First of all here in New Jersey, the child custody lawyers at our law firm understand that every child deserves to have weekend (i.e., “fun”) time with each parent, respectively. Furthermore, it is important for both parents, absent extreme circumstances, to have weekend time with their child. All told, if one parent does not have any weekend time with school aged children then they become the “bad cop” during the school week while the other parent gets to be the “good cop” on fun weekends. This lawyer’s following analysis of a recent New Jersey appeal demonstrates how these attorneys made their respective arguments as to the issue.
In Fisher v. Szcyglowski, mother Melissa Fisher appealed an order of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Family Part of Burlington County dated January 8, 2015, that directed that each parent would share equal parenting time, on an alternating weekly basis, with their only child, Tom. Melissa argued that the father’s, Gregory Szcyglowski, parenting time should have actually been limited to Thursday through Sunday on alternating weeks. After reviewing the relevant legal principles and the factual record, the New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed the order of the Family Part.
When Tom was born in January 2014, the parents had been dating for about two years. At the time of the litigation, Melissa lived in New Jersey and Gregory lived in Maryland. Both the parents worked for the United States Navy. Melissa worked at a naval base in Philadelphia, and Gregory worked at a naval base in Maryland. Due to their respective maternity and paternity leave benefits, the parents were able to live together after Tom was born, until June 2014. From Tom’s birth until Gregory’s paternity leave ended in March 2014, the family lived in Melissa’s house. After Gregory resumed his job, the family lived together in his house in Maryland during the workweek, and in Melissa’s house on the weekends. As such, for about the first five months of his life, Tom was cared for by both parents who lived in the same household.