Divorce proceedings are hard enough, but it can become even more complicated when it comes time to divide custody of a couple’s children. For both the parents and children involved, there are different wishes related to who will retain custody, and many factors are at play. If you’re currently in this situation, speak to one of our New Jersey Family Law attorneys today about your legal options.
Sole Custody, Joint Custody, and Visitation
There are two aspects to any child custody case: legal and physical custody. The legal custody decision refers to deciding which parent has the right to decide regarding the child’s upbringing. Custody will either be given to a sole parent, known as sole custody or jointly. In the case of joint custody, both parents will be equally involved in the decision-making for the child. Physical custody refers to the decision of where the child lives and can be given as sole or joint custody as well. In the case of joint custody, time with each parent is generally divided equally. For sole custody, a judge may determine some amount of visitation with the parent without custody based on the best interests of the child and the other parent. Grandparents or siblings living in NJ can also request visitation time if they can prove that it is in the child’s best interest.
How Do NJ Courts Decide Which Option They’re Going to Order?
In most cases, NJ Courts tend to lean towards ordering joint legal and physical custody arrangements. This consistency is due to a preference for letting children have a relationship with both of their parents. If a child is over 12 years old, a judge may consider their wishes when deciding on parental custody. In the case of unfit parents, however, this will change. A court may determine a parent to be unfit if they have a history of drug use, domestic violence, or an evident indifference to the child’s well-being. In these cases, sole custody may be awarded to the other parental figure.
Reach Out to a Lawyer About Your Custody Battle Today
Negotiating custody can be one of the most challenging parts of any divorce proceeding. Dealing with tension in the home, between children, and other members, moving, and other issues can make this time even more stressful. Reach out to our experienced Family Law Attorneys at Williams Law Group for help with resolving your custody battle.