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How does New Jersey decide on child custody?

On Behalf of | Sep 22, 2021 | Family Law

Parents in New Jersey who are no longer together are often concerned with child custody issues. Whether or not the couple was married, if they share a child, custody is sure to be at the forefront of their minds. The state has specific laws surrounding the issue of child custody that are important to know.

What is sole legal custody?

There are different types of child custody. Sole legal custody occurs when one parent is granted the right to make all the important decisions on behalf of the child without having to consult with the other parent. However, this type of custody is rare in New Jersey as the court likes to have both parents involved in the child’s life and in the decision-making process.

What is joint legal custody?

Family law allows both parents to share joint legal custody of their child. This means they both have the legal right to make important decisions on behalf of the child. However, the parents might come to an agreement that one makes decisions over certain matters surrounding the child while the other makes decisions about other issues.

What is joint physical custody?

Joint physical custody is shared custody between both parents. The parents or the court will determine the child’s living arrangements because joint physical custody involves both parents. The child might spend five days of the week with one parent and then the weekend with the other. However, joint physical custody isn’t as common as joint legal custody.

What is sole physical custody?

Sole physical custody means that the child lives with one parent the majority of the time but spends fewer than two nights overnight each week with the other parent. The other parent is considered non-custodial. When one parent has sole physical custody, the other typically gets visitation rights.

How custody is determined in New Jersey

The courts take into consideration what’s in the best interests of the child when determining child custody. However, the child’s best interests can be different in one case compared with another depending on the circumstances. For example, if there is a situation of domestic violence within the family, the court will keep that in mind and do what would benefit the child when deciding custody.

Child custody can be a complex matter, but an arrangement can be made that works for everyone. Ideally, parents will work to negotiate an agreement rather than leaving it up to a judge to decide.