Divorced parents with joint custody may wonder what happens to their children’s belongings. Do they stay with the custodial parent? Should the other parent have their own accommodations for when the children visit? Who is responsible for buying and cleaning the children’s clothes? The answers to these questions largely depend on the specific circumstances of each case.
Consider the Child’s Preferences
Divorced parents with shared physical custody must decide whether the child will take some of their things with them when they stay at the other parent’s home or whether the child will have two sets of personal effects at each home. In coming to this decision, parents should consider the child’s preferences whenever possible. Some children may feel more comfortable taking certain items back and forth with them, whereas others may prefer to have two sets of items that remain in each household.
Help Children Become Familiar with Their Surroundings
Children are more comfortable when they feel a sense of belonging. Having their own things in each home can help them feel as if they can rely on having a permanent place with both parents. Introducing the child to the new home, neighborhood, and neighbors can also help the child feel more at home in a new environment.
Maintain Order and Structure in Each Household
It is important for children to have a sense of order and structure that remains, even through difficult times. When parents get divorced, children must quickly adapt to many changes, which can feel overwhelming. Therefore, parents should maintain certain routines, such as reading the child a story before bed or having the child perform the same chores at each home.
Be Respectful to the Other Parent
Parents with joint custody often struggle with issues, such as who should buy the children’s clothes and who is responsible for doing their laundry. Being respectful to the other parent is in the best interests of the child; it is not healthy for children to be dragged into adult problems. Parents may wish to come to an agreement regarding the children’s belongings as soon as possible to avoid potential conflicts later on.
Cooperate on Parenting Expenses
Both parents have an obligation to provide their children with the bare necessities, including food, clothing, and shelter. New Jersey courts may order child support based on the income shares model, which aims to protect children from being economic victims of divorce. Parents with joint custody typically share the cost of housing, transportation, clothes, toiletries, and other necessary expenses for the children.
South Jersey Divorce Lawyers at the Burnham Douglass Help Clients Navigate Joint Custody
If you have questions regarding joint custody, child support, or any other family law matter, contact a South Jersey divorce lawyer at the Burnham Douglass. Our experienced and compassionate attorneys can explain your legal options and ensure that your interests are represented throughout the process. From our offices in Marlton and Northfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden County, Burlington County, Gloucester County, Mercer County, and Atlantic County. Contact us online or call us for a free consultation.