Joint Custody Attorneys Passaic County and Northern NJ
Divorce is never easy, and when custody issues are involved, it becomes even more complicated.
Everyone wants what is best for the children, and the courts often provide an objective forum to decide just that; however, it is important to provide the court with evidence and testimony, guided by an excellent attorney, to obtain a beneficial outcome for everyone involved.
What Are the Types of Joint Custody?
Joint Custody – Joint Custody is actually broken down into three categories: Joint Legal, Shared Physical, and Combination.
- Joint Legal custody is where the parents share care and control of the child’s upbringing, but the child has only one primary residence.
- In Shared Physical Custody, the child has two residences, spending at least 35% of their time with the other parent.
- Additionally, you can make your own special joint custody agreement that is any combination of Shared Physical and Joint Legal Custody. One example of this is when there is one residence for the child, and the parents live with the child there on a rotating basis.
The court looks very closely at Joint Custody agreements. The most important factor to Joint Legal Custody to Shared Physical Custody is the parents’ ability to talk about and reach joint decisions that affect the child’s welfare. If you are constantly fighting over what religion or school, the court may strike down your agreement.
It may be too overwhelming for children to pack their things and go back and forth between two houses every week or every three or four days. Joint custody means the parents make decisions together regarding the children’s health, education, extra-curricular, and religious upbringing. Parenting time should be decided based on the children’s needs, especially when they are of school age.
What Will the Judge Take into Consideration When Determining Custody?
When deciding who will have custody, a judge will try to make an arrangement that s/he thinks is in your child’s best interest. Generally, the court will try to make sure that both parents share the rights and responsibilities of parenting. This means that it tries to let both parents play an active role in taking care of your child and making decision s about your child’s life. The court will base its decision on many factors. Some of the things a judge will consider are:
- Both parents can agree, talk with one another, and cooperate about issues relating to your child.
- Whether you and the other parent want custody.
- If either parent has refused to let, the other parent sees the child. However, a judge won’t consider this if you prove that you denied access because you or your children were being abused.
- Your child’s relationship and interactions with both parents and any siblings. The court tries to make sure children will have an ongoing relationship with their brothers and sisters.
- The number of children involved and their ages.
- The history of domestic violence, if there is one.
- The safety of your child and either parent from physical abuse by the other parent.
- The parent with which your child would prefer to live if s/he is old enough to make a decision. (typically over 10 years of age)
- How stable both parents’ homes are.
- The quality and continuity of your child’s education, in other words, whether your child would have to change schools, and how good of an education s/he will receive.
- The general fitness of both parents
- Generally speaking, the court looks at the character, habits, and physical and mental condition (addictions, rage issues) of both parents to see whether it thinks you are “fit.”
- How much time and the quality of the time that both parents spent with the child, before or after you split up.
- Parental employment – What each parent does for a living, each parent’s work schedule, and so forth.
- Geography – Where each parent lives and the proximity of their homes.
- Best overall outcome – Which parent can provide an environment that will be least disruptive for and harmful to the child.
These are only a handful of factors that the New Jersey child custody laws and courts consider. There are a few additional important factors, which may be less commonly known to most people. If the court observes that one co-parent is more likely to put personal differences with the other co-parent aside and focus on the child’s benefit, this co-parent has a definite advantage in court when fighting for custody. A second important factor is whether each co-parent is willing to encourage and foster a close relationship between the child and the other co-parent. New Jersey child custody laws may not necessarily recognize these factors, but they are critical in the eyes of a family court judge.
Do you have Questions About Having Custody of your Child/Children?
If you are worried about child custody and would like to talk to someone about your legal options, The Montanari Law Group, LLC, with our office in Little Falls, NJ, is prepared to provide you with the information and assistance you need.
Our legal team of top-notch attorneys wants to help you make the best decisions for you and your children during this stressful and difficult time. Let our experienced and knowledgeable professionals work hard to provide you with the support you need. Contact us at (973) 233-4396.