Parents often fight over physical custody during divorce, and understandably so. Physical custody gives you the right to have your child live with you. It goes beyond the right to simply have parenting time. For some parents, the thought of not being able to live with their child is scary. This causes many parents to worry about which parent will get physical custody in the divorce.
It used to be common for the mother to get physical custody, especially if the mother was the primary caretaker while the husband worked. But New Jersey courts are gender neutral when it comes to custody, meaning both parents stand on equal footing when it comes to custody. Certain other factors will influence a custody determination, but the parental role is not one of them. So what does affect physical custody, and which parent is more likely to get it? While it is difficult to say for sure which parent in your divorce will get physical custody without speaking with a child custody attorney directly, here are some factors that can give you an idea of how a custody decision is made:
As I stated above, the primary caretaker can have a better chance of getting physical custody, especially if the other parent was not involved in parenting. It is also more likely that the parent whom the child was closer with will get physical custody, especially if that parent was also the primary caretaker. The judge may also consider how much time each parent has spent with the child before and after the separation. And each parent’s employment responsibilities may also play a role. Thus, long hours or frequent and prolonged business travel can hurt your chances of getting physical custody. After considering these factors and many more, the judge will make a decision that is in the best interests of the child. In some cases, this means both parents share physical custody.
If you want physical custody, there are steps you can take to help your chances. For example, if you move out of the family home during the divorce, make sure you continue to spend ample time with your child. If your spouse does not cooperate with this or tries to stop you from seeing your child, you may need to get a court ordered parenting plan that protects your right to parenting time. It is very important you continue to be a part of your child’s life if you want to have physical custody after the divorce. Speak with an experienced New Jersey matrimonial and child custody attorney if you have any questions. An attorney who handles both divorces and child custody cases will understand the interplay between custody and other aspects of your divorce and can help you increase your chances of getting physical custody.
Do you have questions about physical custody? If so, Williams Law Group, LLC can help. Our skilled attorneys can help you obtain a custody award that protects your child’s health, safety, and well-being. Located in Union, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 738-8734, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.