Whether you are a custodial or noncustodial parent, you have a stake in how visitation is established. What factors will the court consider and to what will the judge give priority? Will the wishes of your minor child be considered? This blog post provides an overview of the procedure in New Jersey for determining visitation with minor children of divorce. If you have additional questions or concerns, contact Lyons & Associates online or call us at 908-575-9777.
The Guidelines for Child Custody and Visitation in New Jersey
The parties to a divorce in New Jersey can work out their own parenting plan, based on their specific needs. If they are unable to agree to the terms of visitation, the court will resolve the matter.
In New Jersey, as in all states, the determination of how and when visitation with a minor child will take place is based primarily on what is in the best interests of the child. The courts in New Jersey begin with the assumption that shared parental responsibility and frequent contact with each parent is in the best interests of a child. Some of the factors the court will consider when setting visitation include:
- The ability of the parents to cooperate and communicate on parenting issues
- The proximity of the noncustodial parent’s house to the custodial parent’s residence
- The health, educational, religious or other special needs of the child, including the child’s involvement in extracurricular activities
- The work schedules and child care needs involved
- The nature of the prior relationship between the noncustodial parent and the child, including time spent with the child, as well as involvement in the child’s upbringing
- The stability of the home environment provided by each parent
- Any history of domestic violence, substance abuse or criminal activity, including any risk to the safety of the child when with either parent
- The fitness of each parent to provide care and nurturing
New Jersey does not have a specific age at which a minor child’s wishes will be considered in establishing visitation. However, if the court determines that the child is old enough to make an intelligent decision, the judge may interview the child in chambers to ascertain preference. The child’s request will not be controlling, but may be considered by the judge.
Contact the Law Office of Lyons & Associates
At Lyons & Associates, we bring a high level of personalized service and attention to men and women in New Jersey. To schedule an appointment, contact us online or call our office at 908-575-9777.