What to Know About Child Custody for Unmarried Parents in New Jersey

There are few things more important to a parent than being able to look after and raise his or her child. However, when a couple gets divorced, child custody is, at times, called into question. Further, if you have a child with a person with whom you were never married, you won’t go through the divorce process, however, this does not mean you cannot disagree on custody terms. When this happens, it is critical that you retain the services of a knowledgeable New Jersey family law attorney to learn more about child custody for unmarried parents. Our firm is here to help in any way we can. Here are some of the questions you may have:

How do NJ courts determine child custody for unmarried parents?

If you are an unmarried parent who is seeking custody of your child, you and the child’s other parent must enter a non-dissolution “FD” case. This will give you and the child’s other parent the following rights:

  • The right to establish legal paternity for the child
  • The right to establish a parenting time court order for biological parents
  • The right to give grandparents/adult siblings visitation orders
  • The right to establish legal custody orders for a minor
  • The right to child support or alimony enforcement

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

New Jersey law recognizes two types of child custody: physical and legal custody. Essentially, physical custody refers to where a child primarily resides, and if one parent has sole physical custody, it means that the child primarily resides with them. That being said, the other form of child custody is legal custody. Having legal custody of a child gives a parent the legal right to make critical life decisions on behalf of the child, such as medical care decisions, where the child goes to school, the religion the child will practice and more. In many cases, courts will give both parents joint legal custody, as it is generally best for both parents to contribute and take part in these important decisions, however, if one parent poses a risk to a child or otherwise would not act in the child’s best interests, then NJ courts may award one parent sole custody of the child. If you have any additional questions about child custody for unmarried parents in New Jersey, give our firm a call today. We are here to help.

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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