New Jersey Child Visitation Laws

Created by FindLaw's team of attorney writers and editors.

When families are torn apart by divorce, life still goes on and children typically benefit from spending time with both parents whenever possible. New Jersey has laws and processes in place for visitation -- referred to as "parenting time" by the courts -- as do other states; in fact, the state constitution protects non-custodial parents' right to visit their children. Child visitation is essential for maintaining the bonds between the noncustodial parent and their child, as long as it's in the best interests of the child.

In the Garden State, divorced or unmarried parents of minors are referred to as the "parent of primary residence" (custodial parent) and the "parent of alternate residence" (non-custodial parent). Visitation plans vary, but courts generally lean toward plans that allow frequent contact of both parents with the child. As with custody, visitation is ordered (or agreed to by the parents) in a way that serves the child's best interests.

Overview of New Jersey Child Visitation Laws and Procedures

You'll do what it takes to make sure you and your child have time together, but reading the dense language of state codes may not necessarily be your strong suit. That is why we've provided the following summary of New Jersey's visitation laws and processes in the table below, in a clear, no-nonsense format.

Statutes

New Jersey Statutes:

  • Title 9, Section 2-4, et seq. (custody and visitation)
  • Title 2A, Section 12-7, et seq. (supervised visitation program)
  • Title 2C, Section 13-4 (interference with custody and/or visitation)

Factors Considered When Determining Parenting Time

New Jersey courts order (or approve) visitation schedules on what it considers the best interests of the child, based the following factors are taken into account:

  • Parents' willingness to communicate and cooperate with respect to parenting issues;
  • Whether there is a history of reluctance to allow parenting time (unless there are legitimate concerns, such as abuse);
  • Child's relationship with their parents and siblings;
  • Whether there is a history of domestic violence;
  • The child's preference (if the court deems them mature enough to make this decision);
  • Stability of the parents' residences;
  • Child's educational needs;
  • Proximity of the parents (i.e. time and expense of transportation between the two parents);
  • Frequency and quality of time spent with each parent (before and after the separation);
  • Employment responsibilities of each parent;
  • Any other relevant factors.

Visitation Schedules

Parents are strongly encouraged to work out their own visitation schedule (subject to court approval) that is reasonable for all parties involved.

Specific parenting time guidelines are not provided by the courts, but common schedules provide for visitation with the non-custodial parent every other weekend plus one night of the week.

Supervised Visitation

Courts may order supervised visitation with non-custodial parents who have a history of child abuse or other issues that may present risks to the child (assuming they are awarded visitation at all).

  • Supervised visitation occurs in a neutral setting, free from interference by the custodial parent or other interested parties, but under the watch of third party volunteers.
  • Supervised Visitation Directory - Directory of approved supervised visitation providers (organizations and individuals) in New Jersey.

Visitation Interference

When a parent fails or refuses to follow a visitation schedule (including those agreed to by the parents and approved by the court), they have violated a court order. New Jersey courts typically impose sanctions only if this becomes a pattern.

  • Sanctions generally include monetary fines.
  • If the court determines that the interference is a significant problem, it may transfer custody to parent being denied visitation or revoke the non-custodial parent's visitation rights, depending on the situation (however, this is generally reserved for extraordinary cases).

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

New Jersey Child Visitation Laws: Related Resources

Seeking Visitation With Your Child? A New Jersey Lawyer Can Help

Divorce and separation can be tough on parents, but is especially difficult for children. Child visitation plans allow minor children to spend adequate time with both parents, but require a legal process. Get help with this process today from an experienced New Jersey custody and visitation attorney near you.

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