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If you are separated or divorced from your child’s other parent, or if you never lived together, you could be experiencing some of the complications that can arise in these situations. You might be trying to get financial support or develop a custody and visitation agreement that works for you and the children.
A West Caldwell mother’s rights lawyer can help you with any of these issues. Our compassionate attorneys at Williams Law Group understand how stressful these disputes can be and the significant toll they can take on you and your children. We will strive for a swift and the least confrontational solution, but if litigation is necessary, we will be fierce in defending your rights and protecting your children.
Child custody is often one of the most contentious issues when parents separate. New Jersey Revised Statutes §9:2-4 recognizes that children benefit from continuing meaningful contact with both their parents in most cases and does not call for gender-based custody decisions—fathers have equal legal rights to custody as mothers.
However, courts typically favor an arrangement that disrupts the child’s routine as little as possible. A common arrangement is the parent who has been the primary caretaker role to retain physical custody, unless the parties agree otherwise or the parent who has been the caretaker is unfit, and the other parent have visitation with the child. A West Caldwell attorney can help a mother seek the custody solution that works best for her children. Different factors can play into which type of custody is the best fit for a family.
Shared physical custody means that each parent has physical custody of the child roughly half the time, with the parents being able to agree upon days that work for each parent.
One parent has primary physical custody, typically during the work/school week to provide consistency for the children. The other parent has visitation rights and may have physical custody sometimes, like on weekends and holidays, extended parenting time during the summers, or on another schedule that suits the family.
A parent who wishes their former partner to have limited or no contact with the child could seek sole custody. Courts rarely award sole custody and do so only when the requesting parent makes a compelling argument that the other parent is unfit and poses a danger to the child. Note that being in arrears in child support is not a legitimate legal basis to seek sole custody.
Usually, depending on the income of the parties and amount of overnights with each parent, the parent with primary physical custody receives child support from the other parent. Both parents are responsible for contributing their income toward the child’s care.
New Jersey publishes child support guidelines that use a mathematical formula to calculate how much each parent should contribute to a child’s support. However, a court may order child support that deviates from the guidelines in some circumstances. For instance, the guidelines assume a family is middle or lower-income. Because courts want to maintain the child’s standard of living as much as possible, a different allocation might be necessary if a both parents earn over $187,000 net, especially if the parent with primary physical custody is not the primary earner.
If agreed upon by the parties or ordered by a court, child support orders are court orders enforceable by the New Jersey Probation Department. If a child’s parent falls behind on their support obligations, the New Jersey Probation Department may schedule a New Jersey Probation Department hearing. A West Caldwell mother’s rights attorney can provide representation at this hearing. The Hearing Officer could order a lump sum payment, wage garnishment, seizure of income tax refunds, and other actions to secure support for the child. In some cases, the Hearing Officer could order a bench warrant for the parent’s arrest for non-payment of child support.
As a mother, ensuring your children are safe and well-cared-for is your priority. It can be heartbreaking and infuriating if your co-parent does not show the same commitment to the children’s welfare.
A West Caldwell mother’s rights lawyer can support you and your children to find workable solutions to custody, visitation, and child support issues that promote the children’s best interests. If you or someone you know has questions regarding custody, reach out to our team at Williams Law Group to learn more about how we can fight for you and your children.