Connors Receives Award from State Bar Association for Authoring Law Preventing Custody Changes for Deployed Military Personnel
9th District Senator Christopher J. Connors received the 2013 Robert B. Meyner Award from the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) on Monday, March 18, 2013 in a presentation at the New Jersey State House.
The award is named after the former governor, state senator and NJSBA Trustee Robert B. Meyner. It recognizes exceptional advocacy efforts of public officials to advance the NJSBA’s mission to serve, protect and promote the personal and professional interest of its attorney members and serve as the voice of New Jersey attorneys to government entities and the public with regard to the law, legal profession and legal system.
Senator Connors was selected to receive the award in particular recognition of the authorship of legislation by he and his 9th District Legislative Colleagues, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove, that was signed into law to safeguard the rights and serviceperson parents who must periodically relinquish custody of their children to fulfill their military duties.
On January 25 of this year, the Governor signed legislation (S-1051) introduced by the 9th District Delegation which provides that the court, whenever making a determination concerning child custody or parenting time, will not consider the absence or potential absence of a service member parent by reason of deployment with the U.S. Military or treatment for sustained injuries as a factor in determining the best interest of the child. Further, the law prohibits the court from modifying or amending any judgment or order concerning child custody or parenting time, or issuing a new order changing a custody arrangement while the service member parent is deployed, unless it is in the best interest of the child.
“It is a tremendous privilege and honor to be a recipient of the Robert B. Meyner Award, especially given that the award relates to veterans’ affairs, which is one of the most important issues to me as a public servant,” said Senator Connors, who serves on the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “I accept this prestigious award on behalf of Assemblyman Rumpf and Assemblywoman Gove, whom I share a strong commitment with to improve the qualify of life for all our veterans whose steadfast dedication and selfless sacrifice defend the freedoms we all enjoy and cherish.
“The State Bar Association’s expertise regarding military custody law was pivotal in moving the legislation, which received broad bipartisan support, through the committee process. Most notable was the Bar Association’s recommendation and insistence that, for the law to be effective, New Jersey retain exclusive jurisdiction over any determination concerning child custody or parenting time during and 90 days following a service member’s deployment or treatment.”
Earlier this year, Senator Connors was named “Legislator of the Year” by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Department of New Jersey. Additional veterans’ initiatives undertaken by the 9th District Delegation include writing the law known as the “Veteran-Owned Business Assistance Act,” that will require the state to develop strategies to expand the number of veteran-owned businesses interested in and eligible to benefit from State procurement activity.