Tag: child custody and parenting time.

Adding a New Jersey Parenting Coordinator for the Best Interest of the Children

Divorce and Parenting Lawyers providing counsel to clients in Lakewood, Brick, Colts Neck, Beach Haven, and across Ocean and Monmouth Counties

Advantages of Having a New Jersey Parenting Coordinator Sometimes doing things the way they have always been done is not as effective as trying something new.  For decades, divorces were focused on the parents arguing and yelling or settling down at the table to talk; the children embroiled in the crossfire were never asked for their opinion about what their future would look like.

More than one million children are affected by divorce every year. Millions of children will be mixed up in their parents’ conflicts, unable to escape the vulnerable and harsh world they experience daily.

As part of a pilot program from 2007 to 2012, Bergen, Morris, Sussex, and Union counties established a method similar to mediation for parents who were having difficulties avoiding conflict in the most basic of parenting issues.  Despite having finished, judges still use the program when they feel it is necessary and would behoove the entire family. The one exception is if there is a history of domestic violence.

Parenting Coordinator Profile

A parenting coordinator is a neutral party chosen by the court or agreed to by the parents who are struggling with aspects of parenting decisions.  Psychologists, psychiatrists, family therapists, and even qualified lawyers are some professionals that make good coordinators.  It should be someone with experience in working with families, especially children.

Mediation Role of the Parent Coordinator

A parent coordinator’s purpose is to help a family focus on the importance of their parenting plan by negotiating solutions to problems that the parents cannot find a solution to, even when a project is already in place.  The use of a parenting coordinator can reprioritize goals, make way for compromise, discuss possible misunderstandings, and learn methods of communication to express oneself in a way that promotes collaboration and positivity.

Possible Scenarios for a Parenting Coordinator to Step In

A judge can appoint a parenting coordinator when they feel it is necessary, even after a final order is given or when a parent has violated the custody order and is held in contempt. If both parties agree, or one party can prove there is a need for a coordinator or the judge, analyzing the dispute, decides that one is needed based on the list below.

The judge can only appoint a parenting coordinator when both parents can afford to pay for the sessions. The child’s best interests would be best served if a parenting coordinator was appointed.  If the judge decides it is a “high conflict case,” meaning that the parents in the case have used excessive litigation, verbal abuse, and distrust. There have been incidents of physical aggression or threats of physical attack.  The parents cannot agree on the care of the children. The judge believes a parent coordinator can solve several of the issues.

Issues Handled by a Parenting Coordinator in New Jersey

Custody & Divorce Lawyers in Ocean County, NJIt is important to remember that the parenting coordinator has specific content to stay focused on.  There is no ad-lib or spur-of-the-moment discussion. The coordinator is there to work with the parents to reach answers to problematic issues. A parent coordinator facilitates productive discussions and identifies the stumbling blocks that the parents are experiencing that prevent them from making decisions that will allow them to parent together. The coordinator establishes boundaries and ensures that the parents treat one another with respect. Educating parents on making decisions that are in the child’s best interests is another skill the coordinator has.  Frequently, the parents want to “win” the discussion without considering the benefit the outcome will have for the children. The parenting coordinator provides resources the parents can use for decision-making skills and documents all the progress made in the sessions. If necessary, the coordinator will bring the children into the discussion in a calm and safe environment to express their concerns without verbal attacks.

There are several topics such as diet, clothing, recreation, extracurricular activities, daycare and babysitting, vacations, education, transportation to and from visitation, health care management, and use of social media, among others.

Parenting Coordinator Appointed by Court

The court can appoint one for you, or you can request on your own that the court appoint one for you.

Talk to an Experienced Brick Family Lawyer to Supervise the Parenting Coordination Process in Southern New Jersey

The parenting coordinator focuses on specific problems between the parents and their possible solutions.  The lawyer’s role is to make sure that the decisions made are legal and for the best interests of the client and their children. After each session, the parenting coordinator will draw up a document summarizing the day’s events and give it to the lawyer.  Custody agreements, visitation, and child support can be discussed, but it is the lawyer who submits the motions.

Bronzino Law Firm has vastly experienced family lawyers whose goal is to make your experience as straightforward and productive as possible.  Every family has its own needs and concerns. Our committed attorneys are empathetic and will listen to your unique issues in Toms River, Mantoloking, Stafford, Beachwood, Berkeley, Lacey, Ocean Township, and along the Jersey Shore.

Contact us at (732) 812-3102 or online for a no-cost consultation. We know this is a difficult time for you and will do everything to help.

How to Prove a Parent Unfit in a Divorce Case in New Jersey

Divorce is a tough decision to make and having children involved, the complexity becomes even harder to manage.

Proving a Parent “Unfit” in New Jersey Divorce LawDivorce is no easy task. Even when separating spouses have an amicable relationship, emotional energies can reach explosive levels due to the many stresses that a divorce proceeding invokes. When children are involved, these conflicts between spouses can reach a whole new level. When parents cannot agree on a custody arrangement, and each is seeking sole or primary custody, their tactics for trying to prove that they are the right to fight for their children can include some downright nasty allegations against the other spouse.

In some cases, these allegations are simply the result of a battle for custody. In other cases, however, a spouse really is unfit to care for the children. If you’re trying to prove that it is not safe for your children to spend time with your ex, and they are unfit to care for your children and should have restricted visitation rights or none at all, contact our divorce and family law firm to learn how we can help protect your family.

What is the definition of an unfit parent in NJ?

According to New Jersey law, an unfit parent is someone who is unable to create a safe and nurturing environment for a child. This could look like a variety of different things: a parent who fails to properly protect and maintain the child, as well as to ensure that their educational needs are met, could be determined by the court to be unfit to care for the child. Another hallmark of a parent who is unfit to provide safety and nourishment for their child is one who engages in dangerous or reckless behavior that could endanger the child, such as someone who abuses drugs or alcohol or someone who has a history of violence in the home. Such a person could lose their custodial or parenting time agreement rights to visitation.

What constitutes an unfit parent in New Jersey?

A New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part judge will review a case against a parent alleged of being unfit to have visitation or custodial rights in a custody hearing. The judge will look for evidence that the parent has created physical, emotional, and psychological harm for the child.

This could include a parent who has:

  • displayed dangerous behavior, either directly endangering the child or proving such behavior as habitual in or around the home;
  • continuously struggled with alcohol and drug abuse;
  • displayed mental health issues, either through examinations conducted in service of the child custody hearing, or prior;
  • committed acts of domestic violence against the children or their ex-spouse;
  • placed their child in danger by means of neglect.

How do you prove a parent unfit in Ocean County, NJ?

Attorney to Prove Unfit Parent in Toms River NJProving that your ex-spouse is unfit to care for or visit your child is very difficult to do. This is because it is the New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part’s primary focus to keep the well-being of involved children at the center of all custody hearings. And, the Court considers that it is in a child’s best interest to spend time with both parents. As such, in order to prove that a parent is unfit, you must show that your child was harmed by the behavior of your ex-spouse, and it is, therefore, the child’s best interest to not interact with your ex.

In order to prove that your ex is an unfit parent, you will need to gather substantial proof. This could come in the form of documentation such as social media posts and photos that display reckless behavior, court records showing prior legal trouble as well as prior domestic violence claims, medical records evidencing substance abuse, documentation from your child’s school in which they have been reviewed by a school psychologist, and other New Jersey documentation.

You can also document behaviors that show potential for harm for the child. In 2019, the New Jersey Department of Children and Families updated its system for identifying and reporting child abuse. The “Allegation-Based System” can be drawn from to prove that a parent is unfit to have custodial access or visitation rights to a child. The fifteen factors for determining whether a parent is causing harm to a child and is therefore unfit to enjoy basic parenting time agreement rights are reasonably straightforward. In some cases, the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) will become involved, since they are required to initiate an investigation after receiving any report of child abuse or neglect. 

Seek the advice of a Family Law attorney to help you make wise decisions for you and your children’s best interest in Brick, NJ

It is highly advisable to consult with a well-versed attorney who regularly handles New Jersey family law and child custody issues to ensure you have strong foundations for your case. When you retain one of the attorneys at Bronzino Law Firm, LLC., you know you can count on a professional who will walk by your side every step of the way. Moving through the law and all of its implications requires knowledge and experience that our attorneys have at your service.

Contact us online or call us today at (732) 812-3102 and allow us to help you in these troublesome times. We are ready to serve your needs as we often do for clients in Howell, Toms River, Manchester, Jackson, Lacey, Point Pleasant, Neptune, and Wall. You can also schedule an appointment to visit our offices in Brick and Sea Girt for a free consultation.

Considerations for Parental Time and Child Refusal in Brick and Sea Girt, NJ

Contact us for assistance if you have questions regarding your child’s visitation refusal, need help enforcing a child custody order, or face a contempt of court charge related to your custodial agreement.

Visitation Refusal: Legal Concerns That Arise When A Child Refuses Parenting-time in NJIf you have a child custody order due to divorce litigation, a civil union dissolution, or because you are a grandparent or the unmarried parent of a child, your parenting time and visitation rights are legally protected and enforceable. If you refuse to comply with a visitation order with your co-parent or someone you share custody with, you risk being charged with parental alienation and being found in contempt of a court-mandated order and could face possible jail time, penalties, or a reduction in your own parenting-time.

NJ laws are set up to protect children and assure that their best interest is paramount. If your child refuses visitation, it requires your most objective perspective when listening to, acknowledging, responding, and reflecting on why they feel that way. Balancing the need to understand the situation at hand and to keep your child safe from possible emotional, psychological, or physical trauma resulting from a forced visit with an untrustworthy parental figure should not resulting in you violating the other person’s rights.

If you fear for your child’s safety or have previously been involved with high-conflict custody matters with the person you share custody with, contact an experienced Ocean and Monmouth County, NJ child custody attorney to discuss your options. An attorney can advise you on making the best decision, whether requesting emergency custody or arranging mediation to understand the issues at hand better. When your child’s safety is at stake, you may feel overwhelmed, but an experienced attorney can help you make informed decisions so you can fully exercise your rights and protect your child.

To speak with someone and arrange a free consultation related to your child custody issue, call our Brick, NJ office at (732) 812-3102.

At What Age Can A Child Refuse Visitation in NJ?

A child custodial order requires parents to ensure their child is reasonably available for visits with the other party and is a productive tool to help children maintain and build healthy relationships with their parents. Children can go through phases where they may not want to visit their other parent or may have peer-related activities that they would instead participate in. For the rejected parent, this can be painful.

When a child reaches the age of 18, they are considered adults, and adults can decide with whom they share their time. Even if that particular parent they are expected to visit pays child support, and the child has not yet graduated from high school.

Until that child reaches the age of adulthood, each parent is obligated to inform their co-parent when the child is ill or otherwise unable to make a scheduled visit. They are also expected to encourage the visitation process with their child. Of course, there are circumstances when parenting time is impossible, but exploring other options that facilitate or support “virtual visitations” should be explored.

Other Reasons Why a Child Might Refuse to See a Parent in New Jersey

Why a Child Might Refuse to See a Parent in New JerseyIf you have concerns that your child is the victim of child abuse or child neglect, or even in danger due to others who may live with or frequent the home of the other co-parent or guardian, you should contact the police and your attorney immediately. Due to the severe nature of this type of action, it should be used if your child is in imminent danger.

If you need to report abuse, contact the Division of Child Protection & Permanency Child Abuse Hotline (State Central Registry): 1-877-NJ ABUSE or 1-877-652-2873.

However, in most circumstances where visitation is not posing a danger to the child, you need to show a judge that you are doing everything you can to make visits possible. This could mean protecting yourself in these situations by carefully documenting facts and involving your child and the other parent in cases where a child refuses visitation.

Create a Safe Place and Listen to Your Child

When a child refuses visitation, it can be painful for one parent while putting the other in an emotionally challenging position. To gain better insight as to the reasons, one of the most important things to do is provide the child with a safe and comfortable space, so they can openly and freely talk with you.

Depending on the age of the child, if the visit is during the divorce process or following the marital settlement, these feelings may be due to the impact or inconveniences in their new life schedule (i.e., preferring visits with friends, hassles of changing homes, travel time between both locations, possibly missing out on another event or activity, etc.) or an emotional one where they feel either bored, ignored, they don’t have fun, or the co-parent is too strict.

Two options a parent may consider are: having your child discuss their feelings with a child psychologist or request that a child custody evaluation be conducted to get to the root cause of their refusal. Another option, especially in more contentious situations, is for your child to have their own attorney representing their needs and best interests.

Essentially, honesty and openness with both your child and the person with whom you share your custodial agreement can help relieve some of the stress and possible misunderstandings regarding the reasons for refusing visitations.

Practice Open and Compassionate Communication With Your Co-Parent

Because your custody arrangement and parenting time agreement are based on specific court-ordered schedules detailing how your child’s time will be divided between parents, each party has expectations regarding how the shared parental duties of childrearing will be. The reality is that the co-parenting experience requires a bit of flexibility if certain unforeseen (i.e., illness, transportation problems, etc.) circumstances occur and lots of open communication to make sure all parties are on the same page.

Slight adjustments to your parenting time schedule are probably not an issue for the New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part to weigh in on – unless one parent is actively withholding another parent’s rights to spend court-approved time with their child. Minor changes to recoup lost time can likely be managed through an informal agreement between the parents.

When it comes to parenting plans revised due to the COVID pandemic, the ability to compassionately or non-violently communicate for additional hours or days, especially as we move closer to the holiday season, is key.

If you have a successful co-parenting relationship, you could ask that person to call the child on the phone or via video chat or visit your house and you both try to speak with the child who is refusing visits.

A Family Court judge may express more understanding of a parent whose teenager refuses parental visitation, as compared to a five-year-old who does so. What you don’t want, in emotionally confusing situations like these, is for a judge to penalize you for your child’s defiance or your inability to discipline and control the child.

What If I Need to File A Motion for Contempt in Toms River, NJ?

File a motion with the court for contempt by a co-parentWe are prepared to collaborate with your spouse to reach a child custody arrangement peaceably. Still, we are also ready to aggressively defend your rights and needs in court if it becomes necessary.

If no other options exist, our family law team can assist with your case by making application to the court for contemptby your co-parent. In our complaint, we can assemble the most compelling body of evidence to suggest that your child’s other parent has not been abiding by the mandatory orders of the court with regard to parenting time and visitation.

Child Refusing Visitation in Ocean County? We can Help.

The team of attorneys at Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, over the years, has acquired extensive experience providing legal services to clients in Mantoloking, Lavallette, Jackson, Lanoka Harbor, Brick, Toms River, Lacey, and nearby places in all family law-related issues.

Mr. Peter Bronzino as the lead attorney in the firm, shares his experience with each of his clients by working side by side, with fluent communication along the way to help you determine what is the best path to follow in your particular case.

To speak with Peter Bronzino and the legal team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding any parenting, visitation, or child custody issue, please get in touch with us online or through our Brick, NJ office at (732) 812-3102 today.

Child Custody and Divorce Attorneys Dealing with Impacts of a Parent’s New Partner

Hashing out the details of kids, custody, and parental rights is complicated and must be carefully considered.

What are my ex’s new spouse’s legal rights when it comes to my children in NJ?The division of assets and financial support that make up a traditional divorce are rabbit holes in and of themselves, requiring collaboration on the part of both ex-spouses. When it comes to children, however, an entirely different level of agreement and teamwork must be engaged in order for both parents to remain in the lives of their children. The New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part holds as its central priority the wellbeing of involved children; as part of this wellbeing, they will attempt to ensure that each parent spends significant time with the children if that is at all possible.

The Superior Court: Family part supports divorcing couples in addressing four main elements of legalese as it involves children: physical custody, legal custody, parenting time agreements, and child support payment. Read on to learn more about each of these elements of separating parents’ post-divorce reality, and what legal rights new partners have in the life of your children in New Jersey.

Can a new relationship affect custody in New Jersey?

In order to discuss the impact of a new spouse or relationship on rights when it comes to your children, it is important to understand that there are different types of custody in New Jersey and each imbues different rights. Custody in New Jersey contains two aspects: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody determines where the child will live: which parent will be the custodial guardian. Legal custody refers to how the parents will make decisions regarding their children. Such decisions could include how the child is educated, whether they will undergo medical treatments, what their religious upbringing will be, and what types of people and influences will be in the children’s life.

The main custody arrangements in New Jersey are sole custody, joint custody, and joint legal custody.

One parent has 100 percent custody

When one parent has sole physical and legal custody, their children live with them the vast majority or all of the time, and they are the legal guardian, having the sole right to make all decisions regarding their child. The other parent may have restricted visitation rights, often supervised, or they may have no rights at all. Sole custody in the physical and legal sense is often awarded to one parent when the other is deemed to be incapable of caring for the children, perhaps because of a history of domestic violence or drug abuse.

Both parents have equal rights

This arrangement constitutes the opposite of sole custody. In a joint custody arrangement, both parents share the physical and legal rights and responsibilities as it regards their children. As part of their parenting time agreement, both parents share equal time with the children, either through alternating nights and weekends or vacation time. Additionally, each parent has the right to a say in legal matters and upbringing considerations regarding the children.

One parent is with the children the majority of the time, but decisions are made together

In a joint legal custodial agreement, one parent is the primary custodial caregiver. This means that the children live with one parent and spend the majority of their time with them; however, both parents share equal decision-making rights regarding the children.

Does my ex’s new spouse have legal rights to make decisions for my children?

How does a new partner affect my custody situation in New Jersey?Regardless of whether you and your ex share physical and legal custody or your ex has sole custody, their new spouse does not have a legal say as it regards your children. While a new spouse, a step-parent, may try to step in with the intention of supporting your children, they do not have the legal right to do so. The only way they would obtain the legal go-ahead to make decisions for your children would be if they adopted them. In this case, you would have been approached to sign away your legal right to them at all, and chances are, you haven’t done that.

So is your ex’s new spouse attempting to step in to be the new parent? Are they showing up at school to pick them up, or putting their name on your child’s extracurricular documents as their emergency contact? If so, they do not have legal permission to do this. A school or after-school group can face heavy legal trouble if they allow your child to get into a car with someone who does not have legal caregiver rights or does not have written permission. Seek the support of a skilled family law attorney to ensure that your children are in good hands when they’re not under your care.

Contact our Attorney to Discuss Your Custody Case

If you are concerned that your legal rights as a parent are being usurped by your ex’s new spouse, it is important that you are backed up by a family law attorney like the ones you can find at the Bronzino Law Firm.

If you need help protecting your legal custodial rights, we’ve got your back. At Bronzino Law Firm, we successfully represent clients in Mantoloking, Beach Haven, Lavallette, Waretown, Lakewood, Asbury Park, Lacey, and Berkeley Township.

Call today at (732) 812-3102 for a free consultation to explore your possibilities. We will work towards protecting your parental rights and help you in your situation.

Child Custody Attorneys Discuss How to Handle Travel and Custody Over Summer Vacation

Providing Parents with Financial Advice Across Spring Lake, Toms River, Point Pleasant, Brick, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County Areas

Joint Custody Raises COVID-19 Concerns as Kids Travel Between Households, Out of State or Abroad for HolidaysAs states open up, the federal government considers relaxing travel restrictions to the Mexican and Canadian borders. Several amusement parks announce plans to reopen; many co-parents are already planning family getaway options, vacations, and travel with their kids outside the country.

As millions of kids across the country divide their time between parents, the upcoming Spring and Summer holidays raise concerns over COVID-19, making what would have previously been a way to make lifetime memories more stressful. Decision making around how best to handle travel-related pandemic precautions is challenging for an individual to consider, but as co-parents who had difficulty agreeing on family issues before separation or divorce, navigating child custody in this COVID era means several other unforeseen issues (i.e., children being silent super spreaders) have turned the concept of family visits and vacation travel into a new battleground.

Differing opinions about the severity of the pandemic and the necessary precautions to take can make co-parenting especially volatile as co-parents weigh the impact on one parental household’s behavior may affect the health of another (i.e., step-siblings or relatives who may eschew masks). Unless your specific COVID-19 era child custody agreement prevents out-of-state travel or has other restrictions, then generally, each parent may choose to travel during the holidays, even though there is a pandemic, whether or not your co-parent agrees.

A lot of proactive, positive co-parent communicative or mediation should protect both families and assure that everyone is on the same page and working to the best of the child. Understandably, parents would be hesitant about their child traveling or going on vacation during this current health crisis.

If this sounds like your situation, take confidence that the Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, located in Brick, New Jersey, can help. Our experienced child custody and family law attorneys stay on top of ever-changing travel bans and guidelines to provide superior legal guidance for your custody matter.

Planning to Travel? Review Your Court Mandated Child Custody Order

Before booking any travel, check the custody order for information regarding the specific details or steps you need to obtain travel consent with your child. This may often require providing a detailed itinerary before leaving and/or 30 days written notice. It is significantly important to comply with the custody order, as the courts can find any parent who does not adhere to it in contempt.

Even among amicably divorced spouses without a custody order in place, it is highly recommended that you obtain written consent from the other party or speak with a compassionate child custody attorney experienced in parenting time and visitation matters, who can help you enforce your parental rights and get court approval to prevent costly misunderstandings and stressful legal disputes.

What Kind of Documentation Does My Child Need for International Travel?

Once travel approval has been obtained, in addition to your child having a valid passport, the traveling parent should also have a signed and notarized letter of consent from the co-parent. Although there is no legal authority in the United States requiring a parent to have a signed consent document from the other parent to travel outside the United States with the children, a parent may still be stopped by Customs and Border Patrol in the United States or the county they are traveling to. This serves to reduce the potential for child abduction or child trafficking claims.

If the child is traveling with one parent or someone who is not a parent or legal guardian or a group, then the United States Customs and Border Protection has listed details that should be included in the letter, such as the:

  • What Kind of Documentation Does My Child Need for International Travel?child’s name
  • child’s birth date and place of birth
  • child’s primary address
  • passport numbers for all travelers or supervising adults in the group (i.e., school groups, teen tours, vacation groups)
  • traveling parent’s name and date of birth
  • travel details (where, when, why)
  • contact details of the parent not traveling
  • notarized signatures of both parents

I Do Not Want My Child Leaving the Country. What Can I Do?

It’s not uncommon for ex-spouses to be citizens of another country, further increasing the possibility your co-parent may take the child abroad. In this age of COVID-19, it makes sense that a parent might have reservations about their ex-spouse taking their child out of the country at this time.

Parents with concerns about their right to travel or who may want to restrict travel abroad with their child should consult a knowledgeable high-conflict parenting-time attorney for assistance. Here are a few situations where an experienced attorney may be able to help you in assuring your child’s health and well-being is a priority and prevent an ex-spouse from taking your child out of the country:

  • Incorporate specific travel restrictions into the custody order that would require mediation or a court order to modify a child custody agreement.
  • Surrender your child’s passport to the court to prevent international travel without your consent. This would require your co-parent to schedule a hearing to request the passport. A parent with significant reservations could present compelling evidence as to why travel would not be in the best interest of the health and well-being of their child.
  • Prevent your child from getting a passport. Simply refusing to give consent can stop the process. This might be considered extreme as, typically, both parents must give consent for a minor to obtain a passport. However, if there has already been a termination of the co-parent’s parental rights, the traveling parent with sole custody can usually get a passport without the other’s permission.

Sea Girt, NJ Child Custody Lawyer Can Help You Enforce Your Parental Rights

At the Bronzino Law Firm, our team of attorneys is committed to supporting our clients across Point Pleasant, Brick, Wall, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County Areas in working with their co-parent to carry out custodial agreements, guide and assist you with emergency motions and navigate revisions to court-ordered routines that may be necessary.

Contact us online or call us at (732) 812-3102 to learn more about your options and to schedule a free online confidential consultation with a member of our firm regarding your co-parenting needs during this time.

Coparenting Vrs Pararell Parenting in High Conflict Divorce Cases

Co-parenting can take many different forms depending on the individual.

Coparenting Vrs Pararell Parenting in High Conflict Divorce CasesWhen a couple with children divorces, there is much more to be navigated than the division of assets and a custody arrangement. Where children are involved, separation is only the legal end to a marriage; it is the beginning of a lifelong partnership as co-parents, two adults responsible for their children’s best interests, regardless of their own interpersonal relationship.

In an ideal situation, separated parents work together to create a sense of consistency and stability in their lives, though that child is experiencing that consistency across households. This is called co-parenting, and it is a collaboration between exes to share time and parenting responsibilities in service of raising a well-adjusted young person. Co-parenting can take many different forms depending on the individual. Still, it absolutely involves a mutual interest in working together to provide a stable and seamless home environment for the child.

What to do when they can absolutely not work together to navigate shared parenting?

So what are exes to do when they can absolutely not work together to navigate shared parenting, and all interaction breaks down into conflict? In this case, it may be in the child’s best interest for the parents to explore parallel parenting.

What to do when they can absolutely not work together to navigate shared parenting?According to New Jersey law, a separating couple with children must develop a parenting time agreement as part of their custody arrangement. A parenting time agreement outlines the schedules determining which time frames the child will spend with each parent, as well as how transportation to and from school and extracurricular activities will be handled, how holidays will be shared, and ways the non-custodial parent will maintain contact with the child in their physical absence. When a separated couple is mutually committed to co-parenting, the parenting time agreement can be fairly smooth if the logistically complex process to complete. When one or both parents want to undermine the other’s relationship with their child, however, a legally binding parenting time agreement can be harder to come by.

With support from an experienced legal team, a high-conflict couple can forge an agreement for shared custody that limits interaction to bare necessities and spares the child from being in the middle of a battlefield. This is called parallel parenting.

How is parallel parenting different from co-parenting?

Parallel parenting is a minimal-interaction form of raising a child with an ex. While co-parenting involves a relational climate of open communication to discuss the child’s goings-on and minor logistics of their upbringing and schedule, parallel parenting takes a more hands-off approach as far as parental coordination is concerned. Raising a child with your ex using a parallel parenting strategy because of high conflict doesn’t make you a bad parent or a failure. On the contrary, it can be a sage form of engaging co-parenting because withdrawal from the interaction can often have a less damaging effect on a child than a high-conflict parental presence.

Why communicating only information is important.

When a divorced pair cannot communicate in a healthy and non-manipulative way, limiting communication to the strict passage of information is key. Outline in the parenting time agreement how emails and other forms of communication will be used, and do not stray from those guidelines except in an emergency.

When a boundary is crossed or a decided-upon arrangement broken, use the tenets of nonviolent communication to state your feelings and provide a specific request clearly. Keep your child at the center of your mind when communicating with your ex – remember that you are both in raising your child together, and in that way, you are on the same team.

The psychological effect of parental alienation

Contact a Child Custody Lawyer in Brick and Sea Girt NJ TodayMany high conflict parents will turn to parental alienation to turn their child against the other parent. Parental alienation uses manipulative language to convince a child that their other parent is not a good person. The result is that the child begins to pull away from the other parent or even actively become hostile toward them. Parental alienation isn’t only a divisive tactic that can result in the other parent being legally liberated from child support or college tuition payments down the road. It causes deep psychological harm to the child and trauma that can take years or a lifetime to heal.

Contact a Child Custody Lawyer in Brick and Sea Girt NJ Today

Our attorneys are experienced at Bronzino Law Firm in supporting our clients across Spring Lake, Toms River, Point Pleasant, Brick, and Ocean County in navigating relationships with their ex-spouses to fulfill their custody arrangements and parenting time agreements.

To schedule a consultation with our team today regarding your custody arrangement, please contact us today or through our Brick, NJ office at (732) 812-3102.

Shared Custody and Co-parenting Issues During COVID-19 Pandemic Brick and Sea Girt NJ

Monmouth and Ocean County Family Attorney helping clients best to navigate this trying time of raising children with an ex or other co-parent, and keep your family safe

Helping Monmouth and Ocean County Parents with Shared Custody and Co-parenting IssuesThe time of the COVID-19 pandemic is an unstable time in our collective history. The instability and stress that are the root and the effect of these times are felt across the globe. Everything from personal and family health, finances, and employment have been shaken to the core. If you are co-parenting during this time, your stresses in helping your family stay safe are greatly amplified, as you can never be completely sure that your co-parent has taken the necessary precautions to protect themselves and your children from the Coronavirus. In order to ensure that all of you are as safe as possible, and to prevent the spread of this highly contagious virus, it is imperative that you have a system of coordination and open communication with your co-parent.

Unify with your co-parent in holding your child’s health as the most important thing.

During this time, collaboration is key to ensuring your child’s health, and your own. If you have a testy relationship with your co-parent, now is not the time to argue. In fact, it is the time to supersede all ill feelings and work together to develop a system of preventative health and flow to your routine that keeps you safe from this highly contagious virus. Remember that COVID-19 spreads often in the absence of symptoms, so a jointly-developed system of procedures is essential. What are house entry and exit procedures? What do you do with shoes and clothes when you arrive home with the child, no matter to which home? What are house cleaning procedures for keeping the surfaces free from contamination? Consider all necessary precautions when developing your co-parenting systems for keeping your child safe, including those recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.

Communication is key.

Communication is keyDuring unstable times such as these, communication is key to keep everyone in the family safe. This means both communications with your co-parent and communication with your child. Because a child is already experiencing the instability of a move between houses, it is important to be open about what is happening with the COVID-19 pandemic to explain why you are taking extra precautions; this will help them feel grounded and anchored.

Work as a team – co-parents and children – to develop a proactive system of pickups and dropoffs, sanitization processes for leaving and arriving home, and an emergency action plan in the case that anyone develops symptoms of COVID-19. When communication between co-parents leads to systems of safety that are carried out in both homes, a child may even feel bolstered in their sense of ‘togetherness’ and family. Utilize these two-home systems of safety and hygiene to empower your child to take their health into their own hands. Giving them jobs around the house (that they are responsible for in both houses) creates coherence among homes and gives them a sense of agency.

Maintain established parenting time agreements and court-ordered custody agreements as much as possible.

For many, this is a time of total upheaval. Those who are navigating changes in their own personal and professional routines and lifestyle as well as juggling a custody arrangement with a co-parent are especially affected. For this reason, maintaining as many court-ordered custodial systems as safely possible at this time can prevent unnecessary additional stress.

Contact a Child Custody Lawyer in Brick and Sea Girt NJ TodayParenting time agreements were established to create a sense of stability for your child and for you. They create a rhythm and routine that helps a child feel emotionally safe. If you and your co-parent agree that it is safe to move the child back and forth between homes, and you have set up systems in your own life and your agreed-upon time with your child in order to prevent the spread of the virus, it can be immensely stabilizing for the child to feel the normal routine playing out, even amidst an abnormal global backdrop.

So what if it’s not safe or possible for the parenting time schedule or regular custodial visits to take place?

Be flexible.

See your co-parent as the partner they are in raising your child. If you are unable to visit your child due to the pandemic, or you have your child full-time due to the quarantine, thought partner with your co-parent to develop ways to make ‘visits’ possible. Set up a nightly storytime on a video call, or have daily play breaks outside where you each exercise together, again on a video call.

Contact a Child Custody Lawyer in Brick and Sea Girt NJ Today

At Bronzino Law Firm, our attorneys are committed to supporting our clients across Spring Lake, Toms River, Point Pleasant, Brick, and Ocean County in navigating their custodial agreements and parenting time agreements as necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To meet online with a member of our firm today regarding your co-parenting situation, please contact us today or through our Brick, NJ office at (732) 812-3102.

Mediation, Arbitration, or Litigation in Ocean and Monmouth County Divorce Cases

Providing Experienced counsel to Divorce and Mediation clients in Brick, Sea Girt, Toms River, and Wall Township

Mediation and arbitration are often considered quick and favorable methods for couples to resolve their divorce, marital asset division, alimony, child support, and child custody and parenting time. Sometimes they are, and sometimes they aren’t. These forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) can present a few unforeseen challenges.

Though the concept of a quick, inexpensive divorce option can be attractive, many people do not realize that arbitration awards do not need to specify findings of fact or conclusions of law; and unlike a court order, an arbitration award is subject to a very narrow and limited review on appeal. In addition, a divorce mediator does not represent either party, as their job is to merely facilitate the conflict resolution process.

Arbitrators are typically retired judges or experienced family law attorneys, so the results of arbitration are generally in line with what can be expected in family court. Selecting the most appropriate arbitrator, who has the relevant experience and knowledge to thoughtfully, thoroughly, and realistically decide the issues in your case, is critical. Because the arbitrator’s decision will generally be binding, each party should feel confident about their selection and agree to an appeal process, should it later prove necessary.

What Is the Difference Between Divorce Arbitration & Mediation in Tom’s River, NJ?

Divorce mediation involves the assistance of a neutral third party who promotes and facilitates a resolution of the issues raised by each party and can reach an agreement that is later incorporated into the final divorce judgment. Arbitration, on the other hand, is often quicker, similar to litigation, and each party has a bit more control over the process and can decide when and where the arbitration will occur.  Generally, an entire day or selected group of days are designated for the arbitration to be held. Both parties agree to the rules of evidence and can call witnesses, as well as admit documents into evidence.

In contrast, agreements can be reached by the parties during mediation, but the mediator does not render a decision. Unlike courts of law, arbitrators do not have to observe the rules of evidence and have the authority to determine the relevance, admissibility, and materiality of any evidence. Furthermore, an arbitrator can allow any discovery they appropriate, as long as the objective is a fast, fair, and cost-effective proceeding. After listening to the testimony and weighing the evidence, an arbitrator provides a formal decision to each party on the issue they presented.

Can I Modify My Arbitration Award in Ocean County NJ?

The New Jersey Arbitration Act (Act), N.J.S.A. 2A:23B-1 to-32 is a voluntary procedure that provides the framework for the arbitration process (e., method, conduct, issuance of the award) and standards for confirming, vacating, and modifying the award.

In binding arbitration cases, any decisions reached by the judge arbitrator are enforceable and legally binding. Divorce settlements or other awards may be modified at a later time based on a change in circumstance, but binding arbitration decisions cannot be immediately appealed by either party for the sole reason that the decisions are not satisfactory. In order to change the outcome of binding arbitration, a family law appeal must be filed, and the plaintiff must prove that circumstances have changed or the proceedings were somehow unfair or illegal. Modifying an award is possible when:

  • Figures were miscalculated,
  • The arbitrator makes an award on an issue not before them and outside the scope of the arbitration, or
  • The award is so poorly written and unclear, that further clarification is necessary to enforce it.

Can I Appeal My Monmouth County NJ Arbitration Award?

If an arbitrator refused to review evidence related to your issue, was biased or partial to the other party, or acted outside their scope of power, you have a right to appeal that result. While divorce rulings and awards are affirmed more often than they are reversed, there are circumstances where an appeal may be successful.

In circumstances of non-binding arbitration, either party is free to disagree with the decisions reached, file a “trial de novo” notice, and take their matter to be settled in family court. The effect of not filing the demand for trial de novo is that the award, whether a monetary award or a dismissal, can be converted into a judgment.

Most important to note is that the court will only vacate an arbitration award under limited circumstances (i.e., fraud), which are delineated by statute.

Contact a Qualified Brick NJ Divorce Attorney to Decide on Mediation or Litigation

At the Bronzino Law Firm, we have extensive experience helping our clients to reach fair, situation-specific, and well thought out divorce and family law agreements in Ocean and Monmouth County towns such as Wall, Jackson, Point Pleasant, Sea Girt, Asbury Park, and the surrounding communities.

To speak with Peter Bronzino and our legal team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your divorce and mediation matter or a Family Law issue you may be facing, please contact us online, or through either our Brick office or our Sea Girt office at (732) 812-3102.