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Category Archives: Child Custody

What Is the Difference Between Joint Custody and Shared Custody?

Morristown NJ Shared Child Custody LawyersWhen it comes to New Jersey child custody laws, the various terminologies used can often be extremely similar to one another, and yet mean fundamentally very different things. For example, many of our Morris County clients communicate to us that they would like “joint custody” of their children as part of their divorce settlement agreement. However, most of the time what these parents are really asking for is roughly equal parenting time and visitation with their children, perhaps not realizing that child custody goes beyond just parenting time as the issues of legal and physical child custody will also need to be decided.

Physical and Legal Child Custody Attorneys Mt. Olive, NJ

The first aspect of child custody that should be understood during any Morris County divorce is that of the difference between physical custody and legal custody. A parent who is granted legal custody will have the authority to make important decisions for their children regarding things like education, health care, religion, and other important life decisions. So for example, a parent with legal custody would have the authority to decide to have their children confirmed (or not confirmed) in a certain religion, or have the authority to decide to send their children to a private school, some kind of home school program, or public school, etc.

On the other hand, physical custody simply refers to a parent who is afforded some amount of “parenting time” with their children. All child custody decisions, such as during a divorce, as part of a parent’s request to relocate with their children, any kind of child custody modification matter, or even a child custody enforcement dispute, begin with the legal understanding with the belief that each parent should be accorded as much visitation time as possible with their children. This understanding is then changed to adapt to what the court finds to be in the best interests of the children involved.

So when most parents refer to “joint custody”, they are usually referring to some kind of shared physical custody arrangement.

Joint Custody and Shared Child Custody in Morris County Child Custody Decisions

When it comes to “joint custody” in New Jersey and Morris County, it is much more often referred to as “shared custody” by family law judges and attorneys. This is because the word “joint” evokes the idea of exactly equal in many people’s minds, and child custody decisions are almost never “exactly equal”. More often than not one parent or the other is designated as “the parent of primary residence”, a determination which will affect where the children attend school, which address they use for formal government and institutional documents, and which parent will be receiving the child support payments.

Additionally, most physical custody arrangements will involve one parent with something like 60% parenting time and the other 40%, simply because courts will find it in the best interests of the children to have a more stable home life than to be constantly shuffling back and forth between two different homes. However just because child custody is most often not awarded on a precisely 50/50 basis, that isn’t to say parents can’t still “share” child custody. This idea of shared custody can either include parents sharing physical and legal child custody, or sharing physical custody with one parent having legal custody.

Contact Our Morristown Shared Child Custody Lawyers Today

At The Law Office of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience helping parents to fairly and effectively resolve child custody decisions and disputes of all kinds in towns across New Jersey and Morris County, including Mt. Olive, Chester, Chatham, Mendham, Morris Plains, Harding, and Morristown.

Whether you are interested in sharing legal and physical custody of your children with a co-parent, or are simply concerned over securing your parental rights to spend as much time as possible with your children and play an important role in their lives, our firm is prepared to provide you with the highly knowledgeable, effective, and attentive legal counsel that you need and deserve in such critical matters.

To speak with our legal team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding any kind of child custody decision during a divorce, as part of a parent’s request to relocate with their children, or any kind of post-divorce child custody modification or child custody enforcement issue you may be facing, please contact us online, or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 828-0829.

Divorce: Changing Your Perspective and Improving Your Life

While the word “divorce” certainly carries a somewhat negative connotation in our society, the fact of the matter is that a divorce is often an extremely healthy thing for a person involved in an unhappy or angry relationship to pursue. Certainly, some divorces will be “easier” than others depending on the method used (alternative dispute… Continue Reading

Temporary Child Custody during Divorce

While one of the most important agreements you will need to reach during your Morris County divorce is that of a child custody and visitation agreement, many times how child custody should be handled during the divorce itself is unclear for the parents, or in dispute. When this is the case, either parent may file… Continue Reading

How Can Domestic Violence Affect a Child Custody Agreement?

Domestic violence, and the commonly resulting legal actions of temporary restraining orders and final restraining orders, can be one of the most trying, stressful, and emotionally difficult situations for any family to face. In the case of the abused party, securing protection for themselves and/or their children is of extreme importance. On the other hand,… Continue Reading

Child Custody Alternative “Bird’s Nest Custody”

One of the most difficult things for parents to do during any divorce or divorce mediation is to find a balance between sharing custody of their children, and helping their children to have a stable and manageable schedule when it comes to moving between the homes of their parents. However, a new alternative method of… Continue Reading

Landmark Decision Changes NJ Child Relocation Law

On Tuesday, in a landmark decision THAT WILL IMPACT ALL NEW JERSEY PARENTS SEEKING TO RELOCATE, the New Jersey Supreme Court modified the Appellate Division and created a new standard of review when a parent seeks to remove the children to another state.   The conflict arose when the mother sought to relocate to Utah,… Continue Reading

Why You Should Never Make “Side-Deals” for Divorce Property Settlement Agreements

One of the most important documents you will negotiate for, and sign, before your divorce can be granted is what is known as the property settlement agreement (PSA). The property settlement agreement will outline your financial and parental rights and obligations following the divorce, and decides key divorce issues such as child custody, child support,… Continue Reading

Bad Divorce Advice Commonly Given to Women

Going through a divorce is usually difficult, both financially and emotionally. Issues such as child custody, child support, division of assets, and alimony can easily overwhelm you, and its common for people to turn to friends and family for advice in times like these. While many of your friends and family members may have gone… Continue Reading

Taxes and Divorce

Divorcing individuals often have questions about tax their considerations and how they are affected by their divorce. While most divorce attorneys will urge you to speak with a financial consultant about your post-divorce finances and obligations, we can look at some of the more frequently asked questions regarding divorce and taxes. Should I file my… Continue Reading

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