parent with children

There are a few kinds of custody in New Jersey, some of which seek to include both parents as much as possible, such as joint custody, and some of which seek to protect the child by reducing the ability of one parent to interact with them. This blog will cover the different types of custody in New Jersey. If you are considered divorce and have children, be sure to read carefully and call a Sussex County child custody attorney. Your children mean the world to you, so don’t tackle something as complicated as divorce and its custody battles by yourself.

What Is Custody in New Jersey?

New Jersey recognizes two overarching kinds of child custody. First, custody is divided into legal and physical custody. Legal custody involves whether both or one parent has the right to make significant decisions for the child, decisions involving health, education, and welfare. Physical custody involves where the child lives and when.

Then, there is joint and sole custody, differentiated by the role each parent plays in each kind of custody. Joint custody is sometimes known as shared custody.

A parent may have sole legal custody or sole physical custody, which mean (respectively) that only one parent can make decisions about the child’s life and only one parent is responsible for the day-to-day care of the child.

Joint or shared custody, on the other hand, allows both parents to have either legal or physical custody in common. Joint legal custody would mean that both parents are allowed to make decisions about the child’s health, education, welfare, and religion. Joint physical custody means that both parents spend substantial time with the children.

Requirements for Joint Custody in New Jersey

Before shared custody is awarded under New Jersey law, the divorcing individuals must meet a three-factor test.

They need to (1) write a parenting plan, indicating when each parent spends time with and is responsible for the children. The parents should consider work schedules, housing arrangements, and the needs of the children when developing the parenting plan.

Next, that parenting plan must (2) allow both parents to have the substantial equivalent of two overnight visits a week with the children, exclusive of holidays and vacations.

Finally, the parents must (3) be able to communicate and cooperate in making decisions for the child, given that joint custody necessitates a closer working relationship between the parents. The ability to cooperate is perhaps the most important when dealing with the best interests of the child, as arguments between the carers are likely to cause profound problems for the children.

One key advantage of joint custody is that the children maintain contact with both parents. It does present some difficulties, such as the cost of maintaining two homes or the greater transportation needs in taking the children from house to house. However, joint custody (when possible) helps prevent the severing of the parent-child relationship.