Sole custody vs. joint custody in New Jersey


Sole custody vs. joint custody in New Jersey

Father and child huggingWhat does full custody mean in New Jersey? Another term for full custody is sole custody. People are often unsure of the difference between sole custody vs. joint custody. In the state of New Jersey sole custody is when one parent is designated to make all of the decisions for the child, and the other parent who does not reside with the child does not have the legal right to make any of the decisions on behalf of the child. Sole legal custodial relationships typically also have physical custodial relationships. Under those circumstances, the child primarily lives with one parent. The other parent may also still have scheduled parenting time, but will not have any legal decision-making authority.

What does joint legal custody mean in New Jersey? 

In New Jersey, there are two types of custody. People often assume that the two types of custody are sole custody vs. joint custody. However, that is not quite accurate.  There is legal custody, and there is physical custody. Legal custody of the child refers to the right to make decisions concerning the child. Physical custody refers to the parenting time schedule, which reflects which parent the child lives with on a day to day basis. 

What does Joint custody in New Jersey mean?

Joint legal custody is when both parents have the legal right to make decisions pertaining to the children. These decisions are often characterized as major decisions, which typically relate to the child’s health, education and general welfare, which often includes religious decision-making as well. 

Joint legal custody can be the legal custodial arrangement even if only one parent has physical custody of the child or children. Typically in a joint legal custodial relationship, the parents have the ability to communicate with each other and make decisions pertaining to the children jointly. 

In a joint physical custodial relationship, also referred to as residential custody in New Jersey, the child lives with each parent for a certain period of time, but it does not always mean that the parents have equal time.

What are the chances of a father getting full custody?

In New Jersey, the family court must be gender neutral as it relates to parenting. Fathers can get sole custody, depending upon which arrangement is in the best interest of the child.

Can parents modify existing child custody agreements?

Yes, circumstances change, and one or both parents can seek to agree to modify an existing child custody agreement.

If the parties do not agree, each has the right to petition the court.

Sole custody vs joint custody: What custody arrangement is best for a child?

The custodial arrangement that’s best for the child depends on the child, the parents, the circumstances and a host of other factors that the court considers when determining what is in the best interests of a child. The arrangement could be sole custody vs. joint custody.

Factors considered in a custodial determination 

The 14 enumerated factors that the court must consider when making a determination about sole custody vs. joint custody are as follows:

(1) the parents’ ability to agree, communicate and cooperate regarding the child;

(2) the parents’ willingness to accept custody and any history of unjustified withholding; 

(3) the interaction and relationship of the child with the parents and other siblings;

(4) history of domestic violence; 

(5) safety of the child and/or either parent from physical abuse by other parent; 

(6) preference of child of sufficient age and capacity; 

(7) needs of the child;

(8) stability of home environment; 

(9) quality and continuity of child’s education; 

(10) fitness of parents; 

(11) geographical proximity of parents’ homes; 

(12) extent and quality of time spent with child both before and after separation; 

(13) parents’ employment responsibilities; and 

(14) age and number of children.

If you’re trying to establish custody in New Jersey, there are two ways in which you can proceed. The court can approve an agreement between both parties or the judge will make a decision if the parties are not able to agree as to whether sole custody vs. joint custody is best for the child.

How to go from joint custody to full custody

If the circumstances warrant a modification to the custodial arrangement, a change can be made from joint custody to full custody, or sole custody vs. joint custody, should there be a determination that one parent is not best suited to continue to maintain custodial responsibility for the child.

Find the right lawyer for your child custody case. If you have questions about sole custody vs. joint custody, contact DeTorres & DeGeorge, New Jersey custody lawyers, today. We are here to help!

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