For parents going through a divorce, the custody of their children is often amongst the most important if not the most important issue. While there are a litany of considerations which can play into your child custody agreement, many parents are able to find an amicable and amenable solution without litigation through using alternative conflict resolution tactics including mediation or arbitration. Regardless of the method you and your co-parent choose to come to an agreement, there are a handful of common child custody arrangements which are available to co-parents in New Jersey.
Today, our child custody agreement attorneys will define the different types of child custody in New Jersey and discuss the most common forms of child custody arrangements for co-parents.
Morris County, NJ Child Custody Arrangement Attorneys Define Physical and Legal Custody
The definition of child custody in New Jersey actually pertains to two distinct concepts. The form of child custody which comes to the minds of most individuals is the concept of physical child custody, also known as residential custody. However, there is also legal child custody, which involves each parent's right to be involved in major decisions which involve their child.
Physical Child Custody determines where the child lives and spends the majority of his or her time. This is the traditional definition of child custody with which most individuals are familiar. More specifically, physical custody refers to where a child will spend his or her overnights.
Legal Child Custody determines which parent or parents will be able to participate in major decision making for their child. Examples of such issues can include where the child will attend school, decisions pertaining to medical treatment, religious issues, and more. Every day issues such as the child's clothing and activities will be handled by the parent who is caring for the child at the time.
Chatham Child Custody Attorneys Discuss Common Arrangements
There are several different ways your Chatham child custody attorneys may be able to draft your child custody agreement dependent on your unique situation. For the majority of parents, legal custody shall remain joint, entitling both parents to equal say when making major decisions. Exceptions can include parents who are mentally unfit, physically unavailable, or who have been determined to be legally "unfit". If this is the case, one parent may be granted sole legal custody.
In terms of physical child custody, there are three primary types of child custody arrangements:
Sole Physical Custody: contrary to what the name suggests, sole physical custody does not mean that a child will spend all of his or her time with the custodial parent. Even in situations where a child spends one or two nights per week with the non-custodial parent, that is technically considered a sole custody arrangement. Furthermore, non-custodial parents are often granted parenting time to see and care for their child.
Shared Physical Custody: in arrangements where a child spends more than two overnights with each parent per week, but their time is not split equally, that is a shared physical custody arrangement. Many New Jersey parents who are able to work together well as co-parents choose this option.
Joint Physical Custody: child custody arrangements which divide a child's time equally between both parents are considered joint custody arrangements. These types of arrangements are relatively uncommon due to their inherently difficult to navigate scheduling, but can be a great choice for some families.
Contact our Morristown Child Custody Agreement Lawyers Today
The child custody agreement attorneys of Laufer, Dalena, Cadicina, Jensen & Bradley take pride in serving clients from Morris County towns including Morristown, Chester, Chatham, Harding, Mendham, Morris Plains, and across all of Northern New Jersey. Our firm focuses on complex divorce cases which may involve complicated division of assets, contentious issues of child custody or child support, and much more. Our lawyers believe that we are uniquely positioned to handle difficult divorce cases which other firms may not be equipped to handle. Additionally, we offer a wide array of alternatives to litigation based divorce, which allows our clients to choose the options which fits their unique needs and their budget.
To speak with one of our qualified attorneys in a free and confidential consultation regarding your child custody or other family law needs, please contact us online or through our Morristown offices by calling 973.975.4043 today.