Moorestown Child Custody Lawyers
Are you going through a divorce and want custody of your children? Maybe you’re an unmarried parent who just wants fair and reasonable parenting time with your child. Whether you are going through a divorce or breakup, it is important to understand what the law requires and what your options are for getting the custody and parenting time arrangement that works for you.
What is Child Custody?
In New Jersey, the primary consideration for the Court has always been the best interests of the child. Child custody divided into two separate considerations: legal custody and physical, or residential custody.
Legal Custody involves the rights and responsibilities of parents to make decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of a child.
Physical, or residential custody, refers to who the child resides with.
In any proceeding involving custody of a child, a New Jersey Court can enter an order for legal or physical custody in any of the following ways:
- joint custody to both parents
This can be comprised of legal and/or physical custody of the child and includes provisions for living arrangements as well as consultation between parents in making major decisions relating to the child’s health, education and general welfare. Joint custody requires parents to cooperate and communicate on some basic level for the benefit of the children. If you are seeking this type of arrangement, you may have to put your differences with the other parent aside and work together.
- sole custody to one parent with appropriate parenting time for the non-residential parent; or
- any other custody arrangement that the Court determines to be in the best interests of the child.
The Court has wide latitude to fashion whatever custody and parenting time arrangement it believes is appropriate in your case. A judge can order joint legal custody but sole physical custody or vice versa. In making a determination as to custody and parenting time, a New Jersey Court considers the following factors:
- the parents’ ability to agree, communicate and cooperate in matters relating to the child;
- the parents’ willingness to accept custody and any history of unwillingness to allow parenting time not based on substantiated abuse;
- the interaction and relationship of the child with its parents and siblings;
- the history of domestic violence, if any;
- the safety of the child and the safety of either parent from physical abuse by the other parent;
- the preference of the child when of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent decision;
- the needs of the child;
- the stability of the home environment offered;
- the quality and continuity of the child’s education;
- the fitness of the parents;
- the geographical proximity of the parents’ homes;
- the extent and quality of the time spent with the child prior to or subsequent to the separation;
- the parents’ employment responsibilities; and
- the age and number of the children.
The weight that the Court gives each of these factors is dependent upon the arguments you make and the evidence you can produce. That is why it is absolutely essential to hire competent, experienced counsel to represent you in your matter. No matter how strong you think your case is, the proper presentation of your position goes a long way toward obtaining the custody and parenting time arrangement that you want and works for you.
At Rosenberg Family Lawyers, we understand the importance of a parents’ relationship with their children. Let us put our knowledge and experience to work for you to get the result you want and need.