Child Custody Attorney in Somerset County, New Jersey
In a marital dissolution involving minor children, the separating or divorcing parents must establish child custody arraignments and visitation schedules to determine the duties and responsibilities of each parent. In addition, the child custody arrangement will help decide where the child lives and the period of time the child will spend with either parent. If you need proper guidance to establish child custody or parenting time, talking with an experienced New Jersey family law attorney is beneficial.
At Gary Blaustein, Esq, I provide assistance to people in complicated family-law matters involving child custody and parenting time. Whether you want to establish or modify an existing child custody agreement, I can work analyze and direct you through the legal procedures involved from start to finish.
My firm—Gary Blaustein, Esq—proudly serves clients across Somerset County, New Jersey, and surrounding areas throughout Basking Ridge, Bedminster, Somerville, and Warren.
Establishing a Child Custody Arrangement
As mentioned earlier, establishing child custody in a divorce or legal separation is vital to specify each parent's duties, rights, and responsibilities to their child. In New Jersey, there are two options to create child custody arrangements. These include:
An uncontested parental agreement allows both parents to determine child custody peacefully and seamlessly. Both parents will work together and reach mutually acceptable terms and provisions for child custody. All terms agreed upon will be documented and presented to the New Jersey court for official approval. The uncontested custody option is cost-efficient, less painful, and quick. A dedicated divorce lawyer can protect your rights and help keep the discussions on track.
In contrast, contested custody involves a situation whereby both parents are unable to agree on one or more important custody terms. Thus, the parents will turn to the family court to help resolve their custody battle, and a hearing will be scheduled.
Furthermore, the judge will allow both parties to present their case during the hearing and issue a final custody decree based on the child's best interest. A skilled family law attorney can present your case diligently at the hearing and offer you the best chance of arriving at the most favorable custody arrangement for your family.
Types of Child Custody in New Jersey
Additionally, there are two types of child custody, including:
Physical Custody vs. Legal Custody
Physical custody refers to the control and routine daily care of a child. Generally, the child will live primarily with the parent with physical custody. Also, the custodial parent will handle tasks such as preparing meals, bathing, disciplining the child, and taking the child to medical appointments, school, and extracurricular activities.
Conversely, Legal custody refers to the rights and legal authority of a parent to make major decisions concerning the child. Essentially, the parent with legal custody will make decisions about the child's education, medical care and emergency treatments, religious training, extracurricular activities, welfare, and joining the military.
Joint Custody vs. Sole Custody
Furthermore, physical and legal custody may either be joint or sole. In joint custody, both parents will be involved in making major decisions that affect the child's life and upbringing. However, in sole custody, only one parent will have the authority to make all major life decisions that affect the child.
Essentially, New Jersey courts often favor both parents' participation in the child's life and upbringing. However, sole custody may be awarded if one parent is considered unfit or incapable of taking care of and making crucial decisions affecting the child's life.
Factors Considered in Determining Custody
Additionally, the New Jersey courts will consider the different factors below in order to make custody decisions based on the child's best interests:
The parent's ability to cooperate, communicate, and agree in matters affecting their children.
The age and number of all their children.
The needs and safety of the child.
Whether the parents live far or close to each other.
The child's relationship and interaction with both parents and siblings.
The willingness of the parents to accept the custody terms and allow the other parent's visitation.
The continuity and quality of the child's education.
The extent and quality of the time each parent has spent with the child before and after the couple separated.
The child's reasonable preference.
The ability of either parent to offer a stable home environment.
The employment responsibilities and fitness of the parent.
Any history of domestic violence, abuse, or child neglect in the family.
Any other factor considered necessary by the court.
An experienced New Jersey child custody attorney can help file your petition and represent you diligently at the hearing in pursuit of the most favorable outcome.
Modifying an Existing Child Custody Arrangement
However, child custody arrangements are not fixed and unchangeable. To modify a child custody agreement in New Jersey, the requesting parent can:
seek the consent of the other parent and present a new agreement to the court, or
file a post-decree motion with the court and show that there has been a "substantial change in circumstances" since the last order was established.
Some common examples of a substantial change in circumstances include job loss, domestic abuse, violating custody terms, major relocation, changes in work schedule, and drug abuse in the child's presence.
Compassionate Legal Assistance
Child custody is often among the most contentious issues in marital dissolutions. Establishing a feasible parenting plan, allocating parenting time, and clarifying each parent's duties can be challenging and overwhelming. Therefore, if you need to establish or change a custody order, you should speak with a trusted divorce attorney for clear guidance and to help protect your family's best interests.
With nearly 40 years of extensive experience, I have the diligence and expertise to support and represent clients in their child custody cases. As your lawyer, I can determine your possible custody options. In addition, I will work with all parties involved to establish a feasible parenting plan and resolve other custody issues peacefully.
Child Custody Attorney Serving Somerset County, New Jersey
If you need assistance establishing or adjusting a child custody arrangement, contact me at Gary Blaustein, Esq, today to schedule an initial consultation. I have the reliable representation you need in your child custody battle. My firm proudly serves clients across Somerset County, Basking Ridge, Bedminster, Somerville, and Warren, New Jersey.