Child Custody in New Jersey: When to Contact a Family Law Attorney
Determining child custody rights is among the most challenging aspects of a divorce. Inevitably, the decision comes at a time of heated emotions and many competing responsibilities. To make it more complicated, laws governing child custody vary by state and so there is no standard approach to navigating the issue. Child custody in New Jersey, specifically, can take numerous forms, and so in all cases it is important to both seek guidance from an experienced family law attorney and take time to educate yourself on the subject.
The Two Types of Child Custody
Child custody can either be legal, physical, or some combination of the two. Legal custody refers to a parent’s ability to make decisions for their child. Generally, this concerns such things as education, medical care, and religion. Legal custody also grants a parent the ability to access a child’s education and medical records. Physical custody, on the other hand, refers to where a child lives.
Sole Versus Joint Custody
Legal custody determines which parent participates in such decisions as where a child will go to school, whether they will participate in religious practices, and when they may need medical attention. Typically, these decision-making powers are shared between parents, although under certain circumstances it may be appropriate for one parent to assume sole responsibility in certain areas.
Physical custody determines which parent the child will spend the majority of his or her time with. Many forms of physical custody arrangements can exist, ranging from weekend overnights with one parent, to equal parenting time, and many other options in between. .
Sole custody, means that a single parent carries complete or near-complete responsibility for the children. Although rare, in sole physical custody arrangements, the non-custodial parent may request visitation rights in order to spend time with their children.
How Does New Jersey Handle Child Custody?
When making a decision concerning child custody in New Jersey, courts generally favor custody and parenting arrangements that encourage both parents to take an active role in raising the child. This said, the child’s best interest is the ultimate determining factor concerning how custody will be shared. This is yet another reason to involve a family law attorney in any custody dispute. After all, the fairness of an arrangement often depends on each parent presenting a strong case concerning their ability to meet their child’s needs.
To learn more about child custody in New Jersey or to talk about the specifics of your case, do not hesitate to contact Lazor Rantas, PC either by calling 973-457-8844 or using the contact form on our website.