In 2013, the following rules were established in New Jersey to protect our state’s active duty military parents. These protections include that:
- The courts must wait until at least 90 days after a deployment ends before entering final custody orders in a case or making changes to any child custody and parenting time orders that existed when the parent was called into active duty.
- Military parents who will be unable to appear personally or fully participate in a custody or a parenting time hearing or evaluative process due to deployment and wish to have the matter settled before they deploy, they can request an expedited hearing date.
- Any temporary modifications to custody or parenting time plans during a parent’s deployment must allow the deployed parent to exercise custody and parenting time during periods of leave and must expire automatically when the deploying parent returns. The original orders will then go back into effect unless the non-military parent can demonstrate that this is against the child’s best interests.
- The deployed parent will also have options in appropriate cases to delegate parenting time during deployment to a designated person who has a close personal relationship with both the parent and child. We even have a blog on this very topic.
Bari Zell Weinberger is the owner and managing partner of Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group in New Jersey. She is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney.