It’s back-to-school season in New Jersey and for many families that means supporting the educational needs of children while going through a divorce.
In other cases, parents will be in a new home and kids will be starting a new school or preparing for college. Our child custody lawyers in Monmouth County know the issues get more complex as a child ages, with everything from college tuition and orthodontics, to participation in sports and the independence associated with driving and graduating from high school.
Navigating the choppy waters with maturing teens begins with a comprehensive divorce agreement and parenting plan, which can provide a roadmap through common obstacles faced by divorced parents.
Education, Visitation and Child Custody in New Jersey
A child’s parenting time may be established by the parenting plan required under New Jersey law. Terms will be decided in mediation between the couple and their attorneys and submitted to the court for final order, if they are able to agree.
The court will hear and settle any unresolved disputes, but it’s typically best to work with your Monmouth County divorce attorney to come to an agreement with your former spouse. These agreements should take into account things like medical care, cost of summer camp, tutoring, college tuition, medical insurance coverage, as well as decision making, and the geographical and social workability of a parenting plan.
Among factors New Jersey Family Law Court considers:
- Parenting time should consider the social and educational life of the child.
- The proximity of parent and child’s living arrangements.
- Older teens may be consulted about parenting time.
- Cooperative arrangements for birthdays, holidays and graduation.
Relocation is another issue that often arises when one parent desires to move. A child’s educational stability and the non-custodial parent’s custody rights can both significantly impact a proposed geographical location. Such cases are always best handled with experienced legal help.
Child Support and College Tuition in New Jersey
The educational obligation parents owe to their children do not necessarily end after high school graduation. New Jersey is among the few states that legally require parents to contribute to a child’s post-secondary education in many cases. New Jersey law requires parents to provide a “necessary education” for their children. And, in Newburgh, v. Arrigo, it was ruled that divorced parents in New Jersey must pay for the costs of such an education, even after high school. That means a non-custodial parent may be ordered to pay for college tuition.
Too often, divorcing parents without qualified legal help will delay making some of these tough decisions for the sake of an expedient child custody arrangement and divorce agreement. However, doing so undermines the long-term success of such plans and often leads to unnecessary conflict.
The court urges parents to establish a comprehensive plan and to remain diligent about following it. Done right, these plans provide a roadmap that establishes a defined process for future issues, which can stabilize contentious relationships and provide peace of mind to both parent and child.
Call Rozin|Golinder Law, LLC today for a free and confidential consultation.