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Child Custody in New Jersey? Here’s What to Know

A divorce is a complicated matter. Things become even more complicated when children are involved. As a result, courts will often make decisions on behalf of the parents when it comes to child custody. This is done to ensure that the child’s well-being is put first. Read on to learn more about child custody, the different types, and how custody may be determined.

New Jersey’s Types of Custody

There are two types of custody in New Jersey:

  • Physical Custody
    • Physical custody is awarded to the parent with whom the child will reside for more of the time. This parent will be responsible for the child more of the time and provide a home, stability, food, clothes, etc. In some situations, custody can be shared equally by both parents or guardians.
    • Physical custody can be broken up in a few different ways, for example, sole physical custody, joint physical custody, or shared physical custody.
  • Legal Custody
    • When a parent has legal custody, he or she has the right to make decisions in the child’s life. These decisions may include choices about academics, religion, medical issues, etc. A parent does not have to have physical custody to have legal custody.  One or both parents may have legal custody.

How is Custody Determined?

There are many factors that go into determining custody. In order to make the best decision for the child, the court will examine the following factors:

  • Each party’s ability to provide stability
  • Whether the parent will act in the child’s best interests
  • The relationship between the child and the parent
  • The physical health and safety of the child
  • The needs of the child
  • The location and proximity of each parent’s home
  • The preference of the child if they are of sufficient age

Ideally, both parents will be involved in the life of the child, but this is not always possible. If a parent has been abusive to the child, or has had an issue with drugs or alcohol, the court may impose protective measures.

The well-being of your child is one of the most important things in the world. To learn more about child custody arrangements in New Jersey and your potential options, contact a skilled family law attorney.


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