Trenton Child Custody Lawyers
Compassionate Family Law Attorneys Help Couples Resolve Child Custody Disputes in Mercer County and Throughout New Jersey
Of course, your children are precious—all parents want what’s best for their children, both now and over the long term. However, we often see emotions run high when spouses are divorcing or former spouses are negotiating to modify an existing child custody arrangement. An experienced Trenton Child Custody Lawyer from Kalavruzos, Mumola, Hartman, Lento & Duff, LLC can help.
At Kalavruzos, Mumola, Hartman, Lento & Duff, LLC, our family law attorneys have helped families across New Jersey resolve child custody issues for decades. We specialize in working through these complicated issues to help our clients resolve their goals. We know the right questions to ask and the arguments that could work in your favor.
Our attorneys are here to help you reach a solution. In most cases where domestic violence and child abuse aren’t an issue, child custody matters are all about reaching a successful compromise. What that compromise looks like depends upon your unique family dynamics.
Our lawyers bring experience, dedication, and a stellar reputation to the table. Our client relationships are important to us—and we put the full weight of our significant legal experience to work to effectively resolve your issue. To learn more, schedule a consultation with a child custody specialist at Kalavruzos, Mumola, Hartman, Lento & Duff, LLC today.
Child Custody in New Jersey
New Jersey is like most other states in that it has several variations of child custody rights. In most situations, parents will have a combination of several different types of custody. New Jersey recognizes the following four types of custody:
- Physical custody
- Legal custody
- Joint custody
- Sole custody
As its name implies, this refers to the physical aspect of child custody rights. Often called residential custody, physical custody describes the situation where a child is currently with one of the parents.
Put another way, the parent currently with the child is the parent with physical custody. If the child spends more time with one parent, the court may call this parent the custodial parent.
As a result of being the parent spending physical time with the child, the parent with physical custody will get to make the basic and everyday decisions for the child.
For example, decisions such as what the child’s bedtime is, what they eat, when they bathe or how the child will dress, will be up to the parent with physical custody.
Legal custody is the type of custody rights that allow a parent to make big decisions for the child. What school the child goes to, what religion they will be raised with and the type of medical treatment they receive are types of decisions that can only be made by a parent with legal custody.
To clarify legal custody and medical treatments, this usually refers to non-emergency or non-routine health care decisions. Imagine a child is with a parent that has no legal custody, but only physical custody. Then the child gets violently ill. The parent with only physical custody decides to take the child to the emergency room. The parent with physical custody will probably not get into trouble for not first getting permission from the parent with legal custody.
In New Jersey, many parents will share legal custody. Therefore, many child custody disputes are the result of a disagreement between the parents over how to raise a child.
This is a type of custody is where both parents will share physical and/or legal custody of their child.
Joint physical custody is fairly rare. This is because it’s uncommon for both parents to spend an equal amount of parenting time with their child. What’s more common is shared physical custody. This exists when the child spends more than roughly two nights a week with each parent.
One parent will be designated as the parent of primary residence and the other parent as the parent of alternate residence. This distinction is very important as it can determine things like child support amounts and which school the child attends.
Joint legal custody is fairly common in New Jersey. In this situation, both parents will have a say in how to make significant decisions concerning their child’s life.
How joint legal custody works can vary between couples. In some situations, each parent may want to be consulted for every major decision. In other cases, one parent might have the ability to make certain decisions without conferring with the other parent.
Most parents subject to a child custody arrangement do not have the necessary level of cooperation. So it’s very rare for a child custody arrangement to provide for both joint physical and joint legal custody.
Sole custody can apply to either legal or physical custody.
When a parent has sole physical custody, this doesn’t necessarily mean they have the child all the time. In New Jersey, it means the non-custodial parent has the child for less than two nights per week on average (not including some vacation or holiday time).
Sole legal custody means one parent can make all of the significant life decisions for the child. Sole legal custody is fairly rare. If a parent has no legal custody over the child, it usually means the court could not find them or the parent is considered unfit.
Contact an Experienced New Jersey Child Custody Attorney Today
It’s all about the children. Trying to spend as much time with them as possible and helping them reach their potential. At Kalavruzos, Mumola, Hartman, Lento & Duff, LLC, we get it.
Whether the child is the product of a 25-year marriage or a relationship that lasted 25 days, it makes no difference to you. And outside of any potential legal differences, it makes no difference to the child custody attorneys at Kalavruzos, Mumola, Hartman, Lento & Duff, LLC.
New Jersey has well-developed child custody laws that focus on providing what’s best for the children. But working within these laws isn’t always easy. Add the fact that it’s your child’s well-being at stake and it’s understandable that you’re considering Kalavruzos, Mumola, Hartman, Lento & Duff, LLC.
Let us help you protect your parental rights. We will handle your case with the seriousness and compassion it deserves. We understand what’s at stake for you and your family, so we will do everything we can to protect your right to see your child. Contact us today.
Frequently Asked Questions About Child Custody in New Jersey
The ability for a parent to spend time with his or her child is a fiercely protected right. Some parents with no legal or physical custody will still have the right to spend time with their children. These might be supervised visitation rights, however.
In typical child custody arrangements, it’ll usually be the non-custodial parent who has unsupervised visitation rights.
The bottom line is that courts are very hesitant to take away a parent’s right to see his or her child. Courts will sometimes do that, but only in extreme situations.
The New Jersey law, N.J.S.A. 9:2-4, sets out a list of factors a court will look at when creating a child custody order. Some of the more notable factors include:
— If there is any history of abuse from either parent.
— The child’s wishes. The older the child, the more weight a court will give to the child’s preferences.
— The stability of each of the parents’ homes.
— How much a parent has to work.
— Where each parent lives.
— How a child custody arrangement will affect the child’s education.
— Existence of any siblings.
— How well each parent gets along with one another.
The bottom line is that a court will make a decision that’s in the best interests of the child.