Bergen County Child Custody Attorneys

Bergen County Child Custody and Parenting Plans

Raising children is hard enough, but attempting to co-parent your child with the child’s other parent following a divorce makes the task even more difficult. If divorcing parents cannot come to an amicable agreement regarding who will care for the child, in which parent’s home the child will primarily reside, and/or what parenting time schedule the nonresidential parent will have with the child, the court will need to enter such orders. Once entered by the court, custody orders and parenting plans can be difficult to modify. If the court enters orders that are adverse to your interests, your relationship with your child and your ability to participate in your child’s upbringing can be negatively impacted

Turn to the compassionate yet zealous advocates of Aretsky Law Group, P.C. for help as soon as possible in your child custody case. Our background and experience enables us to fight hard for our clients, thereby helping them be able to maintain a meaningful parent/child relationship with their child. Oftentimes, the sooner you allow us to become involved in your case, the better the results we are able to achieve for you and for your child.

Child Custody in Bergen County

Child custody encompasses both “physical” custody of the child (i.e., which parent will primarily have the child in his or her home) and “legal” custody (i.e., which parent is empowered to make decisions about the child’s healthcare, education, and development). Where possible, courts prefer that the parents be able to share legal custody and have as equitable amounts of time as possible with the child. In making child custody determinations, however, courts are ultimately required to make decisions they believe will foster and promote the “best interests” of the child.

New Jersey Statutes Section 9:2-4(c) requires courts to consider the following factors when making child custody determinations:

  • How well the parents are able to agree and communicate with one another when it comes to the child’s wellbeing;
  • Whether one parent or the other has a history of not abiding by court custody and parenting time orders;
  • The stability of each parent’s home;
  • The child’s wishes and preferences (if the court finds that the child is of a suitable age and maturity to form a knowing and intelligent opinion);
  • How close the parents’ homes are to one another;
  • A parent’s general fitness; and
  • Other statutorily-identified factors.

What is a Parenting Plan?

When a court enters orders regarding with whom the child will primarily reside and what parenting time the nonresidential parent will be entitled to exercise, these orders are usually memorialized in a “parenting plan.” Family law judges presiding over child custody disputes are supposed to defer to any parenting plans and arrangements the parents craft themselves (so long as these arrangements appear to be in the best interest of the child).

Modifying Parenting Plans and Child Custody Orders

Because courts generally believe that stability and predictability in a child’s life are in a child’s best interests, many judges will be hesitant to modify parenting plans and custody orders absent some significant change in the circumstances of the parents and/or the child since the previous orders were entered. While abuse or mistreatment of the child is always a fact or circumstance that will cause a court to revisit its previous orders, other situations can cause the same result:

  • One parent’s decision to relocate away from the child’s other parent, as this may cause the nonmoving parent to incur significantly more expenses in carrying out the parenting plan;
  • A child who shows maturity and intelligence and who expresses a well-reasoned desire to modify the parenting plan;
  • Changes in one parent’s work schedule or responsibilities; and/or
  • Other similar changes in fact and circumstances.

Changing a custody arrangement or parenting plan is no simple matter, however. Unless you and your child’s other parent have an agreement as to how the parenting plan ought to be changed, the other parent will usually be afforded an opportunity to appear before the court and voice his or her opinion on your proposed changes and modifications. During this hearing, the burden will be on you to show why your proposed changes and modifications are in the child’s best interest (the other parent’s objections notwithstanding).

With an experienced Bergen County child custody law firm by your side, you can approach custody hearings and modification hearings with confidence knowing that your custody attorney is prepared to present the evidence and make the arguments that will be necessary for you to have the greatest opportunity for succeeding in obtaining the custody orders you believe to be in your child’s best interests.

Speak with Aretsky Law Group, P.C. Today

Do not delay: If you and your child’s other parent are not seeing eye-to-eye when it comes to custody arrangements and parenting plans, call Aretsky Law Group, P.C. for prompt assistance by dialing 1-800-537-4154.