New Jersey Child Custody Guidelines
Family law attorneys work with couples to develop effective custody arrangements
When a couple divorces, they may argue about how their property should be divided or who gets to keep the family home. But, for the most part, no topic is more contentious than that of custody of the couple’s children. The family law attorneys at Lomurro Law understand how emotional and difficult it can be for parents to address child custody and they work with couples to develop mutually agreeable child custody arrangements.
Different types of child custody
Although you may think of child custody only in terms of who the child lives with, there are in fact two different types of child custody:
Physical custody : This means that the parent has the legal right to have the child live with them and this is where the child will spend most of their time. This parent – called the Parent of Primary Residence (PPR) – will have primary or sole physical custody and the other parent will have visitation rights -- or parenting time -- with the child. Joint physical custody may be awarded and works best if the parents live in close proximity.
Legal custody: This means the parent has the right – and the obligation – to make decisions regarding a child’s upbringing, such as schooling, medical care, and other day-to-day decisions. Legal custody may be shared by both parents, in which case both parents share responsibility for decision-making.
How is custody determined by the court?
In New Jersey, like in other states, the courts assume that children will be healthiest and happiest when they have regular, ongoing contact with both parents after the parents divorce. However, the courts are guided by what is in the best interests of the child and they consider several factors in determining a child custody order including – but not limited to – the following:
Any history of domestic violence
Parents’ ability to communicate and cooperate if seeking joint custody
Parental mental fitness
Employment responsibilities of each parent
Child’s interaction with parents and siblings
Child’s preference if older than 12 years of age
In New Jersey, grandparents --and other individuals who are close to the child -- may ask the court for an order of visitation. This is referred to as “grandparenting time” and may be granted even if the child’s parents object to the visitation, providing the court believes it is in the child’s best interests.
Understand your parenting rights
When you and your spouse are divorcing, it is critical that you understand your parenting rights under New Jersey law. It is also beneficial if you and your spouse can develop your own parenting time schedule that will be subject to approval by the court. The compassionate New Jersey family lawyers at Lomurro Law are experienced and knowledgeable in all facets of child custody laws and they work with families to find agreeable solutions to child custody issues. Contact a member of our team today at 732-414-0300 or online to arrange for a confidential consultation to discuss your case. Our firm serves all of Monmouth County, including Asbury Park, Long Branch, Freehold Township, and Wall Township