Child Custody

Child Custody in Oradell

Child Custody Child custody issues often come up between divorcing or unmarried parents and can be the most emotionally stressful aspect of a family law case.

Understanding the Custody Framework

There are two main aspects of custody in New Jersey:

  1.  Physical Custody: where the child will spend his/her time. Physical custody can be sole or shared.
  2. Legal Custody: which parent(s) is/are responsible for decision-making on behalf of the child. Legal custody can be sole or joint.

The types of custody considered by New Jersey courts can include:

  • Joint Legal Custody: this custody situation is very common in New Jersey, even when one parent has sole or primary physical custody. Under this scenario, one parent is usually designated as the parent of primary residence (the other as the parent of alternate residence) and both parents participate in making the major decisions concerning the child(ren)’s health, safety, education and welfare.
  • Shared Physical Custody: this is a scenario under which a child spends more than approximately two overnights per week with each parent. Shared physical custody plans vary widely and range from plans where one parent has slightly more parenting time than under a sole physical custody plan, to plans where a child spends equal or nearly equal time with each parent.
  • Sole Legal Custody: the custodial parent makes the major decisions that will affect a child’s life (e.g., medical choices, education, extracurricular activities, etc…), as well as the minor day-to-day decisions. The sole custodial parent is not required to give notice to or seek the consent of the non-custodial parent.
  • Sole Physical Custody: this is a situation in which a child lives with the custodial parent most of the time and spends less than two overnights per week (or the equivalent), plus some additional vacation or holiday time, with the non-custodial parent.

Mandatory Factors for Consideration in Custody Determinations

New Jersey courts consider a number of factors when determining child custody orders, but primarily consider the best interests of the child. In making an award of custody in New Jersey, the court must consider the following factors pursuant to N.J.S.A. 9:2-4(c):

  • the parents' ability to agree, communicate and cooperate in matters relating to the child
  • the parents' willingness to accept custody and any history of unwillingness to allow parenting time not based on substantiated abuse
  • the interaction and relationship of the child with its parents and siblings
  • the history of domestic violence, if any
  • the safety of the child and the safety of either parent from physical abuse by the other parent
  • the preference of the child when of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent decision
  • the needs of the child
  • the stability of the home environment offered
  • the quality and continuity of the child's education the fitness of the parents
  • the geographical proximity of the parents' homes
  • the extent and quality of the time spent with the child prior to or subsequent to the separation
  • the parents' employment responsibilities and
  • the age and number of the children.

Speak With a New Jersey Child Custody Lawyer​

When facing a child custody action, the most important step you can take is contacting an experienced family law attorney. 

If you have questions about child custody, contact The Law Office of Joseph A. DiPiazza, LLC at (201) 597-0065 to schedule a legal consultation.

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