Types of Child Custody in New Jersey
The process of going through a divorce is complex and emotionally exhausting. Not only does it change the lives of the two spouses, but it impacts their families as well. This is especially so when the couple has children. Parents who go through a divorce are required to establish a plan for the future of their children as well as themselves. This involves determining child custody. While some parents are able to figure out a situation on their own, others are unable to find common ground and need the assistance of the court. When facing this situation, it is important to know that there are different types of custody agreements that can be made.
When a parent is awarded physical custody of their child, it means that they are the individual with whom spends the majority of their time. Often referred to as residential custody, this is also the parent the child lives with. As this individual is the child’s primary caretaker, the job comes with many responsibilities. This involves providing basic stability for the child in a happy and healthy home. In addition to this, the parent with physical custody can designate the parenting times of the child’s other parent.
It is important to know that physical custody is not the only option to be involved in a child’s life. While a child may spend more time with one parent, the other can still have influence in their child’s life. When a parent obtains legal custody of their child, they are given the right to be involved in making important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. This can involve healthcare, education, religion, and the general wellbeing of the child.
It is important to know that a parent does not need to have physical custody in order to have legal custody. In fact, parents without physical custody should fight for legal custody. There are two types of legal custody available to parents: Joint Legal Custody and Sole Legal Custody. Joint Legal Custody allows both parents to be involved in making decisions for their child. Sole Legal Custody gives the decision-making rights to one parent, without the influence of the other parent.
If parents go to court to determine custody, a judge is given the right to make this decision. In doing so, they act in the best interest of the child. This can be done by considering the following factors:
- If a parent can provide stability in the child’s current life (home, school, activities, etc)
- If the parent will act in the child’s best interest
- The relationship between the child and each parent
- The physical health and safety of the child
- What the child needs
- The geographical proximity of each parent’s home
- The preference of the child if they are of sufficient age
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