Child custody is divided into two different categories: legal and physical custody. Legal custody is the authority to make decisions regarding the health, education, and welfare of the children, while physical custody refers to where the child resides most of the time. In New Jersey, legal custody is typically shared between the parents, regardless of who has primary physical custody.
If you share parenting time with an ex-spouse, you may have various questions about custody in Short Hills. At our law firm, a knowledgeable attorney could provide answers and help you better understand how to protect your relationship with your child.
A shared custody arrangement in New Jersey can take various forms. To determine a parenting plan, the court first looks at how close the separated parents will live from one another. The goal should be to keep the child in the same school district and to limit the amount of travel time between the two residences.
The amount of time that the child spends in each home largely depends on how the parties communicate with each other. It is crucial for parents to be able to cooperate and provide two comfortable residences if they will be sharing parenting time. This involves working with an attorney on an arrangement that addresses factors such as the child’s rooms in both homes and whether they will have friends in both neighborhoods.
If both parents agree on a custody plan in New Jersey, they can work with a skilled lawyer on a written agreement known as a consent order. This document should be filed with the court to hold legal weight. Additionally, there are certain forms that must be prepared for a consent order, which can be found on the Judiciary website. To ensure that all the necessary provisions are addressed appropriately, consult an experienced attorney at our Short Hills office.
Custody is always modifiable based on a change of circumstances. The court’s primary concern is the welfare of the child, so if circumstances arise that could impact the child’s well-being, a parent can petition the court for a modification in legal custodial status. This is true for either legal or physical custody.
Expert witnesses are often used in custody battles. In fact, the court typically will want a mental health professional to assess the parents as well as the child to determine what is in the best interests of the child. Although these assessments are not required, they are widely used.
It is important to consult an experienced child custody lawyer on what expert may be appropriate for the situation at hand. The attorneys at our firm work with various experts in the area and could help determine who fits the circumstances of your case.
Dealing with child custody arrangements can be confusing and stressful without dedicated legal assistance. If you have further questions about child custody in Short Hills, reach out to a lawyer at the Williams Law Group, LLC for a consultation. We are here to help you better understand the process and advocate for the best interests of you and your child.