Divorce is a stressful event, but when children and child custody arrangements are involved, the stress can be overwhelming. All child custody agreements must be made with the best interests of the child in mind, but decisions can be complicated by resentment, anger, and jealousy between marital partners.
It is crucial to find an experienced family law lawyer that is experienced in handling child custody cases. Committed, dedicated, and professional lawyers will help parents negotiate arrangements that are fair and just.
Child Custody in New Jersey
There are many factors that go into the development of child custody agreements in New Jersey. There are many factors to consider when making these arrangements, including:
- The overall environment in each parent’s home.
- The type of relationship the child has with each parent.
- The physical and emotional health of each parent.
- The physical distance between the homes of the parents.
- How cooperative each parent is during child custody negotiations.
- If the child has special needs.
- The child’s preference for living with each parent.
The age and developmental capacity of the children involved in the divorce proceedings determines how much impact their personal preferences will have on the court’s decision in a child custody case.
Types of Child Custody Arrangements
There are several types of child custody arrangements available in New Jersey, including:
- Joint legal custody: This type of agreement designates one parent as the primary residential custodian where the child spends most of their time. Decisions for education, health, and the welfare of the child are shared by the parents, and agreements are based on the best interests of the child.
- Sole legal and physical custody: This arrangement gives a single parent the responsibility to provide the child’s residence and the power to make all decisions for the child’s education, health, and welfare. This type of arrangement works best when one parent is deemed to be unfit for reasons relating to child abuse or neglect, substance abuse, mental incapacity, or if they have a history with the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP).
- Shared legal and physical custody: When parents want to share equal amounts of time and decision-making power, this type of arrangement works best. Children can spend alternating weeks with each parent or even split their week between each parent’s home. Decisions regarding the child’s education, health, and welfare are shared equally.
Child Custody Parenting Plans
Once the type of child custody plan has been decided, the marital partners can begin negotiating a parenting plan. It is important to make a careful assessment of each parent’s reasonable availability when making the parenting plan so that the child’s best interests are served.
- Work schedules: Do both parents work full-time? How far do they have to travel each day to and from their work location? Is their schedule flexible? How will their work schedules affect their availability? These are important questions to discuss while forming an appropriate parenting plan.
- Activities: When children are heavily involved in school and sport activities, their schedules can be demanding. Each parent must consider if they are able to maintain the child’s busy schedule.
- Travel: Many jobs require travel. Sometimes, parents can be away from home for days or weeks. Each parent must consider how often their work schedule will keep them away from home and what accommodations they will make for the supervision of their child while they are away on travel.
- Child care: Young children always need to be supervised. Even teenagers need to have an adult presence in their lives each day. Parenting plans need to carefully consider how each child will be supervised in the absence of the parent.
- Relatives and extended family relationships: Relationships with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and close family friends are an important part of a child’s life and development. Parents will need to put personal feelings aside and make arrangements that include spending time with relatives from each side of a child’s family to promote and strengthen these relationships and to preserve family traditions.
Moorestown Divorce Lawyers at Stockton Family Law Provide Legal Counsel for All Divorcees
If you are preparing to divorce and need to establish child custody arrangements, speak to one of your experienced lawyers today. Our dedicated Moorestown divorce lawyers at Stockton Family Law will guide you through the difficult process of divorce and help you with child custody arrangements. Contact us online or call us at 856-412-5052 for a confidential consultation. Located in Moorestown, New Jersey, we also serve clients in Mount Laurel, Burlington County, Camden County, and throughout South Jersey.