Hudson County Visitation Lawyer
Asserting visitation time between parents could be one of the most contentious family-related issues that a person may experience in court. If you are going through a divorce or share a child with a former partner, you might need the help of an experienced Hudson County visitation lawyer who could protect your parental rights. Let a tenacious child custody attorney advocate for the best interests of your child when it comes to parenting time and visitation.
Defining Visitation and Parenting Time
The term child custody refers to both legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody involves the rights of parents to make critical legal decisions for their child. This could include medical decisions, schooling arrangements, religious upbringing, and other important legal matters.
Alternatively, physical custody is often called residential custody and refers to where the child lives most of the time. While parents who share physical custody split their parenting time into relatively even amounts in some instances, one parent could be the primary or sole custodial parent in other situations. Visitation refers to the time that a parent without primary physical custody—the non-custodial parent—spends with their child.
In New Jersey, if a child spends more than two nights per week with both parents, the parents are typically considered to be sharing custody of the child. A knowledgeable Hudson County visitation attorney could advise individuals regarding their unique parenting time schedule and how it impacts their visitation rights.
Unmarried Parents and Visitation
Both parents with shared legal custody and parents with no legal custody may seek visitation with their children. Situations in which parents do not have legal custody and still seek visitation often involve cases where parents are unmarried. When parents are unmarried, a father may need to establish his paternity before seeking visitation or at the same time that the request for visitation is made.
Visitation and Child Support
Visitation decisions in New Jersey typically do not affect child support orders. Since child support orders are made with regard to the needs and best interest of the child, they do not typically change based on how much visitation time a parent spends—or does not spend—with their child.
When parents share joint legal and physical custody and spend roughly equal amounts of time with the child, courts may modify child support payments accordingly. It should be noted that this principle does not apply to visitation.
In rare cases, courts may order supervised visitation if a parent is determined to be unfit due to addiction, substance abuse, unstable living arrangements, or allegations of child abuse or neglect. As an experienced attorney could explain, supervised visitation orders can be lifted once a parent is in a more stable situation or may show the judge their circumstances have changed.
Supervised visitation orders do not automatically terminate parental rights. Even parents who are found unfit to have unsupervised parenting time retain some rights until or unless their parenting status is terminated.
At any time, either parent may request a risk assessment evaluation to be completed by private professionals or by county social service investigators who could give an opinion on whether supervised visitation is necessary. Such evaluations could include interviews with school personnel, doctors, grandparents, and other family members, and home visits to evaluate the home environment of both parents. A skilled visitation lawyer in Hudson County could advise regarding this evaluation process.
How a Hudson County Visitation Attorney Could Help
Whether you are seeking a modification to an existing visitation agreement, looking to establish paternity and visitation for the first time, or are going through a divorce, a seasoned Hudson County visitation lawyer could work to establish a consistent and meaningful visitation schedule and parenting plan. For more information or to schedule an initial consultation, call today.