Compassionate New Jersey Lawyers
Handling Child Custody
and Parenting Issues
The dissolution of a marriage has an impact on all family members. This is especially true of the children. New Jersey courts believe that in most cases it is best for children of divorce to maintain a positive relationship with both parents, and New Jersey law states that decisions in these cases should be made with the best interests of the children in mind.
There are two basic types of child custody: Residential Custody and Legal Custody.
Residential Custody in New Jersey
Residential custody, often called physical custody, refers to where the child will live. There are several variations; they range from joint custody, in which the child spends an equal or almost equal time with each parent, to sole custody, in which the child lives with one parent all or most of the time. What matters most is that the parenting time arrangement is created with the child’s needs in mind to the greatest extent possible.
Residential custody also has a bearing on the amount of child support one pays or receives. The more parenting time the parent with the most income has, the less child support that parent would be expected to pay.
Shared Residential Custody
Many divorce agreements call for shared residential custody. The child does not necessarily spend an equal amount of time with both parents, but does spend 105 days or more with each, plus some holidays and vacations.
Some divorced couples agree to joint residential custody in which the child spends an equal or almost equal amount of time with each. This is more likely to be successful when the ex-spouses live near one another.
Sole Residential Custody
If a child lives with one parent most of the time, that parent is said to have sole residential custody.
The time spent with the non-custodial parent is called parenting time. Although often referred to as visitation time, the term “parenting time” emphasizes the important role the court believes the non-custodial parent can and should play in the child’s life.
Legal Custody in New Jersey
While the everyday decisions that are made by the parent who has residential custody at that time, decisions about the larger questions affecting a child are made by the parent or parents with legal custody.
A parent with legal custody has the right to participate in decision-making regarding important issues such as which school the child will attend, the religion in which the child will be raised, and important medical and health matters.
Except in cases where one parent is unavailable or unfit, the court usually grants legal custody to both parents regardless of where the child lives most of the time.
In using the term “parenting time” rather than “visitation,” New Jersey courts acknowledge the importance both parents play in the lives of their children. Aretsky Law Group, P.C., can help you create a parenting plan that meets those needs and negotiate diligently to help you obtain that arrangement.
Circumstances often necessitate a change to your current child custody or parenting plan. As time passes, children’s needs change. Therefore, parenting plans usually have to be revised as the child matures.
If you want to change a child custody plan or parenting plan that is already in place and your spouse does not agree, we will help you with the modification and, if necessary, we will file a motion on your behalf. Conversely, if your ex-spouse wants to change a child custody plan or parenting plan that is already in place and you do not agree, we will litigate on your behalf to prevent the change.
Sometimes a parent wants to move out of New Jersey following a divorce. Some want to be nearer other family members who live in another state and who can provide support. Others may want to move to take advantage of a better job opportunity. Whatever the reason, when children are involved, matters become complicated.
In New Jersey, if a parent wants to move with a child to another state without the express permission of the child’s other parent, he or she must obtain permission from the Court.
If you are in the position of wanting to relocate or trying to stop the relocation of your child, you need the assistance of an attorney with a clear knowledge of New Jersey law.
Aretsky Law Group, P.C., Attorneys Can Help!
Children’s issues are among the most emotionally charged in a divorce. Courts generally prefer that both parents remain involved in the child’s life. Therefore, although the child may live mot of the time with one parent, the other parent is almost always granted parenting time and shared legal custody.
A New Jersey family law attorney from Aretsky Law Group, P.C., can help if…
- you need help crafting or modifying a child custody or parenting plan;
- you want to prevent changes to a current child custody or parenting plan;
- you want to relocate with your child to another state;
- you want to prevent your ex-spouse from moving out of NJ with your child;
- you want to ensure that your child’s special educational needs are
addressed now and in the future;
- you want to ensure that your child’s special medical needs are
addressed now and in the future;
- you are dealing with any other child custody or parenting plan issue.
Call Aretsky Law Group, P.C., at 800-537-4154 to schedule an initial consultation. We are available 24/7.