New Jersey Visitation Determination Process
Visitation is the amount of access a party has to a child under New Jersey law. Parents, grandparents, siblings, or other close family members may be able to request visitation rights in New Jersey so long as it is in the best interest of the child. If the parties involved in the child’s life cannot come to an agreement, a judge will determine and regulate visitation.
Visitation is one of the key privileges and rights that parents, caretakers, or loved ones will fight for concerning a child. Although visitation may be ordered or determined by a court, these rights and arrangements can be contested. If you are looking to challenge an existing visitation schedule or are currently fighting for the first schedule, a seasoned visitation lawyer could help you understand the New Jersey visitation determination process and develop a strategy to get the visitation you and the child need.
Elements of Visitation Determination
To discuss visitation rights in New Jersey, a person goes to an attorney to see what their rights are and what needs to be done to ensure those rights. Depending on the party’s relationship to the child, they may need to show different things to a judge during the visitation determination process in New Jersey. Fathers must prove that they have paternity (they are the biological or psychological father to the child), and grandparents seeking visitation must demonstrate that not having those visitation rights would cause irreparable harm to the child.
It is important to note that in New Jersey, visitation is different from custody. It is only called visitation when it involves grandparents and when it involves parents, it is referred to as parenting time. This differs from custody which usually refers to physical custody, or where the child lives.
A few key elements of what typically dictates this amount of time includes the established relationship between the parent and the child, the availability of the parent to use their parenting time, and the fitness of the parent. If the parent is unfit, they will not get a lot of time, and that time may be supervised. Also, the distance between the parent and the child could dictate parenting time.
The single greatest piece of evidence that is usually used and required when determining visitation in New Jersey is the relationship between the petitioning party and the child. This may include extensive pictures of activities done with the child over time, letters the child wrote to the parent saying that they love spending time with them, a psychologist or a therapist’s report stating that the child has bonded with the parent and it is in their best interests to see that other parent regularly, and a parent’s involvement in the schooling and activities of the child’s life. Demonstrating evidence of this sort can be very influential in getting the maximum amount of visitation possible.
A Child’s Say in Visitation Determination
While there is no specific age when a child is permitted to have a say in the visitation or parenting time arrangements, by interviewing the child, the opinions of mental health professionals, or by custody evaluators, would speak to the children on behalf of the court to ascertain their position. The older and more verbal the child is, then the more weight they generally have in the determination of custody and parenting time.
Rights and Responsibilities of Visitation
The rights or responsibilities a person with visitation or parenting time in New Jersey includes the right to see the children on the dates that are specified for them and the right to do what they want during that time unless there are specific restrictions on it. However, that visiting party has a responsibility to make sure that the children are safe and happy during that time, that they are fed and clothed, and that they have a place to sleep. Any other factors such as child endangerment, frequent or severe intoxication or drug use, and abuse could seriously affect the right to visitation time.
In New Jersey, how much contact visitation or parenting rights allows varies from case to case. There are many different factors based on the availability of the parent, the availability of the child, the child’s activities and education, the parents’ fitness to be with the child, and the relationships in question. Each case in New jersey is different and has unique factors that impact the visitation determination process, but an experienced attorney could help create a plan to address those specific issues.
Renegotiating a Determination of Visitation Time in New Jersey
The amount of time granted to a parent with visitation or parenting time could be renegotiated. If there is a significatn change of circumstance such as one party moving closer to the other, the child getting older, the child’s schedule changing, or the parents’ schedules changing, it may be necessary to alter an existing schedule to best benefit the child. If both parties are willing to find alternate arrangement, that accord could be memorialized and filed in court as a consent order. However, if the parties are unable to agree, then they must involve the courts. The party seeking the change must then file an application and pursue this change in the determination of visitation, often with the help of an attorney.
Visitation Rights Denial in New Jersey
There are common scenarios in which a parent is granted visitation rights but not custody of the child in New Jersey. Oftentimes, the parents will have joint legal custody and parenting time, or if only one has physical custody, both may have parental rights.
In certain scenarios, a parent may be denied both visitation and custody and parenting time with their child in New Jersey. If a parent is unstable, has untreated psychiatric issues that could affect the child, substance abuse issues, or otherwise might lead to issues taking care of the child, their rights may be restricted or revoked.
A Lawyer Could Represent You During Visitation Determination
A parent looking to obtain visitation rights should contact a New Jersey visitation attorney as soon as possible to discuss any different options, strategy, and how to actually start the process. The New Jersey visitation determination process can be very complicated, but with the help of a seasoned family attorney, you could pursue the visitation you deserve with the child you love. Call today to schedule a consultation for your case.