Morris County NJ Child Custody Attorneys
Divorce and Family Lawyers with Offices in Whippany, New Jersey
Child custody is often the most contentious issue in divorce cases, as both parents generally want what is in the best interests of their children, but often disagree about what exactly that means. Due to the emotionally-charged nature of child custody issues, and the fact that your children’s lives literally hang in the balance, it is essential to confront these matters with the support and guidance of a knowledgeable legal professional. At times, informal negotiation can pave the way toward successful co-parenting. In other situations, parental alienation or an overly-possessive parent can threaten to undermine your connection or continued access to your children. The ability to assess your spouse’s position and to devise an appropriate strategy for resolving your child custody matter is essential.
The New Jersey divorce and family lawyers at Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, L.L.C., have the skill and sophistication to handle the most complex child custody issues, while remaining attentive to the emotional toll that this process can take on you and your children. We are committed to helping you resolve these issues in a way that allows your children to enjoy a stable, secure, and positive transition through your divorce. We can also assist you with temporary custody and parenting time orders during your divorce action to avoid the disruption that the divorce process can often cause, as well as child custody and visitation modifications after your divorce is finalized. For additional information and to discuss your unique situation with one of our experienced child custody attorneys, call 973-840-8970 for a free consultation.
Determining Child Custody in New Jersey
In determining custody and visitation arrangements, the legal standard is referred to as “the best interests of the child.” The general presumption under New Jersey family law is that it is in the best interests of the child to have a close, regular relationship with both parents. When deciding issues of child custody, the law refers to two distinct forms of custody: physical custody and legal custody.
- Legal custody: refers to the authority of one or both parents to make decisions regarding the child’s health and medical care, education and schooling, religious upbringing, and general welfare.
- Physical custody: refers to the actual place in which the child resides
The two parents will typically have joint legal custody of their child, meaning they have an equal right to participate in decisions about the child’s health, education, and welfare. As for physical custody, there are a variety of configurations that may be tailored to suit the unique circumstances of each case. The different forms of physical custody can be delineated as follows:
- Sole physical custody: the child lives primarily with one parent (the child’s primary residence) and the other parent may be granted parenting time and visitation
- Shared physical custody: one parent is given the responsibility for the child’s primary residence and the other parent’s home is considered the child’s alternate residence, with visitation divided up according to a parenting schedule.
- Joint physical custody: the child lives and spends time equally with both parents
Although most can agree that it is important for a child to have the love and support of both parents, there are some situations in which that is simply not possible. If a parent has been abusive to a child, has problems with drugs or alcohol, or has a new spouse or partner with one of these problems, the court may impose protective measures.
Child Custody Modifications in New Jersey
It is important to note that child custody and visitation orders are subject to modification if the underlying circumstances change. For example, if the parenting schedule is becoming unworkable or one parent overcomes a personal problem, the courts may modify the visitation schedule to reflect the new situation. If a parent wants to relocate out of state, this may also require court approval or consent of the child’s other parent.
Contact Our Morristown NJ Child Custody Lawyers for Answers
If you are considering divorce, are currently involved in the divorce process, or simply have questions or concerns about child custody, do not hesitate to call 973-840-8970 or send us an email to set up your free consultation.