Ridgewood Child Custody and Parenting Plan Attorney

Being a single parent in Ridgewood is not easy, especially when you and your child’s other parent do not see eye-to-eye when it comes to how your child should be raised. While parents should remain focused on what is best for their child regardless of whether they (the parents) remain in a committed relationship, this does not always happen. It is just as likely as not that one parent will attempt to use the child and access to the child as a bargaining chip in order to obtain other concessions from the other parent.

Aretsky Law Group, P.C. believes your relationship with your child is precious and should be defended at all costs. Our experience and knowledge can be of use and assistance in your child custody dispute regardless of whether the dispute is hotly contested or whether you and the other parent generally get along well. Our goal is simple: we want what is best for your child and we want you to be able to play a significant role in your child’s life. Call Aretsky Law Group, P.C. today at 1-800-537-4154 to discuss your legal needs and situation.

Entering Custody and Parenting Time Orders

When divorced or separated parents have a child in common and they cannot agree on issues such as which parent the child will reside with, how decisions about the child’s welfare and upbringing will be decided, and/or which parent will get to spend which holidays with the child, courts must step in and make these decisions for the parents. There are three general types of orders that a court in this situation will issue:

  • Orders of physical custody: In short, this type of order will indicate which parent will be the residential parent (that is, the parent with whom the child will primarily reside). The other parent is designated as the nonresidential parent or noncustodial parent and will receive parenting time with the child according to the parenting plan.
  • Orders of legal custody: “Legal custody” refers to the ability to make decisions affecting the child’s upbringing, health, education, and overall wellbeing. In general, courts hearing Ridgewood child custody disputes will prefer to award both parents joint legal custody and allow the parents to have an equal say in important decisions concerning the child. Where the parents prove that they cannot work together for the wellbeing of the child, though, the court may award legal custody to just one of the parents.
  • Parenting plan: The parenting plan is the written document summarizing the parenting time schedule that applies to the couple’s child. This document informs the nonresidential parent and the residential parent alike when each is to have physical custody of the child. A good parenting plan will also set forth which holidays the nonresidential parent will have physical custody of the child.

Once these orders are accepted by the judge overseeing your case and filed with the local court clerk, these orders become binding and must be followed. If you or the child’s other parent refuse to follow these orders once approved and entered, you may be subject to a finding of contempt (which can require you to pay fines and penalties and/or serve a sanction in jail).

Modifying Parenting Plans in Ridgewood, New Jersey

Your circumstances and those of your child will not stay the same forever. You may meet someone special in a new town, or your child may have trouble adjusting to rules at the other parent’s home. Courts generally prefer that a child’s life be stable and predictable; however, in certain circumstances you may be able to modify custody orders and/or parenting plans.

  • By agreement: Thanks to New Jersey Statutes Section 9:2-4(d), New Jersey judges hearing Ridgewood custody disputes will usually honor an agreement between the parents of a child to modify custody orders and/or a parenting plan so long as the court is convinced that the modified orders and/or plan are in the child’s best interests.
  • When the child is in danger: If evidence exists that the child is suffering or being abused in some manner by the other parent, courts will usually quickly intervene. If the court determines that abuse and/or neglect is in fact taking place in the home of one parent or the other, courts will not hesitate to enter modified orders in order to protect the child from further abusive or harmful behavior.
  • When a significant change in circumstance has occurred: When the situation of the parents has changed in such a significant way that the previous custody orders and parenting plan are no longer workable (i.e., one parent has accepted a job in a different part of the country), the court may entertain arguments for modifying the custody orders in place and/or the existing parenting plan in order to better account for the parties’ present circumstances.

Reach Out to Our Experienced Ridgewood Child Custody Lawyer Today

Call 1-800-537-4154 to speak with Aretsky Law Group, P.C. about your child custody dispute or parenting time issues and let us help you achieve a favorable outcome.