New Jersey Child Custody Attorney Helps Maximize Your Parenting Time
Bergen County lawyer passionately pursues your case
Child custody ranks among the most emotionally charged of all divorce issues.
Custody is about more than deciding where your children will reside — it determines whether crucial decisions regarding the health, welfare and education of your children will be made by one parent exclusively or both parents working together.
Rita T. Jerejian, LLC strives to show the judge that you are a capable, understanding and attentive parent. With more than 25 years of experience, we will work for the best interests of your children.
Child custody cases may be challenging, expensive and lengthy.
By working with a seasoned attorney who understands New Jersey child custody laws and how they have the potential to affect you, you can move forward with the information and resources you need.
How Do New Jersey Courts Determine Child Custody?
The court will look at a variety of factors when determining child custody. The ultimate goal is to choose a custody arrangement that will serve the best interests of the child.
According to New Jersey state law, before the individual assessment of each parent, it is presumed that “frequent and continuing contact with both parents” is beneficial to the child. No longer does the law prefer one parent over the other, and the courts will work hard to do everything possible to keep the child’s relationship with each parent intact. The final determination is based on the evaluation of both parents.
It is not uncommon for the court to utilize psychological experts in determining custody and parenting time.
The judge will look at the following:
- The child’s preference, depending on his or her age and maturity level
- Both parents’ ability to cooperate and agree when it comes to matters of the child
- How the child and parents interact with one another
- Any history of child abuse, child neglect or substance abuse
- Any history of domestic violence between parents
- Parents’ mental competence and physical health
- Parents’ ability to provide basic needs, such as clothes, food and shelter
- How much quality time was spent with the child before the divorce or separation
- The child’s relationships with siblings and other relatives
- The employment status for each parent
- The distance from work to home for each parent
- The proximity of each parent’s home to the child’s school
- The proximity of the parents’ home to each other
If one spouse has behaved as the custodial parent while the other has been largely absent, the court may favor the former, unless the court determines that would be against the best interest of the child.
For example, in a case where one parent has cared for the child after the other parent became absent, the court may award that parent custody. However, if the court determines that the parent behaving as the custodial parent has abused the child, another custody arrangement will be necessary.
At Rita T. Jerejian, LLC, we provide you with strong, compassionate and efficient legal representation to help you illustrate your parenting strengths to the court.
What Does Visitation Normally Look Like?
Physical custody determines which parent the child will live with, while the other parent is usually granted visitation or “parenting time.”
Legal custody allows important decisions to be made for the child, and it is typically shared by both parents.
Parenting time is determined by what is in the best interests of the child. Parents may have exactly equal time with the child, or one parent may spend a little more time with the child than the other. Each case is different and will yield different results.
The spouse who receives physical custody is known as the custodial parent. Other times, both parents can be granted joint physical and legal custody. In this case, both parents will share custody of their child and there is no need for parenting time. They will also equally be allowed to make important decisions for their kids regarding:
Cooperation between parents is essential in deciding visitation and legal custody. When parents are unable to cooperate with each other, it creates a challenging situation in which there are no real winners.
It is beneficial for both parents to develop a visitation plan together. This plan can be presented to the judge who will then decide to approve or modify it.
This way, you are able to make your own visitation plan that works for you and your family, as opposed to letting a judge come up with a plan that might not work well.
If for any reason your spouse is not allowing you to see your children, we may be able to help you obtain time with your kids. New Jersey law states that any parent who withholds parenting time without probable cause (i.e. evidence of physical abuse) may be subject to:
- Future restrictions on visitation time
- Increased child support payments to the other parent
- Jail time
Our firm is committed to helping you enforce your right to parenting time, and we’ll go the extra mile to ensure that your case is as strong as possible.
It is not uncommon for couples to attempt to withhold a child from their grandparent(s).
In the past, there was very little that a grandparent could do in this situation, since grandparents rarely had legal rights to the child.
Courts have begun to recognize that a continuing relationship with a grandparent is beneficial.
Today, New Jersey laws allow grandparents to legally request visitation with their grandchildren.
Several factors will be taken into consideration before a court will grant a grandparent legal visitation, including:
- The relationship between the child and the grandparent applying for visitation rights
- The effect that the visitation may have on the child and the child’s parents
- How long it has been since the child last visited the grandparent
- If the grandparent has any history of abuse, neglect, or a criminal background
- Whether the grandparent is applying for visitation in good faith
Rita T. Jerejian, LLC can help you explore your legal rights to visitation with your grandchildren, and she can help you bring a case forward if necessary.
What You Need to Know About the Uniform Child Custody Act
The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) is designed to “discourage interstate kidnapping of children by their non-custodial parents.”
If you wish to visit another state with your child and are not the primary custodian, it is critical that you obtain the services of an experienced Hackensack child custody attorney.
Without the proper documentation in place, you could face severe penalties for taking your child out of the state.
By working with an experienced lawyer, you can obtain the proper forms and legal right to take your child out of state for a period of time.
Call a North Jersey attorney who will fight for your child custody and parenting time.
Rita T. Jerejian, LLC will actively pursue your custody case and work hard to maximize your time with your children. To schedule an appointment at our Hackensack, NJ office, call our legal professionals at 201.489.7714 or contact us online.