Your parental rights reflect the existing custody order for your family. When you get to see the children and your level of decision-making authority depends on your custody arrangements.
You and your ex may have litigated the initial custody terms, or you may have mutually agreed to a specific division of parenting time and responsibilities. Both of you should uphold the arrangements outlined in your order.
Now that your family circumstances have changed, possibly because the children are older or you have a new job, you need to update your custody arrangements. Will you need to go back to court to litigate those changes?
Court is necessary, but litigation is not
To actually change your custody order, you will need to make a formal modification request. Otherwise, any change you agree upon with your ex is simply a verbal arrangement between you two, which likely isn’t enforceable in court.
You need a judge to review your existing plan and the requested changes to ensure those changes would be in the best interests of your children. Child support obligations can also change if there is a significant change to the division of parenting time.
However, you don’t have to fight with your ex in court to secure a modification. The two of you can cooperate if your ex consents to the changes. An uncontested modification is really just a formality, as opposed to a contested modification where both parents have to present evidence and wait for a judge’s decision.
Understanding the different ways to approach a child custody modification in New Jersey can help you update your parenting plan to reflect your family’s current needs.