New Jersey Family Courts Use Standard Holiday Schedules To Minimize Parenting Time Disputes
The official start of autumn may still be a couple weeks away, but all signs point to the arrival of fall 2o12. We're enjoying the long-awaited return of football (and fantasy football leagues). Falling colorful leaves. Cooler outdoor temperatures. Shuttered shore houses. Endless political advertisements. Wall-to-wall TV commercials pushing “pumpkin spice” flavored drinks. The good news for New Jersey parents? Fall's arrival means New Jersey children are back at school. The bad news? Both the secular and religious holidays are right around the corner! Fall breaks from school. Halloween trick-or-treating. Thanksgiving dinner. Christmas vacation. Each of these holidays are fun for kids but can prove to be logistical nightmares for busy parents. Coordinating holiday fun can be even more stressful for non-traditional households, and parenting time (and related-transportation) issues are often exacerbated by increasingly-complex extracurricular calendars.
When parenting time or holiday schedule disputes arise, unmarried parents will typically fall back on the specific parenting schedule set forth in their New Jersey Custody Order, Property Settlement Agreement and/or Final Judgment of Divorce. These documents often have detailed “holiday schedules” attached which provide for alternating parenting time over major regular and secular holidays on a year-to-year basis. The holiday parenting schedules are usually based on the court Holidays and Special Days Parenting Time Schedule. But what happens when such a schedule doesn't exist? And even if it does exist, what to do when the parents cannot agree? Or circumstances simply change for a good faith reason? At that point, you may want to consider consulting an experienced New Jersey family law attorney. The best route may be to file an application with whichever county family court has jurisdiction over your matter and assert your parenting rights in Court. Your attorney may also help negotiate a settlement with the other side through his or her attorney (if your child's parent is represented). First and foremost, an attorney can help you take a deep breath, step back, and figure out (1) what is actually in the child's best interest, and (2) which holidays/traditions are really important to each respective party. Clarifying your ultimate goals in any custody dispute is always the most important initial step on the road to achieving the best possible resolution of your case. Compassionate, experienced and zealous representation is only an email or phone call away. If you or someone you know is grappling with a custody, parenting time or holiday schedule dispute in New Jersey, contact the family law attorneys at DeMichele & DeMichele online today. Your confidential initial consultation can also be scheduled by calling our family law attorneys: (856) 546-1350.