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How are Child Custody Decisions Made in New Jersey?

When a couple goes through a divorce, it impacts an entire family. If there are children involved, a divorce changes the life they once knew and were accustomed to. In order to help children settle into their new life, parents are required to determine custody arrangements for them. Some couples are able to work together to do so while others may need the assistance of the court to reach these decisions. The state of New Jersey has different custody arrangements for families to consider. 

Types of Custody

Each custody arrangement offers different circumstances and covers separate aspects of a child’s life. The agreement that is reached can vary depending on the family and what suits their personal situation. The main types of custody agreements for families in New Jersey are as follows:

  • Physical Custody: This addresses who the child lives and spends most of their time with. Also known as residential custody, this parent is the main guardian or primary caretaker. 
  • Joint Custody: The best-case scenario when dealing with custody is that parents can work together for the benefit of the child. With joint custody, parents divide their time equally with their child so that they are both involved in their life. 
  • Legal Custody: Even if a parent does not obtain physical custody of their child, they can still have an influence on the child’s life. By being awarded legal custody, parents are allowed to partake in making major decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. This can include matters of healthcare, education, religion, etc.

Determining Custody

Courts in the state of New Jersey are legally required to make decisions regarding custody that are in the best interest of the child. Following this standard ensures that the child is placed in an environment that is best for them, and not just the parent. This allows them to have a happy and healthy upbringing. When coming to a conclusion, a judge considers many factors relating to the family. This can consist of:

  • The relationship between the child and each parent
  • If the parent will act in the child’s best interest
  • The stability each parent can provide the child
  • Whether or not the parents are willing to accept custody
  • What the child needs
  • The child’s safety
  • History of abuse
  • Both parents’ fitness
  • The geographical proximity of both parents’ homes
  • The preference of the child if they are of sufficient age

Contact our Firm

If you need an experienced legal team to guide you through your divorce, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark L.L.C today.