Morristown Parenting Time and Custody Lawyers
Dedicated to Creating Constructive and Sensible Resolutions for You & Your Family across Morris County and Northern NJ
One of the most difficult issues to decide during any Morris County divorce or dissolution of a legal relationship is that of child custody and parenting time. Every family is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution to these issues. Not every parent works a Monday through Friday, 9-5 job. Parenting time and child visitation options are as flexible as the parents who craft them but ultimately should reflect the interests of the child(ren). When creating parenting time schedule options in a divorce or child custody case, modifying or seeking to enforce an existing child custody order, careful consideration should be given to practical options that work for both parties and reflect the reality of shift-work or unusual working hours (i.e., being on-call). Vital, of course, is that both parties must be willing and able to arrive on time and provide the necessary support for the child’s needs.
At Jacobs Berger, LLC, our founding attorneys have nearly 25 years of combined experience assisting clients with child custody and parenting time matters across Madison, Randolph, Hanover, Florham Park, Morris County, and throughout New Jersey. Our unique approach to family law matters centers around open and honest communication between the parties, and finding solutions which allow parents to maintain the stability of their co-parenting relationship, their relationship with their children, and their financial and legal futures.
Why Do Parents Choose A Midweek Overnight Parenting Agreement?
Many families consider this option so the child(ren) never goes a full week without seeing either parent. An example of a “midweek overnight visit” is: a Tuesday to Wednesday or Thursday visit (i.e., 24-48 hours) added to the alternating parenting time week’s schedule.
Creating a Future-Minded Child Custody & Parenting Time Agreement
Parties which share joint legal child custody (parents, grandparents, guardians, etc.,) have input in major decisions regarding the child’s life (e.g., education, medical care, and religious upbringing). When these parties share joint physical custody, the overnight time spent by each party with the child can be anywhere from two nights to an equal amount of time (50%) a week. One party is referred to as the primary residential parent (also called custodial parent), while the other is called the alternative residential parent.
Many clients who have positive working relationships with their co-parents tend to undervalue the importance of having a well-written child custody and parenting time agreement. Since you cannot predict the future, it is important that your parenting time agreement is flexible, and takes into consideration some of the many common scenarios which can arise after a divorce.
By having a well-crafted parenting time agreement, you can take into consideration many different currents and future changes in circumstance (e.g., extracurricular activities, social schedules, or your work schedules), avoiding expensive litigation down the road in child custody modification hearings. It can also provide a useful template for modifications as the child(ren) grow, or as new elements enter or change the family dynamic.
At Jacobs Berger, LLC our firm focuses on creating exactly this kind of flexible and future-minded parenting time agreement, while simultaneously avoiding unnecessary, stressful, and often contentious child custody litigation. While we are always prepared to aggressively defend your individual rights through court litigation, we always seek first to find solutions through negotiation, mediation, and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.
Importance of Child’s Educational Needs in Child Custody Litigation
In New Jersey education is one of the most important factors in a child’s life. So much so, that New Jersey Legislature created a statutory mandate in N.J.S.A 9:2-4, that requires Family Courts to consider “the quality and continuity of the child’s education,” in every child custody determination.
In M.C. v. P.C., the primary parent filed to modify midweek overnight parenting time, expressing that the children often came to school unprepared on Friday mornings without having done their homework. This person said they had to spend Friday mornings rushing around to complete the assignments before school began. The noncustodial parent denied that the children were going to school unprepared. Lacking any substantial evidence (e.g., school records, expert witnesses, teacher testimony) Hon. Lawrence Jones, J.S.C. determined, midweek overnight parenting time is not per se contrary to a child’s best interests, and that each parent has an obligation to ensure that their child is prepared the next day’s school. “Otherwise, the court may in its discretion vacate the overnight feature or, in more extreme cases, truncate or even eliminate midweek parenting time during the school year.”
In short, custodial parties seeking mid-week overnight parenting time must demonstrate that they can ensure that the child’s study habits will not be interrupted by a mid-week visitation.
Contact Our Experienced Madison, NJ Parenting Time Agreement Attorneys Today
At Jacobs Berger, LLC our attorneys have extensive experience drafting, modifying, and enforcing child custody and parenting time agreements of all kinds across Hanover, Randolph, Madison, Florham Park, Morris County, and throughout New Jersey.
We seek to both ensure that your individual needs, interests, and rights as a parent are properly taken into account in any parenting time agreement or post-divorce dispute, as well as to resolve these matters in a manner which protects the stability of your economic, legal, and parental future.
To speak with our firm today regarding your specific needs or concerns regarding your child custody and parenting time agreement in a confidential case assessment, please contact us online, or through our Morristown, NJ office at 973-718-7705.