The state of New Jersey’s stay-at-home orders due to the Coronavirus have left many people trying to adjust these circumstances. This can be difficult for families of divorce trying to navigate how they keep their child safe during this time. In doing so, it is important to keep in mind that both parents have rights to their child. Continue reading below to learn more and contact an experienced New Jersey family law attorney if you need help protecting these rights.
What Rights do Parents Have?
Parents who go through a divorce are required to settle how they wish to proceed regarding their children’s futures. This establishes the rights and responsibilities they have in their lives, including:
- The right to custody. This includes physical custody, legal custody, or both. Physical custody designates the parent the child will live and spend the majority of their time with. On the other hand, legal custody gives a parent the right to be involved in making decisions relating to the child’s upbringing.
- The right to visitation. A parent still has visitation rights even if they only have legal custody. Parents can settle how this is done in their parenting plan.
- The right to support. The state of New Jersey requires both parents to financially support their children. This is done by mandatory child support payments from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent until the court decides it is no longer needed.
Are these Rights Valid During Coronavirus Times?
It is important to know that parents still have the same rights to their child as established in their divorce settlement, even though we are living in unprecedented times. Every parent wants to protect their children from something as serious and frightening as the Coronavirus. However, parents cannot go against the custody or visitation agreement to do so. This means that if they do not want their child to see their other parent due to Coronavirus exposure, they must come to an agreement with the parent or ask the court for a modification. Until a modification is granted, both parents are required to follow their agreements as is.
In addition to this, child supports also remain the same. Child support agencies are still required to report any past-due payments. This means that all parents who are required to make these payments must do so during this time. In the event that they are facing financial hardship due to the pandemic, parents can also request a modification. This can allow for a change in the amount or frequency of the payment so that they can better suit the parent’s new circumstances.
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