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How do Unmarried Parents Get Custody in New Jersey?

When parents go through a divorce, the most important thing to them is often determining the custody of their children. However, there are also many cases in which unmarried parents are in situations where they need to determine custody as well. These cases are handled and decided differently than divorce cases. To learn more, continue reading and reach out to an experienced New Jersey family law attorney for assistance. 

How Is Custody Determined for Unmarried Parents?

When two parents are unmarried and looking to obtain custody of their child, there are many things to be aware of pertaining to New Jersey law. In these situations, the state allows unmarried parents to enter a non-dissolution “FD” case. This allows the unmarried parents the right to a variety of things, including the following:

  • Establish legal paternity for the child
  • Establish legal custody orders for a minor
  • Enforce child support or alimony payments
  • Create a parenting time court order for biological parents
  • Set grandparent/adult sibling visitation orders

What are Types of Custody?

In the state of New Jersey, there are three types of custody arrangements that unmarried parents can obtain. A common custody arrangement is joint legal custody. This means that the child primarily lives with one parent. While this is true, both parents have a right to make decisions regarding the child’s life. This can include where they go to school, their religion, medical treatments, and more. It is important for parents to fight for legal custody at the very least. 

Another type of custody arrangement can include joint custody. This is when a child spends an equal amount of time living with each of their parents. While it is a rarity, another type of arrangement can include sole custody. This is when one parent has 100% legal and physical custody of their child. Generally speaking, these arrangements are only awarded in the event that one parent is proven to be an unfit parent or is a danger to the child. It is important to note that, even in these situations, the non-custodial parent can still be awarded parenting time. 

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