A Look at Parental Supervision During Parenting Time

A Look at Parental Supervision During Parenting TimeParenting Time Protocol


Many non-custodial parents enjoy liberal parenting time. During parenting time, they have the right to make day-to-day decisions about feeding, activities, and even supervision. Ideally, the non-custodial parent would be present during all parenting time, but this isn’t always feasible. Work demands, family responsibilities, or illness can all hinder a non-custodial parent’s ability to provide parental supervision. When they cannot be there, they do have the right to have friends, family, or childcare professionals watch their child, or even leave their child home alone if he or she is mature enough.

Presence During Parenting Time

Although in many cases, non-custodial parents have the right to call a babysitter to supervise the child during parenting time, a custodial parent may find a reason to be upset. In some cases, the custodial parent may have the right of first refusal. This very specific right means the parent with the right must be given the opportunity to watch the child before the other parent resorts to third-party childcare. The right of first refusal is often included as a clause in custody agreements.

Is Parental Supervision Discretionary?

Generally speaking, parents have the right to make certain decisions during their parenting time, including calling a babysitter in a time of need. But make sure you refer to your custody agreement before doing so, as it may include the right of first refusal. If it does, you must give the custodial parent the chance to take your child before you resort to childcare.

If your child is older and mature enough, you even have the choice to let him or her stay home alone if you need to attend to something. Just make sure you are openly communicating with the custodial parent and you both agree that your child is able to stay home alone. Otherwise, you could be inviting backlash from the other parent.

Remember both parents have a right to parent as they see fit during their custodial or parenting time. As long as the parenting decisions are in the child’s best interests, you have few options if you disagree. If they are not, however, you might be able to take the matter to court to limit the offending parent’s parenting time rights.

Whether or not you need to provide parental supervision during your parenting time will depend on many factors. How long your child will be without supervision, the age and maturity of your child and your home environments can influence this decision. Just make sure you talk with the other parent regarding your plans. Always use good judgment when leaving your child unsupervised or in the care of other adults. Also, speak with an experienced New Jersey child custody attorney if you want to modify your custody and parenting time order to ensure your child receives adequate supervision.

Do you need a custody order that will protect your valuable rights? If so, Williams Law Group, LLC can help. Our skilled attorneys can help you obtain a custody and parenting time order that protects your child’s best interests. Located in Short Hills, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at info@awilliamslawgroup.com, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.

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