Articles Posted in Visitation

There is no bright line rule in New Jersey concerning the appropriate age at which a child’s input will be the determining factor regarding where the child wants to live once that child’s parents are divorced.  custody-litigation--300x200

Of course, common sense prevails with respect to the fact that a four-year old child usually doesn’t have such an ability or the capacity to make a meaningful decision, while a seventeen year old child is basically going to reside wherever he or she wants to reside regardless of any court order.  Regardless of age, it is the sole role of the court, not the child, to determine what is in  “the best interests of the child”, and this includes a determination of where the child should reside.

Certainly, the older the child, the greater weight a court will place on that child’s thoughts and preferences with respect to where the child wants to reside upon  conclusion of the divorce.  However, other factors along with age must be considered, among them the overall maturity of the child and, critically, whether that child has been unduly influenced or even alienated by a parent when giving his or her opinion.

Do you have a New Jersey custody and parenting time order that allows your child’s other parent to have parenting time with your child?

Do you now believe your child’s safety and welfare may be at risk when with the other parent because you believe that parent may be using drugs or alcohol ?

Sometimes, as a parent, you may know that your child’s mother or father has a substance abuse addiction that threatens your child’s safety and welfare.  However, you may be lost as to how to prove that parent’s addiction to the court in order to protect your child.  Indeed, the process of demonstrating a parent’s substance abuse addiction to a court can sometimes be a difficult process, especially since actual “proof” of the addiction (other than you personally observing that parent’s behavior) may be hard to gather.   However, with the right legal advice, it can be easier than you think to successfully prove to the court that your child’s mother or father has a substance addiction that poses a threat to your child.

What visitation rights will I have if my spouse has physical custody of our children following our divorce?

In New Jersey, the term “visitation” is the antiquated terminology that simply  refers to parenting time that the non-custodial parent spends with the parties’ minor child(ren).  In fact, the terms “custodial” and “non-custodial” parent are not used any longer.   Rather, the more politically correct and current terminology uses two new designations  – the  PPR and the PAR.   These acronyms stand for “Parent of Primary Residence” (PPR) and “Parent of Alternate Residence” (PAR).  Essentially, the PPR is the parent at whose home the children reside the majority of their time.  Sometimes, if the parents share a true 50-50 (equal) parenting time, neither parent would be designated the PPR.  Sometimes however, even under these circumstances, it may be necessary to designate one parent as the PPR solely for school registration purposes, especially if the two parents live in different school districts or zones.    If the parties can work out an agreement between themselves, the court will usually approve it. Otherwise, the court must decide what type of arrangement will be in the best interests of the child(ren).

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covid19Are you concerned about the safety of your child during parenting time?

During this more than troubling time, where it feels like there is no safe shelter from the Corona Virus, all parents are having extreme concerns about the safety of their children, and their other family members, when it comes to whether a child should be transferred between homes for court ordered parenting time.

If you are having any questions or concerns about exposing your child to the virus by way of permitting parenting time, or whether you have questions or concerns about not being permitted to have parenting time with your child because of the other parent’s claims of possible exposure, you are not alone.        The law is clear that the existence of the pandemic, in and of itself, is not grounds to suspend parenting time in New Jersey.  However, this does not mean that the courts will permit all parenting time in cases where a child’s exposure to the Corona Virus is higher than the average circumstance.  Every case with respect to parenting time that comes before the court will be taken on a case by case basis, depending on the facts of the case.

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