Determining child custody is not a simple decision. As parents, we know what is best for our children. This can complicate things when attempting to split or decide who receives more custody. When making decisions as important as child custody, you must know the legal steps, what your options are, and what the court considers when determining child custody. Continue reading to understand the most important information about child custody in New Jersey.
How can I get custody of my child?
The process of determining custody begins with mediation. Custody mediation’s goal is for both parents to come to an agreement regarding custody without using the court system. If parents are able to come to an agreement through mediation there are a few factors to consider when creating a schedule: birthdays, weekly schedules, school breaks, holidays, and any other special events.
However, if it is not possible for a decision to be made through mediation, you will proceed to a custody hearing where the outcome will be determined by a judge.
What is joint custody?
Joint custody is defined as an agreement between both parents to share custody equally. When parents cannot agree on custody terms, New Jersey courts favor granting joint custody when appropriate. Joint custody is a favorable option because it alters the child’s life as little as possible and it is an even agreement. Both parents will have the opportunity to play equal parts in their child’s life.
What do New Jersey courts consider when determining child custody?
The New Jersey court system will often make a neutral decision, always keeping the best interest of the child in mind. They will take into consideration many factors when determining child custody as follows:
- The best interest of the child
- The child’s age
- The ability of each parent to act as a guardian
- The relationship between the child and parent
- The mental and physical health of the parent
- The safety of the child
- Any domestic violence history
- The child’s preference is they are of a sufficient age
- The parent’s history of domestic abuse and substance abuse
What is the difference between physical and legal custody?
Physical custody and legal custody are the two different types of custody in New Jersey. Physical custody refers to the physical location the child resides with for the majority of the time. It is also possible to split their residence evenly which would be joint physical custody. Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make important decisions for the child on their behalf. Some of these decisions may include medical decisions, where they go to school, what type of religion they practice, and more.
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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.