The most important issues in any family law case involve the children of the relationship.
Our New Jersey-based Child Custody and Parenting Time attorneys understand the paramount need to safeguard your children from any type of harm during a divorce or separation proceeding. In addition, the primary focus of the courts with regard to child custody and parenting time is to further the best interests of your children. Therefore, in applying the best interest analysis, the courts consider all of the facts and circumstances in a case and endeavor to craft a solution that minimizes adverse impact on your children and any disruption in their lives. More often than not, the issues of child custody and parenting time are resolved in mediation. We are available to handle cases in Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Ocean County, Mercer County, Union County, Somerset County, Hudson County, Essex County, Morris County, and Hunterdon County.
New Jersey Child Custody Lawyers
There are two types of custody that are dealt with in a family law matter: legal custody and physical/residential custody.
Legal custody relates to the decision-making with regard to your children. You may share joint legal custody with the other parent or, in very limited circumstances, sole legal custody may be appropriate. Legal custody dictates how major decisions regarding your children's education, healthcare, and religion are decided and communicated between parents.
The second type of custody is referred to as physical, or residential, custody. This determines which party your children will reside with on a primary and secondary basis. The primary custodial parent is referred to as the parent of primary residence or the PPR. The other parent is referred to as the parent of alternate residence or the PAR. This designation addresses parenting time or visitation.
In determining issues involving both legal custody and physical/residential custody, the Court again employs a best interest evaluation. The Court endeavors to consider all of the relevant facts in the case in an effort to reach an equitable solution that furthers the best interest of the children.
Our Child Custody lawyers are highly experienced in working through the legal system and determining the best custody options for you and your children. We will work together with you, whether it is through the mediation, litigation, or collaborative law process, to ensure your goals and needs are met.
New Jersey Parenting Time
Parenting time, formally referred to as visitation, involves crafting a schedule upon which each parent would enjoy time with the children. There are several different aspects of parenting time which must be addressed in each and every case. These include regular parenting time, special occasion parenting time, holiday parenting time, and vacation parenting time.
Regular Parenting Time refers to a schedule upon which the parents of a child will spend time with the child on a week-to-week basis.
Special Occasion Parenting Time refers to time spent with a child on each parent's birthday, on the child's birthday, and on Mother's Day and Father's Day.
Holiday Parenting Time involves the division of parenting time with the child during holiday periods. This not only includes Federal and State-designated holidays, but also extends to religious and foreign holidays. Lastly, vacation parenting time refers to extended periods of parenting time during which each parent may take the child for the purposes of annual vacations.
When establishing custody and setting parenting time schedules, it is important to take into consideration not only your immediate circumstances, but also to consider the future circumstances affecting both you and your children. For an agreement to work in both the short and long term, it is essential that the agreement is structured and at the same time has flexible components. For instance, you may consider that as your children grow older, their needs may change. You want to craft an agreement that can grow with them.
Even after the execution of a Settlement Agreement, Consent Order or the entry of a Final Judgment of Divorce, the issues of child custody and parenting time can always be revisited and modified based on a showing of changed circumstances. Again, the courts handle this on a case-by-case basis as these determinations are fact-sensitive.
Be it the initial establishment of a custody arrangement or parenting time schedule, or a subsequent modification of parenting time, the Family Law attorneys at Hoagland Longo are highly trained and experienced and able to assist you in resolving these issues with minimal adverse impact upon your children.