No issue is as emotionally charged as child custody.
The vast majority of post-divorce legal issues in New Jersey involve child support, child custody and related issues. Reasons such issues arise are almost always the same: Either lack of planning and forethought, or lack of accountability.
Despite the fact these issues are so emotionally charged (and often foreseeable), couples still entangle themselves in a vast array of verbal agreements and second chances that have little chance of doing anything but causing problems.
Parenting Agreements & Child Custody
Divorcing couples with minor children will be required to complete a parenting plan, which in addition to outlining a schedule of residence and visitation for a child, may address things like financial support, education, health care, and religious upbringing.
Your child custody lawyer in Middlesex County will be in the best position to help you forge a parenting agreement that will address current and future childcare issues, thus avoiding many of the most common pitfalls. Still there are times when unforeseen issues arise, or when a former spouse will not comply with an agreement or order of the court. In such cases, it is always best to modify an agreement before the court and to consistently hold a former spouse responsible for compliance. Side deals are usually not your friend. The court cares about the orders of the court. As far as a former spouse’s performance (or lack thereof) consistent and timely enforcement of court orders are the surest way to obtain and maintain compliance.
Common Child Custody Issues
Child Custody: Legal and physical custody with visitation plans must be adopted by the court.
Child Support: Establishing a fair child-support plan is vital at the outset, as is enforcement for non-compliance. Payment of expenses like health care, sports participation and higher education must also be stipulated.
Relocation: A parent who desires to move away can trigger a custody dispute. Possibility of such issues can be addressed in an initial parenting agreement, but will ultimately be decided by the court on a case-by-case basis.
Grandparent Rights: In some cases grandparents or others have played a significant part in a child’s life. Guaranteeing future relationships are best done through orders of the court.
Agreement Modifications: Parents should not agree to child-support or custody agreements thinking they will seek modification in the future. The court typically requires a significant life event or change in status before it will reconsider an existing order. Conversely, parents should not make substantial agreements among themselves and expect them to be honored by the court.
Unfit Parent: These are among the most contentious cases. When a former spouse or his or her new partner are considered unfit, a child may be endangered and a parent’s emotions may run out of control. It’s vital that parents dealing with these issues have experienced legal help from the start. Proof of allegations and consistent court action and enforcement are critical to winning a positive outcome.
Those who fail to get legal help, fail to comply with the court, or fail to keep their emotions in check, may face significant criminal and civil penalties resulting from child-custody and child-support disputes, including:
- Failure to pay child support: Driver’s license suspension, garnishment of wages, interception of tax refund, issuance of bench warrant and arrest.
- New Jersey Statute N.J.S.A. 2C:12-4(a) Interference with Custody: May result in criminal or civil penalties. May be considered by the court when ordering or modifying a parenting agreement.
- Noncompliance with a court order: New Jersey Statute N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9, contempt of court can result in civil or criminal penalties.
An experienced family law firm in Middlesex County will be best able to help forge a comprehensive parenting plan, help you avoid common pitfalls, and consistently force your spouse to comply with the orders of the court.
Call Rozin|Golinder Law, LLC today for a free and confidential consultation.