The month of May brings a sense of restlessness to students of all ages. As the summer break approaches, parents of children in divided households find themselves with potential challenges. Co-parenting plans may require some adjustments.
Without question, COVID-19 restrictions presented a whole new set of issues for many parents as far as parenting time and custody. Schools vacillated from remote learning to shortened in-person days. Havoc ensued as mothers and fathers adjusted schedules to accommodate their children’s needs.
New Jersey courts emphasize the importance of children spending quality time with both of their parents. Whether mom or dad are separated or never married, the goal remains to act in the children’s best interests.
The threats posed by the pandemic put vacation getaways on hold for many families last year. As restrictions continue to lift, parents may want to take steps to provide a bit of the old normal to their children. Circumstances may suggest changes to existing custody and parenting time agreements or even a request to modify a court order.
Concerns about the spread of the virus continue to add to the struggles of co-parenting as children move between divided households. For example, a child who goes between two different homes may be required to wear masks in one and not the other.
Parents may want to increase their parenting time or even extend vacation weeks. Compromise serves as the best means of implementing those types of changes. However, high-conflict divorces or separations don’t always make such decisions possible.
One option is to work with an experienced New Jersey family law attorney. Even if an agreement or court order is already in place, it helps to have someone negotiate on your behalf. In best-case scenarios, the adversarial parent’s legal counsel will also strive to reach a happy medium.
Co-Parenting and Arranging to Travel Outside of New Jersey
Quarantine requirements represent one of the issues for consideration when planning an out-of-state vacation. New Jersey continues to strongly discourage travel, with an emphasis on unvaccinated individuals going out of the state. Upon returning home, travelers are encouraged to get tested for COVID-19. Minimal quarantine guidelines are seven days for those who come back with negative test results.
If you’re in a shared custody arrangement or have a set parenting time schedule, this could pose an issue. Not everyone involved in co-parenting entertains change or understands the benefits of being somewhat flexible.
Does this mean the coveted trip to Disney in Florida or California is off-limits? Not necessarily. However, it is something that you’ll need to discuss with your children’s other parent. You may have to negotiate extended parenting time to facilitate quarantine requirements.
Battles that destroyed your relationship with your child’s other parent may accelerate as you attempt to push for more parenting time or increased vacation. Courts began hearing cases by virtual means last year and remain backed up as a result.
Many parents find that making tentative plans and discussing them in advance leads to the most successful outcomes. If you’re planning on making reservations for a trip that can’t be canceled, you may want to ensure you won’t encounter roadblocks. It’s not about asking permission – it’s about making a plan that works.
In the end, what matters most are the best interests of your children. If you find it difficult to negotiate any necessary changes for the summer months, you may need legal intervention.
At the Law Offices of Sam Stoia, we understand the stress conflict brings on and look to help our clients in difficult situations. We do not charge for our initial one-hour consultations, which can be scheduled by contacting us here.