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Five Steps to Obtain Emergency Order to Suspend Parenting Time

A noncustodial parent and minor child are entitled to parenting time with one another. Absent a significant reason why parenting time should not be permitted, New Jersey law maintains that a child’s best interests are served through the occurrence of regular parenting time. A situation may arise in which a custodial parent believes that the court should suspend parenting time. If that should occur, there are five steps associated with the desire to seek court intervention in regard to suspending parenting time in a particular case:

  • Petition the court in writing for an emergency order to suspend an order of parenting time
  • Demonstrate the existence of serious grounds for suspending parenting time
  • Obtain a temporary order from the court
  • Hearing on application requestion suspension of parenting time
  • Retain legal counsel proactively

Before diving into the primary elements associated with suspending parenting time, a word of warning is necessary. A custodial parent legally cannot block parenting time on his or her own volition. Doing so can constitute a violation of an outstanding court order even if an emergency situation is perceived by a custodial parent. There is a legal way to proceed in order to protect a child or children if an emergency situation is thought to exist warranting a suspension of parenting time.

Petition the Court in Writing for an Emergency Order to Suspend Parenting Time

The legally appropriate way in which to obtain a court order suspending parenting time is to petition the court in writing for this type of relief. New Jersey courts do have systems in place through which prompt action can be taken to at least temporarily put a hold on parenting time on an emergency basis and until further court proceedings. As will be discussed more fully in a moment, obtaining a parenting time suspension on an immediate emergency basis is best accomplished through experienced legal counsel.

Demonstrate Serious Grounds for Suspending Parenting Time

As a general rule, ongoing and regular parenting time is deemed to be in the best interests of a child in New Jersey. As a consequence, an emergency order stopping parenting time will not be ordered absent a showing that there exist serious grounds for such a suspension. Examples of what constitutes serious grounds for suspending parenting time on an emergency basis include:

  • Noncustodial parent laboring under a mental or physical health condition that renders a child unsafe if parenting time occurs
  • Noncustodial parent laboring under abuse or addiction to some type of mind-altering substance
  • Noncustodial parent demonstrably abusing a child (physically, emotionally, or sexually)
  • Noncustodial parent otherwise putting a child into harm’s way
Temporary Order From the Court

Provided a written petition or motion for an emergency suspension of parenting time contains at least credible allegations that a serious situation exists jeopardizing the welfare and wellbeing of a child, a court will issue a temporary order suspending parenting time. A temporary order is put in place by a court to permit time to hold a hearing on the matter. During such a hearing, a judge obtains more information from the parent seeking a suspension of parenting time. The parent otherwise entitled to parenting time will have an opportunity to present evidence as to why this parent and child contact should continue undisturbed.

Hearing on Motion to Suspend Parenting Time

As mentioned a moment ago, a court considers evidence presented in order to ascertain whether or not parenting time should be suspended. In weighing and balancing the evidence presented at a hearing, a New Jersey court focuses on what is in the best interests of a child when it comes to continuing parenting time.

Although allowing parenting time to continue or suspending it are two options available to a court, a judge may also decide ordering supervised parenting time until a particular issue is addressed. A court might impose other requirements on a noncustodial parent in order for parenting time to return to “normal.”

Retain Legal Representation

Whether you are seeing to suspend an existing parenting time order or find yourself defending against such an effort, you best protect your legal rights with a skilled attorney. The first step in retaining legal representation is retaining an experienced attorney from the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen is to schedule an initial consultation by calling 201-845-7400.

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