Timothy Joseph McIlwain, a lawyer who allegedly filed frivolous submissions, issued subpoenas in bad faith, and engaged in deceptive behavior in relation to a custody case has been suspended by the Supreme Court of New Jersey on Thursday, July 13, 2023.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Timothy Joseph McIlwain” and was bought by the Disciplinary Review Board, with case no. 087971.

The charges cited New Jersey Rules of Professional Conduct 3.1, 8.4(c), and 8.4(d). 

According to the allegations, McIlwain violated ethics rules in his child custody dispute. The Board’s March 6, 2023 decision suspended McIlwain for “multiple frivolous submissions” relating to the custody case.

In February 2019, McIlwain took his young daughter from Kentucky to New Jersey without the mother’s consent. The mother quickly filed for custody in Kentucky. But McIlwain filed for custody in New Jersey Superior Court.

The Board found:

“On March 4, 2019, following a hearing in the Superior Court of New Jersey, in which respondent, Doe and her counsel, and the Jefferson County Circuit Court judge participated, Judge Ridgway issued an order dismissing the New Jersey matter and relinquishing jurisdiction to Kentucky, pursuant to the UCCJEA.”

Despite the clear jurisdictional ruling under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), McIlwain continued to file frivolous motions and pleadings in New Jersey. He also issued subpoenas with threats of contempt to the mother’s employers.

The Board found McIlwain violated ethics rules prohibiting frivolous filings and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. He also improperly required the mother to withdraw her grievance against him.

In mitigation, McIlwain had no prior discipline in 27 years of practice. But the Board cited his “refusal to accept responsibility for his misconduct” in ordering a 3-month license suspension.

The Supreme Court of New Jersey determined from its review of the matter that a one-month suspension is the appropriate quantum of discipline for the respondent’s unethical conduct.

The Disposition states:

“It is ORDERED that Timothy Joseph McIlwain is suspended from the practice of law for a period of one month and until further Order of the Court, effective August 18th, 2023.”

Mr. McIlwain practices in Hoboken, New Jersey. He is licensed in New Jersey. His info can be found on avvo.com.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.