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How Does Child Custody Work in New Jersey?

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There are some cases in which couples are unable to reach a custody arrangement on their own. In these cases, the court is given the right to make these decisions for them. If you find yourself in this complex situation, read on and speak with the Law Offices of Katherine K. Wagner to learn how child custody works in New Jersey.

What are the types of child custody in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, there are generally three types of child custody that may be awarded. These types of child custody include the following:

  • Sole Custody: The child lives with one parent. This parent has the legal authority to make all decisions regarding the child. Examples of such decisions include the child’s health, education, and welfare. The parent who does not live with the child has no authority to make decisions contrary to the wishes of the custodial parent. However, the non-custodial parent may still be permitted visitation. This will depend on the circumstances. New Jersey courts prefer not to award sole custody unless it is in the child’s best interests.
  • Joint Legal Custody: The custodial parent is in charge of the child’s primary residence. They will also make routine decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. The non-custodial parent has parenting time rights. They will also share legal authority to make major parental decisions with the custodial parent involving topics such as health, education, religious upbringing, and the child’s general welfare.
  • Shared Legal and Physical Custody: Both parents are awarded an even split in terms of legal decision-making and the physical custody of the child. For example, the child may alternate weeks living with each parent, or the child may stay with one parent during the week and the other on the weekends.

How do New Jersey courts determine child placement?

New Jersey courts will make a custody determination based on the best interests of the child when parents cannot agree on a custody agreement. First, the court will consider the opinion of a professional psychologist who will perform a “best interest evaluation.” The court will then consider a variety of factors to determine the child’s best interests, including the following:

  • The parties’ ability to communicate and cooperate in matters of parenting
  • The financial circumstances and level of responsibility of each parent
  • The age and maturity of the children
  • The parents’ roles as caregivers before separation
  • The quality and continuity of the child’s education
  • Any history of domestic violence
  • Any other factor they deem relevant

Contact the Law Offices of Katherine K. Wagner

Do not face complex divorce and family law matters alone. With over 25 years of experience, the Law Offices of Katherine K. Wagner is dedicated to providing you with the knowledge and skill your case deserves. We will fight to protect your rights, your financial security, and your children. Contact the Law Offices of Katherine K. Wagner today for a consultation.

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