Bergen County NJ Child Custody Attorneys
Divorce and Family Lawyers with Offices in Hackensack, New Jersey
Although financial squabbles are common during divorce proceedings, most parents will agree that their children are their most precious assets. Unfortunately, during the often contentious divorce process, children can become collateral damage, even if both parties have the best of intentions. Protecting your children and ensuring that a resolution that serves their best interests is achieved can be difficult, particularly when disagreements arise with regard to parental fitness, parental rights and obligations, and what exactly is best for your child’s future.
In some cases, parental alienation threatens to cause serious harm to a child’s emotional well-being, while in other cases, unmarried parents may have conflict over mothers’ vs. fathers’ rights with regard to custody and parenting time. Regardless of the circumstances, child custody arrangements require many important determinations, including who will have the authority to make decisions regarding the child’s health, education, and general welfare. When confronting such emotionally-charged and life-altering issues, it is critical to find an advocate who will hold your child’s best interests as paramount, while working to achieve a configuration that best serves your family moving forward.
At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our partners are more than just lawyers, they are parents. As such, we understand the profound sense of responsibility that comes with caring for your children and the deep need to protect them from harm. When representing you through child custody negotiations, we operate the way that we would want others to do for us if we were in the same situation, providing support, guidance, and an unwavering commitment to the best interests of your child. Having earned recognition among the only 2 percent of Certified Matrimonial Law Attorneys recognized by the Supreme Court of New Jersey, we have the experience, knowledge, and skill to handle the most complicated child custody situations. Equally important, we have the compassion and understanding to walk with you through this trying period of transition. To speak with a member of our family law team today, simply contact our Bergen County offices at 201-397-1750. We are pleased to answer your questions and to provide a consultation free of charge.
Child Custody Arrangements in New Jersey
In order to begin devising the optimal child custody arrangement, it is first essential to understand the different forms of child custody in New Jersey. The key distinction in child custody determinations is physical vs. legal custody, each of which spells significant implications for your child’s future. Under New Jersey law, legal custody refers to the decision-making power of one or both parents with regard to the child’s health, education, religious upbringing, and general well-being. Conversely, physical custody pertains only to your child’s primary place of residence. In other words, physical custody governs where your child is raised, while legal custody governs how your child is raised.
There are a variety of configurations that allow for singular or shared responsibility in each of these custody considerations. For example, in the case of physical custody, one parent may be awarded sole physical custody, while the other is granted parenting time (often referred to as visitation). In other cases, parents will arrive at shared physical custody, where the child spends time at each of the parents’ residences. In the case of shared physical custody, the court will name one parent as the “parent of primary residence,” while the other is named the “parent of alternate residence.” In the case of joint physical custody, the child will spend equal time in the care of both parents.
As for legal custody, there are two options: sole legal custody, wherein one parent is responsible for all decision-making regarding the child’s medical treatment, education, religious upbringing, etc., or joint legal custody, wherein both parents are expected to participate in important child-rearing decisions and to consult with one another if appropriate when the child is in their care. Perhaps the most common child custody configurations are sole legal and physical custody, joint legal custody, and joint legal and physical custody. Ultimately, the child custody arrangement will affect where the child is enrolled in school, where he or she worships and celebrates holidays, as well as influencing calculations for child support payments.
How Child Custody is Determined in New Jersey
Each child and each family is entirely unique, requiring a tailored solution that best serves his or her needs both immediate and long-term. In order to arrive at an appropriate child custody solution, there are a number of important factors that must be considered, including:
- Parental dynamics
- Child-parent relationships
- Previous issues of domestic violence, substance abuse, or other potentially detrimental issues
- Each parent’s employment status and work-related time commitments
- The child’s activities and current schedule
- Child care needs
- Extended family (i.e. grandparents)
Contact Our Child Custody and Divorce Lawyers to Discuss Your Situation
Child custody is be no means a one-size-fits-all determination, with a host of factors that must be taken into account based on your unique family situation. Our attorneys take the time to develop a thorough understanding of your child’s needs in order to create the best possible arrangement for him or her to thrive. With the constantly evolving nature of life, parental relocation or changes of circumstance may require revision of child custody arrangements in the future. Contact our Hackensack offices anytime at 201-397-1750 to learn more about how we can help you through your divorce or post-divorce child custody modification.
Also, see our New Jersey Child Custody Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) page for additional information.