Co-Parenting During and After Divorce Harding NJ

What to Know About Establishing Paternity in New Jersey

Child custody can be complicated, as a result, you may have questions regarding paternity in New Jersey. If you are interested in learning more about the rights a father has and how custody is determined, read on for more information.

What are Father’s Rights?

When it comes to determining your rights as a father, the first step in ensuring that you have rights to your child is to prove that you are, in fact, the child’s father. Certain individuals may be automatically granted paternity, but others will have to fight in order to establish it. It is important to know that if you were married to the child’s mother in the 10-month period before the child was born, you are given automatic paternity. There are also some cases in which parents sign a Certificate of Parentage when the child is born. This is also acceptable proof of paternity in order to obtain parental rights.

In the event that you are not automatically granted paternity in your case, you must bring a Paternity Action to the Family Court. A judge can order a genetic test to determine whether you are the child’s parent. If it is determined that you are, you will officially be granted legal rights to your child. This includes child custody, child support, and visitation rights.

Physical vs Legal Custody

There are two main types of custody a parent may be awarded.

Physical custody: This type of custody is awarded to the parent who has the child for the most amount of time. This parent will provide a home, stability, food, clothes, etc. In some situations, custody can be shared equally by both parents or guardians.

Legal custody: This type of custody gives a parent the legal right to make important decisions on behalf of the child. These decisions may regard healthcare, education, and religion, among other things.

How Do Courts Determine Custody?

Child custody is incredibly important when it comes to the well-being of a child. As a result, New Jersey courts take the decision very seriously. When determining custody, the court will examine some of the following factors:

  • Your relationship with your child
  • Your relationship with your former spouse
  • If you are seeking custody with honest intentions
  • The stability you can provide your child
  • Your child’s needs
  • Your child’s preference if they are of sufficient age

If you have any questions or concerns regarding paternity and child custody, contact our firm today. We are here to walk you through all of your family law matters and advocate for you throughout the process.


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

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