There are many concerns that arise during divorce proceedings. If the spouses are parents, a main concern is usually the custody of their children. Often times, parents fear missing out on the big or small moments in their child’s future depending on the custody arrangement that is established. It is because of this that parents facing this uncertain future should retain the services of a skilled New Jersey family law attorney to fight for their parental rights.
What Types of Custody Are There in New Jersey?
In the state of New Jersey, there are two types of custody that a parent may be awarded: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody allows a parent to have an influence on the decisions that are made regarding the upbringing of their child. This may be obtained by one parent or shared jointly by both. If joint legal custody is granted, both spouses share the right to make decisions regarding their child. Generally, the court encourages this arrangement unless any of the following are true:
- The parents cannot effectively communicate regarding the children
- The parents’ inability to co-parent together
- A lack of involvement of one parent in their child’s life
- An unwillingness of one parent to place the child’s needs before their own
- An unwillingness of one parent to make compromises about decisions regarding the child
Physical custody establishes the parent with whom the child lives and spends the majority of their time. If two parents are awarded joint physical custody, they can have equal time spent with the child. If one parent obtains sole physical custody, this means that the child lives and spends most of their time with this parent. However, they do spend parenting time with the non-custodial parent. A parenting time schedule can vary depending on the case.
How Does a Judge Determine Custody?
If a judge is left to determine a family’s custody arrangement, they will consider various factors relating to the family in order to rule in the best interest of the child. This can include but is not limited:
- The parents’ ability to communicate, cooperate, and agree regarding matters of the child
- The parents’ willingness to accept custody and any unwillingness to allow parenting time
- The relationship of the child with their parents and siblings
- Any history of domestic violence
- The safety of the child and the safety of one parent from another
- The preference of the child when of sufficient age
- The child’s needs
- The stability of the home environment
- The quality and continuity of the child’s education
- The fitness of both parents
- The geographical proximity of the parents’ homes
- The parents’ employment responsibilities
Contact our Firm
If you require strong legal representation for matters related to divorce or family law, Haber Silver Russoniello & Dunn is here to help. We proudly represent clients in Morris County and throughout the state of New Jersey. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.