When parents go to court in New Jersey, they often hear about the Children’s Bill of Rights. It is a list of rules that the court will often include to an order regarding parenting time and custody. Many of these rules appear to be common sense – but when you are going through a divorce common sense sometimes seems to go out of the window. In creating an effective parenting plan, the Children’s Bill of Rights are incorporated into the plan.
Below are South Jersey Divorce Solutions’ Parenting Rules, which are based on the Children’s Bill of Rights.
- DO NOT talk negatively, or allow others to talk negatively, about the other parent in hearing range of the child.
- DO NOT question the children about the other parent or the activities of the other parent regarding their personal lives.
- DO NOT argue with your spouse/former spouse when the children are present.
- DO NOT make promises to the children to try and win them over at the expense of the other parent.
- DO communicate with the other parent and make similar rules with respect to discipline, bedtime routines, sleeping arrangements and schedules.
- AT ALL TIMES visitation arrangements will be made and confirmed beforehand between the parents without involving a young child, in order to avoid any false hopes and cause any disappointments or resentments towards the other parent.
- DO notify each other in a timely manner of a need to deviate from the order including canceling visits, rescheduling or promptness.
- DO NOT schedule activities for the child during the other’s parenting time.
- DO keep the other parent informed of any school activities, doctor’s appointments or extracurricular activities of the child.
- DO keep the other parent informed at all times of your address and telephone number. If you are out of town with the child, do provide the other parent with the address and phone number of where the child may be reached in case of an emergency.
- DO refer to the other parent as the child’s mother or father in conversations, rather than using the other parent’s first name.
- DO NOT bring the child into adult issues and conversations about custody, the Court(mediation/collaborative meeting) or about the other parent.
- DO NOT ask the child where he or she wants to live. Instead, encourage the child to understand he or she has two homes.
- DO NOT attempt to alienate the other parent from the child’s life.
- DO NOT allow stepparents or others to alter or modify your relationship with the other parent.
- DO NOT use phrases that draw the children into your issues, or make the children feel guilty about the time spent with the other parent. For example, instead of saying “I miss you” say “I love you.”
In coming up with a parenting plan and establishing rules that work best for you and your children, it is important to work with an experienced family law attorney. Melissa Fecak, Esq. of South Jersey Divorce Solutions has worked with parents and couples for almost two decades to create solutions to their parenting disputes.