Understanding Different Types of Child Custody in NJ

Child custody is a complicated and emotional subject. Often, parents focus on the idea of whether their child will live with them or their ex, or whether they will split their time evenly. However, there are multiple types of child custody in New Jersey, and if you’re going through a divorce or separation, it’s essential that you know all of them.

Working with an experienced child custody law firm like Lyons & Associates, P.C., ensures your rights are protected. Our team can help you understand the differences between legal, physical, sole, and joint custody and how to obtain them.

Types of Child Custody in New Jersey: Legal, Physical, Sole, and Joint Custody

There are two main types of child custody: legal and physical, and both can be sole or joint. Physical custody deals with where your child lives, while legal custody regulates which parent has the final say in legal matters, including medical and educational questions.

Joint & Legal Custody

For most families, the ideal custody is joint physical and legal custody, meaning that the children split their time equally between their parents’ homes and that each parent has an equal say in legal matters. The court usually appoints one parent as the primary residential custodian, making the day-to-day decisions. However, for big decisions, they should consult with the other parent.

Joint physical custody looks different for every family. Some prefer alternating weeks and have pre-arranged agreements for holidays while others split the time during the week, with the kids spending four days with one parent and three with the other.

Sole Physical and Legal Custody

Sometimes, a court may decide that one parent should have sole physical custody. If you believe your partner should not have physical custody because it will harm the children, for example, in cases of abuse, drug use, or neglect, work with an experienced lawyer like those at Lyons & Associates, P.C., to win sole custody.

If the other parent is unfit, you may also receive sole legal custody, making you the residential custodial parent, although this is rare in New Jersey.

If one parent’s work schedule makes joint physical custody impossible, the court will probably still order joint legal custody, which allows both parents to attend medical appointments, make decisions about schooling, and sign permission slips.

What’s the Best Child Custody Plan For You?

Determining what type of child custody is best for you and your children isn’t easy. Work with your lawyer to analyze your childcare options, housing situation, and financial state. In New Jersey, the courts consider what is best for the child, usually joint legal and physical custody, and penalizes you for failing to follow a court-ordered parenting plan.

However, the court understands that situations change, and you can always work with your lawyer to petition for a change of custody.

Get The Custody You Want With the Help of Lyons & Associates, P.C.

Unless your divorce or separation is entirely amicable, you may encounter difficulties negotiating child custody. Working with an experienced attorney from Lyons & Associates, P.C. can help you get the custody plan that’s best for your child.

Our lawyers can also provide legal help in other aspects of your divorce, from determining alimony to selling your jointly owned house. Contact us online or call us today at (908) 575-9777 to arrange an appointment with our team.