Child Custody For Unmarried Parents in New Jersey

There are few things more important to parents than retaining custody of their children. Though in most cases child custody terms are handled through a divorce, if you are an unmarried parent, child custody is determined a bit differently. Please read on and speak with our experienced Bergen County family law attorneys to learn more about how we can help you through the legal process going forward. Here are some of the questions you may have:

How do courts determine child custody for unmarried parents in New Jersey?

If you and your partner are unmarried parents and you are seeking child custody, there are several things you should know about recent changes to New Jersey law. Since unmarried parents seeking child custody may not file for divorce, New Jersey allows them to enter a non-dissolution ‘FD’ Case. This gives unmarried parents the right to establish legal paternity for their child, legal custody orders for a minor, enforce child support or alimony payments, create a parenting time court order for biological parents, and set a grandparent/adult sibling visitation order.

What are the different types of child custody for unmarried parents in New Jersey?

There are three primary types of child custody for unmarried parents in New Jersey. The first is known as joint legal custody–this means that the child primarily lives with one parent, however, both parents have a say in that child’s life decisions, including where he or she goes to school, what religion the child practices, the types of medical treatments the child can receive, and more. In most cases, our firm will, at the very least, fight for legal custody so you can still retain an authoritative voice as a parent.

The second type of child custody is joint custody. Joint custody is when a child spends an equal amount of time residing with each parent.

Finally, in some cases, an unmarried parent may obtain sole custody of his/her child. This means that the parent with sole custody has 100% legal and physical custody of the child. Generally, New Jersey courts will only award sole custody when one parent proves that he/she is parentally unfit and/or poses a danger to the child. That being said, the non-custodial parent may still be awarded supervised or unsupervised parenting time.

Contact our experienced Bergen County firm

At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients to understand and protect their legal rights before, during, and after the divorce process in towns across New Jersey and Bergen County, including Hackensack, Ridgewood, Paramus, Teaneck, and Fort Lee. To speak with our team of divorce lawyers today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your concerns about your divorce, please contact us online, or through our Hackensack, NJ office at (201) 397-1750.

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