New Jersey parents who are separating or divorcing will need to negotiate a custody agreement that defines the amount of time each parent will spend with the children. One solution to consider is shared parenting, which means the children spend about the same amount of time in each household.
Parenting time is very important to the relationship between the parent and child. When parents share custody, a supportive, stable relationship can continue to develop. A variety of studies indicate that shared parenting is in the best interest of the children, even when kids are very young. For the adults, shared parenting can also mean a less combative and less expensive divorce. This type of parenting plan assumes both parents are equals and will have equal roles in the lives of the children. Ex-spouses who choose to negotiate this type of plan should be prepared to compromise. This will lower the likelihood of a long, expensive court battle.
While the approval of shared parenting grows in the general population, according to U.S. Census data, courts are still more likely to award sole parenting to mothers. In fact, courts favor mothers in 80 percent of custody conflicts. However states such as Alaska, Arizona, Utah and Wisconsin have passed laws in support of shared parenting.
A divorced individual who wants to negotiate and draw up a shared parenting plan might seek the assistance of a lawyer who has family law experience. A lawyer might help the parents by explaining the local laws that relate to custody.