One of the decisions parents who are going through a divorce must make is how to divide parenting time. Couples who are able to communicate and understand what will work best for the children may be able to come up with an agreement on their own. Others may need the court’s help.
According to the New Jersey Courts, sources to help parents make a time-sharing plan include attorneys, counselors and mediators. Considerations include:
- Each parent’s schedule
- Each child’s schedule
- Family obligations
- Summer and school breaks
If a judge needs to decide custody, he or she goes by the standards that the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act outlines. Under this Act, the courts decide parenting time based on what is in the best interest of the child.
FindLaw reviews what factors the judge regards as important, and they are also what parents should look at when deciding among themselves. The age of the child should be an important consideration. In general, babies and toddlers need more hands-on time, while this is not as big of an issue for teenagers.
Divorce is easier on children when their routines remain dependable, so custody decisions take into account the current living situation, school activities and time spent with other family members. A top consideration is the parent’s relationship with each child, and an important factor is the ability to provide for the child’s emotional and physical needs.
In general, the court tries to give both parents time with the children, but one exception is when their safety is at risk. A judge will usually deny the request for custody if there is evidence of abuse or violence.