How Custody is Determined
If you are going through a divorce and there are children involved, you are probably wondering how custody is determined in New Jersey. There are a variety of factors that the courts will consider when determining child custody. Here is what you need to be aware of:
How Custody is Determined | Factors
When deciding on custody, the courts will make this decision based on what is in the best interest of the child. It will always be what they believe is best for the child. A lot of variables come into play. Your child can have input in this decision if they are 12 years or older. They will observe the interactions between the children and the parents to see if that indicates an obvious choice. If one of the parents has a high-demand job with a lot of hours that keep them out of the house most nights, that will be considered.
What will also be considered is how fit the parents are. There are instances that will hugely impact a parent’s ability to have custody. If there is domestic violence, alcohol abuse, or criminal activity, the court is going to take that very seriously. If one spouse is convicted with any of these charges, they may not be able to have custody or visitation rights.
How Custody is Determined | Types of Custody
The custodial parent is not necessarily the parent who is going to be calling all the shots. You might have one parent who has sole physical custody, but you have what’s called, legal custody. That has to do with the ability to make decisions in the child’s life. There are various combinations of custody but for the most part, a few example of how this works is as follows:
- One parent wins physical custody, but both parents share legal custody. In this case, the child or children live with the parent who has physical custody. However, when it comes to making big decisions in their life, both parents have a say in what happens.
- Less commonly, one parent will solely win both physical and legal custody. That means that one parent will be the sole caretaker of the child and will not have to consult with the other parent for decisions.
- Joint custody, both physical and legal, is something that more frequently happens. In instances such as these, both parents will split time shared with their children. The exact arrangement will be made by the judge or during mediation. The parents will also make big decisions for the child together.
You should sit down with an experienced New Jersey child custody lawyer to see exactly what you want as an outcome while deciding the custody agreements. If you feel overwhelmed by the idea that you will be fighting to seek an arrangement that will affect your child’s life forever, please call our office today to meet with New Jersey child custody lawyer Bart Lombardo. You need to find an attorney who you trust.