Law Lessons from C.D., A.P., AND D.D. VS. N.D.M. AND A.L., App. Div., A-1944-11T4, January 8, 2013:
A change of physical custody between parents, or between a parent and a psychological parent, ordinarily requires a plenary hearing. See R. 5:8-6; Faucett v. Vasquez, 411 N.J. Super. 108, 119 (App. Div. 2009) (citing Entress v. Entress, 376 N.J. Super. 125, 133 (App. Div. 2005)), certif. denied, 203 N.J. 435 (2010); N.J. Div. of Youth & Family Servs. v. S.S., 405 N.J. Super. 1, 3 (App. Div. 2008).
Absent a custody dispute between parents, whether they are biological, legal, or psychological parents, the best interests of the child are not relevant. See N.J.S.A. 9:2-4. The courts have no authority to determine in which family the child will do better. See N.J. Div. of Youth & Family Servs. v. I.S., 202 N.J. 145, 165-66 (2010) (citing In re Guardianship of J.C., 129 N.J. 1, 7-10 (1992)).
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