In New Jersey, many custody orders are actually laid out with consideration of inclement weather and school cancellations in mind. Though the state family courts always try to enforce custody decisions, their ultimate goal is to “protect and promote ‘the best interests’ of the children within its jurisdiction.”
This means that when inclement weather makes it dangerous or unreasonable to transport your child in such conditions, if you err in good faith on behalf of your child’s safety, the court will be likely to support your decision.
Sometimes schools will cancel classes in anticipation of a predicted snowstorm that never occurs. In cases such as these, when the custodial agreement does not specify directions, the court will always look to what is “reasonable.”
This involves taking into consideration the circumstances, and whether you have acted in good faith in the interest of your child.
Sometimes inclement weather can be responsible for throwing off the balance of parenting time. For instance, if a child is supposed to fly out of state to spend a holiday with the other parent, but their flight is cancelled and cannot be rescheduled until after the holiday, their guardians are left with a couple of choices:
For couples that are amicable, they are allowed to modify existing orders to something that they both believe is fair, such as the child will fly to the other parent for the following holiday instead. It is always good to record these agreements in writing, which can include emails and texts.
However, for many former spouses, they are unable to work out their differences. Should this be the case, they can petition in New Jersey family court for adjudication.
The court will look at the same factors upon which the original custody order was based, in order to decide what is in the best interest of the child. They may then adjust schedules or child support payments if appropriate.
If it is proven that one parent was violating the current schedule, but not in good faith, they can be held in contempt of court. This often carries a fine, community service, or even jail time.
Another less expensive option to court is mediation for contentious couples. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution in which a third party can assist you in reaching an amicable modification of your original order. This can save you both the time and money associated with litigation.
If you or a loved one is dealing with divorce, there is often no roadmap for how to proceed. With so many unanswered questions and concerns it can be overwhelming. The New Jersey divorce lawyers at Fox & Melofchik, L.L.C. strive to provide you with the best guidance for your specific situation. For a free consultation contact us online at or call us at 732-493-9400 today.
Located in Eatontown, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients from the surrounding areas, including those in Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County, Mercer County, Ocean Township, Fair Haven, Red Bank, Tinton Falls, Shrewsberry, Middletown Township, Wall Township, Seagirt, and Spring Lake, New Jersey.