Divorce law is a complicated matter, particularly when people have questions about parenting time or visitation. Moreover, issues surrounding parenting time or visitation oftentimes are some of the most contentious in a divorce proceeding. If you have questions concerning the child custody laws in NJ you should meet with a knowledgeable New Jersey custody lawyer. There are five facts a person involved in a divorce needs to understand about these issues.Definition of Parenting Time Under Child Custody Laws in NJ
Parenting time is a concept that replaces visitation in a majority of jurisdictions in the United States. Both involve the time a noncustodial parent spends with a minor child as the result of a divorce. However, parenting time is designed to better represent the importance of the connection between a noncustodial parent and a minor child. A parent should not be relegated to the position of being a visitor in the life of his or her child.Establishing Parenting Time Under NJ Child Custody Laws
All jurisdictions utilizing the concept of parenting time have guidelines by which to establish a schedule of contact between a parent and child. The underlying objective is to ensure that a noncustodial parent and child enjoy reasonable and regular time together. A parenting time schedule is fashioned by applying the guidelines to the unique facts and circumstances of a case. In New Jersey you have the traditional parenting time plan which usually amounts to parenting time for the non-custodial parent of every other weekend from Friday to Sunday and one to two non-overnights during the school year. In New Jersey there is also the concept of shared custody where a non-custodial parent has two or more overnights of parenting time per week. There are positives and negatives about a shared custody arrangement. A positive is that a child spends more time with the non-custodial parent and there is greater opportunity to develop a strong bound with both parents. A negative is that a child is being moved around in a shared custody situation which may negatively affect the child.Enforcing a Parenting Time Order Under New Jersey Child Custody Laws
At times, a custodial parent interferes with a parenting time order previously established by the court. In such a situation, the noncustodial parent can file a motion to enforce the parenting time order.
The court typically schedules a hearing to examine the need for enforcement. Depending on the circumstances, the court can sanction the custodial parent for failing to comply with the parenting order, possibly imposing monetary sanctions, such as paying the noncustodial parent's attorney fees. If interference with parenting time has been persistent, the court can even change custody, making the noncustodial parent the primary custodian of the minor child.Changing Parenting Time Under Child Custody Laws in NJ
A parenting time order can be changed via a proper motion filed with the court. In addition, the parents can agree between themselves to alter a parenting time order. Such an agreement needs to be approved by the court to ensure that it meets the best interests of the minor child.
Parenting time ensures that both parents are able to develop appropriate, meaningful relationships with a minor child. In the end, these types of strong relationships with both parents are deemed to be in the best interests of a minor child.
Peter Van Aulen practice focuses on divorce, child custody and family law. He has negotiated many parenting time agreements. Further, he successfully handled a number of contested parenting time cases. Mr. Van Aulen has been certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a Matrimonial Attorney. If you have any questions concerning child custody laws in New Jersey, call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen for a free initial consultation at 201-845-7400 today for a consultation.