Fundamental Facts About Child Custody
Are you going through a separation with your spouse? There are probably hundreds of questions whizzing through your mind. Here are the fundamental facts about child custody that you should know.
Fundamental Facts About Child Custody | Starting Out
When going through a divorce with children, the first issue you will need to resolve is child custody. Child support in New Jersey is determined by child custody; and all other expenses not included in child support payments will, too, depend to some degree on the custody arrangement. Start with the question of where your children will live – with whom, and for what days each week, month, or year – and work outward from there.
Fundamental Facts About Child Custody | Types of Custody
Legal Custody: This 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: This pertains 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.
Fundamental Facts About Child Custody | Factors Influencing Parenting Time and Visitation
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.
If you need help understanding the fundamental facts about child custody, please call our supportive and caring New Jersey family law attorney Tanya Freeman today for a free consultation.