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What New Jersey parents should know about parenting time

By Sarah Jacobs, Esq.

When two parents break up, the most significant issue that they will typically face is establishing a fair and appropriate child custody arrangement. It is crucial that any parenting plan be focused on protecting the well-being of the child, whether a custody plan is determined by the parents or the courts.

A parenting plan is intended to benefit primarily the child but also the parents. Depending on many factors, this could mean parents might have joint or shared custody, one parent could have primary custody and the other a parenting time schedule or there could be some other arrangement. Once a parenting time arrangement has been finalized, the parenting plan can be used to confirm schedules and set guidelines and boundaries for how parents are expected to raise a child.

It is imperative for each parent to stick to this plan. If and when a parent interferes with custody or visitation, there can be very serious consequences. According to laws that govern New Jersey custody and parenting time, there are strict boundaries set in regards to when a child is supposed to be with each parent. If one parent fails or refuses to return a child or attempts to hide the child, there can be consequences including fines, decreased parenting time and even jail. If the parent takes a child out of the country or keeps the child for more than 24 hours in violation of the parenting plan, the penalties can be even more severe.

Fortunately, many parents will not have to deal with interference. However, there are a number of other common issues parents will have, even in the most agreeable and peaceful co-parenting arrangements. Parenting does not have an end date and that means that challenges will continue to come up over time. As children grow, their needs and individual wishes change; parents might get re-married; some have to move away for a new job.

This means that parenting plans should be revisited regularly and adjusted as needed. Custody and parenting time arrangements can be changed, but it is important to ensure that they continue to reflect what is best for the children.

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At Jacobs Berger, our attorneys are experienced in protecting our clients across Madison, Randolph, Tewksbury, Morristown, and the greater Morris County area in all family law-related issues.

To schedule a strategic planning session with one of our experienced team members regarding your particular case, please contact us online or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 354-4506.