Q: Can I get divorced and then do child custody afterwards?
And what can I do to get visitation rights if my kids live in another state
In New Jersey, except under extremely unique circumstances, you cannot bifurcate your divorce matter - meaning the court will not permit you to get a divorce now and address custody issues later.
Separately, I gather you live in New Jersey and your spouse and children live in a different state and there is no pending divorce or child support / child custody proceeding in place elsewhere.
If my understanding of your current setting is correct and you have been a resident of New Jersey for at least 1 year, then you can proceed with a divorce matter here and also ask the court to address the issue of your parenting time with your children and make your spouse address those issues to the court in this state.
A: Thank you for your question. Typically, all issues are resolved at the time a divorce is finalized, including custody and parenting time, unless there is a specific reason why that cannot be accomplished, though that happens very infrequently. If your children reside in a different state than you reside, it is still possible to determine a custody and parenting time plan that works in their best interests – that may mean long weekends, school breaks, summer time, etc. In order to address these issues, an application must be made to the Court. I highly recommend that you schedule a strategy session with an experienced family law attorney to discuss the specific details of your matter so that s/he can provide detailed information and recommendations on how best to move forward.
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