As a parent, child custody is likely to be one of the foremost issues on your mind as you begin the divorce process. Your children are your life, so it is natural for them to play a significant role in your divorce decision-making.
Knowing what to expect regarding child custody in New Jersey is paramount to reducing your stress and helping you prepare.
What are the two types of child custody?
There are two types of child custody: physical and legal. Physical custody refers to which parent your child lives with for the majority of their time. Legal custody gives you or your spouse the right to make decisions for your child. Both parents can have legal custody of the child, as primary physical custody is not a criterion.
What factors do New Jersey courts use to determine child custody?
If you and your spouse are unable to reach a custody agreement on your own terms, a New Jersey court will decide for you. The court will examine several factors to make their decision, including:
- Stability of home environment
- Child’s best interests
- Relationship of the child with parents and siblings
- Child’s preference if older than 12
- Parental abilities
- Each parent’s employment responsibilities
You can appeal the court’s decision if you do not believe it is what is best for your child.
Children add a layer of complication to divorce as you struggle to do what is most beneficial for them. If you and your spouse cannot agree on child custody arrangements, be prepared for the court to decide using these elements.