Kathleen Dorsett is charged with killing her ex-husband less than a week before he was to have his first three-day overnight visit with their daughter.
Her father, 64-year-old Thomas Dorsett, was also charged in the murder.
Outside court Tuesday, the victim's attorney says Dorsett fought hard to ensure her ex-husband had as little parenting time as possible.
Kathleen Dorsett kept her head bowed and looked at her shackled wrists during her brief appearance in Monmouth County Court Tuesday afternoon.
The 36-year-old mother and teacher is accused of murdering her ex-husband, 42-year-old Stephen Moore.
"They had a short strained marriage and a lot of that had to do with the fact that she was a very overprotective parent," said Veronica Davis, the victim's divorce attorney.
Dorsett and Moore's divorce was finalized in June.
Neighbors in Ocean Township say the split was bitter and that the couple did not get along.
Dorsett remained in her home, across the street from her parents, who neighbors say helped her raise her one and a half year old daughter.
"The baby's two years old, it's a horrible situation, it's a shocker, a shocker," said their neighbor, Florence.
Investigators say Moore was last seen dropping off his daughter at Dorsett's home last Monday.
Two days later, his body was found stuffed in the trunk of his mother's burning car in Long Branch.
The following weekend, Moore was to have had his first extended overnight visit with his daughter, time his attorney says Dorsett wanted to control.
"She insisted that Steven feed her food that she prepared, that she could not eat the food that he prepared, and I thought that was very unusual," Davis said.
Dorsett's car was towed away from her home Tuesday to be searched for evidence.
Her arrest on murder charges comes as a shock to families at the Gables Elementary School in Neptune, where she was a beloved kindergarten and third grade teacher.
Police believe that Dorsett had help in committing and covering up the murder of Stephen Moore and they expect to make more arrests.
Bail was set for Thomas Dorsett at $2.5 million dollars, cash only.