What Is Sole Custody?

Sole Custody, Sole Rights

Custody is a commonly debated issue in divorce and separation cases. Today, sole custody does not automatically pass to the mother. In fact, parents often share custody. The courts may award sole custody, however, under certain circumstances.

Let’s first look at how New Jersey defines custody. There are two types of custody of a child: legal and physical. Legal custody gives you the right to make major decisions about your child. For example, it gives you the right to decide where your child goes to school or whether your child receives certain medical procedures. Physical custody is the right to have your child live with you. Both types of custody can be either sole or shared between the parents. A court may award sole physical custody in certain cases if it benefits the child. For example, if the parents live far apart and an equal division of time would not be reasonable given travel time. A parent with sole physical custody has the child the majority of the time. This parent is also called the primary residential parent or primary custodial parent.

The court may also grant sole custody when there is an issue of child abuse or neglect. In these cases, the abusive parent may not have the right to make major decisions for the child. He or she also may not have the right to have the child live with them.

Parenting Time

Even if one parent has sole physical custody, the other parent may be granted visitation rights. This gives them the right to spend time with their child. “Visitation” is referred to as parenting time in New Jersey. The parents can decide how to divide parenting time on their own if they can agree. The contested matter must be taken to mediation and/or to court if the parents cannot agree. Parenting time is important. It allows both parents to be a part of the child’s life without compromising his or her safety or well-being.

Speak with an experienced attorney if you have questions about sole custody. Shared custody can be beneficial in most, but not all, cases. An attorney can advise you of your custody options and help you obtain a custody order that is in the best interests of your child.


Do you have questions about child custody in New Jersey? Williams Law Group, LLC is here to help you make the best decisions for you and your family. 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) 810-1083, email us at info@awilliamslawgroup.com, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation so you can work with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.

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