If you have children, developing a post-divorce parenting plan will be one of the most important aspects of your divorce. New Jersey law requires divorcing parents to create a post-divorce parenting plan that reflects their children’s best interests. You (and your spouse) will need to consider several factors when deciding what makes the most sense in terms of dividing parenting time after you bring your marriage to an end.
Depending on your family circumstances and the likelihood that you and your spouse will be able to remain on good terms after your divorce, some factors will weigh more heavily than others. With that said, here are five factors that tend to play a central role when developing a post-divorce parenting plan under New Jersey law:
1. Who Will Remain in the Family Home?
In some (but not all) cases, it will make sense for the parent who continues living in the family home to serve as the children’s primary custodian. This provides a sense of stability for the children, and it gives the greatest opportunity for the children to maintain their current social circles. However, equal parenting time is becoming more common, and there are various reasons why primary custody should not necessarily be tied to remaining in the family home.
2. How Did You and Your Spouse Divide Parenting Responsibilities During Your Marriage?
When it comes to establishing post-divorce parenting time, the parents’ respective roles and responsibilities during their marriage are relevant factors. Suppose one parent assumed primary responsibility for childrearing duties during the marriage. In that case, it might make sense for this parent to maintain a larger share of parenting time post-divorce as well.
3. What are Your Personal Desires Regarding Post-Divorce Parenting Time?
While your children’s best interests are what matter most, your personal desires are also relevant. If you have a sincere desire to spend as much time with your children as possible and your spouse does not, then it might be in your children’s best interests to spend more time with you after your divorce.
4. What Practical Considerations Will Impact Your Post-Divorce Parenting Time Needs?
In addition to considering your personal desires, it is also important to consider your personal needs. For example, how will your work schedule impact your availability as a parent? While working full time is not a barrier to securing primary or equal custody rights in New Jersey, you and your spouse should both realistically assess how your respective jobs impact the feasibility of the various parenting time options that are available.
5. Will You and Your (Former) Spouse Be Spending Any Time Together?
Finally, if you and your spouse are thinking about co-parenting after your divorce, this is a very different type of arrangement that requires a very different approach. You and your spouse will need to work closely with your respective attorneys to develop a post-divorce parenting plan that works for you and your children.
Speak with a New Jersey Family Lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.
If you would like to speak with an attorney about the child-related aspects of your divorce, we encourage you to get in touch. To schedule a free initial consultation with one of our experienced New Jersey family law attorneys, please call 877-435-6371 or inquire online today.