Bringing Child To Concert Is Not Reason For Custody Change
- May 29, 2015
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In the recent child custody case, Zoe v. Zoe, parents of an 11 year old girl disagreed on whether or not it was appropriate for the mother to bring the parties’ child to see the singer P!nk in concert at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The Honorable L.R. Jones, J.S.C. of the Superior Court of New Jersey held that following a divorce, each parent serving as a joint legal custodian has the right to exercise reasonable parental discretion over a child’s activities while in that parent’s physical care, free from unreasonable interference or obstruction from the other parent. This reasoning is based upon the constitutional right that each parent has to exercise reasonable discretion when determining what social activities, such as the performing arts, to expose his or her child to. According to the judge, while divorced parents may disagree, from time to time, on what is appropriate for their children to be exposed to, the court will generally not interfere with either parent’s freedom of personal discretion on the issue and will not hold a parent’s decision as evidence of improper parenting in a child custody case unless evidence indicates that the child was exposed to something so objectively age-inappropriate that no reasonable person would disagree. Judge Jones found that being that rock and roll music is a valid and highly recognized form of creative artistic expression in this county the Defendant-mother’s decision to take her daughter to a P!nk concert during her parenting time with the child was reasonable and appropriate. In his opinion, Judge Jones reasoned that each parent has a fundamental and constitutional right to make decisions regarding a child in his or her custody or care. Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645, 651 (1972). According to Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 65-66 (2000), the Constitution of the United States of America protects this very right under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Therefore, the court held that “[i]nherent in this right is the ability of a parent to exercise reasonable parental discretion on child-related choices without undue interference from the state.” Judge Jones opined that in situations where the parties are joint legal custodians of a child public policy encourages communication, cooperation, and hopefully a consistency between the parties on parental decisions. Beck v. Beck, 86 N.J. 480, 488 (1981); Grover v. Terlaje, 379 N.J. Super. 400, 406 (App. Div. 2005); Hoefers v. Jones, 288 N.J. Super. 590, 601 (Ch. Div. 1994). Child custody and parenting time cases are of the most emotional and difficult cases in all of family law. If you feel that it may be beneficial to you to submit an application to the court for a modification of your current child custody or parenting time arrangement it is critical that you seek out the advice of an experienced attorney before moving forward. For more information about child custody, parenting time, non dissolution cases, divorce or other family law matters in New Jersey visit DarlingFirm.com. This blog is for informational purposes and in no way is intended to replace the advice of an attorney.