Child Custody and Custody Arrangements Lawyer Union County NJ
Read on to learn more about different types of custody arrangements, as well as things to keep in mind when you are determining what arrangement is best for your family.
The process of divorce can be overwhelming – emotionally, mentally, and financially. When children are involved, however, the implications of divorce take on whole new importance. What is best for the child? How can you navigate your relationship with your ex in order to abide by a custody arrangement that supports all of you in growing as well-adjusted individuals?
The New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part will always maintain the child’s best interests at the center of their decisions. As such, when you and your former spouse are determining your custody arrangement and nailing down specifics of your parenting time agreement, all decisions must be made with your child’s wellbeing at the center.
Custody as outlined by New Jersey law is twofold: physical custody refers to where the child will live, and legal custody refers to which parent will have decision-making rights that affect the child.
In New Jersey, there are a few main types of custody arrangements.
Sole legal and physical custody
This type of custody declares one parent the legal guardian of the child and the one with whom the child spends the vast majority, if not all, of their time. If the other parent has visitation rights, they are generally restricted and sometimes require supervision. Sole custody is often granted in cases in which one parent is deemed to be unfit to provide parenting, perhaps because of a history of drug abuse, domestic violence, or issues with the law. Because the child’s best interest is at the front and center of all Superior Court custody determinations, the child’s safety and security will be taken into strict consideration when deciding the visitation rights of the non-custodial parent.
Joint physical and legal custody
On the opposite end of the spectrum of sole legal and physical custody lies shared legal and physical custody. This is an option for parents who each have a positive relationship with the child, and each parent is open to the other having an equal say in decisions regarding the child as well as equal parenting time. The specific family may decide upon the details of what that shared parenting time agreement will look like – child’s age, parental professional responsibilities, and physical location all come into play when determining what is the most stable and fair arrangement for the child and parents. Some choose to share alternating weeks; others share nights and weekends.
Joint legal custody
In this arrangement, one parent is the custodial, or residential, parent – the parent with whom the child lives. The other parent is known as the alternate. In this arrangement, both parents have an equal say in decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, such as their education, religious upbringing, and medical procedures. When a couple decides on joint legal custody, each parent spends a good deal of time with the child, though not as regularly as with the joint legal and physical custody agreement.
Which custody arrangement works best for my family?
Choosing a custody arrangement can be a stressful matter, as you want to do what is best for your child while also honoring your own personal and professional needs as you move forward with your life after divorce. When determining your custody arrangement and developing your parenting time agreement, consider the following:
- What are the logistics of my professional life? What type of time, and when, am I able to commit to my child on a weekly and monthly basis?
- What are my goals for moving forward post-divorce? What type of non-professional activities would I like to participate in, and how might my role as a custodial or alternate parent affect my ability to participate in them?
- How old is my child, and what are their needs and activities? What does my child participate in during school hours and afterward? What are weekend commitments, and how can my ex and I work together to ensure that our child is able to continue with a consistent and well-rounded schedule while providing plenty of one-on-one parent time?
- What support systems do I have in my community to help with child care when I have an emergency?
Look for the Legal Counsel of an Experienced Custody Attorney
At Attorney Edward S. Cooper, our attorneys are skilled in supporting our clients across Summit, Elizabeth, Scotch Plains, Linden, and Union County in all divorce, custody, and parenting time agreement needs.
To schedule a consultation with an experienced member of our team today regarding your custody arrangement, contact us online or call our offices at (908) 481-4625 today to arrange a free, safe, secure, convenient, and confidential virtual consultation meeting via your smartphone, tablet, or computer.