Working with your ex to determine and negotiate child custody options and parenting time plans can be challenging. To do so, divorced parents must work together to create a parenting plan that meets the entire family's needs to smooth the transition for their children.
Visitation & Parenting Time Plans in New Jersey
New Jersey courts often use the term "parenting time" to refer to the time that one parent spends with their child spend. This term is used regardless of which parent has primary custody of the child. When one parent has more limited physical time with a child, "parenting time" is a more accurate reflection of the parent's role than "visitation."
Examples of Common Parenting Time Arrangements
Under New Jersey law, co-parents can structure parenting time in any way they find the most manageable for them, as long as the plan is in their child's best interests.
While several different physical custody arrangements will work, most parents use one of the following standard formats:
- One primary residential parent and one alternate residential parent: Under this arrangement, the child spends most of the week living with the parent with primary physical custody. The other parent generally follows a traditional visitation schedule where they spend alternate weekends with their child.
- Shared physical custody: Parents who share physical custody can use a schedule that allows them equal or nearly equal parenting time. This type of schedule may include alternating weeks or shorter blocks of alternating time.
- Sole physical custody: When one parent has sole physical custody, visitation may be more limited. If some circumstance exists that makes it in the child's best interest for visitation to be severely limited or even supervised, the schedule must be tailored accordingly.
How to Create a Parenting Time Plan
Crafting a detailed parenting plan requires a practical assessment of each family member's lifestyle. Common things to consider can include:
- The children's ages and their mental and physical wellbeing,
- How parents divided responsibilities before separation,
- Each parent's current and anticipated work schedule, including vacation time,
- School locations and calendars,
- Children's extracurricular activities,
- Childcare needs, and
- Anticipated roles of extended family members.
Remember, the most effective parenting plans are specific and clearly detailed.
If you are a divorced parent dealing with a New Jersey custody and visitation matter, a qualified Somerset County family law attorney from DeTommaso Law Group, LLC can help you determine your options as you navigate this challenging time.
Learn how to protect your rights and time with your children by scheduling a consultation with our team today by calling us at (908) 274-3028.