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Englewood Cliffs Legal Blog

Consider the kids when creating a parenting schedule

When it comes time to develop a parenting schedule, exes in New Jersey should recognize that the process is for the children. Parents should do their best not to make it about their own conveniences. Furthermore, the process shouldn't be about getting revenge on an ex or winning a battle.

The purpose of a parenting schedule is to promote and support the child's relationships with both parents. This requires compromise. Often, parents make mistakes by overvaluing their own convenience to the detriment of the child's experience. Another mistake parents make is keeping track of the sacrifices they're making and comparing them to those of the other parent. The truth is that both parents should be sacrificing; that's a big part of raising children.

Substance abuse could affect custody decisions

Substance abuse could have a significant impact on a person's judgment. When that person is a parent, it could put his or her children in danger. There are some things a parent could do if they suspect their children's other parent has been abusing alcohol or other drugs while the kids are with him or her. If a judge has not made a custody decision, a concerned parent may raise the issue in divorce court. However, if these decisions have already been made, a report could be made with New Jersey child protective services.

Custodial and noncustodial parents may be concerned about how their former spouses' substance abuse could impact their children. Someone may learn about the issue from his or her children when they return from a visit with their other parents. It is important for people to document everything they see and hear about the other parents' substance abuse to present it to the judge or county social worker. In some cases, it might be appropriate for a person to deny the other parent visitation with their children if he or she is clearly intoxicated.

Visitation rights and child custody

New Jersey parents who have been denied custody might wonder why and whether they will be allowed visitation rights. Judges make custody decisions that are in the best interests of the child, but if a judge decides against awarding custody to one parent, that does not mean the judge thinks the child is not safe with that parent. A judge may choose to award custody to the other parent because that parent has been the child's main caregiver or as a way of minimizing disruption to a child's life.

Most of the time, courts encourage children to develop a relationship with both parents. This means that a parent who does not have custody may still have ample visitation time. As part of the child custody hearing, a visitation schedule will be created. This may include certain weeknights and weekends. It may also cover holidays and vacations.

Negative effects of child support on African-American families

In 2015, an African-American man was fatally shot as he ran away from a police officer in South Carolina. According to his brother, he attempted to evade arrest due to unpaid child support. Many men who make less than $10,000 per year face jail, loss of driving privileges or other consequences because they cannot afford to pay the amount determined by the court. African-American men in New Jersey and elsewhere in the country are disproportionately represented in this demographic.

A new documentary sheds light on the issues that affect African-American fathers. In putting together this documentary, the film maker learned that the current child support system sometimes separates families rather than help ensure children have financial support from both parents. When poor fathers go to court because they've gotten behind in their payments, they are less likely to be prepared or have an attorney to advise them. A father who goes to jail for being delinquent in child support may lose his only source of income and get further behind as a result.

Benefits amicable divorce can offer those with high net worth

Like many New Jersey residents, you might be putting off a divorce you know is coming, out of fear that your spouse will take you to the cleaners. Contentious and lengthy divorces can certainly be draining on the pocketbook, especially for those with complex assets to sort out. It may be worthwhile to consider one of the amicable divorce options available before resigning yourself to the assumption that you are destined for a court battle.

Amicable divorce is another word for an uncontested divorce. Many people have the misconception that mediation and collaborative law are only for those who get along reasonably well or have simple disputes or a lower net worth. You may find it encouraging to learn that uncontested divorce can benefit people across a wide range of disputes and financial statuses. Additionally, settling your disputes out of court is less time-consuming and expensive than litigation, which may protect you from unnecessarily spending thousands on a legal battle and wasting time that would be more effective spent on your business and other pursuits.

The role and responsibility of the custodial parent

Generally, the custodial parent is the one the child lives with most of the time. New Jersey parents might share duties, but the bulk of the responsibility still falls on the custodial parent. This has advantages and drawbacks.

The custodial parent is there for the child most of the time, helping with everyday duties such as homework and with emotional support. This is both rewarding and challenging because it also means that the custodial parent is the focus of the child's negative emotions. Children may not mean it when they act out toward the custodial parent, but even when the parent understands this, it can still be stressful.

The benefits of child custody mediation

When parents in New Jersey or any other state get a divorce, they could be faced with a variety of stressful emotions. Unfortunately, it can be harder to come to a custody agreement when a person is stressed and trying to win a court case. Instead of going to court, parents can mediate a child custody case.

Doing so allows each person to think about the future as opposed to rehashing issues from the past. This can make it easier for parents to develop a good working relationship that benefits both them and the children. By talking about what they need from each other going forward, an adult will feel less stress. This can improve their mood when they are with their children, and it can also lead to a more productive life overall.

How people can make financial preparations for divorce

People in New Jersey who are considering divorce can take a number of steps to prepare financially. The first is to get all financial documents together and put them somewhere safe. This could be with family, friends or in a safe deposit box.

People should also begin to think about their credit and establishing an individual line of credit if one does not already exist. They should order copies of their credit reports and take a look at any joint accounts in case they are being misused. People might want to set up their own individual bank accounts and apply for a personal credit card. For people who do not have their own incomes, it may be possible to obtain a credit card based on household income.

Understanding child visitation schedules

When New Jersey parents split up or begin the divorce process, a child visitation schedule may be set so that the noncustodial parent gets to spend time with his or her children. In most cases, the child visitation schedule is ordered by the court and must be adhered to. If one or both parents violate the visitation order, there may be court penalties.

While the court usually encourages visitation time with the children, there are cases where agreeing to a visitation schedule can be difficult for parents. Some sets of parents might live too far apart to make a visitation schedule work feasibly, especially if one parent has to travel to see the children. The visitation schedule in this case could include the exact dates and times that the traveling parent can see the children. A visitation schedule may also be set for parents who have shared custody to make transitions between households easier for the children.

How to prepare for divorce

Signs that the end of a marriage is near often do not appear suddenly. Usually, there are symptoms such as emotional detachment, spousal absence or nonstop bickering. Many Bergen area couples who are getting ready to go through the separation process may find themselves ill-prepared for the financial aftermath. 

Here are some actions to take to keep the rug from being pulled from underneath you.