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Parents who do not live together still have a right to see their children. If you are a single parent and want to understand your rights, a Short Hills visitation lawyer can advocate for you. These issues can cause conflict and be very stressful. Let our experienced professionals help.
Your children need as much stability and routine as possible, and when parents separate, families change. If your family is in transition, let our team of attorneys support your right to be with your children.
New Jersey law clearly states that children should have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after separation or a divorce. The law explicitly encourages parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child-rearing (N.J.S.A. 9:2-4) and courts will always focus on the best interests of the child when reviewing a visitation case.
When parents separate and divorce, custody can become a major issue. Generally, children live with the “parent of primary residence” and visit the “parent of alternate residence.” Courts require that all custody and visitation agreements be in writing and filed with the court. This protects both parents and children.
Unmarried parents have the same rights regarding parental visitation. However, in New Jersey, a child born to unmarried parents is considered the mother’s child. To have visitation, the father must establish paternity. This usually involves signing a Certificate of Parentage, but it could become more complicated.
A Short Hills legal advisor specializing in visitation can help with the process of establishing paternity. Again, the visitation agreement should be in writing and filed with the family court.
Sometimes courts will order supervised visitation, which means that a selected adult (often a social worker) must stay with the visiting parent while the child is present. A court might order supervised visitation where there has been violence in the home, for instance, or substance abuse, mental illness, or incarceration.
Separating parents can come up with their own visitation schedules. Short Hills courts prefer this scenario, as parents are most familiar with their daily lives, and the children’s needs. However, a court will impose a visitation schedule if parents cannot agree.
Since the law and public policy strenuously support the protection of children, courts will review proposed visitation plans to make sure they are in the best interests of the children.
A thorough visitation plan must address a residential schedule, specifying days and times the child will live and spend time with each parent. Additionally, the plan should address holidays, summer schedules, and school-related time blocks. To form a visitation agreement in Short Hills, courts will look at issues such as:
As children get older, they may resist visitation in some cases. While there is no legislation on the issue, a court may consider a child’s preference once they reach the age of 14.
When your family is in transition, visitation can seem overwhelming. It can be hard to find a plan that supports your rights and your child’s bests interests.
Our team of Short Hills visitation lawyers can help protect those rights and create a plan that meets your family’s needs. Call our office to get help from a professional who understands the stress of separation and can support your efforts to be the best parent possible.