Forms of Child Custody in Monmouth County
As a parent, the term “custody” may seem to be amorphous and confusing, and in the context of a divorce, every word around the term custody can be important because it may affect your child’s life, and how you interact with them.
While it may be true that a parent has a constitutional right to their child, the lines of parentage can become blurry when it comes to custody during and after a divorce.
If you have any questions or concerns about child custody, contact a distinguished family lawyer who has experience with the family law system in New Jersey.Different Forms of Custody for Monmouth County Custody Cases
As a parent, you have a fundamental right to have a relationship with your child as guaranteed by the numerous provisions of the constitution including the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. This constitutional right has also been recognized in the New Jersey Constitution.
However, when a marriage ends, it can sometimes be difficult to not only determine custody but also to understand the different types of custody. In Monmouth County and throughout New Jersey a parent may have many types of custody agreements.Sole Custody
Sole custody is a rarity in Monmouth County, this type of custody generally means that the parent who has custody of the child, the custodial parent, can make all of the major decisions in a child’s life without consulting the other parent. These decisions include:
- Medical care and treatment
- Educational decisions
- Religious upbringing
- Psychological treatment
This form of custody is rare, and generally, even parents who have sole custody will share reasonable and liberal visitation of the child.Joint Custody
As compared to sole custody Joint custody is when both parents exercise some degree of both legal custody and of physical custody. Legal custody refers to a parent’s legal authority and responsibility for making major decisions in a child’s life. With true joint custody, the parents share legal custody equally. Physical custody, on the other hand, refers to the physical place that a child will reside.
Oftentimes, the parents will share overnights with the child and there will be some split in the amount of physical custody a party will have over their child.Determining Custody
When a relationship ends and a child is involved, it is not always clear who will have custody over the minor child. There is an incorrect presumption that the mother will automatically gain custody over the child, however, this is not legally accurate and there are many cases where the father is awarded custody.
Each case is unique and requires a close examination of the family by a family court judge. However, in reaching their determination of who gets custody or how custody should be divided, a family court judge is guided by the following criteria under N.J.S.A. 9:2-4f.:
- The parents’ ability to agree, communicate and cooperate in matters relating to the child
- The parents’ willingness to accept custody and any history of unwillingness to allow visitation not based on substantiated abuse
- The interaction and relationship of the child with his or her parents and siblings
- The history of domestic violence
- The safety of the child and the safety of either parent from physical abuse by the other parent
- The preference of the child when of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent decision
- The needs of the child
- The stability of the home environment offered
- The quality and continuity of the child’s education
- The fitness of the parents
- The geographical proximity of the parents’ homes
- The extent and quality of the time spent with the child prior to or subsequent to the separation
- The parents’ employment responsibilities
- The age and number of the children
Whenever a judge is evaluating these statutory factors, they will always have in their mind what is in the best interest of the child. This involves the judge making a determination and finding of what is best for the child’s safety, happiness, and physical and mental well-being.Help from an Attorney
If you have a question about the forms of custody in Monmouth County, do not wait to contact a Monmouth County family lawyer who can help explain the different forms of custody and can work with you to determine what is best for your family.