When New Jersey working parents decide to divorce, they may worry about how they will keep their connection with their children intact after the separation. This may apply equally to parents who were the sole income-earner before the divorce or those in a two-income household. Parents who spend more time with the children, especially stay-at-home parents but also those with less demanding or more predictable work hours, may make the case that they should have more custody. In some cases, this may be an appropriate framework to distribute parenting time, while in other cases, 50/50 joint custody may still work out.
In either case, however, some of the most important parts of sharing child custody can involve parental decision-making and involvement, even more than the amount of time the children spend at each parent’s home. Even when one parent has primary physical custody, both parents may share joint legal custody and have an equal role to play in major decisions about education, health care and other important life choices. They can also negotiate shared parenting time so that even a parent with a busy work schedule has the children all weekend or most weekends.
Parents may be tempted to fight for all the custody time they can get, but it is important for the children to come first throughout the process. In some cases, this may mean parents making changes to their work schedules, while in other cases, it may mean negotiating a parenting plan that accounts for both parents’ timing and provides children with meaningful, quality time.
Parents going through a divorce may be especially concerned about protecting their bond with their children, and their choices can help their kids to get through a difficult time. A family law attorney may help a divorcing parent negotiate a fair settlement on child custody issues.