There’s nothing more important than family, which is precisely why child custody and visitation matters are often the most contentious and emotional topics in a divorce case. Because of this, the state of New Jersey has tried to mitigate the tension by reminding parents that when it comes to child custody, it’s not about one party winning or losing but rather, what are the best interests of the child? Learn more about the different types of custody arrangements below.
What is Joint Legal Custody?
Joint legal custody is when both parents have a legal right to make major life decisions for their child(ren). Joint legal custody is typically the most common and often desired outcome not only for families but for the courts, as well. It’s important to note that not every parent who shares joint legal custody may want to be involved in every decision, leaving certain choices such as education up to one parent.
Is Joint Legal Custody Different Than Joint Physical Custody?
Yes. Whereas joint legal custody is the ability for both parents to make important life decisions on behalf of their child, joint physical custody is when both parties share parenting time. With this type of custody arrangement, a child usually spends at least two overnights with both parents each week. However, in some cases, it could involve the child staying half the year with each parent; it all depends on the custodial arrangement that both parents agree on.
If a parent provides residence for the child for more than 50 percent of the overnight stays per year, he or she will be referred to as the Parent of Primary Residence, with the other being called the Parent of Alternate Residence. This is important for school enrollment and child support calculations.
What is Sole Legal Custody?
Unlike joint legal custody, a parent who has sole legal custody is able to make life decisions for their child without consulting the other parent. In today’s society, a parent may have sole legal custody if it is determined that the child’s other parent is unfit or unavailable to be involved in the child’s life, which brings us to…
Is There a Difference Between Sole Legal Custody and Sole Physical Custody?
When a parent has sole physical custody, it means that their child lives with them the majority of the time and spends less than two nights a week with the other parent. As such, sole physical custody gives way for visitation rights, which allows the non-custodial parent to spend time with their children.
How is Child Custody Determined?
As we stated earlier in this blog, the courts make it known that a custody agreement should be based on the best interests of the child. As such, the best interests of the child are determined on the following factors:
- Any history of domestic violence
- The parents’ ability to agree and communicate in all matters relating to the child
- The parents’ willingness to accept the custody arrangement and parenting time for one another
- The child’s relationship with each parent and their siblings
- The child’s safety with either parent
- The child’s needs
- The stability of the home environment offered by each parent
- The parents’ fitness to engage in a custody arrangement
- The age and number of children involved in the custody arrangement
- The parents’ employment responsibilities
- The extent of quality time each parent spent with the child prior to the separation
- The continuity of the child’s education
Contact A Moorestown Family Law Attorney For A Consultation About Your Child Custody Rights In New Jersey Today
If you are thinking about filing for divorce, or if you have already started the divorce process and are dealing with another matter such as child custody, child support, or division of assets, you need to speak with a qualified attorney. The New Jersey family law attorneys at Cordry Hartman LLC represent clients throughout the state, including Cherry Hill, Evesham Township, Mount Laurel, and Medford. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at (856) 235-4511 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 505 S. Lenola Rd. Ste. 224, Moorestown, NJ 08057.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.