Determining how custody of a child will be addressed can be one of the most emotional and stressful aspects of any divorce or separation. Sometimes the two parents can come to an agreement themselves as to how best to handle this decision. However, sometimes this is not possible and such determinations must be made in a New Jersey family court. For this reason, it is important that individuals with custody concerns educate themselves as to the different types of New Jersey custody arrangements and the best means for maximizing their chances of obtaining a favorable child custody outcome.
Types of Child Custody Arrangements
There are two child custody matters which must always be resolved:
- Where will be the child’s primary place of residence and who will make the day-to-day decisions
- Who will make the “big” decisions regarding the child’s education, religious upbringing and healthcare
Physical Custody pertains to where the children will physically reside as well as who will make daily decisions on the child’s behalf. There are several types of physical custody as follows:
• Joint or Shared Physical Custody – Under such an arrangement, children will live with each parent at pre-arranged times throughout the year in a manner that, while perhaps not equal, still provides for significant time with each. However, there will always be a primary custodial parent for day-to-day decisions.
• Sole Physical Custody — This refers to those very rare situations in which the court determines that the non-custodial parent is not fit to supervise or care for the child. In such cases, while there is usually some parenting allowed for the non-custodial parent, that time is limited and does not allow the individual to make decisions on the child’s behalf.
Joint Legal Custody
The courts prefer to have both parents involved in the lives and welfare of their children, so it will most often elect to award joint legal custody. Here, the two parents will share in decisions regarding the education, religious upbringing of the child as well as his or her healthcare.
Sole Legal Custody
In rare cases, sole legal custody may be granted to one parent if there is a high level of conflict between parents or if one parent is incapacitated or deemed unfit for parental responsibilities.
Factors that Determine How Child Custody in New Jersey is Determined
“The best interests of the child” is always the guiding principle by which the New Jersey courts determine arrangements. In so doing, they consider numerous factors, the most prominent of which are:
- The parents’ willingness to communicate and cooperate with the other spouse in matters pertaining to the child
- The parents’ willingness to accept custody and any history of unjustified withholding
- The Interaction and relationship of the child with the parents and other siblings
- Any history of domestic violence on the part of either or both parents
- The safety of the child and/or either parent from physical abuse by the other parent
- The preference of the child of sufficient age and capacity
- The needs of the child
- The stability of the home environment
- The quality and continuity of child’s education
- The fitness of parents
- The geographical proximity of the two parents’ homes
- The extent and quality of the time spent with the child both before and after separation
- The parents’ employment responsibilities
- The age and number of children
Cherry Hill Divorce Lawyers at the Law Offices of Richard C. Klein, LLC Help Divorcing Couples Resolve Child Custody Disputes
Child custody negotiations can be stressful, especially when parents are already contending with other aspects of a divorce in Cherry Hill. Because it is important to understand al of your options, it is usually wise to partner with a skilled New Jersey child custody lawyer.
Parents want the best for their children. Our Cherry Hill child support lawyers understand this and provide compassionate and caring representation that prioritizes your child’s welfare. With our skill and experience, we will help you come to a workable custody arrangement as quickly as possible.
Call the Law Offices of Richard C. Klein today at 856-544-9155 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a confidential consultation. Our family law attorneys are dedicated to protecting and supporting families in New Jersey through all of life’s changes with as little stress as possible. From his offices, Mr. Klein serves clients in Cherry Hill, Marlton, Moorestown, Mount Laurel, Medford, Haddonfield and Voorhees as well as throughout the state of New Jersey.
How To Maximize Your Opportunity For a Favorable Custody Arrangement
Although there are many factors that go into a custody determination, there are things one can do to improve one’s chances of achieving a favorable result:
- Make every effort to know what’s going on in your child’s life in terms of his or education, health, after-school activities, etc.
- Provide a stable home environment. This means refraining from frequent job changes and/or a multitude of intimate relationships
- Provide a safe living environment
- Document the time you (and your spouse) spend with your child as well as how that time is spent
- Always place the child’s needs above your own. This means refraining from speaking negatively about the other spouse – no matter how angry or hurt you may be.
- Hire a New Jersey attorney experienced in child custody matters