Child Custody in NJ

Child Custody in New Jersey

In most family law cases involving children, parents are given the opportunity to decide child custody arrangements through mutual agreement. When parents are involved in the decision making process and both come to agreement on a parenting time schedule, it usually serves the best interest of the child and works for both parents. Unfortunately reaching agreement on child custody arrangements doesn’t always go smoothly. Disputing parents in the process of divorcing or arguing over child support are likely to be at odds with each other over a parenting time schedule also. This forces the court system to intervene and begin the process of determining what custody arrangements are actually in the best interest of the child.

Child Custody Evaluation
When custody can not be resolved by mutual parental agreement, a full Child Custody evaluation may be ordered by the court. A child custody evaluation is conducted by an independent mental health expert. A thorough assessment of the needs of children involved along with each parent’s ability to meet those needs.

Sole Legal Custody
A parent winning sole legal custody can make all decisions about the child’s upbringing including medical care, education, religion and general life philosophy.  Sole legal custody is rare and usually only happens when one parent is perceived to be unqualified to parent due to a history of drug use, violence or other detrimental habits.

Joint Legal Custody
Joint child custody means that both parents are involved in making decisions regarding their child. Joint legal custody permits both parents to have input into major decisions such as schooling, religious exposure and health care requirements.

Physical Custody
The parent that has the child in their home as a resident has physical custody and the responsibility for making daily decisions such as meals, bed time and dress. The other parent usually has parenting time visitation rights, but does not make the minor decisions affecting the child.

Emergency Child Custody
When a child is perceived to be in danger, physically or emotionally, an emergency custody application should be filed with the court. If Emergency Child Custody is granted by a judge, it will only be temporary until the case can receive further investigation and a full hearing.


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