Divorce is a complicated process, and anyone involved wishes to mitigate the emotional toll it can sometimes take. Unfortunately, your child is as involved in the divorce process as you are. As any loving parent’s main concern is the well-being of their child, the New Jersey courts will make their decisions based on that same premise as well. In the event of a divorce, parents are nearly always granted visitation rights. However, if a family member wishes to keep in contact with your child, they are not automatically granted such rights. If you are a parent, grandparent, or sibling, the process may be a bit more complicated for you. Here are some of the questions you may have:
What is sole custody?
When you split with your spouse, you will generally work out some sort of joint custody agreement, unless you or your spouse was granted sole custody of your child. This will generally only happen if a court deems either you or your spouse unfit to raise a child. However, if your spouse was granted sole custody, you may be able to change that. The New Jersey courts will give you chances to prove yourself in court, and through a supervised or unsupervised visitation structure, you may continue to see your child in the meantime.
What is a visitation order?
If you are a grandparent or sibling, you are not inherently granted visitation rights. However, New Jersey does believe that all potentially positive relationships with the child should be maintained. Therefore, if the child’s custodial parent will not grant you access, you may submit an application for visitation. If the application is approved, then the child’s custodial parent must allow you to visit the child in accordance with the established visitation structure.
What factors will determine who visitation rights?
When a court has to decide whether or not you deserve visitation rights, many different aspects of your relationship with the child will come into consideration. Here are just some of the deciding factors:
- The relationship between the guardian or parent and the applicant
- The time that has passed since the last contact with the child
- The bond between the child and applicant
- Whether these visitation rights will have a positive or negative effect on the child
- The good faith of the applicant, meaning there are no ulterior motives behind his or her applying for visitation rights
- If the parents are divorced or separated, the time-sharing arrangement which exists between the parents regarding the child
- Any history or indication that the applicant may pose a danger to the child
- Any other factor relevant to the court
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