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Parenting Time Modification Requires Adequate Change Of Circumstances

Parenting Time Modification Requires Adequate Change Of Circumstances

In Tedeschi v. Ferragine, a post-judgment divorce matter, the Defendant appealed from Family Court Orders that reduced his parenting time and set his child support amount. The parties were marred in 2000 and divorced in 2008. The Plaintiff gave birth to two (2) sons during the marriage and pursuant to the parties’ property settlement agreement (PSA) they agreed to share joint legal custody of the children and designated the Plaintiff as the parent of primary residence. Following their divorce, the Plaintiff married a man who lived in Massachusetts. In 2012, the court granted the Plaintiff’s request to relocate with the children to Massachusetts and modified the Defendant’s parenting time arrangement accordingly. After this, the court entered multiple Orders following a series of Motions filed by the parties concerning the Defendant’s parenting time and child support obligation. The Defendant appealed from provisions that pertain to both arguing that the court erred by reducing his parenting time and calculation his child support. According to the Appellate Division: “Orders defining a parent’s right with respect to contact with his child are subject to future revision depending on a showing of changed circumstances.” Finamore v. Aronson, 382 N.J. Super. 514, 522 (App. Div. 2006); Voit v. Voit, 317 N.J. Super. 103, 121 (Ch. Div. 1998). The “Modification of the order may be appropriate if the moving party shows the modification requested is in the best interests of the child.” Todd v. Sheridan, 268 N.J. Super. 287, 398 (App. Div. 1993); Mastropole v. Mastropole, 181 N.J. Super. 130, 136 (App. Div. 1981). In this case, the Family Court reduced the Defendant’s parenting time because it determined that the Defendant was “keeping a scorecard to benefit himself, instead of trying to cooperate for the best interests of [the children].” The Appellate Court held that this finding does not elucidate and the record did not reveal what circumstances had changed and why it was in the best interests of the children to warrant cutting back Defendant’s parenting time. Therefore, the ruling was reversed. In addition, the court directed that the Defendant pay child support in the amount of $196 a week for a period of time before it was to be raised to $188 per week. The court found that the Family Court made this ruling in error based upon evidence submitted reflecting the dates in which the Plaintiff was earning a certain salary. Therefore, the Appellate Court reversed this provision in the Order as well. If you anticipate that it may be beneficial to you to seek a post-judgment modification of your parenting time arrangement or child support obligation it is critical that you seek out the advice of an experienced attorney before moving forward. For more information about post-judgment modification, child support, parenting time, child relocation, 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. ParParenting Time

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