4 Mistakes You Must Avoid With Child Custody
Many parents confess that the most painful element of a divorce is not being able to see their children as much and as often. Sometimes, parents literally fight for the right to see their children for as little as a few hours a week. After all you have been through to secure the custody rights you now have, it is important that you do not make any poor choices that could result in your parenting time being reduced. Read on and find out what mistakes could cost you parenting time, or even more.
1. Responding to Divorce Papers
Your spouse just served you with divorce papers. Perhaps you were expecting it and are glad that you both will be able to move on and be happy. Perhaps you had no inkling and are now desperately distressed. Either way, you must respond promptly. Time is of the essence right now, and taking too long to respond might have an adverse effect on your custody rights.
In the state of New Jersey, when you have been served with a summons of complaint for divorce, you must seek legal counsel immediately. This is because you only have a certain amount of time to file an answer and counterclaim in your case. Generally, that time is 35 days from the time that you are served with the paperwork.
We cannot impress upon you strongly enough this one point: do not delay! You must act quickly in order to protect your rights towards custody of your children. A delayed response could also adversely affect the amount of child support if you are the noncustodial parent, and other issues such as assets that were acquired during the course of the marriage. It is essential that you not sit on your rights and that you take prompt action to retain an attorney to represent you.
- You generally have 35 days to respond after being served with divorce papers.
- You must act quickly in order to protect your custodial rights regarding your children.
2. Being Late for Visitation
Punctuality is a virtue. However, we all have our days when everything is running behind schedule. Most people find individuals who display a lack of punctuality very frustrating. However, habitual lateness is a whole other thing. If an individual is late for everything, it reveals certain things about that individual. The lateness is typically attributed to irresponsibility, poor time management skills and a disregard and lack of respect for others.
When it comes to child custody, lateness is a more serious matter, however. Your inability to be on time may have serious repercussions on your custody rights. In the state of New Jersey, when a noncustodial parent fails to either pick the child up on time, or drops a child off late, or simply does not show up when it is their parenting time, the case can be taken back to court. A motion is filed, and the judge can either restrict the amount of parenting time that that noncustodial parent has or even stop parenting time completely.
- Lateness during visitation may result in the case being taken back to the court.
- The judge can either restrict parenting time, or even stop parenting time completely.
3. Not Allowing a Child to Travel
Vacations and holidays are typically the hardest for both parents and children alike. One parent will get the children; the other will unfortunately be deprived of that joy. However, when a parent does have their children for a holiday or a vacation, it is only natural that they might plan on taking a little trip. Sometimes however, you, as the other parent, might raise objections to your children travelling. Unless the you have good reason to restrict it, it is cruel to ex-spouse and to your children, who are probably looking forward to the trip.
In New Jersey, if a parent wishes to travel outside of the country to see family members or simply to go on a vacation with the children, and the other spouse refuses to allow it or refuses to obtain a passport or sign on to allow the child to get a passport, the former can simply file a motion in court. Odds are, the courts will permit the child to travel with the parent. You will have essentially wasted time and resources to prevent an otherwise joyous occasion.
- Unless you have good reason to prevent it, your children can go on trips with your ex-spouse.
- If the matter is taken to court, your ex-spouse will generally be granted permission to travel with the children, unless the court allows your reasons.
4. Drug or Alcohol Use During Parenting Time
A glass of wine after work never hurt anybody, right? But can the same be said when it comes to divorce and child custody?
Ideally, you should refrain from consuming alcohol and drugs when you have the children. It is not responsible behavior and you do not want to give your ex-spouse any ammunition to use against you if they want to strip you of your custody rights.
In New Jersey, when the consumption of alcohol and drugs is factored in during a custody dispute, your spouse can question your ability to take care of your children. If your ex-spouse files a motion, the matter will then be taken to court and brought before a judge. This could unfortunately result in you losing parenting time.
On a slightly different note, if you or your ex-spouse has more serious issues relating to alcohol and drug addiction, and/or anger issues, a motion should be filed. The offending spouse will either need to correct his/her behavior, or end up losing parenting time.
- Drinking and consuming drugs when you have your children is irresponsible.
- If a motion is filed, the judge will ask you to correct your behavior, or take away your parenting time.