There are many matters that must be settled when it comes to a divorce. One of, if not the most, important issues is that of child custody. While a divorce can be the best option for you, your spouse, and your children, it can be a difficult process. It is important to educate yourself about the road ahead so you can make the best decisions for you and your family. Read on to learn more about determining child custody in New Jersey.

Mediation vs. Trial

In some cases, a couple will be able to come to an agreement regarding custody through mediation. Mediation involves a neutral third party helping the couple discuss and decide upon the best custody agreement for the child. However, this is not always possible. Custody can be an incredibly sensitive subject, with both parents feeling strongly about what is best for the child. If this is the case, custody may be decided by the court.

Types of Custody

The following types of custody may be addressed in a New Jersey court:

  • Physical custody
    • Physical custody is awarded to the parent with whom the child will reside the most. Whoever is awarded physical custody will have the child for more nights of the week. In some cases, parents can work together to split the time evenly. This is referred to as joint physical custody.
  • Legal custody
    • Legal custody refers to the parent’s right to make important decisions regarding the child. These decisions may include choices about education, religion, and medical issues. Even if a parent does not have physical custody, they may still fight for legal custody. Legal custody may be awarded to one or both parents.
  • Sole custody
    • Sole custody is not a common occurrence. New Jersey courts believe it is almost always within the best interest of the child for both parents to have some form of custody. But, this is not always the case. If one parent is deemed unfit to care for the child, the fit parent will receive sole custody. The unfit parent may have some form of visitation rights, either supervised or unsupervised, depending on the situation.

How is Custody Determined?

If custody is determined by the court, many different factors will be considered. These factors may include:

  • The stability that each parent can provide the child
  • Whether the parent will act in the child’s best interest
  • The relationship between the child and parent
  • The parent’s history of domestic abuse and substance abuse
  • The safety of the child
  • The child’s preference if they are of sufficient age

Contact our Firm

We understand that those getting a divorce most likely have several questions regarding the weeks and months to come. Paris P. Eliades Law Firm, LLC is honored to serve the people of New Jersey, including Sparta, Sussex County, Morris County, Passaic County, and Bergen County with the quality legal services they deserve. If you are getting a divorce or have any other questions regarding divorce-related matters, please do not hesitate to contact our firm for a consultation today.