How Does Child Visitation Work in New Jersey?

If you were in a divorce and your former spouse has obtained sole custody of your children, you most likely have several questions about spending time with your child. No parent wants to have to fight for visitation rights, but sometimes, it’s unavoidable. If you find yourself in this situation, here are some of the questions you may have:

What is the difference between sole and joint custody?

Generally, when a court believes that a former spouse is unfit to perform his or her parental duties, the court will grant one parent sole custody of their child. This means that a parent with sole custody will have both legal and residential custody of the child. This can be extremely anguishing to a caring parent, which is why New Jersey offers “visitation” or “parenting time.” This means that if your spouse was granted sole custody of your child, you may still apply for scheduled visits, as long as you can prove that you are doing what you can to get your life on track and demonstrate that you simply wish to have a meaningful, positive, and consistent relationship with your child.

How will the courts determine my visitation time?

  • They will consider whether are known to have an alcohol or drug problem, were convicted of domestic abuse, and your overall parental fitness
  • Courts will always keep your child’s best interest at the heart of their decision. They will consider whether you are capable of taking care of your child’s special needs, whether your child is safe, and whether you can care for your child’s emotional needs
  • Your child’s preference, provided he or she is old enough and of the right mind to make an informed decision
  • Convenience, in terms of location, schedule, etc.
  • The current relationship between you and your child

Are there different types of visitations?

There are three potential outcomes when you apply for visitation time. The first, unfortunately, is that your application gets denied. This may not happen, however, it’s also not unheard of. If the court believes it is genuinely in your child’s best interest to not spend any time around you, they may deny you of your visitation rights, in which case you should not hesitate to contact our firm. The courts may grant you a supervised visitation, especially if you are known to have drug, alcohol, or other issues in the past. Lastly, if a parent is capable of providing their child with a safe, healthy environment, the court may grant him or her unsupervised visitations.

Contact our experienced New Jersey firm

At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients to understand and protect their legal rights before, during, and after the divorce process in towns across New Jersey and Bergen County, including Hackensack, Ridgewood, Paramus, Teaneck, and Fort Lee.

Our experienced divorce and family attorneys are here to help you understand and successfully navigate the various legal issues that may arise moving forward such as temporary child custody agreements, child custody agreements, domestic violence restraining orders, and more.

To speak with our team of divorce lawyers today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your concerns about moving out of your marital home during your divorce, please contact us online, or through our Hackensack, NJ office at (201) 397-1750.

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