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Can I Obtain Custody of My Child as an Unmarried Parent in New Jersey?

New Jersey has specific laws when it comes to custody arrangements for unmarried parents. If you would like to learn more, continue reading and reach out to our skilled New Jersey family law attorneys today. Our legal team is dedicated to making sure that you and your family’s best interests are a priority. Give us a call today. We are here to help you.

How do New Jersey courts determine custody for unmarried parents?

It is important to recognize that New Jersey courts follow different procedures for custody laws for unmarried parents. In this situation, parents must enter a non-dissolution “FD” case. This allows parents to obtain the following rights:

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

What are the different types of custody?

The state of New Jersey has several types of custody arrangements. It is no surprise that custody issues can be stressful for all parties involved. It is important to understand that courts make custody arrangements with the child’s best interest in mind. The various types of child custody arrangements in New Jersey include the following:

  • Sole custody: This refers to when one parent has full legal and physical custody of the child. This arrangement is typically rare because New Jersey courts customarily want both parents to have relationships and presence in their child’s life. However, the arrangement may be awarded in situations where a parent is proven to be unfit or a danger to their child. It is essential to note that even the non-custodial parent can still have parenting time.
  • Joint legal custody: This permits a child to live with one parent most of the time. It also allows both parents the right to be involved in making decisions for the child’s upbringing. This can include matters of education, religion, healthcare, and more. Parents facing custody matters should try to challenge legal custody so that they can have this involvement in the child’s life.
  • Joint custody: This permits a child to spend an even amount of time living with both of their parents. This is typically the most ideal arrangement for unmarried parents in these circumstances.


At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, LLC, our seasoned divorce and family law attorneys ensure that through the process of resolving your family matter, you feel empowered, not overwhelmed. Providing unwavering support, undivided attention, and unflinching advocacy, our team invests in your cause, working tirelessly to pave your path toward a brighter tomorrow. If you need an experienced legal team to guide you through your divorce, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark L.L.C today.