Child Custody and Parenting Time in New Jersey

A question as sensitive as where a child will live or which parent will make decisions regarding the child’s health care may bring a separating or divorcing couple to an impasse. Allowing that dispute to escalate or become a protracted battle will inevitably harm the child at the center of the controversy.

At Hanan M. Isaacs, P.C., in Somerset County, our attorneys are deeply committed to helping our clients negotiate custody agreements in the most productive and least damaging way possible. Call 609-683-7400 for a consultation.

“Thank you so very much for your conviction, strength and work ethic. Thank you so very much for all the hard work of your staff. We stood up for my daughter.” –Jane

Is Child Custody Mediation or Arbitration Right for You?

If it is in your child’s best interests to take an assertive regarding child custody or parenting time issues, please know that our attorneys are well-prepared to do so and will not hesitate to go to battle for you. Relying on a family court judge to determine what is best for the family is, however, very much like throwing dice — there is the possibility of a resolution that leaves everyone unhappy.

A child custody and parenting time agreement worked out through mediation, arbitration or another cooperative process is nearly always preferable to one imposed by the court.

Legal Custody, Shared Custody and Sole Custody

In New Jersey, sole custody means that one of the parties takes the vast majority of overnight time with a child or children, and that parent makes most of the major decisions affecting the child’s health, education and welfare. Sometimes, one parent has sole physical custody of a child but shares decision-making with the other parent.

Many New Jersey couples opt for shared custody, which typically means that the child lives with one parent of primary residence (PPR) and spends 28 percent to 50 percent of the time with the parent of alternate residence (PAR).

The specific amounts of overnight, holiday and vacation time may be negotiated with the help of a mediator and the parties’ attorneys, or determined by a Family Court Judge based on the best interests of the child. There are 16 statutory factors that parties, mediators, legal counsel and the court will review in deciding custody and parenting time issues.

Sibling and Grandparents’ Rights and Parenting Time

Grandparents and siblings over 18 have an inherent interest in maintaining relationships with minor children living in a household, where a natural parent or stepparent opposes such contacts. Our lawyers help family members assess their rights to contact, over the objection of a parent or stepparent, to see whether discontinued contacts will harm the minor children.

In appropriate cases, we will also help objecting parents or stepparents determine their rights to oppose unwanted contacts with former in-laws or others, based on probable harm to minor children.

In either case, we will assist families in preparing for negotiations, mediation, arbitration or a court hearing.

We also handle cases involving damaged parent-child relationships when the other parent attempts to alienate the child from the parent with fewer contacts.

Post-Judgment Modification and Child Relocation

Many times, circumstances of the parties and the children change after a final custody order is entered. This often happens when children decide they wish to change primary residential households, or when a primary custodial parent decides to move far away from the other parent, either in New Jersey, elsewhere in the United States, or even to an overseas residence.

In such cases, our attorneys will review the facts, research the law, seek mediated or other alternative dispute methods of resolution, and finally petition the court to modify a custody agreement, or, in appropriate cases, oppose the other party’s request for modification and removal.

Contact Us Today

If you would like to speak to a member of our firm regarding representation in child custody proceedings, or have any other question about our practice, please contact our office to arrange a consultation. Call 609-683-7400. We accept all major credit cards (except for Amex) and offer general appointments from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, plus evening appointments during the week by pre-arrangement only.

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