal representation increases the odds of a conviction and the harsh penalties associated with it. In many cases, a strong legal defense is about more than just the crime you are accused of. It is about what happened during your arrest and how matters are handled over the course of a trial. The following highlights four important issues that could have a significant impact on your case. 


Issues That can Result in Your Charges Being Reduced or Dismissed


A conviction on criminal charges can impact every area of your life. In addition to fines and a potential jail sentence, even otherwise minor crimes remain a part of your permanent record and could prevent you from obtaining a job, education, homes, or loans. It can also have a major impact on your personal relationships with others and your rights in any family court proceedings in which you are involved. 


To protect yourself, get our experienced criminal defense attorneys on your side immediately. As part of building you a strong legal defense, factors we will consider include:  


Problems Concerning Your Apprehension and Arrest


You have constitutional rights covering interactions involving law enforcement. One of the most relevant in building a criminal defense involves the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects you against illegal searches and seizures. Police must have cause to detain you, whether they approach you in your vehicle, in your home, or when walking down the street. They must also have reasonable cause to search you and your property and to seize anything which can be used as evidence. 


Failure to Follow Proper Procedures in Court


Just as there are certain protections regarding the arrest and detainment of suspects, there are also rules regarding criminal procedures in the New Jersey Courts. Procedural errors in the arraignment or discovery process, in notifying you regarding court actions, and in scheduling hearings all work against you. As a result, these incidents may be used to invalidate the proceedings and are often factors in filing an appeal. 


The Information and Evidence Used Against You


Evidence the police and prosecuting attorneys obtain plays a major role in your case. There must be ample evidence against you in order for charges to be brought. Our attorneys work with all the parties involved, reviewing this evidence in an effort to get your charges reviewed or dismissed. In addition, there are guidelines from the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice on the proper handling and storage of this evidence. Any errors made could work to your advantage.  


Your Rights to a Fair Trial


One of the most important rights you have is to a fair trial. You are entitled to your day in court and to present information about the case before a judge and jury of your peers. All court officials involved should be impartial, with no obvious attachments to the case or outcome. However, in communities such as Milltown, it is not uncommon for people in court proceedings to have had prior interactions or to have formed biases which could negatively impact you. 


Get Help From Our Middlesex Criminal Defense Attorneys


At the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq., one call is all it takes to get our experience Milltown criminal law attorneys fighting on your side. We help to ensure your rights are protected while building you a strong legal defense. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.  

Prohibitions Against Owning a Gun for Medical Marijuana Users

Changes in marijuana laws have swept through the country. For residents of New Jersey, it has been a rollercoaster ride. The medical marijuana program is a target of frequent legislation as more qualifying conditions are added. Recreational use has been a hot topic lately, with voters expected to make a final decision on the matter in 2020. What often gets overlooked in these debates is that fact that marijuana is still considered an illegal substance at the federal level. As a result, people who hold a medical marijuana card are prohibited from buying or possessing firearms. If you are a marijuana user who lives in or is visiting New Jersey,  be aware that having a gun could result in potentially serious charges requiring a strong criminal defense

State Versus Federal Marijuana Laws

Under federal law, marijuana is classified as an illegal substance. Under U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration  (DEA) drug schedules, it is categorized under Schedule I, meaning it has no approved medical uses and a high potential for abuse. At the same time, each state is permitted to make their own laws regarding marijuana usage. 

Scientists have conducted much research on the medical use of marijuana and its potential to help people suffering from a wide range of conditions. Among the benefits are relief from pain, anxiety, sleeplessness, and inflammation. It is also known to reduce nausea and the likelihood of seizures. It has been shown to be effective in helping people with a broad range of health conditions, including: 

  • Anxiety and depression;
  • Sleep disorders;
  • Epilepsy and other seizure disorders;
  • Glaucoma;
  • Cancer;
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS);
  • Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other neurological disorders. 

As a result of these benefits, the National Council of State Legislators (NCSL) report that it is now legal in 34 states (including New Jersey), as well as in the District Of Columbia. Nearly a dozen others have legalized it for recreational use as well. However, these laws do not change the fact that it is still considered illegal by the federal government and thus is subject to any federal laws in place. 

Marijuana Use and Gun Ownership 

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has repeatedly warned people that under Title 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(d)(8) and (g)(8), anyone who uses or is addicted to any controlled substance is prohibited from buying, selling, or possessing firearms. This is true regardless of the state they are living in and whether that state has laws legalizing marijuana for any use. 

Gun dealers and authorized representatives are governed by federal laws and are prohibited from selling firearms under these conditions. While it can be difficult to prove someone is using marijuana without a drug test, having a medical marijuana card will appear as part of your background check. Under these circumstances, purchasing a gun is illegal, whether at a brick and mortar gun shop, a gun show, or through online dealers. 

Regardless of whether you live in New Jersey or are from another state where marijuana is legal, if you are stopped by law enforcement and found with a gun in your possession you could end up facing serious criminal charges. In some situations, mandatory minimum sentencing requirements may result in a potentially lengthy jail sentence.  

Get Our Middlesex Criminal Defense Attorneys on Your Side 

At the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq., we defend the rights of people facing gun charges and other weapons related offenses.To protect your rights, get our team fighting on your side. Call or contact our Milltown criminal defense attorneys right away to request a consultation.    

Picking the Right Person to Execute Your Will and Act as Power of Attorney

Having a valid will in place ensures your final wishes are conveyed regarding your property and assets. Powers of attorney (POA) ensure financial matters are attended to in the event you are incapacitated and unable to attend to them yourself. Both are vitally important estate planning documents to have in place. As experienced New Jersey wills/POA attorneys, one of the most common concerns we address with clients regards naming someone you trust to perform tasks required by these documents when the need arises.   

Naming An Executor For Your Will

When a person passes away, his or her estate must go through the probate process. This ensures all property and assets are accounted for and that any claims against the estate are settled. It also ensures the proper distributions are made among the heirs and that any estate taxes owed are settled. 

In Milltown, these matters are handled through the Middlesex County Surrogate’s Court. Having a legal will in place ensures property is conveyed according to your wishes. If you die without one, it is referred to as dying intestate, and it results in time consuming and costly proceedings while potentially preventing certain people from inheriting from your estate. In creating a will, you will need to name a personal representative. This person acts as the executor of your will in the probate court. His or her duties include: 

  • Gathering property and assets and providing a complete inventory of your estate;
  • Completing the appropriate probate court forms and appearing at hearings;
  • Notifying creditors to satisfy unpaid debts;
  • Filing a final tax return and pay any amounts owed;
  • Locating your beneficiaries so that distributions can be made. 

As this is a tall order, you want to give special consideration to who should fulfill this role. You can name a spouse, adult child, or other immediate family member, but it is important to remember that they will still be grieving during this time. You want to avoid putting undue burdens on your loved ones. You also want to be sure the person you select has the general skills and knowledge to see this task through to completion. 

Choosing the Right Person to Grant Powers of Attorney 

Powers of attorney (POA) are designed to protect you in the event an injury or illness leaves you incapacitated and unable to manage your affairs. Under the New Jersey Statutes, your POA acts as your ‘attorney-in-fact’ and is authorized to handle business and financial matters in the event you are unable to. They have a fiduciary duty to manage your affairs wisely and to act in your best interests. Powers that can be granted through a POA include: 

  • The right to access your financial accounts (including retirement funds) and make transactions on your behalf;
  • The right to make investments, legal claims, or collect on debts;
  • The right to manage your property, including any businesses you own;
  • The right to buy, sell, or trade property and to make gifts to others.  

When choosing someone for this position, it can be a family member, friend, business partner, or a professional service provider, such as a family law attorney. The important thing is to ensure that they are someone you trust who is familiar with your wishes and has the experience and skill needed to successfully carry out any tasks. 

Let Our Middlesex Wills and POA Attorneys Assist You 

When handling important matters regarding your future and the care of your loved ones, Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq. is a trusted legal ally on your side. Call or contact our Milltown family law attorneys and schedule a consultation to discuss how we can assist you today.    

How to Make Sharing Custody Easier for You and Your Child

When parents divorce, one of their primary concerns is the health and well-being of their children. Depending on the details surrounding the situation, the court is likely to require that the parents work together in sharing child custody. Disputes and disagreements between the parties often make doing so difficult and can have a detrimental effect on the child. To protect your rights and make the situation easier, our New Jersey family law attorneys recommend the following tips. 


Putting Your Child First in Custody Arrangements


Under Section 9:2-4 of the New Jersey Statutes, divorcing parents have a right to frequent and ongoing contact with their children. In fact, the court encourages both parties to play an active and engaged role in the child’s life through child time sharing arrangements. 

Factors the court will consider when making these plans include: 


  • Each parents current and prior relationship with the child;
  • Their ability to provide for the child’s needs;
  • Their ability to cooperate with the other parent in making child time sharing arrangements;
  • Any issues, such as addiction, domestic abuse, or criminal activity, which could put the child at risk. 


Provided none of the above are concerns, it is important to recognize that regardless of your personal feelings, your former partner can still be a good parent and plays an important role in your child’s life. Comply with any agreements or stipulations the court puts in place. Avoid making negative comments about the other parent or attempting to relay information to them through the child. If there is a problem or issue that needs to be discussed with them, approach them in a respectful manner and not in front of your children. 


Protecting Yourself in Child Custody Arrangements


In addition to helping your child adjust to child time sharing arrangements, there are steps you can take to protect yourself, as well. As part of your child custody proceedings, you will be required to complete a parenting plan. The more detailed the plan, the more your rights as a parent will be protected. Issues that need to be addressed include: 


  • The amount of time the child spends with each parent: This includes arrangements both during the school year and over summer breaks. Be sure and include provisions for holidays, birthdays, family vacations, and other special occasions;
  • Details regarding transfers of the child between the parents: This is often one of the areas where parents get into disagreements. In some cases, it may be appropriate for each parent to pick up and drop off the child at the other parent’s home. In others, a neutral location may be best. 
  • Plans in case of events that require changes in the plan or other arrangements: This is another highly contentious area. Put provisions in place in case the other parent is not available to take the child at the agreed upon times or dates.  
  • Legal authority in making decisions regarding the child: Consider whether one or both parents should have the legal right to make decisions regarding the child’s education, health care, or religious upbringing.  
  • Provisions for resolving issues through the court: According to the New Jersey Courts, parental interference and non-exercise of parenting time are two of the most common issues in child time sharing arrangements. Include provisions for situations that require legal action. 


Get Guidance From Our Middlesex Child Custody Attorneys 


At the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq., we protect the rights of parents and their children in custody proceedings. To discuss how we can help you, contact our Milltown child custody attorneys today to request a consultation.   

When a Child Results From an Extra-Marital Affair

Adultery is one of the most difficult and painful issues for married couples. A partner to stray for a variety of reasons and reconciliation is possible, with the couple moving on to enjoy a stronger, healthier marriage as a result. However, forgiveness is not an easy process and there are times when it may not be advisable. Adultery does provide grounds to file for divorce in New Jersey. The situation can be more complex and painful when a child results from an affair. As experienced New Jersey family law attorneys, we have outlined some of the issues that need to be addressed in these cases. 

If the Husband Has an Affair

Adultery is one of several fault grounds for divorce listed under section 2A:34-2 of the New Jersey Statutes. If the husband cheats and has an affair outside marriage, he can be considered at fault for the divorce. In order to use adultery as divorce grounds, there must be some evidence to substantiate these claims. A pregnancy that results from a spouse’s affair provides incontrovertible proof. Ways this may benefit the wife in a divorce include: 

  • Marital property division: In divorce proceedings, marital property and assets are divided on an equitable basis. If a spouse cheated, he or she may have given away marital property or spent money that belonged to both partners on the affair. As a result, the non-cheating partner may be entitled to a greater share in any resulting settlement or order issued in the case. 
  • Alimony: Alimony may be awarded by a judge when one spouse makes significantly more than the other or when one sacrificed his or her own career or education for the sake of the marriage. If the earning spouse had an affair, it may increase the likelihood that the judge will award alimony as part of the divorce settlement. 

The fact that the husband had an affair resulting in a child may provide certain advantages to the wife in terms of the above. It can also negatively impact her rights if the couple have children together. Regardless of the fact that he was married to another at the time of conception, the husband still has a duty to provide for the child fathered through the affair. This will impact his income and will be a consideration in any child support orders issued in the case. 

If the Wife Conceives a Child as a Result of an Affair

If the wife is the one who has an affair during the marriage and becomes pregnant as a result, it will impact the amount she may be entitled to in a settlement. In addition to potentially receiving less in marital property division proceedings, the affair bars her from receiving alimony as part of the divorce settlement.  

In these types of cases, it is important to be aware of the implications regarding paternity. The New Jersey Department of Health advises that if the mother is married at the time of conception, birth, or for 300 days prior to having the baby, the husband will automatically be considered the father. Unless he files the appropriate documents removing his name from the birth certificate, he could be liable for child support payments, even though the child is not his. 


Our Middlesex Divorce Attorneys are Here to Help 

Adultery can have major ramifications on divorce proceedings. To protect your rights, get the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq. on your side. To schedule a confidential consultation,  call or contact our Milltown divorce attorneys online today.   

Protecting Your Reputation When Facing Criminal Charges

Criminal charges wreak havoc on your life. A conviction remains a part of your permanent record, potentially preventing you from getting certain jobs, going to school, or holding positions within the community. As background checks and internet searches are now a part of everyday life, the damage to your reputation alone can be extensive. As Milltown criminal defense attorneys, we work aggressively on behalf of clients to prevent this from happening. Even if you have been charged and convicted of a crime in the past, we can guide you in obtaining an expungement while advising you on other actions you may need to take.  


Expungement and Background Checks


Just about every job requires a background check today. You may also be subject to formal or informal background searches when looking for an apartment, leasing a car, holding public positions, or even dating and volunteering your time at a child’s school. If you have been convicted of a crime in the past, there is a strong chance someone will uncover it. 

According to statistics from Politifact, roughly 70 million Americans find themselves in this troubling position. Past indiscretions, recent errors in judgment, or actions taken while under the influence or when struggling with addictions can have a major impact on you now and in the years to come. These are certain protections offered on both the state and federal level in terms of the types of information background check may include and how it can be used against you. However,  it still puts your personal well being and financial security at risk. 

One of the most effective ways of dealing with this type of situation is to seek an expungement of your criminal record. This effectively removes-or at minimum, hides-your conviction, preventing it from appearing on background checks. Under New Jersey Court guidelines, issues that will influence whether you are entitled to seek an expungement include:   

  • The nature of your charges;
  • Your status as a first time offender or if you had prior arrests;
  • If you were involved in any type of pretrial intervention program;
  • Whether you had any prior expungements;
  • If you completed all requirements in your case as set out by the court. 


Dealing With Information on the Internet


Unfortunately, even in cases where you are cleared of charges or an expungement is granted, information pertaining to the incident may still be available online. One of the most damaging aspects of the internet is the way the names of people who are arrested are publicized for all to see. Mugshot websites are among the worst offenders. These websites often exploit information obtained via public records for their own gain. In addition to publishing your name, your mugshot image, and your charges, they often make matters worse by getting the facts wrong. 


Unfortunately, while you have the right to request that your mugshot be removed from these sites or that errors be addressed, many charge outrageous fees in what essentially amounts to extortion. 

According to the National Council of State Legislators (NCSL), close to a handful of states-including New Jersey-have passed laws prohibiting these sites from charging fees to remove mugshots. In addition, when information provided via a website is misleading or causes you significant harm, they may be liable for any damages you suffer as a result. 

Reach Out to Our Middlesex County Expungement Attorneys 

At the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq., we work aggressively to prevent criminal charges from doing lasting damage to your reputation. To discuss expungement and other options, contact our Milltown criminal defense attorneys to schedule a consultation today.

Four Possible Alternatives to a Jail Sentence For Criminal Charges in New Jersey

Facing criminal charges can impact every area of your life. For students, it can affect college loans and get you kicked out of classes. For working adults, it can result in the loss of your job and your reputation within the community. Fines, court costs, and legal feels can jeopardize your financial security. The situation surrounding your charges can even threaten your relationships with friends and family members while potentially impacting your rights in family court proceedings. However, the one impact that people facing criminal charges in New Jersey tend to fear most is the possibility of going to jail. As experienced Milltown criminal defense attorneys, we want you to be aware of alternatives available in our area that can help you avoid a jail sentence. 


Overcrowding in Jails and Prisons


Otherwise honest, hardworking people can easily find themselves involved in situations which put them on the wrong side of the law. Without a strong legal defense, they can end up sitting in a jail cell as a result. The New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reports that the number of people in prison throughout the United States has tripled over the past 15 years. In addition to the frightening nature of being deprived of the comforts of home and the consolation of loved ones, overcrowding has the following ramifications for prisoners: 


  • Lack of basic medical care;
  • Increased violence and gang activity;
  • Limited access to work, education, and treatment programs.  

Unfortunately, even relatively minor misdemeanor crimes in New Jersey can carry up to a one-year jail sentence, while felony charges can leave you imprisoned for decades. 


Facing Criminal Charges? Some Alternatives can Keep You Out of Jail


When charged with any type of crime,  contact our New Jersey criminal defense attorney immediately. As crowding and the high costs of keeping people in jail have worsened over the years, there are additional programs available to help you avoid a jail sentence. These include: 


Drug Court


Drug offenses are one of the most common types of crimes. The goal of New Jersey Drug Courts is to get offenders the treatment they often need while also addressing their criminal charges. Provided you pay the associated fines, adhere to probation terms, and attend a treatment program, it can help you avoid a jail sentence. 


Conditional Dismissal


While crimes such as vandalism and disorderly conduct may seem like petty offenses, they can still result in time behind bars. Certain offenders in the municipal court system may be offered conditional dismissal instead. As the name implies, provided they adhere to conditions imposed by the court, they can have their charges dismissed and avoid the penalties associated with a conviction. 


Conditional Discharge

This is an alternative sentencing option specifically for people charged with marijuana possession. Similar to conditional dismissal, their charges will be dismissed provided they adhere to conditions which typically include fines and mandatory treatment and counseling sessions. 


Pretrial Invention


For people facing charges related to felony offenses, New Jersey’s Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI) can help prevent a prison stay. It offers first time, non-violent offenders a fresh start and a chance to expunge their criminal charges. It typically involves payment of fines, attendance at treatment programs, and a period of court-monitored probation. 


Get Our Middlesex County Criminal Defense Attorneys Fighting on Your Side

The Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq., we fight to protect your rights when facing criminal charges, with the goal of preventing a jail sentence. Call or contact our Milltown criminal law attorneys online and request a consultation today.

How Powers of Attorney can Help Prevent Guardianship Proceedings

Unexpected events can keep you from making important decisions, managing your general finances, and attending to other important business. When this occurs, someone else may need to handle these matters for you. Unfortunately, this is not a simple situation. Access to bank accounts and authority in business, property, and personal transactions is something that must be granted through the court. Guardianship proceedings can accomplish this objective, but are often unpleasant affairs which are subject to costly and time consuming delays. Creating powers of attorney before the need arises is a far better option. 


The Problem With Guardianships


A guardianship is when another person or agency is appointed by the court to act as another’s representative in legal or business matters and in handling their personal affairs. The New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS) advises that guardianships are often used when adults suffer physical or developmental disabilities that are severe enough to prevent them from taking care of themselves. They may also be considered as a potential option in cases where injuries or illnesses leave people with permanent impairments and when older adults fall victim to dementia or other types of diseases. 

While family members may seek a guardianship to protect the people they love, the DHS advises that they should only be used as a last resort and in extreme cases. Problems associated with guardianship proceedings include: 

  • It removes the individual’s fundamental right to self-determination. 
  • It generally make the individual feel threatened and defenseless. 
  • It requires proof that the person is impaired to a degree that they are unable to care for themselves, 
  • It increases the likelihood of disputes among family members over whether to take this action and who will act as guardian. 
  • As it is part of the public record, guardianship proceedings may be viewed as an invasion of privacy and can be humiliating for all involved. 


How a POA can Protect You and Those You Love


While a family member’s intentions in terms of seeking guardianship proceedings for older adults and others suffering from lingering disabilities may be good, there is a better way to address the situation. Establishing a legal power of attorney (POA) is something that accomplishes many of the same objectives but can be done simply in our Milltown probate attorney’s office and before an actual need ever occurs. 

Under the New Jersey Statutes, powers of attorney legally authorize one person or group (such as a bank or attorney’s office) to act on behalf of another in handling their personal, financial, and business affairs in the event they are unable to do so on their own. It allows the individual covered under the POA to name the person who will represent them in advance while also setting certain terms, limits, and other provisions on the agreement. There are two basic types of POAs: 

  • A durable power of attorney: This is generally preferred as it automatically goes into effect if a person is incapacitated. 
  • A ‘springing’ power of attorney: This only goes into effect provided certain conditions are met and is more open to disputes. 

Other documents we can create to protect you in the event the unexpected happens include health care powers of attorney, which authorizes a person you select to make healthcare decisions on your behalf, and a living will. 


Contact Our Middlesex County POA Attorneys Today

As experienced Milltown family law attorneys, the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq. can advise you on legal documents that can help protect you and your loved ones. To schedule a consultation, contact our office today.

Five Common Types of Domestic Abuse That Impact a Divorce Case

Five Common Types of Domestic Abuse That Impact a Divorce Case


Even when spouses agree on ending their marriage and getting a divorce, heated disagreements can arise during the legal process. Some divorce proceedings are more contentious than others, particularly if there are disputes over money, property, or children involved. Unfortunately, the loss of control your former partner is likely experiencing and the strong emotions involved can end up revealing a darker side of his or her nature. Even if domestic abuse was never a factor in your marriage, it could become an issue during your divorce. 


Common Abusive Behaviors During Divorce


Under Section 2A:34-2 of the New Jersey Statutes, extreme cruelty and acts of violence are grounds for obtaining a divorce in the state. However, there are plenty of times when this type of behavior does not happen during the married but instead becomes an issue in divorce proceedings. 

Domestic abuse is generally about wanting to have control of the victim and influencing his or her actions or behaviors. In resolving divorce-related issues such as marital property division, alimony, or child custody and support, anger, fear, and frustration can cause a once-rational spouse to act out in potentially abusive ways. Behaviors you may end up encountering in your former spouse include: 


Verbal Abuse


Name-calling and put downs are common tactics among domestic abusers. The intent is often to manipulate you or get you to doubt yourself. Unfortunately, it is a tactic frequently employed when attempting to negotiate divorce settlements. 

Having our experienced New Jersey divorce attorney on your side can prevent this from occurring. We can deal directly with your spouse’s legal counsel, minimizing your interactions and monitoring all communications. 


Threats and Intimidation


Similar to verbal abuse, threats and intimidation are often tactics employed when your spouse is not getting his or her way and wants to reassert dominance in divorce negotiations. Any type of threatening or intimidating behavior needs to be taken seriously. 

In cases of threats to physically harm you and those you love or to cause damage to property, the New Jersey State Police advise getting a restraining order. This restricts your spouse from having access to you. If your spouse disobeys this order, he or she can be subject to immediate arrest.  


Financial Abuse


This is often one of the least discussed types of domestic abuse. In a marriage, it may involve limiting your access to funds and ownership of property. In divorce, it may involve wiping out bank accounts and selling, hiding, or giving away valuable personal assets. 

Fortunately, once your divorce is filed, there is an automatic financial restraining order in effect. Even if your spouse does attempt to deplete assets, you can be compensated for them in your divorce settlement. 


Sexual Abuse


Sexual abuse involves rape as well as sexual harrassment. It is just as serious as any other type of abusive behavior and entitles you to a restraining order. Speak with your attorney if your spouse is putting any sexual pressure on you. In addition to jeopardizing your safety, this can significantly impact your divorce case. 


Physical Abuse


Actions such as hitting, punching, pushing, or other violent behaviors are not tolerated. It is important to get to a safe place immediately, notify local law enforcement officials, and contact our attorneys so that we can take the actions needed to protect you. 


Get Our Middlesex County Divorce Attorneys on Your Side

When going through a potentially contentious divorce case, the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq. acts as a strong ally on your side to ensure you are protected. To find out how we can help you, contact our Milltown divorce attorney to schedule a consultation today.

The Importance of Establishing Paternity for Your Child

As a parent, you want to give your child every advantage in life. While having two caring, nurturing people to provide the love and support a child needs may be the ideal, it does not always work out this way. Fortunately, children brought up in single parent homes have just as much chance to grow up and lead a well-balanced, happy, and productive life as any other. However, not naming the father does create hardships, both for the child and the mother involved. If you are in this situation and have not taken the time to establish paternity, our New Jersey family law attorney urges you to consider it as an option. 


The Benefits of Establishing Paternity


There are many reasons for a mother to not list her child’s biological father’s name on the birth certificate. They may have been involved romantically for only a brief period, having lost touch before the pregnancy was discovered, or it may have been a long standing relationship but the father was against the idea of having a child. Issues pertaining to abuse, addiction, or criminal behavior often lead an expectant mother to think leaving the father out of her and the child’s life is the best course of action. In still other cases, the child may have been conceived during an affair while the mother was married. As a result, the wrong person may be listed on the birth certificate. 


In any of these situations, filing paternity proceedings through the Middlesex County Courts is a smart idea. In addition to helping ensure your child receives the financial support he or she deserves, establishing legal paternity also provides the following benefits: 


  • Provides access to medical health history and other potentially pertinent genealogical information;
  • Ensures access to any Social Security or Veteran’s Administration benefits the child may be entitled to;
  • Established the child as a legal heir of the father, entitling the child to inherit from the father’s estate;
  • Gives the child a greater sense of identity and opens the door for a future relationship with the father. 


Provided the father’s actions do not endanger you or the child, initiating paternity proceedings and working towards regular visitation may be a good thing for all involved. Just because your relationship did not work out, he may still have the potential to be a good father to your child.   


Establishing Paternity In New Jersey


Under the New Jersey State Statutes, there are three basic ways in which paternity can be established: 


  • Through marriage: If you were married at the time the child was born, your husband will automatically be assumed as the father. 
  • Through a Certificate of Parentage: If you are unmarried at the time the child was born, you and the father can sign this certificate, acknowledging paternity. 
  • Through paternity proceedings: As a result of initiating paternity proceedings through your attorney, a hearing will be held in the local family court. A cheek swab will be obtained from you, the alleged father, and the child to test and compare DNA. 


If the results are positive, the father’s name will be added to the birth certificate and child support will be ordered. Custody and visitation are matters that could be considered through legal proceedings at a later date. 


Discuss Your Options With Our Middlesex County Criminal Defense Attorneys

The Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq. provides the trusted legal guidance you need when dealing with sensitive matters, such as paternity proceedings. Contact our Milltown paternity attorney today and request a confidential consultation to discuss your situation. 

 Call ( 732) 297-8200 or Text Jordan