There are two different types of New Jersey child custody legally recognized by the state: legal custody and physical custody. If you are in a child custody dispute with an ex-spouse, you will need an experienced New Jersey child custody lawyer to hear your case. Here is some important information on child custody laws in New Jersey.
Types of Child Custody in New Jersey
Legal custody pertains to a parent’s access to school and medical records. New Jersey precedent prefers joint legal custody in all but extreme cases – for example, when there has been a history of child abuse.
Physical custody refers to where the children will live. While it’s possible to have a 50/50 physical custody arrangement, you have to think hard about the feasibility of this option: complicating factors include the proximity of both parents’ residences, career obligations, etc. Generally in New Jersey there will be one “parent of primary residence” – the “custodial parent” – and one “parent of alternate residence,” allotted a certain amount of time with the children. There are countless ways to split this time up, accounting for holidays, summers, weekends, weekday dinners, and travel. While you have legitimate desires to be acknowledged in these decisions, it’s important here, as with all other decisions directly pertaining to the children, to put their interests first.
What Determines Child Custody in New Jersey?
Parenting time refers to the amount and distribution of time the children will stay with the parent of alternate residence. It’s important to remember that parenting time after a divorce is a fluid thing – there will be inevitable interruptions to the schedule, and the children themselves will dictate changes as their interests, needs, and desires evolve over time. In as much detail as possible, though, you and your attorney should try to account for holidays, birthdays, vacations, and other special events in the settlement.
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