Somerville Parenting Time Lawyer
New Jersey parenting time lawyer Katherine Wagner has more than two decades of experience helping clients secure their parental rights in the event of divorce or separation. If you are dealing with parenting time, child custody, or other family law issues in the Counties of Somerset, Hunterdon and Middlesex or the surrounding area, Katherine K. Wagner, Attorney at Law, is here to help you protect the security of your family.
How Does Parenting Time Work as a Non-Custodial Parent?
In many divorce cases, one parent will be granted primary physical custody of a child. This primary caretaker is called the “custodial” parent, while the other parent is called the “non-custodial” parent. Non-custodial parents are usually entitled to some degree of parenting time, previously called visitation. Parenting time can take different forms, depending on the circumstances of the family and the separation. Ideally, the parents will agree on custody and parenting time. If that does not happen, a psychological best interests evaluation may be required, and a judge may ultimately decide on a plan that is best for the child. It is vital to have a dedicated and experienced parenting time lawyer in your corner to present the strongest case available for your parental rights, ensure the welfare of your child and protect your parental rights.
Types of Parenting Time in New Jersey
Depending on your familial circumstances and the terms of your divorce or separation, there are a few different types of parenting time available under New Jersey law. The most prevalent type of parenting time is unsupervised, in which a child can stay with the non-custodial parent for a scheduled amount of time without requiring someone else to be present. This usually occurs during weekends, weeknights, or holidays. This structure is generally the preferred form, as it feels the most familiar for the child.
Years ago, when it was defined as “visitation,” most non-custodial parents, usually the father, had a limited amount of time with his children and it may have been merely every other weekend from Friday evening until Sunday evening. However, with the advent of fathers’ rights groups, the term “visitation” was eliminated from the lexicon and replaced with “parenting time.” Fathers no longer wanted to be mere visitors in their children’s lives, they wanted to take an active part in raising and parenting their children. Gradually more and more fathers fought for extended periods of time with their children. Now, if they do not have a 50/50 time-sharing arrangement with their children, it is not uncommon for non-custodial parents to have two or more overnight visits per week with their children.
The second type is supervised parenting time. This method is used when a parent is determined to be a potential threat to the child or cannot be trusted to be alone with them for any reason.
When supervised time is scheduled, another adult chosen by the parents or appointed by the court, such as a social worker, will be present to oversee the parenting time. Supervised parenting time can take place at a parent’s home or specific locations approved by the court. Virtual visitation via the internet using Skype or Facetime are also sometimes an option.
If the non-custodial parent breaks the agreements decided on by the court, they may have their parenting time restricted or even revoked completely.
The Law Office of Katherine Wagner can help you determine the appropriate form of parenting time based on the circumstances of your family and the fitness of each parent involved. Whether you are concerned about your former spouse being alone with your children or fighting for your rights as a non-custodial parent, child custody attorney Katherine K. Wagner has your back.
When Can Parenting Time Be Revoked?
A custodial parent cannot typically deny the non-custodial parent his or her parenting time once it has been agreed upon. If the custodial parent tries to do this, he or she may face repercussions as well. Even if the non-custodial parent, for example, refuses to pay owed child support or alimony, the custodial parent cannot simply deny them their right to parenting time. Today, New Jersey courts generally assume that a child will benefit most from continued contact with both parents on a liberal basis.
There are, however, circumstances under which parenting time may be denied or revoked. If a court determines that a child would be better off not spending time with a non-custodial parent, they may deny or revoke parenting time. There are a number of reasons the court would make this decision, including but not limited to:
- A history of domestic violence
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Mental illness
- The parent no longer desires contact with the child
Where a parent’s parenting time has been denied or revoked, the non-custodial parent may seek to have their rights restored by petitioning the court. The court may create a “reunification plan,” setting obligations for the petitioning parent to follow in order to demonstrate their fitness as a parent. Some things they might have the non-custodial parent do include:
- Reunification Therapy
- Parenting classes
- Drug or alcohol rehabilitation
- Attendance at Anger Management classes
- Medical treatment
Once the non-custodial parent has demonstrated that they can adequately care for the child, they may have their rights restored. If you have been denied parenting rights, the dedicated New Jersey parenting time attorney at the law office of Katherine K. Wagner can help you work out a reunification plan with the family court and allow you to reconnect with your child. If you are a custodial parent and you have reason to worry about your child’s continuing contact with an abusive or otherwise unfit parent, contact family law attorney Katherine K. Wagner to discuss your concerns.
Help With Your Parenting Time Rights
If you need help with a matter involving parenting rights in the Counties of Somerset, Hunterdon and Middlesex and the surrounding areas, contact Katherine K. Wagner, Attorney at Law, today for a consultation. Ms. Wagner will fight for your financial stability, your family, and your rights.