When parents divorce, one of their primary concerns is the health and well-being of their children. Depending on the details surrounding the situation, the court is likely to require that the parents work together in sharing child custody. Disputes and disagreements between the parties often make doing so difficult and can have a detrimental effect on the child. To protect your rights and make the situation easier, our New Jersey family law attorneys recommend the following tips.
Putting Your Child First in Custody Arrangements
Under Section 9:2-4 of the New Jersey Statutes, divorcing parents have a right to frequent and ongoing contact with their children. In fact, the court encourages both parties to play an active and engaged role in the child’s life through child time sharing arrangements.
Factors the court will consider when making these plans include:
- Each parents current and prior relationship with the child;
- Their ability to provide for the child’s needs;
- Their ability to cooperate with the other parent in making child time sharing arrangements;
- Any issues, such as addiction, domestic abuse, or criminal activity, which could put the child at risk.
Provided none of the above are concerns, it is important to recognize that regardless of your personal feelings, your former partner can still be a good parent and plays an important role in your child’s life. Comply with any agreements or stipulations the court puts in place. Avoid making negative comments about the other parent or attempting to relay information to them through the child. If there is a problem or issue that needs to be discussed with them, approach them in a respectful manner and not in front of your children.
Protecting Yourself in Child Custody Arrangements
In addition to helping your child adjust to child time sharing arrangements, there are steps you can take to protect yourself, as well. As part of your child custody proceedings, you will be required to complete a parenting plan. The more detailed the plan, the more your rights as a parent will be protected. Issues that need to be addressed include:
- The amount of time the child spends with each parent: This includes arrangements both during the school year and over summer breaks. Be sure and include provisions for holidays, birthdays, family vacations, and other special occasions;
- Details regarding transfers of the child between the parents: This is often one of the areas where parents get into disagreements. In some cases, it may be appropriate for each parent to pick up and drop off the child at the other parent’s home. In others, a neutral location may be best.
- Plans in case of events that require changes in the plan or other arrangements: This is another highly contentious area. Put provisions in place in case the other parent is not available to take the child at the agreed upon times or dates.
- Legal authority in making decisions regarding the child: Consider whether one or both parents should have the legal right to make decisions regarding the child’s education, health care, or religious upbringing.
- Provisions for resolving issues through the court: According to the New Jersey Courts, parental interference and non-exercise of parenting time are two of the most common issues in child time sharing arrangements. Include provisions for situations that require legal action.
Get Guidance From Our Middlesex Child Custody Attorneys
At the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq., we protect the rights of parents and their children in custody proceedings. To discuss how we can help you, contact our Milltown child custody attorneys today to request a consultation.