Category Archives: Legal Custody
By finally coming to a custody agreement, you’ve walked a delicate tightrope to balance the schedules and needs of everyone in your family. Perhaps you needed a court to intervene in your contentious relationship and settle everything. However, when circumstances change and something isn’t working, you might find yourself needing to change your parenting time arrangements. Read the rest of this entry
If a previous custody resolution process like an assessment or mediation yields no solution, the court may order a full child custody evaluation at the parents’ expense. Parents may agree to a single evaluator or each retain their own separately, and the court may also order a neutral evaluator.
Custody and visitation share much in common, but have many differences. Parental rights distinguish someone with visitation from someone with custody, and the two terms cannot be interchanged. Don’t be confused by the overlapping legal definitions or individual types.
How to handle a parent that signs a child up for activities that limit the other parent’s visitation in NJ
Its amazing how many activities children are in these days. There seems to be an endless supply of sports, clubs, meetings and other activities that keep children occupied constantly. This presents a problem when the custodial parent signs up the child for an activity that interferes with the other parent’s visitation. Of course, it is preferable if both parents communicate and agree on the child’s activities but this isn’t always the case.
In Wagner v. Wagner, 165 N.J. Super. 553 (App. Div. 1979), the Appellate Division was faced with a mother who enrolled the children in Hebrew school without the consent of the father. The problem was that the time of the Hebrew school interfered with the father’s parenting time. The Appellate Division found that alternatives had not been fully explored and remanded the matter for a plenary hearing. The Court noted that parenting time is so important that the court should hold a hearing to establish to fashion a plan of parenting time more commensurate with the child’s welfare.
Unfortunately, some people just accept the other parent interfering with their parenting time by signing the child up for a number of activities. Don’t let it happen to you. Call the team of tough, smart New Jersey parenting time lawyers today.
Most people marry in the same religion but this is not always the case. Furthermore, for child born of non-married parents, having parents of different religions may be more common. This often then creates a problem as to how the child will be raised and what holidays they will celebrate. In Feldman v. Feldman, 378 NJ Super 83 (App Div 2005), the parties started fighting over religious issues after the divorce. The Appellate Division made it clear that the primary caretaker has the right to determine the religious upbringing of the child. Thus, the custodial parent will choose the religious instruction of the child. However, the non-custodial parent is free to bring the child to religious services during that parent’s time with the child.
Minor surgeries, healthcare and other day-to-day decisions are made by the custodial parent in New Jersey
In New Jersey, which parent decides if the child should get minor surgery?
Which parent decides if the child gets braces?
Which parent decides other day-to-day decision?
In Brzozowski v. Brozozowski, 265 NJ Super 141 (Ch Div 1993) the trial court was asked to decide if the non-custodial parent should be able to take the child for a minor surgical procedure over the objection of the custodial-parent. The court found that when the parents disagree, the court would side with the custodial parent. Of course, if the custodial-parent’s decision is not in the best interest of the child, the court will intervene.
In Nufrio v. Nufrio, 341 NJ Super 548 (App Div 2001), the Appellate Division upheld the trial court’s decision that a joint legal custodial relationship would not be in the best interests of the child. The Court found that the prime criteria for establishing joint legal custody centers on the ability of both parents to agree, communicate and cooperate in matters relating to the health, safety and welfare of the child notwithstanding animosity or acrimony that they may have towards each other. Of course, many cases involve hostility so simply stating that there is some animosity between both parents will not give one parent a leg up over another. Instead, the parent filing a motion for sole custody should be prepared with evidence to distinguish this case from the average case.
Most people talking about joint custody are talking about physical custody. Most parents have joint legal custody. This indicates that neither party is seen as more of a parent and it provides the non-custodial parent to notice and consent to major decisions. A common cited example of such a major decision is cosmetic surgery for the child. The parent of primary residence still gets to make a number of day-to-day decisions for the child which has the ability to alienate that parent. A motion may be needed to define the exact rights and responsibilities of each parent.
A lot of people who inquire about sole custody in New Jersey don’t fully understand what it means. Sole custody gives that parent the power to make all decisions without having to get consent from the other parent. This includes the day to day decisions that most parents with primary custody make but it also includes all major decisions regarding the child’;s health, education and welfare. In other words, this parents gets to act as if the other parent doesn’t exist. However, like many issues regarding custody, the court can carve out a number of exceptions. Thus, the other parent may still have an ability to object but that parent will likely have to show that the parent with sole custody is putting the child in danger by taking one action or another.