Articles Tagged with Parenting Time

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When custody disputes arise, I often consider the Biblical narrative, 1 Kings 3:16-28,  which tells the story of how King Solomon resolved a custody dispute of sorts between two women who lived 296050aba1c021ff4a7e4cab0ed498d2-3-300x200 in the same home.  The women came before King Solomon, each claiming to be the mother of the same baby boy.   King Solomon called for a sword and rendered his judgment:  He would cut the baby in two so that each woman could receive half.  The first woman did not contest Solomon’s decision, arguing that if she could not have the baby, then neither woman could.  The second woman begged King Solomon to give the baby to the other woman instead of killing the baby. King Solomon declared the second woman as the infant’s true mother, reasoning that as a mother she would give up the baby if she had to in order to save his life.

In custody cases, I often see  people come in with some preconceived notion about how they think family court judges handle custody cases.  Some, for instance, are of the false believe that mothers are presumed to have primary custody of children and that they come in “ahead” somehow in a custody dispute.  That is not the case.  They also believe that it is presumed that fathers are going to then have limited time with the children.   Neither is the case.   New Jersey’s custody statute, N.J.S.A. 9:2-4, states the Legislature’s policy is to “assure minor children of frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage and that it is in the public interest to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing in order to effect this policy”.  The statue also states that “In any proceeding involving the custody of a minor child, the rights of both parents shall be equal . . .”.

Some litigants when they come in think that there is a presumption that the children will be “split in half” so to speak – as King Solomon suggested, and that this is done by splitting the time with the children in half, like splitting a bank account.  There is no such presumption in New Jersey of 50/50 parenting time.   Equal parenting time is an option for the family court under the existin custody, statute but it is not presumed.

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More and more women are choosing to exclusively breastfeed given the reports as to the superior health benefits, not just physically but psychologically, of breast feeding.  Arranging parenting file000956778186-225x300 time between divorced or separated parents of a child who is still breastfeeding poses issues not just with overnight parenting time but daytime parenting time as well. Children who are exclusively breast-fed may reject a bottle.  Nevertheless, there is an argument that the child should be given breast milk from a bottle during parenting time. After all, not only should the child receive the best nutrition, but also facilitating a relationship with the father at the earliest age possible is in the child’s best interest. Continue reading

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On August 15, 2017, the New Jersey Appellate Division approved for publication the decision in the matter of E.S. v. H.A (A-3230-14T2 and A-3256-14T2), in which the Appellate Division addressed whether a parent may be required to admit to a crime as a condition for that parent to be able to make an application for visitation with one’s child.  The Appellate Division concluded that parents cannot be required by the state to forego their Constitutional right against self-incrimination as a condition to seek custody or visitation with their child. Continue reading

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Earlier this month, a March, 2017 written opinion by family court judge the Honorable Russell J. Passomano, J.S.C. was approved for publication in the matter of BG-v-LH (FM-07-468-13).   In this published opinion the court addressed issues of296050aba1c021ff4a7e4cab0ed498d2-1-300x200 jurisdiction in a custody and parenting time dispute where one party had relocated with the children out of the state of New Jersey, but the parties had reached an agreement as part of their divorce that future custody disputes would be decided under New Jersey law and in New Jersey courts.  This case contains a detailed analysis that a family court undergoes to resolve jurisdiction issues and the application of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. Continue reading

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The 18th century educational writer, W.E. Hickson, is credited with popularizing the proverb: “’Tis a lesson you should heed: Try, try, try again. If at first you don’t succeed, Try, try, try again.”  On IMG_0187June 10, 2016 the New Jersey Appellate Division decided the case of KL-v-DL, in which after nearly three years of continuous litigation, a father succeeded in having the trial court reconsider its prior order relating to additional visitation with his daughter.  The protracted litigation began not long after the divorce complaint was filed on June 14, 2013.   Continue reading

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I am always encouraged when parents who are ending their relationship strive to put aside their own personal conflict with one another to try to do what is best for their children.  It is well aacknowledged that it is important to children’s development for them to have consistency and stability in their lives.   Children may have already experienced and witnessed discord and strife when their parents are splitting up, and may experience worry and uncertainty about what their living arrangements are going to be when their parents are no longer living together.   Parents who strive to maintain a life of consistency and reduced volatility after the parents have ended their relationship should be lauded.  How to put into practice the desire for consistency for the children can be difficult. Continue reading

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Regardless of your faith, or lack thereof, the American holiday season is upon us. Few would disagree that Halloween is the preseason opener and Thanksgiving the actual kick-off to the holiday season.  It really doesn’t matter what you believe; you recognize these holidays and have a manner of dealing with them. Over time, the method of recognizing or ignoring holidays becomes a family tradition, one which establishes our footing in the world. When we marry, we bring these traditions with us and try to build them into our new family.  As children are born, we build these traditions around our children and the modern reality that life and career may move us far from our place of origin. Continue reading

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Frequently, clients come to me complaining that their spouse or partner is exposing their children to dating relationships or conversely ask what should be their response to a spouses objection. Generally I advise that one should follow a common sense approach, meaning one should look at the effect on the children and not rush to judgment automatically, contrary to the position of one’s spouse. I think it is fair to say in general that children should not be exposed to serial partners who are all introduced as mom’s or dad’s new best friend. Continue reading

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On January 12th 2015, the Appellate Division published its opinion in the case of Costa v. Costa.  In Costa, the parties were married in 1994 and divorced in 2006.  They had two children together, one being born in 1997 and the other in 2000.  By way of settlement agreement entered into at the time of the divorce, the parties agreed the mother would be the primary residential custodian and that they would share joint legal custody of the children. Continue reading

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The Appellate Division recently handed down a clear and unambiguous message to triall courts and litigators alike regarding custody disputes and how they should be handled procedurally, regardless of whether the case is pre- or post-judgment.  The case, entitled D.A. v. R.C., involved the biological parents of a fourteen (14) year old boy each seeking to be designated as the parent of primary residence approximately ten (10) years after entering into a consent order resolving all issues of custody between them.  Continue reading