In New Jersey, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to devising child custody arrangements. Your child custody plan is uniquely based on your children’s best interests, and other factors, including what is practical and reasonable for your family.
When considering your child custody options, it is important to recognize that in New Jersey, child custody arrangements generally consist of two parts:
- Where your child will reside/spend time
- Decision making as to how your child will be raised and cared for
Within each part, New Jersey child custody laws provide several different options to choose from, based on your family’s circumstances. Learning about these New Jersey child custody options and educating yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of each is essential. This is especially true if you are looking to establish an arrangement both you and your children can live with well into the future.
New Jersey Child Custody Options
Joint Legal Custody—This type of child custody arrangement is the most common since it allows both parents to actively participate in their child’s life. Typically with joint legal custody, one parent serves as the primary residential custodian for the child, and the other parent serves as the alternate. In joint legal custody situations, both parents are responsible for making joint decisions for their children on major issues such as health, education, and general welfare. The primary custodial parent is responsible for day to day decisions and should consult with or notify the non-custodial parent when appropriate. The parent who has the child in his or her care at any given time is expected to make decisions that are in the child’s best interest.
Sole Legal and Physical Custody—In this type of NJ child custody arrangement, one parent serves as the residential custodial parent. That parent makes all of the major decisions regarding the child (health, education, and welfare), as well as all day-to-day decisions without the need to consult with or notify the noncustodial parent. Sole custody is usually applied in cases where one parent is deemed to be absent or unfit or in cases where there is a history of child neglect, drug addiction, substantiated DYFS matters, etc.
Shared Legal and Physical Custody—Many New Jersey parents desire this shared child custody arrangement because it represents a more equal division of parenting time. A typical example would be alternating weeks, where one parent has one week with the child and the other parent has the next. An alternative could be a schedule where one parent has four days with the child including overnights, while the other parent has three days with the child including overnights.
Finding the Best Custody Option
Child custody issues can be emotionally difficult, and our child custody lawyers will work with you to identify your needs, help you understand your options, and reduce your anxiety throughout this process. We provide you with the education, tools, and guidance you need to make thoughtful decisions to protect the best interests of your family.
We encourage you to call us for a free initial consultation. At your appointment, an experienced family law attorney will thoroughly review all of your options and advise you on the best strategy to successfully address even the most complex child custody issues. After deciding which option is best, you will be assisted in carefully crafting a sensible custody and parenting time plan. This visitation plan will be designed specifically for you and your family and will take into consideration various factors, such as:
- Work schedules
- Child care needs
- Extended family members
- And more
No matter which child custody option is right for your family, our attorneys will protect your rights and safeguard your child’s welfare. Your secure future starts with a call: (888) 888-0919.