Family courts in New Jersey acknowledge that mothers and fathers share special, unique relationships with their children. That is why the courts typically prefer to preserve the relationship a child has with each parent whenever possible and not detrimental to that child.
In many custody cases, that results in a 50-50 joint custody split for parenting time. When, however, the court designates one parent as the custodial parent, awarding him or her the majority of parenting time, visitation can be granted to the noncustodial parent, as long as the court deems it to be in the child’s best interests.
The Monmouth County family lawyers at Dwyer, Bachman, Newman & Solop Attorneys at Law have vast experience representing custodial parents, noncustodial parents, and legal guardians in visitation cases. Whether you are requesting, objecting to, or trying to modify visitation with a child, we can help you protect and assert your rights while working diligently to achieve your objectives.
How Is Visitation Awarded?
When parents or legal guardians cannot agree on the terms of visitation with a child, the court will intervene to resolve the dispute. In these cases, the court will evaluate several “best-interest” factors to determine whether or how to grant visitation. Some of these factors include:
- The relationship the child has with the noncustodial parent or legal guardian(s)
- The parents’ or guardians’ relationship with each other
- Whether the noncustodial parent or guardian seeking visitation has a history of abuse, domestic violence, and/or other problematic behavior that could be detrimental to a child
- The stability and safety of the noncustodial parent’s home environment
- The location and proximity of the custodial parent to the noncustodial parent or legal guardian
Here, it’s crucial to note that visitation or parenting time refers to one aspect of child custody; the other aspect, the legal authority to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. These aspects of custody are not necessarily granted in the same manner. For example, a noncustodial parent who is granted limited visitation can still have 50% of the legal custody (or decision-making authority) of a child.
What Is Supervised Visitation?
As the term implies, supervised visitation is parenting time that occurs in the presence of a third-party monitor. Generally, the court will order supervised visitation when the noncustodial parent or guardian has:
- A history of abuse or domestic violence
- Physical impairments that limit the ability to care for the child
- Mental health issues
The party appointed to provide the supervision will depend on the underlying reason for the supervised visitation in the first place. For instance, while a family member can be an acceptable supervisor when a noncustodial parent or guardian needs help physically caring for a child, court-appointed specialists can be appointed as supervisors when issues with anger or psychiatric problems may be involved.
In New Jersey, the Supervised Visitation Program has been set up to help families coordinate this special type of parenting time via a neutral, safe setting with the help of specially trained program operators.
Can Visitation Be Modified?
Yes, visitation and parenting time plans can be changed in the future when significant changes to the circumstances of either parent or legal guardian occur. These circumstances must be “significant” because the courts generally want to preserve stability in a child’s life. Consequently, judges will usually look for major changes that make an existing visitation agreement impossible to follow. Some examples include:
- Parental relocation
- A parent or guardian developing a new health impairment or starting a new job with a different schedule
- The incarceration of a parent or guardian
- New allegations of abuse
Additionally, the courts may be inclined to modify or terminate visitation when parents fail to comply with the terms of an existing custody arrangement.
As with any visitation or custody case, modifications can be challenging, heated cases, especially when parents may have a rocky history. The best way to safeguard your rights and strengthen your position in the case is to partner with an experienced attorney.
How to Set a Visitation Case Up Success: Contact Us
Whether you are a custodial or noncustodial parent or legal guardian, there’s a lot at stake in visitation cases—and the better prepared you are when it’s time to go to court, the better your chances will be of obtaining optimal outcomes.
At Dwyer, Bachman, Newman & Solop Attorneys at Law, our Red Bank custody lawyers can guide you at every step of a visitation case. As talented, trusted attorneys with more than a century of combined family law experience, we have the expertise you can rely on for exceptional representation and fierce advocacy in even the most complex custody battles.
Call (732) 431-0150 for important answers and advice regarding your visitation or child custody case.
We are ready to identify your legal options and the best strategies in your case while helping you anticipate and overcome the potential challenges ahead. We can also balance your emotional and financial needs, help you keep sight of the big picture, and strive to bring your case to the best possible resolution.
Remember, the impression and case you make in court can make a big difference in the time you get with your child in the future. Don’t gamble that by trying to do it alone. Make sure you’re ready to present a persuasive case to protect what matters most. Make sure you have Dwyer, Bachman, Newman & Solop Attorneys at Law in your corner.