How do New Jersey Courts Determine Child Custody?

No parent wants to lose a single moment with their child, which is why when parents get divorced, they very often fight over child custody. If you find yourself in this complex situation, you must read on and speak with our experienced child custody attorneys to learn more about how we can help you through the legal process going forward.

What is joint custody?

When parents get divorced and cannot agree on child custody terms, New Jersey courts will have to decide for them. Oftentimes, the courts prefer granting joint custody, if at all possible. Essentially, joint custody simply means that both parents share child custody and play equal (or close to equal) parts in the child’s life. Rather obviously, courts prefer this, as it changes the child’s life as little as possible.

On the other hand, if one parent proves that he or she is presently unfit to be a parent and puts his or her child in danger, either via a substance abuse problem, an incident of domestic violence, or anything else of the sort, New Jersey courts may grant the other parent sole custody of their child.

How are physical and legal custody different from one another?

Essentially, physical custody refers to where the child primarily resides, while legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make important life decisions on the child’s behalf. Therefore, while most parents want physical custody so they can spend most of their time with their child, our firm urges parents to especially fight for legal custody. If you have legal custody over your child, you have a say in where he or she goes to school, the medical treatment he or she receives, and the religion he or she practices.

What do New Jersey courts consider when determining child custody terms?

New Jersey courts consider several factors when deciding child custody. However, you must keep in mind that your child’s well-being is at the heart of their decision. New Jersey courts will consider your child’s age, the bond he or she has with both parents, who his or her primary caregiver has been, and why (or not) that should change, among other things.

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 moving out of your marital home during your divorce, please contact us online, or through our Hackensack, NJ office at (201) 397-1750.

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