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In New Jersey visitation disputes, the law strongly supports both parent’s involvement in their children’s lives. Unfortunately, emotions can run high when a couple separates, and the parents might not be able to agree on a visitation schedule that ensures substantial parenting time for each of them.
If a judge must decide a visitation dispute, they will make a determination based on what is in the best interests of the child. This may result in one parent receiving less parenting time than the other. If you are concerned about how much visitation you will be granted, it may be beneficial to consult a seasoned attorney at our firm. The Montclair visitation lawyers at Williams Law Group, LLC are experienced in handling these matters and can inform you of your legal rights.
Under N.J.S.A. §9-2-4(c), the child’s best interest is the primary consideration in any custody or visitation case. To determine a child’s best interests, a judge may consider several factors, including:
If a judge does not award a parent primary or shared physical custody of their children, that parent is still entitled to visitation under New Jersey law. To gain the maximum amount of visitation, a parent must provide evidence that supports each of these best interest factors. An experienced visitation attorney could assist a Montclair parent in presenting a compelling case for substantial parenting time.
When determining a schedule for children and their parents, a judge may consider three different types of visitation.
When parents agree to share time with their children in whatever way best meets the children’s needs, they have reasonable visitation. A set visitation schedule is not needed, and a judge will accept their parenting plan if it is in the children’s best interests. The parents can amend the schedule by agreement if the children’s needs change.
When parents disagree on how to divide parenting time with their children, a court must set a visitation schedule. A judge will consider the best interests of the children and grant the noncustodial parent visitation on specific days and for a fixed period of time. The schedule may also include holiday and vacation time for each parent.
If the noncustodial parent has a history of domestic violence, child abuse or neglect, mental health issues, or substance abuse, a judge may order supervised visits to ensure the children’s safety. In these cases, a neutral third-party supervisor may be appointed. The supervisor can be selected from New Jersey’s Supervised Visitation Program, or they may be a family member or close friend who can protect the children from harm. It is advisable to consult with an experienced Montclair attorney before agreeing to a supervised visitation schedule.
Over time, parents may need to revise their children’s visitation arrangements for various reasons. For example, the children may enter a new school or start a different sports program, or a parent might have to relocate for a new job. If the parents agree on a revised schedule, a local visitation attorney could draft a consent order incorporating the modified schedule.
If one parent wants to modify visitation and the other parent objects, the parent seeking the change may need to file a complaint for modification. New Jersey law requires the parent seeking any change in custody or visitation to prove that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the initial order was entered. If significant changes have occurred, a judge may issue a new order modifying the parties’ parenting time.
Cases involving child custody and visitation are often legally and emotionally challenging. A Montclair visitation lawyer could help develop a parenting plan that protects your relationship with your children and meets your children’s specific needs. If you are facing a visitation dispute, call the Williams Law Group, LLC to speak with our dedicated legal team and set up a consultation.