When you and your child’s other parent part ways but plan to continue to co-parent in New Jersey, you must create something called a parenting plan. The parenting plan sets guidelines and rules you both agree to adhere to while you raise your child in separate locations. If you and your former partner are unable to create a parenting plan together, the state may help. However, you may find that it better suits your needs if you make the time and effort to draft it with your ex.
Per the Judiciary Courts of the State of New Jersey, your parenting plan should address the following areas, among others.
Your time-sharing expectations
A strong parenting plan outlines the time-sharing terms to which the two of you agree, but it should also take things several steps further. By outlining your plans for your child when it comes to birthdays holidays, school vacations and similar special occurrences, you may be able to prevent future conflicts and improve your co-parenting relationship.
Your communicative methods
You may also want to address how your child might communicate with the other parent while staying in one parent’s home. Maybe you decide you both have the right to contact the child at any time, or perhaps you prefer to have the other parent contact your child when he or she is staying with you only when necessary.
Your drop-off and pickup plans
If you and your child’s other parent live a significant distance away from one another, you may help prevent conflicts by using your parenting plan to outline pickup and drop-off plans. You might want to agree to always meet halfway, for example. Conversely, you may decide it is the responsibility of the parent who has the child to return him or her to the other parent’s home when the time comes.