When a married couple with a family decides to divorce, it can have a devastating effect on the children. Even under the best of circumstances, the divorce process can be an emotional rollercoaster for the children, particularly for younger children who may not understand why they will no longer be living together as a family. For this reason, it is crucial to resolve child custody issues as quickly as possible and with the children’s best interests in mind.
An important component of a child custody case involves where the children will physically live. There are several possible scenarios depending on what is best for the child. One of the most common types of custody agreements includes joint legal custody, in which the child resides primarily with one parent, but both parents are actively involved in the decision making process.
Sole legal custody occurs when one parent is awarded primary custody, which includes all decision-making rights. This usually happens when one parent is deemed unable to provide proper care for the child due to drug or alcohol addictions, a history of abuse, or other signs of being an unfit parent. Shared legal and physical custody occurs when the child or children split their time equally between the parents, and the parents share the decisions-making.
Ideally, parents will be able to reach an amicable agreement regarding child visitation schedules. When this happens, both parents can enjoy quality time with their children without feeling anger or bitterness towards the other parent. When the divorcing couple cannot agree on a visitation schedule, a judge will have to intervene. When this happens, a judge will take into consideration a range of factors including parental work schedules, child-care issues, holidays and school schedules, as well as the ability of the parties to support the child financially.
Child Relocation in New Jersey
Do you share custody of your child(ren), and one of you wants to move out of state and take the child(ren)?
Relocation is often complex and an emotionally draining situation, especially when custody of a child is involved. Navigating the laws surrounding child custody and child support can be difficult at times, especially if you or a co-parent are considering relocating. If your child is covered by a child custody order and you want to move out of the county or state with him or her, you will need approval from the family court. If your child’s other parent is trying to relocate, you may be entitled to challenge the move-away in court.
In today’s tough economy, employment is one of the major reasons parents may desire to relocate. Maybe you have been offered a job elsewhere. Maybe your current employer wants to transfer you out of state. Or maybe your current spouse needs to move for a job. Our attorneys will carefully advise you on the details of your specific situation, guide you through the process, and advocate on your behalf in any necessary court proceedings.
Of course, one parent’s reasons for moving must be balanced with the other parent’s right to see his or her child. If you are concerned about a relocation request by your child’s other parent, we can counsel you on your rights and help you pursue a favorable outcome.
The best interests of the child are paramount in this case, just as they are with regard to the establishing of a parenting plan and time sharing schedule. But the best interests of the child include the right to have meaningful contact with both parents and to receive the best possible upbringing both parents provide.
If a primary residential parent moves without complying with the statutory requirements, that party could be held in contempt of court and could be ordered to immediately return the child(ren) to the jurisdiction.
There will often be many factors to consider, and it is important that all necessary procedures and requirements are followed so as not to jeopardize your rights or the welfare of your child.
Experienced South Jersey divorce lawyers help negotiate the terms of a child custody agreement when it needs to be modified. A New Jersey court will modify a custody agreement when there is a “substantial change in circumstance.” For example, if one parent relocates due to employment change or remarriage the custody agreement will need to be modified.
If a parent no longer abides by the terms of the agreement, modifications will need to be made. Cause for modification of a custody agreement can include different types of parent alienation; a parent who regularly cancels scheduled visits, a parent who takes steps to turn the child against the other parent, or a parent who makes decisions that affect the child without consulting the other parent.
Non-Parental Child Custody
An experienced South Jersey divorce lawyer can intervene when neither parent is able to properly care for the children. Under these circumstances, family members or friends may express an interest in raising the child. In order for that individual to obtain legal custody of the child, they must have the child in their care for a minimum of 12 months. After that time, they may submit a petition for appointment as a kinship legal guardian to gain sole legal custody of the child.
In New Jersey, grandparents may be entitled to visitation rights with a grandchild or grandchildren if they can prove to a judge that such visitation is in the best interests of the child or children. South Jersey grandparents’ rights lawyers at Martone Law Group have the knowledge and experience necessary to successfully represent clients seeking grandparents’ rights.