Divorce and Family Law Attorneys Serving Clients in Bergen County, NJ
New Jersey Child Custody FAQ’s
Disagreements over child custody can affect parents at all stages of life, both those who are divorcing and those who have never married. Regardless of the circumstances, our children are extraordinarily important to us and their well-being is always of paramount concern. Unfortunately, achieving a mutual child custody arrangement can be difficult, particularly when parents diverge about what configuration best serves the child’s needs. Often, issues of child custody are exceedingly complex, raising a multitude of questions that can leave you feeling frustrated and afraid. Fortunately, with the help of an experienced child custody attorney, you can make informed, confident decisions for your child’s future and ensure that the final child custody arrangement allows them to flourish. Some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to child custody are addressed below. It is important to note that child custody issues may differ significantly, thus, it is highly advisable to see knowledgeable legal counsel based on your specific situation.
What You Need to Know About Child Custody in New Jersey
How do I obtain custody of my child?
- If you are seeking custody of your child, New Jersey law requires parents to file a motion or complaint through the New Jersey court system. Child custody issues can be resolved through several means, the first of which is child custody mediation. The purpose of child custody mediation is to arrive at an appropriate child custody arrangement without pursuing litigation. Before undergoing mediation, you and your child’s parent will be required to attend a New Jersey Parent’s Education Program, which provides information about childhood transition through divorce and alternative dispute resolution for child custody issues. If you cannot reach an agreement during the mediation process, you will proceed to a custody hearing in court where a judge determines the outcome.
Does the court favor child custody being awarded to the mother?
- Child custody determinations are intended to be gender-neutral, considering both mothers’ and fathers’ rights and acting solely in the best interests of the child. Unfortunately, some courts adhere more to this standard than others. Consulting with an attorney who frequently practices in your region will provide you with critical insight into the typical behavior of the court presiding over your child custody matter.
What if I want to relocate to another state with my child?
- Overall, New Jersey’s policy is meant to allow both parents to be regularly engaged in the life of their child. As such, a choice to relocate that impedes one parent’s right to have parenting time may be met with significant disapproval. However, courts in New Jersey have come to accept that parents often relocate to advance their careers. As a result, court policies continuously evolve with regard to parent relocation, adopting creative solutions and special visitation arrangements that allow parents to remain in their child’s lives. These cases are perhaps the most in need of knowledgeable and experienced attorneys who are at the forefront of current case law in this area.
What rights do grandparents have concerning child custody and visitation?
- Grandparents’ rights to visitation with their grandchildren are not guaranteed in New Jersey, but the court is more likely to award visitation if the grandparent has a long-standing, meaningful relationship with his or her grandchild. When a parent attempts to prevent a grandparent from engaging with his or her grandchild, the grandparent can pursue visitation by filing a motion with the court. To effectively pursue these claims, it is essential to mount a compelling case in your favor. Our family lawyers are well-versed in grandparents’ rights issues and can assist you with these matters.
What is a “guardian ad litem?”
- In certain instances, when the court determines that a child needs an objective third-party who is dedicated solely to the child’s best interests, they will appoint a guardian ad litem. The guardian ad litem serves as the child’s legal advocate during child custody proceedings to ensure that the child custody arrangement is focused solely on the child’s best interests. In cases of parental alienation or questionable parental fitness, a guardian ad litem may be enlisted.
Contact our NJ Child Custody Lawyers for More Answers
At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, we focus only on family law and divorce to provide unparalleled representation to parents and their children during difficult times of divorce and family reconfiguration. We are always available to discuss your situation, to answer your questions, and to ensure that you are fully informed as you seek the most positive resolution of child custody matters. To speak with one of our seasoned family lawyers today, contact our firm.