Do you have concerns about sharing time with your children after divorce? Many parents have outdated ideas of how courts decide on custody; for example, New Jersey does not take gender into account when creating a fair parenting plan.
Review the factors that state judges use to decide child custody when parents cannot reach an independent agreement.
Defining physical custody
Most parents share physical custody, sometimes called joint custody. However, you can make an arrangement that works for your family, whether that means your child stays one week with each parent or just an overnight each week and the rest of the time with the other parent. You are the parent of primary residence in New Jersey if you have your child for 183 or more overnights a year. The parent with 182 or fewer overnights is the parent of alternate residence.
Making a custody agreement
If you and your spouse can agree about how to share custody, you can make a parenting plan and submit it to the court for approval. If you cannot agree, you can ask the family court in your county to decide. The judge will review both parents’ arguments and consider factors such as:
- How many children you have and their ages
- How close you and your former spouse live to one another
- How well you communicate about parenting and cooperate with one another
- Whether either of you has a domestic violence history
- The child’s needs as well as his or her preferences depending on age
New Jersey rarely limits a parent’s ability to have visitation, but this may occur in situations involving a history of neglect or abuse.