As a divorcing parent, you may be experiencing loss and grief that can come with ending your marriage.
Likewise, the physical dismantling of the family unit can be truly traumatic for kids. They are losing the only life they’ve ever known – a life with a future that involves both parents and a place they call home.
The ages of your children can impact the effect that a divorce has on them too. For instance, if your children are at certain critical stages of development, the physical separation of their family and home may have a greater impact. It can often be helpful to engage a therapist who specializes in the effect of divorce on children.
Parenting roles have come a long way. Gone are the days when one parent, typically the mom, was a homemaker who cared for the children while went off to work.
Such roles were generally reflected in the custody and parenting time arrangements back then where the father typically had what was then called “visitation” every other weekend and perhaps a weeknight “dinner” with the kids.
As work schedules have become more flexible, many clients are fathers who get the kids onto the bus or off to school in the mornings, prepare meals, take the kids to their activities while and stopping off at the grocery store; they know who their children’s friends are and what the kids are working on in school; they take the kids on weekend day trips and take part in routine bedtimes for their younger children.
New Jersey family courts have specifically recognized that no matter their ages, children generally need both parents involved consistently in their lives. New Jersey law expressly provides that both parents are to be considered equals and that a court is to enter custody and parenting time orders that are designed to maximize the involvement of both parents in the lives of their children.
Then came the pandemic with the ability to work remotely and allow both parents greater involvement in the day to day lives of their children. For example, perhaps before the pandemic the father had worked all day in an office. Now that he works primarily remotely, he wants and can exercise a more equal parenting time schedule with the children.
New Jersey family courts are becoming more aware and open to recognizing the greater ability of both parents to have daily involvement with the kids. The New Jersey family court is both a court of equity and authorized to foster the best interests of children.
Therefore, your attorney can propose that in fairness and equity, a parent who is now working from home should be given the opportunity to play a greater role in the day to day parenting with an equal custody arrangement. For specific types of 50/50 parenting time schedules, check out this post.
In any event, it is important to carefully consider each child’s needs and each parent’s work and other responsibilities to determine the best custody and parenting time arrangement for your children.
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