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).
There is a fair amount of flexibility with regard to parenting plans, with parents (or, if necessary, the court) being able to take their working hours and their child(ren)’s extra curricular activities into consideration to find a custody and parenting time schedule that fits. More traditional parenting time schedules allow for parenting time/visitation every other weekend, alternating holidays, and a longer period in the summer, but there can be wide variations nowadays.
If I get behind on my child support payments, will I still be able to see my child(ren)?
Child support and parenting time are two separate issues. While the PPR has a right to take you back to court and have you held in contempt for not paying child support in a timely fashion, you still have a right to see your child(ren) unless it can be proven that physical or emotional harm would result.
That having been said, it is important to also note that a non-custodial parent (the PAR) is not relieved of the obligation to pay child support even in situations in which the custodial parent (the PPR) prevents visitation. Again, a resolution of such deviations from the court’s visitation and support order must be worked out by the court that issued the order, not by a party’s one-sided decision to withhold visitation or support due to the other parent’s noncompliance.
Can the court require that visitation be supervised?
Yes. If the court believes that it is necessary in order to protect the child(ren), the court may require that the non-custodial parent’s time with the children occur in a supervised setting. Situations in which supervised visitation may be ordered include cases in which the non-custodial parent has an addiction to drugs or alcohol or is a convicted sex offender.
Visitation may be supervised by a relative of the non-custodial parent, or it may be supervised by the sheriff’s department, if the court so orders.
Is it permissible for the custodial parent to move out of the state with the child(ren) over the non-custodial parent’s objection?
Yes, but only after filing a motion for court approval of the move. The custodial parent has the burden of showing that the proposed move is in good faith, not in spite or retribution for issues associated with the divorce or prior court proceedings and is not being done to frustrate the other parent’s parenting time with the children. The court will then weigh the likely effects of the move on the child(ren) before deciding whether or not to grant approval of the motion. In most cases, a modification of the existing visitation schedule will also be ordered so as to limit the impact of the move on the non-custodial parent’s time with the child(ren). The standard which a relocating parent must meet has recently been changed as of 2017, pursuant to a New Jersey Supreme Court case, (Jaime Taormina BISBING, Plaintiff-Appellant, v.Glenn R. BISBING, III, Defendant-Respondent).
Do the courts ever give visitation rights to grandparents?
Sometimes, but it can be a hard fight. Not only is each case unique but also the law in this area has a tendency to change more often than usual, so it is hard to say with certainty. However, grandparents can certainly petition the court to consider the issue, even if the parents are opposed to the idea. Great deference is afforded the child’s parents in deciding whom their child may see, including grandparents.
How can I talk to someone about my particular custody and visitation situation?
To schedule an appointment with an experienced New Jersey child custody attorney, call Goldstein Law Group at 732-967-6777. We handle domestic relations case, including child support, custody, and visitation issues, throughout Monmouth County and the surrounding area.
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