Child Custody and Visitation:
Tips for putting together a child custody plan in New Jersey
At the heart of many family law cases is a child. In New Jersey, there are several options for custody and visitation situations, including the following:
- Sole custody: The child lives with just one parent but may still visit with the non-custodial parent.
- Joint custody: The child lives with one or both parents, and both parents make decisions regarding medical and educational situations.
- Other arrangements: The law allows for couples to develop their own plan as long as a court finds that it does not adversely affect the best interests of the child.
Couples that come up with their own arrangements can often save time and money because they do not have to go to court to resolve the issue. However, formulating these plans may not be easy. Mediate.com suggests that children’s special needs should be considered. This includes behavioral and physical needs as well as a parent’s ability to tend to those needs.
Additionally, couples should make the terms realistic. What works for the child now may not be feasible a few years down the road. Parents should go into negotiations knowing that they may have to revisit the custody plan in a few years. Experts advise that the initial plan should include a schedule for the school year, holidays, vacations and any other rules regarding communication between parents.
If parents cannot come up with a plan of their own, the courts will. Once the ruling is final, any parent who violates the custody order could face legal consequences. The New Jersey Judiciary Administrative Office of the Courts points out that the repercussions could be economic sanctions, a modification to the arrangement, incarceration and community service.
Parents in New Jersey may be able to appeal a child custody arrangement, though it can be a complicated process. Experts advise that couples work together to come up with a reasonable and fair solution under the guidance of trained professionals.