Important Facts about Child Custody Arrangements in New Jersey

When a married couple decides to file for a divorce, they will have to go through a rather complicated process before everything can be finalized. Before their union can be legally terminated, they will have to make important decisions about several factors. This is particularly true when children are involved, as one of these decisions is a properly accomplished child custody arrangement.

In the U.S., policies about child custody arrangements differ from state to state. In New Jersey, as stated on the New Jersey Courts website, divorcing parents can request for the following types of child custody arrangements:

  • Joint legal custody – Both parents will have the right to participate in making important parental decisions involving things like their child’s education and health care plan. However, only one parent will have physical or residential custody of the child.
  • Joint physical custody – Both parents will be considered as the custodial parent and share about equal amount of time living with their child. Both will also have the right to actively participate in important parenting decisions.
  • Sole custody – Only one parent will have physical custody of the child. That parent will also have the right to make major decisions about their child’s welfare without having to consult the other parent. Meanwhile, the other parent will be granted a specific amount of parenting or visitation.

New Jersey courts also encourage parents to make their own arrangements as much as possible. As long as they are in agreement and the arrangement is in the best interest of their child, parents have some leeway to make their own decisions. If, however, the divorcing parents can’t come to an amicable decision, the court will appoint custody evaluations to be carried out.

The court will also carry out risk assessments if there are concerns about one parent’s ability to take care of the child. New Jersey courts can deem a parent unfit if he or she has a history of alarming behavior that could endanger the child, particularly cases of substance dependency or addiction, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect. In these scenarios, the courts could end up terminating the unfit parent’s visitation rights.

All in all, New Jersey child custody policies are most concerned with the well-being of the child. Most of the time, the courts prefer to grant joint custody arrangements to ensure that the child can carry out a loving and healthy relationship with both parents. If you are making similar arrangements during your divorce, don’t hesitate to seek out appropriate legal counsel to learn your best options. Consult experienced counsel in your area, such as an Ocean County divorce lawyer.

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