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5 Primary Elements of a New Jersey Parenting Plan

If you're going through a divorce or separation and have children, it's essential to create a parenting plan that outlines your rights and responsibilities as a parent. A parenting plan is a legal document that determines custody, parenting time, and decision-making authority for parents. In New Jersey, the family court requires parents to submit a parenting plan as part of their divorce or separation proceedings. It's essential to work with an experienced family law attorney to create a parenting plan that meets your unique needs and circumstances.

Here are the five primary elements that should be included in your New Jersey parenting plan:

Custody and Parenting Time

The parenting plan should specify whether one parent has sole custody or if both parents share joint custody of the child. It should also outline the parenting time schedule and how the child's time will be divided between the parents. The parenting time schedule should take into account the child's age, school schedule, extracurricular activities, and other relevant factors. Additionally, the parenting plan should address how the parents will handle changes to the schedule or unforeseen circumstances.

When creating a parenting time schedule, it's essential to consider the child's needs and routine. For example, younger children may need more frequent, shorter visits with each parent, while older children may prefer longer visits with more flexibility.


The parenting plan should detail how the parents will communicate with each other regarding the child's care, including phone calls, text messages, and emails. It should also outline how the parents will handle disagreements and conflicts that may arise. In addition, the parenting plan should specify how the parents will share information about the child's medical and educational needs, as well as any other important information.

Communication is key to co-parenting successfully. Parents should establish clear and consistent communication methods and expectations. They should also agree on how to handle conflicts that may arise, such as attending mediation or seeking the assistance of a parenting coordinator.

Decision-Making Authority

The parenting plan should identify who has the authorization to make major decisions regarding the child's education, healthcare, and other important matters. It should also outline how the parents will make decisions together if they share joint decision-making authority. The parenting plan should also specify how the parents will resolve disputes regarding decision-making authority.

When determining decision-making authority, it's important to consider each parent's strengths and abilities. For instance, if one party has a medical background, they may be better suited to make healthcare decisions for the child.

Holiday and Vacation Schedules

The parenting plan should outline how holidays, school breaks, and vacations will be divided between the parents. It should also specify how much advance notice each parent must give the other regarding vacation plans and any changes to the parenting time schedule. Additionally, the parenting plan should address how the parents will handle travel arrangements and expenses related to vacations and holidays.

Holiday and vacation schedules can be a source of conflict for co-parents. By establishing a detailed schedule in the parenting plan, parents can avoid confusion and disagreement. Parents should also agree on how to handle unexpected changes or cancellations to vacation plans.

Child Support

A parenting plan can specify how much child support will be paid and by whom. It should also outline how the child support payments will be made and when they are due. The parenting plan should take into account the child's needs and the financial circumstances of each parent. It could also specify how the parents will handle changes to the child support arrangement, such as changes in income or changes in the child's needs.

Child support is an important aspect of a parenting plan. It's essential to establish a fair and reasonable child support arrangement that takes into account the child's needs and each parent's financial situation. Parents should also agree on how to handle changes to the child support arrangement, such as a job loss or a change in the child's needs.

Creating a comprehensive parenting plan is crucial for both parents to ensure that their child's best interests are protected. It's important to work together and put your child's needs first when creating a parenting plan. If you do the same, your child will be in a better place. Call today at 201 845 7400 for a free consultation.

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