Substance Abuse and Child Custody in New Jersey | What You Need to Know

If you are a parent with a substance abuse problem, or you believe your former spouse has a substance abuse problem, there is a very good chance this may impact your child custody agreement. Please continue reading and speak with our experienced Bergen County family law attorneys to learn more. Here are some of the questions you may have:

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

The two types of child custody in New Jersey are physical custody and legal custody. Essentially, when a parent has physical custody of a child, it means that the child is living with that parent. Legal custody, on the other hand, gives parents the legal right to make important life decisions on behalf of their child, such as where that child can go to school, what religion the child practices, and what kind of medical treatment the child can receive. Generally, New Jersey courts prefer to split custody evenly, allowing both parents to share physical and legal custody. However, if one person poses a threat to the child in some way, or is otherwise parentally unfit, one parent may be awarded sole custody of the child.

How do New Jersey courts determine child custody?

New Jersey courts will consider several factors when determining child custody, however, their main concern is the child’s best interests. Courts will consider the bond the child has with both parents, whether both parents can provide the child with a sufficient standard of living, whether the child can be sufficiently cared for by both parents, and, if the child is old/mature enough, whether he or she has a preference, among other things.

What affect will substance abuse have on child custody?

As mentioned earlier, New Jersey courts will primarily base their decision on the child’s best interest. That being said, when one parent proves him or herself parentally unfit in some way, such as exposing the child to domestic abuse or a serious substance abuse problem, there is a very good chance that parent will, at least for the time being, be denied custody rights. Substance abuse is a very complicated issue, and if you are a parent who can prove that you are taking necessary steps to resolve the issue, such as seeking help, you may not lose custody of your child. However, no matter what, you need an experienced Bergen County family law attorney on your side who can work to prove that you deserve to raise your child.

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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