How Does Substance Abuse Affect Child Custody in NJ?

What Is "Joint" Child Custody?

If you believe your former spouse has a substance abuse problem or if you have a substance abuse problem yourself, it may affect your child custody agreement. Continue reading to discover the types of child custody granted in New Jersey, how child custody is determined in the state, and what effect substance abuse may have on your child custody agreement.

What are the types of child custody in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, there are two types of child custody: legal custody, and physical custody. Physical custody is when a child is physically living with the parent while legal custody gives parents the legal right to make decisions on behalf of their child such as medical decisions, what religion they practice, and where they go to school. It is possible for New Jersey courts to have a preference to split custody as evenly as possible, allowing both parents to share physical and legal custody in the best interest of the child. However, if there is a threat to the child in any way, or one of the parents is deemed unfit to take care of their child, one parent may be awarded sole custody of the child.

How is child custody determined in New Jersey courts?

When determining child custody, New Jersey courts will consider several factors concerning the child’s best interests. Some factors the court will consider are as follows:

  • The bond between the child and both parents
  • Whether the child can be sufficiently cared for by both parents
  • If the child is old enough
  • If the child has a preference
  • Whether both parents can provide the child with a sufficient standard of living

What effect will substance abuse have on child custody?

New Jersey courts will base their decision regarding child custody on the child’s best interest. However, if one parent proves themselves as unfit in any way, there is a chance that the parent will be denied custody rights. Some examples of a parent proving themselves to be unfit include exposing the child to domestic abuse or having a serious substance abuse problem.

However, if you can prove that you are taking the necessary steps to resolve a substance abuse problem, you may not lose custody of your child. If you are experiencing a legal process such as this, do not hesitate to reach out to our experienced Bergen County family law attorney who can walk you through the process with your best interest in mind.

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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