In New Jersey, child custody laws create a path for guardians to seek joint custody, decide the rules for visitation, and the needed procedures for ordering custody.
The two main aspects of custody in New Jersey are Physical Custody and Legal Custody. Physical Custody refers to where the child will spend their time; and Legal Custody refers to which parent(s) is/are responsible for decision-making on behalf of the child.
The factors that are considered when determining child custody in New Jersey may include:
- Interaction of the child with its parents and siblings
- Preference of the child (if 12 or older)
- Stability of the home environment
- Fitness of parents
- Parents’ employment responsibilities
A court may also want to assess their ability to agree, communicate, and cooperate with regard to the child. A prominent element such as domestic abuse will be figured into any custody or visitation decision. For the non-custodial parent, whether they have a history of domestic violence or if determined to need precaution, may be eligible for supervised visitation with their child.
Types of Custody
- Joint Custody: This is when the child lives with one parent or alternates time between parents. In these cases, parents work together when determining medical and educational decisions.
- Joint Physical Custody: This is when a child lives with both parents on a 50-50 basis with equal decision making power.
- Sole Custody: This is when the child lives with one parent and receives appropriate time with non-custodial parent.
Other non-parents who are close to the child, such as grandparents, may request the court for an order of visitation even if the parent(s) have objections. Such a request may be granted as long as such visitation is in the child’s best interests.