Parsippany Child Custody Lawyers
Vigorously Pursuing Your Parental Rights in New Jersey
Child custody is one of those issues in divorce, post-divorce, or between unmarried parents that can be very divisive. Your child’s wellbeing and welfare are generally one of your most worrisome issues when faced with the end of your marriage or relationship. You obviously want to ensure that your relationship with your child is maintained in the best possible manner and that can feel threatened when a custody issue arises. Protecting your parental rights both during and after a divorce and long into the future is commonly a matter that creates uncertainty and anxiety in any parent.
At Simon, O’Brien, & Knapp, we understand how deeply affected you may be by this issue. Our experienced and knowledgeable family law attorneys deal with custody matters routinely for clients going through the divorce process and for those facing issues long after their divorce has been finalized. We understand the intricacies of New Jersey custody laws, procedures, and preferences. We also know that every custody case is unique unto itself based on particular facts and circumstances that differentiate you from others. Our firm is here to help you resolve your issue by working out an agreement that will protect your rights, benefit you and your children, as well as align with the underlying court guideline of what is in the best interests of the child.
Child Custody Cases in New Jersey
As mentioned above, when deciding custody cases in New Jersey, the court’s overriding rule is making arrangements that are in “the child’s best interests.” What is in a child’s best interests can involve a number of factors and differ from case to case. Courts can review the history of past parental behavior, responsibility, and interaction with the child, the child’s needs, how willing a parent is to foster the child’s relationship with the other parent, and a large number of other personal, financial, employment, and fitness variables.
Generally, courts favor that a child maintains a meaningful and nurturing relationship with both parents. This often results in what is referred to as “joint custody” where the child spends regular intervals in both homes.
In New Jersey, as in other states, custody is broken down into two types:
- Physical custody that determines where the child will reside after parents no longer live together
- Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to decide important life decisions for the child, such as those involving the health, education, and overall wellbeing of the child. These decisions are differentiated from the smaller day-to-day matters that a parent will decide when the child is in his or her care
These two types of custody can be assigned as “joint” or as a “sole” in any combination. For example, both parents may have joint legal custody while the child primarily lives with one parent. Another example is both joint physical and legal custody where the child alternates set periods of time in both homes with both parents having authority over major life decisions. Joint physical custody may not be an even split in all cases due to logistics. This is especially true if parents live far apart. Physical custody that involves “visitation” for one or the other parent is not referred to by that term in New Jersey but instead is labeled “parenting time.”
In New Jersey, the designation “Parent of Primary Residence” is given to the parent with whom the child lives for more than 50 percent of yearly overnights or the parent whose home they live in while going to school. The other parent is referred to as the “Parent of Alternate Residence.”
The state encourages parents to resolve their custody and parenting time arrangements between themselves. This generally works best as it puts parents in control of the arrangements and makes it more likely that they will adhere to the terms. However, if you and your spouse cannot agree on this issue, you may be ordered by the court to participate in mediation to resolve your disagreements.
Get the Help You Need from Simon, O’Brien, & Knapp
Child custody and parenting time can be a complex matter that can cause uncertainty and stress when you are undergoing the divorce process or engaged in a post-judgment dispute. Our Parsippany child custody attorneys are deeply experienced in handling this issue. We can provide the compassionate guidance you need while aggressively fighting for your best interests at the negotiation table, in mediation, or in the courts.
We strategize to ensure we reach optimum results for your unique case.
Our attorneys are easily accessible when you need us most.
We will do everything possible to help you obtain a favorable outcome for your family.