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Parenting plans must consider a child's age

Divorce is difficult for most adults. For children, though, the emotions can range from anger to grief to relief. The last is especially true if the parents had been constantly arguing or if there were issues of domestic violence. In most households, though, the news of divorce is devastating.

Parenting plans are needed to determine when the non-custodial parent will have the children. However, these plans can also contain information about things such as the child's religious upbringing, healthcare, education and more.

The courts can determine a parenting plan, but it is much better for the parents to agree on one. The courts may not give each parent what he or she needs in terms of parenting time. If the two parents can't agree, a motion may be filed with the court to request a meeting with a mediator from the Family Court.

When creating a parenting plan, though, the ages of the children must be considered. Here are some of the reasons why:

Infants: A definitive schedule must be in place for feedings, baths, naps, bedtime and more. Infants need regularity. Also, the custodial parent should keep the other parent advised as to the what the child is eating and how much.

Preschoolers: This age group also needs similar routines but can adapt to the occasional changes.

School age children: Routine parenting time adds a stability to this age group that is really needed. With a child in school, there will be parent-teacher meetings, plays and performances that both parents may need to be aware of long before each occurs. It's also a time when after-school activities take place, so parenting time will need to be scheduled with these activities in mind.

Teenagers: Parenting time should be talked about with teenagers. Their focus may be on friends, school and sports, which all need to be taken into consideration. It may be necessary to vary from a regularly-scheduled visitation to accommodate the needs of the teenager.

As you can see, it can be difficult to develop a parenting plan, especially if you have children that are in different age groups. An experienced New Jersey family law attorney can help in parenting time negotiations to ensure that you get the time with your children that you and your kids need.

Source: The New Jersey Judiciary, "Parenting Time: A Child Right" Sep. 27, 2014

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