Bergen County Custody and Parenting Plans
Raising children is hard enough, but attempting to co-parent your child with the child’s other parent following a divorce makes the task even more difficult. If divorcing parents cannot come to an amicable agreement regarding who will care for the child, in which parent’s home the child will primarily reside, and/or what parenting time schedule the nonresidential parent will have with the child, the court will need to enter such orders. Once entered by the court, custody orders and parenting plans can be difficult to modify. If the court enters orders that are adverse to your interests, your relationship with your child and your ability to participate in your child’s upbringing can be negatively impacted. With Bergen County growing by the day so too are the number of divorces being filed. Unfortunately, many of those divorces involve children, which can make the process much more emotional for both parents. That’s why it’s imperative to find a Bergen County family law attorney who is empathetic to such a delicate situation while still being effective in making sure all parties are taken care of the best way possible. Turn to the compassionate yet zealous advocates of Aretsky Law Group, P.C. for help as soon as possible in your child custody case. Our background and experience enables us to fight hard for our clients, thereby helping them be able to maintain a meaningful parent/child relationship with their child. Oftentimes, the sooner you allow us to become involved in your case, the better the results we are able to achieve for you and for your child.Child Custody Lawyers in Bergen County New Jersey
Like most states, New Jersey has adopted the Uniform Child Custody Act (UCCA), which helps prevent interstate child custody conflicts. While child custody laws determine how parents may seek joint custody, rules for visitation, and the procedures for ordering custody, New Jersey child custody laws allow grandparents to legally request visitation rights. There are several factors New Jersey courts consider when determining child custody as we previously mentioned. The most obvious being that the court will examine the parents’ ability to agree, communicate, and cooperate as it pertains to the child. But any history of domestic violence will also be taken very seriously in a decision for any type of custody. Child custody encompasses both “physical” custody of the child (i.e., which parent will primarily have the child in his or her home) and “legal” custody (i.e., which parent is empowered to make decisions about the child’s healthcare, education, and development). Where possible, courts prefer that the parents be able to share legal custody and have as equitable amounts of time as possible with the child. In making child custody determinations, however, courts are ultimately required to make decisions they believe will foster and promote the “best interests” of the child.New Jersey Statutes Section 9:2-4(c) requires courts to consider the following factors when making child custody determinations:
- How well the parents are able to agree and communicate with one another when it comes to the child’s wellbeing;
- Whether one parent or the other has a history of not abiding by court custody and parenting time orders;
- The stability of each parent’s home;
- The child’s wishes and preferences (if the court finds that the child is of a suitable age and maturity to form a knowing and intelligent opinion);
- How close the parents’ homes are to one another;
- A parent’s general fitness; and
- Other statutorily-identified factors.
Joint custody: With this arrangement, the child spends as equal amount of time as possible with both parents. Since joint custody requires a lot of cooperation between the parents, courts reluctantly order joint custody unless both parents are in agreement and can demonstrate the ability to make joint decisions and cooperate for the sake of the child. Sole Custody: In this case, the child lives with one parent and receives appropriate time with the non-custodial parent, as designated by the courts. Split Custody: This is an option in which one parent has custody of one or more of the parties’ children, and the other parent has custody of the other(s). However, courts usually avoid separating siblings when issuing a custody order, so this is rare. When and only when the children are old enough will the courts take their preference into account in making a custody decision. Ultimately, it is what the court finds to be in the best interest of the child.Family Law Attorney in Bergen County, New Jersey
When it comes to family law in Bergen County, New Jersey, it is important to speak with a Bergen County family law attorney who is keeping up with the ever-changing state laws. Understanding that the most difficult part of a divorce for couples with children is trying to determine who gets custody and how it will be arranged, we are here to lessen the challenge for you and your family. Let us ensure the best outcome for you and your children by visiting one of our experienced New Jersey divorce lawyers for a free consultation.Modifying Parenting Plans and Child Custody Orders What is a Parenting Plan?
When a court enters orders regarding with whom the child will primarily reside and what parenting time the nonresidential parent will be entitled to exercise, these orders are usually memorialized in a “parenting plan.” Family law judges presiding over child custody disputes are supposed to defer to any parenting plans and arrangements the parents craft themselves (so long as these arrangements appear to be in the best interest of the child). Because courts generally believe that stability and predictability in a child’s life are in a child’s best interests, many judges will be hesitant to modify parenting plans and custody orders absent some significant change in the circumstances of the parents and/or the child since the previous orders were entered. While abuse or mistreatment of the child is always a fact or circumstance that will cause a court to revisit its previous orders, other situations can cause the same result:
- One parent’s decision to relocate away from the child’s other parent, as this may cause the nonmoving parent to incur significantly more expenses in carrying out the parenting plan;
- A child who shows maturity and intelligence and who expresses a well-reasoned desire to modify the parenting plan;
- Changes in one parent’s work schedule or responsibilities; and/or
- Other similar changes in fact and circumstances.
Changing a custody arrangement or parenting plan is no simple matter, however. Unless you and your child’s other parent have an agreement as to how the parenting plan ought to be changed, the other parent will usually be afforded an opportunity to appear before the court and voice his or her opinion on your proposed changes and modifications. During this hearing, the burden will be on you to show why your proposed changes and modifications are in the child’s best interest (the other parent’s objections notwithstanding). With an experienced Bergen County child custody law firm by your side, you can approach custody hearings and modification hearings with confidence knowing that your custody attorney is prepared to present the evidence and make the arguments that will be necessary for you to have the greatest opportunity for succeeding in obtaining the custody orders you believe to be in your child’s best interests.Cost for Divorce Lawyers in New Jersey
According to Martindale-Nolo Research, hiring a divorce lawyer in New Jersey can cost you $15,600, on average, with costs typically ranging from $5,000 to $34,000. Divorce cases involving children may cost twice as much as a divorce where there are no children to fight over for custody. Although divorces tend to be expensive, it is possible to retain a divorce lawyer who is affordable, such as our legal team at Aretsky Law Group, P.C.Municipal Courts in Bergen County, New Jersey
Do not delay: If you and your child’s other parent are not seeing eye-to-eye when it comes to custody arrangements and parenting plans, call Aretsky Law Group, P.C. for prompt assistance by dialing 800-537-4154.Ridgewood Location
45 N Broad St #19
Ridgewood, NJ 07450