Child Custody in New Jersey

When divorce occurs, a child’s life is drastically changed. They are taken from a life they once knew to something completely different. It is a challenging situation that impacts the entire family. During this process, it is important to many parents to provide a transition that is as smooth as possible for their child. When custody of a child is taken into question, some parents can come to civil agreements while others cannot. In the state of New Jersey, there are different types of custody options for families to consider when seeking legal counsel.

Physical Custody

Physical custody is frequently the reason parents go to court over custody. It is often the case that both parents believe they are the best option for their child to live with. Physical custody determines which parent has the child majority of the time. This parent would be in charge of the child’s residence, daily routine, and care. The parent that has physical custody is also known as their primary caretaker.

Legal Custody

Determining the legal custody of a child is one of the most important factors in a case. While determining the residence of a child is one matter, it is a separate issue to figure out how a parent is allowed to influence their child’s life as a whole. Having legal custody over a child gives that parent the right to be involved in all the decisions made throughout the child’s life. This includes health, academics, religion, and the wellbeing of their child.

Sole Custody

When a parent is awarded both sole legal custody and sole physical custody of their child, they are given sole custody. While it is a rarity, sole custody is sometimes given to a parent. It may be awarded if one of the parents in question is believed to not act in the child’s best interest. If a parent is believed to possibly endanger the child, they may be deemed “unfit” and the other parent may be given sole custody. When this happens, the other parent is still allowed limited visitation rights.

Factors Considered

While working to find the right custody arrangement for a child, the judge always makes a decision based on the child’s best interest. Before coming to a decision, the judge considers the following:

  • If a parent can provide the child with a stable home
  • The relationship between the child and each parent
  • Both parents’ work schedule and lifestyle
  • If both parents can communicate and cooperate effectively
  • Any history of domestic violence and abuse
  • The child’s preference if they are of a certain age


If you or a family member is going through a divorce and seeking legal counsel for custody arrangements, contact the Law Offices of Ross & Calandrillo, LLC. today.

Ross and Calandrillo, LLC is a full-service divorce, family, and real estate law firm located in Mountainside, New Jersey. For strong legal representation in all of your divorce or family law matters, contact Ross and Calandrillo, LLC to schedule a consultation.