Creating an Effective Child Visitation Plan in Morris County NJ
Creating a visitation schedule for parents with their children as part of a divorce or as a result of the dissolution of a non-marital relationship between parents is often a very difficult issue to resolve.
While there are clear guidelines given to the courts to help reach child custody and visitation agreements, relying on the courts to make such a decision is usually a last-resort option. It is often much more favorable for parents to try to reach an acceptable visitation agreement through out-of-court negotiations, and when possible, through some Alternative Dispute Resolution method such as mediation. This is, in part, due to the simple fact that the way in which custody and visitation agreements are reached can be just as important to the co-parenting relationship as the final agreements themselves.
In today’s article, we will discuss the legal basis for visitation agreements, why it is important for parents to reach them in a communicative and flexible manner, and some tips for exactly how parents can do so.
Child Custody and Visitation Lawyers East Hanover NJ
Many parents mistakenly assume that mothers are the favored parent when it comes to child-raising, and thus favored in custody and visitation agreements. However, New Jersey family courts have long been of the understanding that it is important for children to have close relationships with both parents, and that each parent should be given equal opportunity to develop and grow their relationship with their child in any multi-home situation.
So while any custody or visitation matter will begin with both parents on equal footing, the most important determining factor is that of the best interests of the child, and the ability of each parent to provide, protect and account for those best interests. Specifically, factors such as:
- The age of the child.
- The ability of each parent to provide for the unique needs and interests of the child.
- The ability of each parent to provide for the child economically.
- The ability of the parents to communicate with one-another and work together as parents.
- The child’s own preferences when a court finds the child of age and maturity to express them.
These factors (among others) influence what the courts find to be in the child’s best interest, and how those findings affect the final custody or visitation agreement.
Madison NJ Visitation Attorneys Help Reach Fair and Constructive Agreements
Importantly, just because there are laws in place which will allow a court to make a final ruling in any visitation or custody matter does not mean the courts have to be the one to decide your visitation agreement. In fact, parents are greatly encouraged to reach their own agreements outside of the court system through both negotiation and mediation.
Part of this is due to the simple fact that courts feel it is important for children to see that their parents are able to work together and resolve issues and differences in a constructive manner. This is also important for the parents themselves in the sense that, as co-parents, they will need to continue to be able to work together in regards to their children’s lives for many years to come.
So what is needed in order for parents to take advantage of mediation or negotiation to create their own visitation agreement, one which complies with best interest standards but is also custom tailored to the unique situation of their family?
In general, parents will need:
- To be flexible – Negotiations involve compromise. If parents cannot compromise, it will be necessary for the courts to decide the matter of visitation.
- To put their child’s needs ahead of their own – Remember, custody and visitation agreements need to be based on the best interests of the children!
- To communicate – If your attorney and your co-parent do not know where you stand, or what your particular concerns are, no amount of negotiation will yield an agreement which works for you!
Finally of course, it is highly recommended that you also work with an experienced and knowledgeable visitation attorney who understands the negotiation process, and can help you to create a visitation agreement which reflects your child’s best interests while also keeping in mind your own particular needs, concerns and situation.
Contact Our Morristown Parenting Time and Visitation Attorneys Today
At Jacobs Berger, our attorneys have extensive experience helping parents to create fair, flexible, and litigation-free custody and visitation agreements in towns across New Jersey and Morris County, including Madison, Randolph, East Hanover, Morristown, Florham Park, Denville, Dover, Morris Plains and the surrounding communities.
Our unique approach to family law focuses on creative and effective problem-solving, and helping families to resolve family law issues while protecting their financial and emotional stability.
To speak with a member of our legal team today in a comprehensive and confidential case assessment regarding your parenting time and visitation agreement, a child custody dispute, your divorce, or any other kind of family law matter, please contact us online, or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 710-4366.