Going through a divorce is typically one of the toughest ordeals a person can experience. When you have children involved in the process, it can become much more difficult. Both parents pay want custody, leaving the courts in a bind. Understanding the different forms of custody is the first step to resolving these disputes.
The first types of custody are sole and joint. In sole custody cases, one parent, the “custodian,” is primarily responsible for the wellbeing of the child. In joint custody, the responsibility is shared. This leads to the two subcategories of custody: legal and physical.
In sole physical custody, the child spends the majority of nights at the home of one parent. Under joint custody, the number of nights spent at each parent’s home is relatively equal. Legal custody is a bit more involved. It deals with who makes decisions about education, healthcare and other matters. In sole legal custody, only one parent technically makes the decision; in joint, the responsibility is communal.
In New Jersey, they court’s first and foremost responsibility is the wellbeing of the child. Even if both parents what to share custody, if that is not in the best interests of the child, it likely will not happen. This comes down to factors like staying with siblings, home stability, mental and financial fitness of the parents and the child’s preference.
If you are going through a divorce and foresee a fierce custody battle, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.