New Jersey custody and visitation laws might seem confusing to someone who’s never had to deal with them. Like many states, New Jersey prioritizes the best interests of the child when determining custody and visitation rights.
The state of New Jersey has two types of custody arrangements. Custody can refer to:
– Physical custody, which determines who the child lives with
– Legal custody, defining which parent gets to make the legal decisions for the child
What goes into determining custody and visitation?
New Jersey uses a number of factors to determine custody and visitation arrangements. Both decisions are made with the child’s best interest in mind.
As such, the court will look at a multitude of aspects when determining custody arrangements for the child. This can include the work-life balance of the parents, which parent the child gets along with, and dynamics of the parents’ own relationships with each other and other people.
For example, if the parents are looking for joint custody then the court will look at their ability to co-parent successfully. If the parents can’t agree on a lot or are constantly arguing, then the court might rule that joint custody isn’t an option at this point in time.
The court will also look at how fit the parents are to responsibly raise the child and how stable the home is. They’ll also look at who else is living in the home and if the child is twelve years old or older, the child will get to give their input on where they want to stay.
What about visitation rights?
Custody is always determined before visitation rights can be established. In most cases, the court will always decide physical and legal custody at the same time – just because a parent doesn’t have physical custody doesn’t mean they won’t necessarily have legal custody.
Once custody is figured out, parents might be encouraged to work with their lawyers and each other to determine a visitation schedule. The court will set guidelines and help moderate the discussion if needed, so it’s important that parents have their lawyers present.