When a couple divorces, there are many questions that need to be answered. How much alimony will be paid? Where is each partner going to live? But perhaps the most important question of all is, who will have primary custody of the couple’s child? In New Jersey, there are two main aspects of custody that need to be resolved: 1) physical custody, or where the child will actually live; and 2) legal custody, or which parent will be primarily responsible for making the child’s day-to-day decisions as well as the overarching decisions relating to the child’s health, safety and welfare.
Often times, the parties agree upon a joint custody arrangement. Joint Legal Custody, as it is known in New Jersey, grants each parent the right and responsibility to be an active part of their child’s life and development. Under a Joint Legal Custody arrangement, both parents are responsible for making major life decisions on behalf of the child.
The concept of Residential custody relates to the designation of the parent(s) with whom the child resides some or all of the time. Generally, one parent is designated the Parent of Primary Residence and the other parent is designated the Parent of Alternate Residence. The Parent of Primary Residence often makes the most of the day-to-day decisions. As to more critical or substantial decisions, of course, the Parent of Primary Residence will consult with the Parent of Alternate Residence.
For parents seeking a more equal division of custodial time, New Jersey offers an additional custody option known as Shared Legal and Physical Custody. Under this arrangement, parents may alternate days or weeks during which their child resides with them. Parents are generally free to consider any custody arrangement that divides time in an equitable fashion so long as it is the child’s best interests.
Divorce is difficult for all parties involved, but a fair custody arrangement will help children adjust to their new situation. It is important for both parents to be cooperative and willing to work with each other so that the child can continue succeed throughout all future stages of life.
We hope that this information provides a general overview of child custody and parenting time agreements in New Jersey. The attorneys at Rotolo, Bozanian & Yi, LLC are experts and are knowledgeable in the area of child custody law. We invite you to contact us today.