If you and your spouse decide to divorce, it may be time-consuming to reach an agreement on child custody. There are several essential issues that you may need to decide on, including where the child will live and how visitations will work. In New Jersey, you may be able to settle custody issues with minimal court time if you and your spouse are able to agree to terms on your own. If that is not a possibility, you may need to file a custody complaint in court to establish or modify a custody order. In either case, one of the key elements of a custody agreement is a parenting plan.
If you and your spouse create a parenting plan through informal negotiations with each other, you may simply need to submit it to the court for final approval. You may also use mediation to reach an agreement. The end result of your discussions should be a clear and thorough parenting plan that describes how you and your ex-spouse intend to care for your child.
The New Jersey Judiciary system provides helpful information to parents about custody issues and a child's rights after divorce. According to the organization, one of the most important elements of your parenting plan should be clear information on care and living situations. You must decide when the child will be in your care and when he or she will be with your ex-spouse. You and your co-parent may decide on your child's education and how you will each participate in it. You may also describe who will transport the child to after-school activities. You may want to decide how you will handle health care decisions, religious activities, holidays and time with extended family members.
While this general information on parenting plans is provided for educational purposes, it should not be interpreted as legal advice.