In New Jersey we have a "best interest of the child" standard in determining custody arrangements. This is not unique to New Jersey as many states have similar standards. New Jersey does not have as apart of its child custody law a presumption of parenting time for either parent.
Our child custody statute N.J.S.A. 9:2-4 gives equal rights to both parents, however, the statute does not say that each parent shall have equal or 50/50 parenting time. Rather our law gives 13 factors a court should consider in determining custody and parenting time.
We are seeing a trend of judges and courts favoring a 50/50 shared parenting time even though it is not specifically stated in New Jersey Child Custody statutes and case law. This trend is not unique to New Jersey as this trend is nation wide.
Recently, some states have begun to introduce legislation to make 50/50 parenting time or true shared parenting a presumption. This is not say that every case would have 50/50 parenting time. Rather the parent who did not want the 50/50 parenting time would have the burden of showing why 50/50 parenting time was not in the best interest of the child or children.
West Virginia has introduced legislation to make a presumption 50/50 parenting time for divorced and separated parents. As with most legislation there are supporters and detractors to the proposed legislation. The Register Herald published an article describing the proposed legislation and the pros and cons. You can read the article by clicking here.
New Jersey does not at the current time have similar legislation pending. However, we will keep you posted on pending proposed parenting time and custody bills that are introduced before the New Jersey legislature.
The NJ parenting time lawyers and divorce attorneys at DeMichele and DeMichele are skilled advocates who are ready to assist you your parenting plan and child visitation issues. If you are looking to establish a parenting plan or modify an existing visitation schedule, we can help you accomplish your goals. Contact your visitation attorney today at 856-546-1350 to schedule your confidential consultation.