Child Custody and Parenting Time. In many cases, these two issues are the most fought over topics in a divorce or non-divorce case. New Jersey favors Joint-Legal Custody and came into effect after the landmark case of Beck v. Beck in 1981. There are two elements concerning custody: 1. Legal Custody and 2. Physical Custody. The former concerns the authority to make major decisions for the child, which under Joint Legal, both parents should be a part of. The latter focuses on the minor day-to-day issues while in the care of that parent. The Court has held that once a disagreement arises concerning the child, say involving health care for example, the primary or custodial parent has more authority to decide the issue.
If the parties can decide the visitation schedule and the custody issue, the more specific you are the better. If you cannot, the Judge will make a ruling that you may be happy with or you may not be but in the end, you may be stuck with it as an appeal is a very difficult, lengthy, expensive and may lead you to where you started, with an order you do not like. It is often better to set aside your differences and focus on the needs of the child, however, sometimes this is just not possible.
The Court in Beck explained several factors in their determination of a joint custody situation. Some of the more relevant ones are:
- The ability for the parents to agree, communicate and/or cooperate regarding the welfare of the child.
- Whether both parents are fit (physically and psychologically capable of being fulfilling the role of a parent).
- Whether the child has established a relationship with both parents.
Physical Custody refers to where the child will live on a permanent basis. While the child can sleep where the non-custodial parent lives for visits, the custodial parents home is the real home of the child. Parenting time can be agreed on or it can be fought in court.
While your situation may be unclear right now, with the right attorney, you can be assured that the law will be explained to you as will the positives and negatives of your case. If you have a divorce or other family law case in Morris County or in the surrounding areas, contact the Artusa Law Firm today on 201-706-7012. For more specific information about child custody in Jersey City and Hudson County, visit our page for Jersey City Child Custody Attorneys.