Experience and Care You Can Rely On

How does a restraining order impact court-ordered parenting time?

On Behalf of | Dec 12, 2023 | FAMILY LAW - Domestic Violence

Parenting is a challenging role, made even more complex when a restraining order enters the picture. These orders, common in domestic violence cases, are meant to protect victims from more harm. But how does such a legal action affect court-ordered parenting time for the defendant?

A restraining order can greatly affect a noncustodial parent’s ability to spend time with their child. It often means making adjustments in terms of time and location to ensure the child’s safety.

Visitation rights under the order

Despite difficult circumstances such as domestic violence or restraining orders, many parents still want their child to maintain a relationship with both parents. Recognizing this, New Jersey courts may permit a parent under a restraining order to spend time with their child.

However, this is subject to certain conditions designed to protect the safety of the custodial parent and the child.

These conditions can include:

  1. Setting parenting time: The court may issue an order outlining the location, frequency and conditions of parenting time. Arrangements could include supervised visitation or visitation at a designated area separate from the custodial parent.
  2. Risk assessment: The court looks at requests from the custodial parent for an investigation or evaluation of the potential risk to the child before making a parenting time order. This might involve a “Parenting Time Questionnaire.”
  3. Determining pick-up and drop-off locations: To avoid issues like contempt or stalking and to ensure safety, restraining orders should specify where pick-up and drop-off should happen during parenting time.

These rules aim to protect the safety and well-being of the child and the custodial parent while providing a safe space for the parent and child to spend time together.

Balancing parental rights and child safety

In any situation, the child’s well-being remains the top priority. If the custodial parent claims the other parent’s access to the child threatens the child’s safety, the court can suspend that order. A family court can call for an emergency hearing to assess the situation further. These mechanisms keep the child and the custodial parent away from potential harm while balancing the defendant’s parental rights.