Sometimes those impacted the most by divorce are the children. Their da
ily life changes as does their relationships with their parents. They may even have new people introduced into their lives. It is imperative that parents stay involved in their children’s lives following divorce in order for the children to adjust to their new lifestyles.
With these interests in mind, many divorcing New Jersey parents strive to amicably establish some type of parenting plan outlining
child custody and visitation. However, given the emotions that often accompany most divorces, parents cannot always come to agreements regarding parenting time – which is when the court will step in.
Cooperation is Key for a Parenting Plan
Parents must learn to cooperate with each other in order to do what is best for their children. Parents will have to go to the same events and be in the same room with each other after divorce for their child’s activities. Parents should support the child’s love and affection for the other parent.
Cooperation is also important when making a parenting plan. The parents must work together to make a schedule that allows both parents to spend time with the children and for both parents to make decisions regarding the children. Even if daily or regular face to face contact is not possible, children should be able to have daily telephone or other contact with both parents. As mentioned earlier, if the parents cannot decide on a parenting plan, the court will make the determination for them.
Parenting Plans in New Jersey
Parenting plans not only cover the actual time the children spend with each parents, but they also cover how parenting decisions may be made. The child’s involvement with religion, education, health care and other areas important to the family can be discussed in the parenting plan.
Family courts in New Jersey emphasize the importance of the involvement of both parents in the child’s life. New Jersey courts look at several factors when determining
parenting time arrangements, but encourage high involvement of both parents when it is possible. Among the factors that the court may consider include:
- Parents’ and child’s preferences (if the child is over suitable age to make this determination)
- Parents’ willingness and ability to cooperate with one another and follow the parenting plan
- Domestic violence history
- Fitness of the parents
- Environmental stability for the child
- Relationship between child, parents and siblings
New Jersey family courts have wide discretion when making these decisions and can look at other factors as well. The most important thing that the courts look at is the best interests of the child. Children are the paramount focus of the parenting time determinations.
New Jersey parents going through divorce have a lot at stake. An experienced family law attorney is an important part of the divorce process. An attorney can help parents make sure that the best interests of their children are protected.