If you are getting divorced, you may have a lot of questions. Many people wonder about child custody, as it is an incredibly important decision to make. New Jersey courts take matters of custody very seriously. Read on to learn more about the different types of custody in New Jersey and how your custody arrangement may be determined.
Physical Custody vs Legal Custody
In New Jersey, there are two main types of custody- physical and legal custody. Physical custody determines which parent the child spends the majority of their time with. The parent with physical custody is the custodial parent because they are the child’s main guardian. Because of this, the custodial parent may be entitled to receive child support. Even though the child lives with the main guardian, they will also spend time in the non-custodial parent’s home.
When a parent is awarded legal custody, they are able to be involved in making important decisions throughout the child’s life. This gives them influence in matters such as health care, academics, religious practices, and more. It is important to know that you can be awarded legal custody, even if you have not been awarded physical custody.
In some rare cases, a parent will receive sole custody. This occurs if a New Jersey court deems a parent unfit. This does not happen often. For the most part, New Jersey courts believe that a child benefits greatly from having a relationship with both parents.
How is Custody Determined?
When determining custody, a New Jersey court will examine some of the following factors:
- If the parent will act in the child’s best interest
- If the parent can provide a stable home
- The relationship between the child and each parent
- Any history of abuse
- The needs and safety of the child
- The preference of the child if they are of sufficient age
It is important to note that once your child support arrangement is created and enforced, it can be difficult to change. Be sure to account for important holidays, dates, school breaks, etc.
If you are struggling with your child support agreement, our firm is here to help. Reach out today to speak with a dedicated family law attorney.
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Our firm proudly represents clients in New Jersey who are faced with matters of family law, criminal defense, business law, real estate law, or estate planning. If you require strong and dedicated representation for any of your legal matters, please do not hesitate to contact The Law Offices of George J. Mardinly to schedule a consultation.