Custody is defined as having the legal responsibility to care for and/or make decisions on behalf of a child under 18. (1) Most consider it a parental right, but there are times when the custody of a child can be threatened and the advice of counsel such as the family lawyers at The Rotolo Law Firm may be warranted.
Various factors can threaten custodial rights. You can be engaged in a custodial battle with an ex-spouse or you can lose custody to authorities as a result of abuse or neglect allegations. Often in divorce, agreements can be reached whereby parents have shared custody or at least visitation rights. Fighting to regain custody from child welfare authorities can be a different story. One Holland Township couple has found themselves engaged in such a battle for the past two years.
The couple, Deborah and Heath Campbell, lost custody of their three children in 2009 and just this week appeared in court once again – this time to fight for custody of their infant son. (2)
The Campbells first made headlines in 2008 when a request for a name on a birthday cake brought them to the attention of New Jersey’s Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS). The couple had given their three older children names inspired by Nazis – Adolf Hitler Campbell, JoceyLynn Aryan Nation Campbell and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell. When they asked a supermarket employee to put Adolf Hitler, their son’s name on the birthday cake, the employee refused. Child welfare authorities somehow learned of the incident and began investigating the couple. The investigation led DYFS to remove the children from the couple’s custody, claiming there was evidence of past violence in the household and that the children were in danger of harm. (3)
Just last week, Mrs. Campbell gave birth to another son, whom the couple named Hons. Only hours after the child’s birth, reports stated, child welfare authorities took charge of the child and denied the couple contact with him. (2)
The couple went to court in Flemington this past Monday in an effort to regain custody of the baby, claiming authorities took the infant without a court order. Officials from DYFS have not commented publicly on the matter, but the judge hearing the case denied the couple’s request for custody. The couple’s other three children remain in foster care. (2)
Custody matters can be complicated and agonizing. If you are involved with custody issues in Hunterdon County or a surrounding county, contact The Rotolo Law Firm in Lebanon, NJ.