Filing for Child Custody in New Jersey

How to file for custody in NJ

To request custody of your child, you need to file documents to petition the court and make your case before a family court judge. The process to file for custody of a child in New Jersey can vary between jurisdictions, and a judge could issue penalties or dismiss your case outright if any part is filed incorrectly. Make sure to fully understand how the law works in the county where your child lives.

  1. Initiate the petitioning process by working with your attorney to create either a complaint for child custody or a motion for child custody, formal documents requesting or changing custody.
  2. Document the full name, physical address, social security number, date of birth, and age of each child. Document your full name and address as plaintiff and the same information for the other parent as defendant, while noting parental relationships.
  3. Describe the custody determination you desire, for example, joint custody. Because NJ distinguishes between legal and physical custody, specify your preferences or ask for both, where appropriate. Fully outline the parenting plan you want. If seeking to deprive the other parent of custodial rights through sole custody, include evidence proving him or her unfit.
  4. Sign and date your completed complaint and any supporting documentation. Make two copies, and keep one for yourself.
  5. File your original motion with the Superior Court (Chancery Division, Family Part) in the county where your child lives. Physically hand the paperwork to the court clerk or secretary, and pay a filing fee(s).
  6. Serve the petition by providing the second copy to the child’s current custodian, likely the other parent. The complaint must be delivered by hand, but not by you or the court. You have a few options:
    1. Send the sealed document via certified mail with a return receipt
    2. Hire a process server to deliver the sealed document
    3. Enlist a sheriff to deliver the sealed document
    4. Entrust a friend to deliver the sealed document
  7. Keep the receipt—or have the courier sign a sworn statement declaring the date and time the pleading was successfully delivered—and file it with the court as proof of service.
  8. Work with your attorney to prepare your evidence while awaiting the date of the hearing assigned by the court.

    filing evidence

    Gather your supporting documents when filing for child custody in New Jersey.

Call Us at (855) 9-JEF-LAW any time to discuss your case

The real first step to filing in NJ family court is retaining a seasoned attorney who knows the law. Different municipalities or jurisdictions may have different requirements to apply for child custody, and our army of child custody lawyers knows how to fight custody battles. With a lawyer from the Law Offices of Jef Henninger, Esq. on your side, there is no reason to be daunted by formal legal proceedings. Call today at (855) 9-JEF-LAW for a free consultation regarding your child’s custody.

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About Jef Henninger, Esq.

A smart, tough New Jersey family lawyer who works hard to get your family back on track.

Posted on May 7, 2018, in Child Custody Law, FAQ and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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