Parental Visitation Rights in New Jersey

By Elizabeth Rayne

Public policy in New Jersey holds that both parents should be regularly involved in their child's life. When one parent has sole custody of the child, the other parent is usually granted visitation. Even in cases where domestic violence or mental health issues are present, New Jersey offers supervised visitation programs to ensure children still have contact with both parents.

Overview

In New Jersey, as in most states, the court determines custody and visitation arrangements based on what is in the best interests of the child. The court will assume it is in the best interests of the child to spend time with both parents, except for in rare cases where there is evidence that the child would be in danger. The parents may agree on a visitation schedule and submit the schedule to the court for approval. However, if the parents cannot come to an agreement, the court will determine the schedule based on what is in the best interests of the child.

Types of Visitation

Depending on the circumstances of a particular case, the court may grant reasonable visitation, fixed visitation or supervised visitation. With reasonable visitation, the parents do not have a set schedule; instead, parenting time occurs whenever it is reasonable for both parties. Conversely, a fixed schedule provides specific times on specific days that the noncustodial parent will spend with the children. In cases of domestic violence or drug use, the court may order supervised visitation, which requires a professional or close relative to monitor parenting time.

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Risk Assessment

In cases where a parent believes that it would not be safe for the other parent to have visitation, such as in cases of domestic violence or psychiatric disorders, either parent may request a risk assessment. A risk assessment gives the court the opportunity to determine the best visitation arrangement for the child. A professional will interview each parent separately. Each parent will have the opportunity to present evidence of domestic violence, mental health problems and documentation showing how the child has been affected, including school or counseling records. The court will review the risk assessment, and may designate a supervisor for parenting time. The court may also suspend parenting time until the parent completes a counseling program.

Supervised Visitation

New Jersey has a supervised visitation program, which allows a parent to spend time with his child in a neutral and safe setting. This gives the parent an opportunity to reconnect and reestablish a relationship with his child, free from interference from the other parent. At the same time, the visit is supervised by trained volunteers to ensure it is a safe environment for the child. State-approved visitation providers are available throughout the state for parents with court-ordered supervised parenting time.

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Custody & Visitation of Infant Children in Divorce

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Custody & Addiction

A parent's substance abuse can have extremely negative consequences for children and family courts around the U.S. recognize this. Many states have a rebuttable presumption that it is not in a child's best interests to reside with an addicted parent. A rebuttable presumption is one in which an accused parent can rebut an assertion of substance abuse by explaining the addiction is in the past, does not affect the child or does not exist. The parent struggling with addiction must prove they can provide a safe home for the child and if they cannot, may be denied custody and visitation. If either you or your ex struggles with addiction, obtaining treatment is the first step toward establishing a healthier environment for your children.

Revoking a Legal Guardianship

Revoking a legal guardianship can be a complicated endeavor. However, when done with the help of an experienced attorney, the process can be straightforward. Eliminating the issues that created the guardianship can convince the court to remove the arrangement.

How to File for Sole Custody & Supervised Visitation in New Jersey

In New Jersey, there is a strong presumption in favor of preserving the family unit and ensuring children have ample time with each parent. When time with a parent places a child in danger, however, the courts may grant supervised visitation on a permanent or temporary basis. Cases involving supervised visitation can quickly grow contentious and may involve complex legal issues. A parent who is seeking modification of an existing custody has the burden of proving to the court why a change in the order is necessary.

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