One of the most important issues in a divorce for those who are parents is the matter of custody and parenting time. When a custody agreement is settled in court, a parenting time agreement often is too. This outlines the days that each parent gets to spend with their child as per the agreement. In many parenting time agreements, this will include designated holidays. If your parenting time agreement does not discuss holidays and you want to be with your child for an upcoming date, continue reading below and contact a New Jersey family law attorney for assistance.
What are Types of Custody Agreements?
There are two types of custody arrangements that are generally granted in New Jersey: physical custody and legal custody. Parents who are granted physical custody of their child are the individual with whom the child lives and spends most of their time with. Parents who have legal custody of their child have the right to be involved in making important decisions regarding their upbringing. This can include matters such as education, medical care, religion, and more.
When the court determines a custody arrangement, they generally want both parents to be involved in the child’s life. It is because of this that shared custody is often given. However, this is only if it is in the best interest of the child. In order to determine this, the court will consider the following factors:
- The relationship both parents have with their child
- If a parent was involved in criminal activity, have a substance abuse problem, or have exposed the child to domestic abuse
- The child’s needs, including both physical and emotional
- The child’s educational needs
- If the child is of sufficient age to state their preference
- The geographical proximity of both parent’s homes
- Whether a parent can support the child’s standard of living
- Whether the parent can provide the child with a stable and safe home
What do I do if a Holiday is Not in my Custody Agreement?
All parents want to spend time with their children on holidays. However, if that holiday is not their date in the parenting time agreement, they may want to change this. To begin with, a good start is to discuss the idea with the other parent and see if they will swap parenting time for that holiday. If this does not work, it is possible for a parenting time agreement to be modified. This can be done by petitioning the court for a post-judgment modification that allows changes to be made to the document. This can include letting a parent see their child on a specific date, such as a holiday. A parent that asks for a modification is required to prove there is a significant change in circumstances that calls for the modification.
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