Child Visitation

When it comes to children of divorce, New Jersey Family Courts typically lean in favor of joint custody or a shared parenting plan where the children spend as close to equal time as possible with each parent. However, in some circumstances, a shared custody arrangement is not always viable. In those circumstances, one parent is awarded custody while the other is awarded child visitation rights. Both New Jersey courts and the State Legislature strongly protect these rights.

A common child visitation schedule calls for children to visit their non-custodial parent on alternate weekends and at least one evening per week. However, schedules can be adjusted to meet the specific timetables of the parents and the best interests of the children.

Supervised Visits

Although New Jersey courts operate under the belief that it is in a child’s best interest to spend as much time as possible with each parent, there are circumstances where the court may order conditions be imposed. If there is evidence to indicate a child’s safety and welfare may be jeopardized if left alone with a non-custodial parent, the court may order supervised visits.

Supervised visitation is appropriate where there has been a history of abuse, or where the non-custodial parent has health issues or psychiatric problems preventing him or her from properly caring for the child. Supervised visits are monitored by a neutral party and usually conducted at a public facility. New Jersey’s Supervised Visitation Program, as enacted by the State Legislature, fosters supervised visitation by enlisting help from authorized community organizations in providing accommodations and personnel to facilitate these visits.

Failure to Comply

Once a visitation schedule has been established, it becomes a court order and parents who fail to comply are subject to sanction by the court.

A parent who continually fails to show up or refuses to follow the schedule can be fined by the court. A custodial parent who refuses to let the non-custodial parent visit their child according to schedule faces the possible loss of custodial rights, although such action is usually reserved for extreme cases.

Children’s Preferences

Sometimes the child will refuse to comply with the visitation schedule. It is then up to the court to find a balance between the parents' rights and the child’s wishes. Age and preference of the child are important factors considered in determining whether to enforce the visitation schedule. Once a child reaches an age considered old enough to be capable of reasoning, the court must determine if the underlying reason for the child’s refusal is a result of immaturity, negative influence by the other parent, or another justifiable reason, such as neglect or fear of abuse, and then decide accordingly.

Circumstances change with time and visitation schedules, like custody agreements, can be adjusted accordingly; however, such changes must be done through the court.

Please contact the experienced child visitation attorneys at Rotolo Karch Law, located in Lebanon, NJ if you have a child visitation matter you would like to discuss.

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Victor A. Rotolo has been included on the List of New Jersey Super Lawyers in the years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, marking his twelfth year of inclusion on this list. The list of New Jersey Super Lawyers is generated by the Thomson Reuters organization which employs the following methodology and set of standards to compile the list each year. Super Lawyers Selection Methodology [No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court.]

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Victor A. Rotolo is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Civil Trial Attorney.

"A certified attorney is more than just an attorney who specializes in a particular area of law. A New Jersey attorney who is certified by the Supreme Court as a civil trial attorney must have:

  • been a member in good standing of the New Jersey bar for over 5 years
  • demonstrated a substantial level of experience in civil trial law
  • been favorably evaluated by other attorneys and judges familiar with his or her work
  • taken and passed a written examination in civil trial law."

Source: Supreme Court of New Jersey, Board on Attorney Certification, Brochure on Certified Civil Trial Attorney. See Rule 1:39: Specialty Certification of Attorneys.

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