Today, the NJ child custody courts consider it very important to involve both divorced parents with the life of the child (or children). The emphasis is to preserve and build the special relationship between parent and child even after a divorce because it is in the best interests of the child. Physical custody concerns where the child physically lives. In a sole physical custody situation, the child lives primarily with one parent called the custodial parent. The other parent is called the non-custodial parent.
A non-custodial parent has a right to visitation with the child. The overnight time the child spends with the parent is up to one night per week. The New Jersey statute N.J.S.A. 9:2-4 allows the minor child to have frequent contact with both parents after the divorce and states that parents share the rights and responsibilities of the child rearing in order to effect this policy. Consequently, it is more common for divorced parents to have joint physical custody in New Jersey. The overnight time spent by each parent with the child can be anywhere from two nights to an equal amount of time (50%) a week. One parent is called the primary residential parent (also called custodial parent), while the other is called the alternative residential parent.
In NJ child custody cases, both sole physical custody and joint custody arrangements, visitation of the child by the other parent, also referred to as “parenting time”, is either supervised or unsupervised visitation. The time spent together is really more than just a visit, providing both the responsibility of parenting the child plus fun.
What is Supervised Visitation?
Supervised visitation occurs much less frequently than unsupervised parenting time in NJ child custody cases. In a divorce or non-dissolution case, the New Jersey courts try to protect the best interests of the child from any physical, mental or emotional danger by the parent. Supervised visitation means a trained adult appointed by the court will monitor all visits that the parent has with the child or children.
If a parent’s behavior indicates child abuse, mental disability, medical disability, or drug or alcohol addiction, then visitation of the parent with the child may be supervised visitation as described in the legislation (N.J.S.A. 2A:12-7). The supervised visitation may be temporary in duration, until the supervised parent shows some type of improvement. The supervised visitation is arranged for the non-custodial parent to meet the child with the safety of the volunteer’s presence. In New Jersey, the Supervised Visitation Program allows court-ordered sessions at the location of the court or a private approved community organization. The court-ordered arrangement can include weekday or weekend supervised visits according to a set schedule.
Listing Parenting Time in the Divorce Agreement is Beneficial
The parenting time assigned to a parent can be listed in the divorce agreement in the parenting plan section, or as a separate attachment. A special notation for supervised visitation may also be included in the parenting time plan or as a separate attachment. It is very important to include which parent has parenting time or supervised visitation during holidays and birthdays to avoid any future disagreements.
Contact Villani & DeLuca About Parenting Time with Your Child
The NJ child custody and divorce attorneys at Villani & DeLuca are experienced parenting time lawyers, knowledgeable about a parenting time order or supervised visitation order. We understand the serious consequence of interference with parenting time issues. Contact Villani & DeLuca to speak to a New Jersey family law attorney at (732) 965-3350 for a free initial consultation.