New Jersey Visitation Lawyer
Parents often worry about how a divorce or separation will affect their children. While the changes in their lives may not be easy, children could adapt to their circumstances and can enjoy healthy relationships with both of their parents.
With a little planning and help from an experienced family law attorney, parents could create a visitation schedule that gives each party quality time with all of their children. If you are separating from your children’s parent, contact a New Jersey visitation lawyer for help. A compassionate child custody attorney could work to protect the time you have with your kids.
The Difference Between Visitation and Custody
New Jersey law requires the court to make all visitation and custody decisions in the best interests of each child. Unless a parent is abusive or neglectful, this often means that parents will share custody equally, or as equally as possible given their circumstances.
Custody refers to where the children live and who has the authority to make decisions on their behalf. As a knowledgeable attorney could explain, the parent with whom the children spend the most time is designated as the custodial parent, while the other parent enjoys visitation time. Parents have a right to visitation time with their children, and visitation can only be stopped or restricted without a parent’s consent in extreme situations.
In general, the non-custodial parent pays financial support to the custodial parent to help defray the costs of raising the children. The closer parents are to splitting physical custody equally, the less money the non-custodial parent may have to pay in child support. A visitation lawyer in New Jersey could explain in more detail how a particular parenting arrangement could affect child support.
Creating a Schedule
Parents are usually free to develop their own custody and visitation schedules in whatever manner they see fit. Normally, a court will not intervene and force unless the parties cannot come to an agreement themselves. In that case, the court may rely on standardized schedules or forms to create a visitation arrangement that meets the best interests of each child.
Parenting plans can be relatively simple or very complex. Parents may include nearly anything in their custody agreement, as long as they both accept the terms. As an example, the parties might agree that the non-custodial parent receives visitation for an extra week out of the year to take a vacation. Parents with non-traditional work schedules might come up with creative solutions to maximize their time with their kids. All in all, if a visitation schedule or parenting plan does not harm the children and works for both parties, then it will likely be approved by the court. A well-practiced New Jersey attorney could help create a visitation schedule that benefits both parties and the child.
Modifying Visitation Agreements
Parents are also able to deviate from their established plan if they wish. There are no rules preventing parents from changing the visitation schedule, switching weeks or weekends, or taking the children on vacation, so long as both parents agree.
If they cannot agree on significant changes to the parenting plan, or when one party refuses to follow the terms of the agreement, they may need to look to the court for help. Once a judge approves a parenting plan or visitation agreement, it has the force of any other court order. Parents who disobey these orders may be cited for contempt and ordered to pay sanctions or fines. If the parent continues to violate the agreement, the court may reduce that parent’s visitation time or change the custody arrangement entirely.
Get Help from a NJ Visitation Attorney
Spending time with your children can be an essential part of your relationship. If you are seeking more visitation time or need to rearrange your parenting plan, contact a New Jersey visitation lawyer. With professional help, you could create a plan that fits your family’s needs.