Family Law: Parenting time
When determining the child custody arrangement, visitation and parenting time are also included by the law. Parenting time is the time a parent spends with their child. As the court decision for child custody is based on the ‘best interests of the child,’ both parents are mostly allowed to be involved in the child’s life based on the custody. Parenting time enables the law to protect the rights of a parent and avoid any conflicts.
Parenting time will depend on the custody arrangement of the child. If the parents have joint physical custody, the parents get almost equal parenting time with their child. If one parent has primary residential custody, that parent spends most of the time with the child while the alternate residential parent visits and spends time with the child on a regular basis. In the case of sole custody, the parenting time for the non-custodial parent is very restricted or even supervised, depending on the circumstances.
The parenting time schedule is crafted by taking into consideration the child’s welfare and the needs of both the parents. Factors such as the parent’s work schedule, the distance between the parent’s residence, child’s school hours and location, child’s medical or special needs, child’s relation with extended family, etc. are taken into account. The parenting time schedule should be manageable by both parents and should serve the child’s best interests.
As the parenting time arrangement is essentially a court order, failure to comply by either party can have consequences. Attempts to block communication and visitation of the parent with the child or any form of interference with the court-ordered parenting time can be seen as contempt of court. The court can order various penalties, including imposing fines or possible incarceration. Yet, some extreme circumstances can also result in the termination of parenting time rights. Termination of parenting time means the parent will have no right to any form of contact with their child. They are not common, but if the child’s well-being is put in danger, the court will consider this harsh judgment. Parenting time rights can be terminated under the following circumstances:
- Best interests of the child require the parental rights to be terminated because they were being abused, harmed, or neglected, and the child be placed under guardianship.
- Failure to correct problems that led to the removal of the child from their custody despite being physically and financially capable
- Abandonment of child for six months or more
- Convicted of a crime that involves cruelty, harm or abuse of a child
- Other court findings such as the parent committed or attempted to commit murder, assault, or a serious act to any of your children.
Our experienced New Jersey family law attorneys at Bhuchar Law Firm can help you construct a parenting agreement that caters to your needs, protects your parental rights and serves in the best interests of your child. We handle each case with the utmost sensitivity, assessing and discussing the various options suitable for you and your child’s welfare to help you achieve your objectives.