A New Jersey Child Custody Law Firm Answers FAQs

The issue of child custody arises when a married couple seeks a divorce, two unmarried people cannot agree who should house and care for the child, when both parents die or disappear from the child’s life, or when a parent or legal guardian is determined to be unfit or poses a danger to the child.

All states agree that child custody arrangements must be based on the best interest to the child. However, the determinants for custody vary from state to state. These are frequently asked questions regarding child custody law in New Jersey. 

Are There Different Types of Custody?

Yes. Custody arrangements consider legal custody or who will be responsible for making decisions on behalf of the child, and physical custody, or the person the child will live with.

Joint Custody

Both parents share physical custody, or the child lives with one parent, but both parents decide issues regarding medical care and education.

Sole Custody

One parent provides both physical and legal care of the child, and the other parent has visitation rights or one parent has complete custody of the child, and the other parent has no visitation rights.

How Will the Court Determine Custody of the Child?

The court considers many factors when determining custody including:

  • The home situation of each parent
  • The child’s relationship with each parent
  • Each parent’s ability to support the child
  • The child’s age
  • Special or medical needs of the child
  • The parents’ ability to communicate and cooperate with each other regarding the child 
  • Parental history of violence

How are Visitation Rights determined?

Unless there is some evidence that the child could be put in danger by spending time with one of the parents such as physical or substance abuse, the court assumes the child benefits from spending time with both parents. Grandparents and other family members may also ask the court for visitation rights. Both parents are encouraged to determine a visitation schedule that works for all concerned and present it to the court for approval.

Is there a difference between Arbitration and Mediation?

Mediation is a coached negotiation between two parties to work out a custody agreement. It requires voluntary consent to critical custody matters. It can be considered a non-binding contract which is submitted to the court for approval.  

Arbitration is akin to a court proceeding, but instead of a judge, an impartial arbitrator is chosen by both parties to act as a judge. An arbitration decision is binding and cannot be appealed.

Can an existing Custody Order be modified?

If both parties agree to change the custody agreement, you can file the revised plan with the court, and they will generally accept it. 

If one parent wants to change the agreement but the other does not, a custody hearing will be necessary. You will need to prove that a change is warranted. Instances that warrant a change can include:

  • A parent is moving
  • The child is put at risk in the current living situation
  • Parent’s work schedule has changed
  • Some aspect of the current agreement is not being followed

Child custody law can be complicated. Consult with a knowledgeable attorney experienced in child custody matters in Sea Girt, New Jersey to obtain the best outcome for your case.

Request an appointment here: https://www.ajclaw.com or call Anthony J. Cafaro, P.C. at (732) 449-0449 for an appointment in our Sea Girt office.

NOTE: This Blog is for Informational Purposes Only and Does Not Constitute Legal Advice