Of all the issues that must be addressed during a divorce or separation in New Jersey, child custody tends to be one of the most contentious and complex. It is important to note that whatever agreement you do come to has to be approved by a court, and if you cannot agree, the court will make one for you without necessarily taking your wishes into account.
Put simply, child custody proceedings are not something you should try to handle without the assistance of a qualified family attorney. Help from a seasoned Piscataway child custody lawyer could dramatically boost your chances of securing a custody arrangement that serves you and your child’s best interests and getting through this legal process as quickly and efficiently as possible. Contact our firm today to learn more about how Jennifer Marshall, our knowledgeable family attorney, could help you.
Options for Child Custody in Piscataway
There are two types of custody a court can grant to a child’s parent or guardian in Piscataway: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody is what people generally think of when they think of “child custody”—namely, which parent a child mainly lives with, and what custody or visitation schedule the other parent has. Legal custody is a parent or guardian’s right to decide where a child goes to school, what religious services they attend, and what kind of medical treatment they get.
Courts can grant each type of custody “jointly” between both parents or “solely” to one parent. If a court grants joint physical custody to both parents, that means the child will alternate living between each parent’s home, but it does not always mean that each parent will have an exactly equal amount of custody over that child. Likewise, “sole” physical custody does not mean that one parent never gets to see their child, but rather that the child will live primarily with one parent and the other will generally have “parenting time”—New Jersey’s word for “visitation”—on a set schedule.
Most of the time, courts will grant joint legal custody to both parents, but there are situations when a court may grant sole legal custody to one parent, such as when the other parent previously abused or neglected their child. Jennifer Marshall, a Piscataway child custody attorney, can explain what kinds of custody a court might grant in a specific situation during an initial private meeting.
Fighting for a Favorable Custody Order
Courts generally prefer that parents create and agree on a child custody arrangement that works for them and, more importantly, serves their child’s best interests, and then submit that agreement to the court for approval. If parents cannot reach an agreement on their own, the court can establish a custody order based on factors like:
- Other children in the same family
- Each parent’s willingness to follow the terms of a custody order and communicate with their co-parent
- How old the child is and what kinds of special needs they have
- How stable each parent’s home environment would likely be
- How best to continue the child’s education without disrupting it too much
- The child’s own preferences, if they’re old enough
Our child custody attorney serving Piscataway could help emphasize certain factors over others during a child custody court hearing.
Contact a Piscataway Child Custody Attorney for Help
Child custody negotiations can be stressful for everyone involved, even if you and your child’s other parent are broadly on the same page about your preferred custody arrangement. If there are disagreements between you two, seeking help from skilled legal counsel may be crucial to securing a favorable final result, either through private mediation or a court hearing.
Jennifer Marshall could be an irreplaceable ally from start to finish of this process. Call today to learn more from a qualified Piscataway child custody lawyer.