When divorce splits a family apart, the children will often feel its fundamental impact beforehand, and it will remain a defining influence in their lives afterwards. How the parents choose to proceed can further shape how the children perceive their world and their relationships as they mature.
In New Jersey, the courts encourage the parents to come up with their own custodial and visitation schedule, which will start from the assumption that time with both parents will best serve the child’s needs unless there is a history of domestic violence or substance addiction. But when one parent violates the terms of the custody agreement, knowing how state law protects the child in such circumstances is crucial.
Parents in Monmouth County who have concerns about custodial arrangements and their rights as parents may want to find out more about the process and laws surrounding child custody.
Custody and what is best for the child
When a divorce case comes before the judge, there are a number of factors that will determine the final custody arrangement, with the priority being what is in the best interests of the child. Some of these considerations include:
- Fitness of the parents
- Stability of the home environment
- Each parent’s financial condition
- The relationship of the child to each parent
There are two main types of custody, physical, or where the child will spend time, and legal, which is the parent’s authority to make medical, educational and religious decisions. In addition, both parents may share physical or legal custody, or one parent may have either or both legal and physical custody.
When one parent interferes with custodial arrangements
Although the best possible outcome of a divorce for the children happens when there is parental cooperation, sometimes negative feelings or a desire to control schedules can lead to misunderstandings or clear violations of a custodial or visitation arrangement. When this happens, it is important to know that there are state laws in place that can charge the non-compliant parent with a crime that carries severe penalties, including imprisonment and stiff fines.
If one parent has taken or detained a minor child in violation of the custody agreement, this parent will be served with process of knowledge of this violation. If the action continues, the court may issue first a temporary order, followed by a final order. In addition to penalties, the court may also order additional remedies, including compensatory parenting time, economic sanctions, or a modification of the custodial arrangement.