Woodbridge Child Custody Lawyer

When the parents of a child do not live together, there may be a court-ordered child custody agreement in place to help address any potential disagreements that may come up. This may be important even if the parents get along.

A Woodbridge child custody lawyer knows that at any given moment, issues can come up between parents that can quickly turn an agreeable co-parenting relationship into a contentious one. Therefore, having a legal document in place protecting all parties involved may be essential to be able to resolve these issues as easily as possible. A distinguished family attorney could help you begin the custody process. 

Importance of Understanding New Jersey Custody Laws

The goal of the family court is for both parents to have an active role in their child’s life. In most cases, the court prefers to award shared or joint custody to parents if possible. However, regardless of the final order, the priority of the court is the best interest of the child.

When determining custody, the court may need to decide which parent or parents will have legal custody and which parent or parents will have physical custody. These are the two major types of custody that determine who has the power to make parenting decisions and where the child will live, respectively.

Defining Legal Custody

Legal custody gives parents the authority to decide the major issues in a child’s life, including medical, safety, educational, and religious decisions. These decisions are different than day-to-day decisions; however, they do have an impact on what type of day-to-day decisions can be made by a parent without legal custody.

A court can award parents joint legal custody or can award one parent sole legal custody. When joint legal custody is awarded, both parents have equal say in making those major decisions. If sole legal custody is awarded to one parent, that parent has the authority to make all major decisions for the child without consulting the other parent. Sole legal custody is uncommon and is usually issued when the court believes the other parent is unfit or is not active in the child’s life.

What One Should Know Regarding Physical Custody

Just like legal custody, there are also two types of physical custody the court can decide – joint and sole. There are many variations of what joint and sole physical custody can mean and the parenting schedules are often negotiated by Woodbridge child custody lawyers.

In a sole physical custody arrangement, the child resides with one parent most of the time. The other parent has less than two overnights each week of parenting time but may have additional time during vacations and holidays.

What are the Elements of Custody Determination?

If a child sleeps at the other parent’s home more than two nights each week, the court refers to that as shared (or joint) physical custody. The parent who the child resides with most of the time is referred to as the parent of primary residence, while the other parent is referred to as the parent of alternative residence. This distinction is made to establish the child’s legal residence is to determine which schools they will attend, as well as to determine if and how much child support may be paid.

New Jersey also recognizes a third type of custody – joint custody. This is where the amount of parenting time each parent has is equal and both parents also have equal say in all legal decisions.

Benefit of Contacting an Attorney

Child custody is one of the most emotional legal issues that parents must deal with in the family court system. Therefore, it is important to take every step necessary to protect the best interests of you and your children.

If you would like to speak with a Woodbridge child custody lawyer, call today to set up a free consultation and to find out how a passionate attorney can help. A conversation with an attorney can help you understand your rights and options and begin a plan to fight for the best interests of your children.