New Jersey Child Custody, Visitation, and Parenting Time
The decision to end a relationship can be particularly complicated when children are involved. Parents need to make decisions about how children will divide time between two households, and whether one or both parents will be responsible for major decisions about things like children's health-care, education, and religious upbringing. Whether you and your former partner essentially agree on child custody arrangements or you have so many disagreements that you may be facing court intervention, the New Jersey child custody attorneys at Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group can assist you with your legal needs. While only a personal consultation can provide you with advice that fits your unique situation, the following information will answer some basic questions:
Courts in New Jersey can order many different custodial arrangements for children, including sole custody, joint legal custody, and shared legal and physical custody. In considering the most appropriate arrangement for your child, it is important to recognize that New Jersey child custody includes both physical custody, which governs where your child will live, and legal custody, which governs which parent or parents have decision-making authority regarding how your child will be raised and cared for.
In New Jersey, courts refer to time parents spend with their children as "parenting time," rather than "visitation." This acknowledges the importance of each parent's role, regardless of whether a child spends nearly equal time with each parent or lives with one parent most of the time. Whatever your child custody arrangement, there will be various options available for structuring parenting time. If you and your child's other parent already have a decision about the basic form of child custody you will be following, the New Jersey family law attorneys at Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group can help you craft a sensible New Jersey parenting plan designed to meet the needs of your family both now and well into the future.
Change in life is constant. Children grow and mature. Jobs come and go. As time goes on, it is very common for families to need modifications in their New Jersey child custody and visitation arrangements. Parents who agree on changes can create a consent order outlining the new terms. If only one parent wishes to make a change, a modification will require a court motion demonstrating a substantial change in circumstances.
Certain personal situations may make your child custody case more complex. Some of the child custody issues listed below may be more sensitive in nature and require special attention. It is always best to understand early on in your case if these matters may affect your child custody, parental and visitation rights:
- Relocation out of state. A parent who wishes to relocate a child out of the State of New Jersey must obtain consent either from the other parent or from the court. How New Jersey courts review relocation depends on what kind of custody arrangements already exist.
- Parental alienation. When one parent has persistently interfered with the other parent's custody or parenting time, parental alienation is a concern and may call for court intervention.
- Children with special needs. Children with special needs, particularly those revolving around education or medical issues, often require unique parenting plans and an individualized analysis of child support factors.
- Establishing kinship legal guardianships. In the State of New Jersey, if the birth parents are unable to care for their child, a relative or friend of the family who has been the child's caretaker for at least 12 months may petition the courts for appointment as a kinship legal guardian with primary legal custody.
- International kidnapping. Even the threat of parental kidnapping requires intervention, beginning with an immediate consultation with a knowledgeable family law attorney. When one parent takes a child out of the country without the consent of the other parent, international kidnapping becomes a critical concern.
Experience Counts in Child Custody Cases
The staff and attorneys at the law office of Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group, LLC, are dedicated to taking care of you and your family's needs. We are devoted to representing parents in legal matters involving all child custody and visitation plan issues in New Jersey. While this may not be an easy time for you and your family, skillful and experienced legal representation can make the process markedly easier.