When New Jersey parents with young children are going through a divorce, they in most cases must figure out a custody agreement that involves forming a parenting plan and schedule. While this is intended to make things easier for both children and their parents, an initial agreement might not work out as well as one hopes. The time when kids go back to school gives parents a chance to evaluate how a custody arrangement is faring.
Even if a parenting plan has worked during previous school years, one or both parents may find that unforeseen changes make an existing plan difficult. As children grow, they have new abilities and needs and may undertake new hobbies that require altering a parenting plan. For example, a child could start a new sport or get a role in the school play. This could mean that existing plans for activities and who picks a child up may no longer be possible.
In some cases, a young child who could not previously handle switching between residences may demonstrate more maturity and be able to handle joint physical custody. Parents may wish to check in with each other a few months after the school year begins to see if scheduling changes are needed.
Typically, child custody arrangements work best when parents are able to communicate and compromise. If a judge must make custody determinations for a couple, the resulting plans may be more rigid. Parents should submit changes to parenting plans to courts for approval. A parent who would like to obtain a modification of an existing plan that had been made a part of a custody order may want to discuss with a family law attorney the requirements for getting one.